This story is part of the GP100, our list of the 100 best new products of the year.
More than two years have passed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and it’s clear that society’s “new normal” isn’t going away any time soon. With remote work remaining popular and many people continuing to spend more time at home, home goods have had to evolve to meet customers’ evolving needs.
In 2022, we saw brands rise to meet this challenge by offering products that make our lives easier, happier and more sustainable. By finding new ways to incorporate reclaimed materials, focusing on convenience and accessibility, and revisiting a romanticized past with thoughtful reissues, this year’s crop of top home products, collections and, well, standards help make staying in more pleasant than ever.
Pottery Barn Accessible Home
Why It’s Notable: Pottery Barn’s Accessible Home Collection is an inspiring (if belated) realization that function needn’t eschew form when it comes to furniture and home goods made for those with specific mobility and accessibility needs.
The Big Picture: Why does a grab bar in a shower need to take on only one ugly, bent stainless steel form? Why does a lifting recliner need to look like something you’d find in your grandmother’s den? These are questions that most mainstream homeware companies chose generally to not consider. Then Pottery Barn’s Accessible Home Collection appeared.
There’s a principle taught in design schools all over the world called “designing for the extremes” — if you can make sure that those farthest away from the mythical “average” consumer have their needs met, the middle of the bell curve almost takes care of itself. In practical terms, it means designing products with thought and consideration specifically paid to those who don’t look, or think, or operate like the majority. Spoiler: it ends up benefiting everyone.
That’s why it was so heartening to see Pottery Barn introduce an accessible line of home goods this year that is so patently … tasteful. PB’s designers clearly aimed to create inclusive products that anybody, regardless of disability, would appreciate. Pieces like the Pacific Desk or Irving Chair aren’t some municipal, lowest-bidder approach to ADA-compliant design. They feature subtle tweaks — like a surface that is accessible from either side and a power lift function that makes rising from a chair easier — to assure that any user will get the most out of them.
Some of our favorite pieces in the collection, though, are the pivot mirrors. These are products whose names and product pages hardly feature any wording around accessibility or ADA compliance, but provide real, tangible benefits to disabled end users. They’re a perfect example of designing for extremes and creating a bestseller for all.
Notable Items: Irving Chair, Pacific Desk, Pivot Mirror
Price Range: $3.99 – $3,999
Herman Miller Zeph
Why It’s Notable: The Zeph office chair blends mid-century modern design cues with 21st-century ergonomics in a way that only Herman Miller could pull off.
The Big Picture: For the past three decades, Herman Miller has lived a bit of a double life. On the one hand, the company has maintained its reputation as the leading producer of iconic mid-century modern designer furniture. On the other, it’s continued to set the standard when it comes to ergonomic office chairs. In 2022, Herman Miller merged the two main sides of its business to create the Zeph, an office chair that blends the brand’s trademark ergonomics with a stylish modern design that looks like it could’ve come out of Charles and Ray Eames’ mid-century workshop. Oh, and it also happens to be one of the most affordable office chairs the brand currently offers.
Available Shell Colors: 7
Available 3D Knit Seat Colors: 15
Adjustable Seat Height: 14.7″-20.2″
Casper Foam Pillow with Snow Technology
Why It’s Notable: It’s never been easier to sleep on the cool side of the pillow, thanks to an innovation that pulls heat away from your head and neck.
The Big Picture: Turning your pillow over to the “cool” side has always been somewhat of a hack for getting a good night’s sleep, but this year Casper sought to make that step irrelevant by creating a pillow that’s always chill on both sides. The “Snow Technology” in this premium iteration of Casper’s Foam Pillow combines a pair of cooling features to keep your noggin from overheating at night. First is the outer layer made of phase-change material that stays cool to the touch, then there are the four interior “HeatDelete” Bands that actively pull heat away from your head and neck. Together, they add up to a whopping 12 hours of just-right sleep each night.
Cover Materials: 88% polyester, 12% spandex
Cushion: AirScape perforated polyurethane foam
Standard Dimensions: 16″ x 24″ with a 1.25″ gusset
Floyd The Dresser System
Why It’s Notable: Floyd continues to build furniture for the way people actually live, this time crafting a dresser that’s designed to grow and change with you.
The Big Picture: Detroit-based Floyd is one of a handful of modern DTC furniture companies that have made a name for themselves by crafting modular furniture that’s meant to be customized and altered by the owner as time goes on — Systems for Living, as Floyd calls it. But what sets the brand apart is their eye for design. Not only are Floyd’s pieces highly functional, but they also don’t sacrifice one iota of style to achieve their high levels of usability.
