9 Pieces of Iconic Decor That Are Perfect Gifts for Design Enthusiasts

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When it comes to decor, there are a few items that have stood the test of time. Whether they've become synonymous with a certain designer or are simply just that good, these items are instantly recognizable thanks to their iconic status — which makes them the perfect present for design afficionados.

Surprise one of your design-loving pals (or yourself) with one of these popular picks and get ready for years of compliments — these are not the type of items that go unnoticed.

Created in 1936 for the World's Fair in Paris, the Aalto vase is the wavy, glass brainchild of Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto. It gained so much popularity on display at Helsinki's Savoy restaurant that some people know the piece as the Savoy vase. Today, the original model is still hand blown in Finland and sold by the brand Iittala.

While newer on the scene than others, this romantic, vintage-style mirror has a serious cult following. (Seriously, check out any one of your favorite influencer's feed and you'll likely spot this statement-maker.) Anthropologie offers three sizes and three finishes, but the gold seems to be preferred to the silver or antique black. Though it's pricey — and copycats can be found around the internet — the Gleaming Primrose is here in the interior zeitgeist to stay.

Charles and Ray Eames are best known for their quintessential lounge chair and ottoman set, but this vibrant coat rack is also pretty iconic. The Hang-It-All, with its colorful maple orbs and curved steel wire, is youthful and playful. It completely reimagines and upgrades an ordinary household item.

4. Jonathan Adler Vice Secrets Canister, $128

A member of the iconic Vice Collection, Jonathan Adler's "Secrets" canister is the perfect countertop accouterment for someone who loves a statement.

5. Kit-Cat Klock, $49.99

An art deco novelty designed by Earl Arnault in 1932, the Kit-Cat Klock has been wagging its tail, rolling its eyes, and grinning widely for over 85 years. The cartoon feline rose to celebrity in the 1950s, when its bowtie was coincidentally added. According to the California Clock Company, a Kit-Cat Klock has been purchased every three minutes for the last 50 years — why not join the masses?

In 2011, Icelandic product designer Ragnheiður Ösp Sigurðardóttir reinvented the throw pillow with her Knot cushion, a sculptural comfort made with tubular knitting that has since blown up in popularity (and in knock-offs). Soft and whimsical, the pillow adds visual intrigue to the many couches it graces.

Artist Yayoi Kusama is renowned for her bright and psychedelic work. One of her most celebrated contemporary series is composed of pumpkins. These lacquer-painted resin objects represent the signature, polka dotted design on a small scale. Often a souvenir for visiting her exhibits around the world, it's the perfect present for someone who loves art such as much as they love design.

An epochal Modernist item, the Nelson Ball Clock was first of more than 150 clocks produced by George Nelson Associates. Originally known as Model 4755, it was designed by Irving Harper in 1949. The metal and wooden timepiece is at once meticulously geometric and fun.

Eames strikes again with this timeless piece of decor. This particular bird rose to stardom in the 1950s when Charles and Ray Eames pulled it from their own living room and positioned it with a group of Eames DKR chairs for a poster. You can now find it in pretty much every midcentury home, perched on a mantel or side table.


Morgan Goldberg is a writer based in Los Angeles. She likes pasta, hiking, and crossword puzzles.

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