Case in point is the brand’s first dresser. This new bedroom companion to Floyd’s hit bed frame follows in the footsteps of that flagship product by bringing modularity and customization to a piece of furniture that a lot of people don’t typically put a ton of thought into. All iterations of the dresser begin with the same base, which can be built out into either a two-unit or three-unit dresser. Want to expand or reduce the size of your dresser down the line? You can do that. Want to switch up your layout between different-sized drawers, cabinets and shelving? You can do that, too. Want to mix and match colors like walnut, beige, canary yellow … you get the idea.
By offering countless ways to create a dresser that suits both your style and needs — while providing the option to easily switch things up down the line if your tastes or storage requirements change — Floyd has once again shown a knack for crafing furniture that, you know, gets you.
Available Finishes: Walnut, Maple, Beige, Jasper Blue and Canary Yellow
Sizes: 47” and 71’”
Materials: Powder-coated steel, solid walnut or maple and engineered wood with veneer or powder-coated finish
Solo Stove Bonfire 2.0
Why It’s Notable: The famed smokeless firepit is already a hit in backyards everywhere. The sequel is even more user-friendly.
The Big Picture: Solo Stove’s line of Fire Pits all have an impressive design that delivers a smokeless fire. The Bonfire 2.0 uses the same double-wall engineering as the original, now with one big improvement: a removable ashpan. After the pit has completely cooled, you lift the tray and dump the ashes in a safe spot. There is no heavy or awkward lifting because the rest of the pit can stay put. Our tester found this upgrade makes for a quick, one-person job, allowing you to fully enjoy the best parts of a bonfire with friends — without dreading the cleanup in the morning.
Weight: 23 lbs
Size: 14” H x 19.5” D
Material: Stainless Steel
Hay Bruno Rey Collection
Why It’s Notable: The most successful Swiss chair of all time has been brought back to life this year with Hay’s release of the Rey Collection.
The Big Picture: In 1971, the Swiss designer Bruno Rey brought us a chair that stood out against the angular design trends of the period. Now Hay, in collaboration with Dietker, the original manufacturer, has revived his work. This collection includes a stool, dining table, coffee table and, of course, the famed chair that started it all. Each piece is consistent with Rey’s original design, available in multiple colors and finishes and built with a patented screw-less construction. Even after 50 years, the Rey chair has kept its stride and only grows in stature with this expansive re-release.
Material: Beech Wood
Chair Dimensions: Chair – 31.5″ H 17.5″ W 19.5″ D, Stool – 18.11″ H 18.5″ D 18.31″ DIA
Table Dimensions: Dining – 29.5″ H 50.5″ DIA, Coffee – 12.75″ H 26.25″ DIA
Why It’s Notable: This new technical infrastructure will finally enable all your smart home devices to work with one another, no matter what company made them.
The Big Picture: For years, the smart home has been a site of fierce battle among the superpowers of the tech world. Each marching in with their own army of smart speakers, voice assistants and other assorted accessories, the likes of Google, Apple, Amazon and more have attempted to lay claim to your entire domicile by building a palisade around their own little ecosystem. But the biggest smart home innovation in years isn’t some must-have gadget. Instead, it’s a truce.
Technically, Matter is a “royalty-free home automation connectivity standard.” In layman’s terms, Matter is a lingua franca for connecting smart devices that, until now, had pointedly given each other the silent treatment. The Matter protocol has the support of every smart home company you could reasonably ask for, and will soon be officially supported by the likes of Google Home, Nest, Amazon Echo, Apple TV and more. The result? Something that almost feels unimaginable: a smart home that can seamlessly mix and match equipment from various brands.
Universal standards have been attempted before, but success has been limited because the biggest players saw their primary interest in beating out the competition instead of playing nice. Now, though, it’s become clear that the biggest barrier to broader smart home adoption isn’t the amount of competition in the space, but that the nightmare of walled gardens has become an impenetrable maze. With Matter, smart homes should become much more accessible to people who don’t care to engage as partisans in a brand war. And, with any luck, everyone will benefit.
Notable Supporters: Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung
Compatible Ecosystems: Amazon Alexa, Apple Home, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings
Supported Product Types: Lightbulbs, thermostats, televisions and more
CB2 Gianfranco Frattini Collection
Why It’s Notable: CB2’s Design Legends Series aims to both democratize great design and shed some light on the industry’s overlooked legends. Case in point: this year’s collection from Italian Modern maestro Gianfranco Frattini.
The Big Picture: A Milanese architect by training, and a masterful designer by trade, Gianfranco Frattini is one of Italian design’s best representatives. His body of work almost seems to provide the ‘missing link’ between mid-century modern and Italy’s loud, angular ’80s designs. It’s The Memphis Group in a tweed suit. And, until CB2 reintroduced five dozen of his designs in the latest rendition of their Design Legends series, he was largely relegated to history books. Thankfully, not only has CB2 brought back absolute heaters like the Memoria Table Lamp and the Marconi Chair, but they’ve kept prices reasonable, eschewing the stratospheric markups for other (often lesser) legends of the field.
Notable Items: Meda Collection, Bovisio Tables, Cilindro Sconce
Price Range: $34.95 – $4,999
Why It’s Notable: There’s a notable benefit to using less-jarring wake-up lights for your morning alarm — and there’s none more attractive than Loftie’s new bedside lamp.
The Big Picture: Wake-up lamps like Philips’ Hue have been around for a few years, promising (and delivering) a more natural wakeup in the morning by slowly illuminating to mimic the sunrise. The only problem is that wake-up lamp aesthetics have left … a lot to be desired. Thankfully, this supremely good-looking and versatile release from Loftie uses the entire body of the lamp itself to provide a gradual but plenty-potent wake-up call. Not only can the lamp do its best sunrise impression in the morning, it’s got a hyper-warm red light to fall asleep to and dozens of colors in between to make sure its function matches its form.
Construction: Polycarbonate shell, steel shade
Avocado Zero Waste Collection
Why It’s Notable: As part of their goal of achieving Zero Waste to Landfill certification, Avocado crafted a furniture collection made entirely of upcycled wood from their LA workshop.
The Big Picture: A lot of brands talk a big game when it comes to the sustainability of their products, and it’s easy to understand why. After all, sustainability has been very on trend in recent years, and with the climate on fire and the planet seemingly hurtling toward destruction, buying a product that’s less wasteful allows consumers to feel like they’re making a positive difference. But few companies have shown themselves to be as serious about sustainability as Avocado.
The company, best known for its non-toxic and certified-organic “Green Mattress,” has a stated goal of becoming one of the most sustainable brands on the planet. To that end, Avocado already boasts a number of certifications that put the money where the mouth is. The brand is Climate Neutral-certified, FSC (Forest Stewardship Council)-certified and Clean Energy Partner-certified, among others. But Avocado’s next planned certification may be the most ambitious yet: the brand is aiming to become Zero Waste to Landfill-certified, meaning more than 80 percent of their waste must be recycled.
Leading the way to that goal is Avocado’s Zero Waste Collection, a new line of furniture crafted from 100 percent upcycled solid beechwood from the company’s own FSC-certified woodshop in Los Angeles. By transforming this leftover wood into new furniture, Avocado is keeping it out of landfills. And since the pieces in the collection — including a bench, stool, vases and various tables — are built to last (no particle board here), they’ll avoid the landfill for even longer — maybe even forever.
Materials: 100% upcycled beechwood
Price Range: $39 – $599
Coway Airmega Icon
Why It’s Notable: Coway continues to make their class-leading air purifiers work better, look better and integrate more smoothly into our lives, and their new top-end Airmega Icon is no exception.
The Big Picture: Air purifiers have found a widespread place in our homes since 2020 and from the very beginning, you wanted a Coway. While their early purifiers were a bit homely, the brand is rapidly iterating and called in some big guns of industrial design for their big release of 2022, the Airmega Icon. Coway partnered with design firm Fuseproject (think: Samsung Frame TV, SNOO Bassinet) to create an air purifier that looks as good as it works. There’s a sleek, integrated touch display that’ll tell you things like real-time air quality and let you adjust between modes. Better? Set to Smart Mode and never think about your air quality again.
Room Coverage: 649 sqft
Clean Air Delivery Rate: 173 (smoke), 194.1 (dust), 235.3 (pollen)
Filter Life: 1 year
Thuma The Headboard
Why It’s Notable: Definitive proof that if you whine enough, brands will listen, Thuma heard the ceaseless cries for a wood headboard that integrates with its best-selling bed frame.
The Big Picture: You can’t go anywhere online without running into Thuma’s now-iconic bed frame. It’s a dead-simple box frame that uses innovative construction and high-quality, upcycled materials to represent a near-universal answer to “what bed frame should I get?” The biggest downside until this year was that you couldn’t get a matching headboard that integrated into the frame. Well, ladies and gents, they did it. The new headboard boasts the same high standards of materials and construction as the frame (and comes in all the same colors) while offering a more elevated look than the standard PillowBoard. Sleep tight.
Construction: 100% solid, upcycled wood