When it comes to home decor and gadgets, it's hard to know when it's worth spending big bucks on items versus opting for something more cost-effective.
To get the scoop on what's actually worth it, we spoke to interior designer Lisa Cini, who has designed both personal and corporate spaces and knows exactly what is worth the extra splurge. She shared some items that offer more form, and some that offer more function, but the one thing they have in common is that you'll definitely want them all in your home for years to come. Here are her top picks.
1. A Cozy Bench
Let's all agree on one thing: You can never have too many cozy places to lounge around in your home. Cini's choice proves this fact and, in this case, she thinks the West Elm Celine Bench is the only right choice. "This bench does not have to be placed at the edge of your bed; it can fit in anywhere," she explains. "I am in love with the look and feel of this bench."
Her Pick: West Elm's Celine Bench, $499
2. A Good Air Purifier
Even as we come out of quarantine, there's more emphasis than ever on clean air, especially in our own homes. Cini recommends the Brondell's Pro Sanitizing Air Purifier, which she says she loves for reducing her allergy symptoms, which in turn helps her sleep better. In independent lab tests, it's also shown to eliminate up to 99.9% of germs in as little as 15 minutes. There are also lots of options from Dyson that offer a range of room sizes, from individual to huge spaces.
Her pick: Brondell Pro Sanitizing Air Purifier, $649.99
3. Radiant Floor Heating
This may seem superfluous, but once you're used to it, there's simply no turning back. When placed under your tile flooring in the kitchen or bathroom, this little membrane will heat it up so your toes stay nice and toasty all winter long. It reduces sound transmission too, so if you live in a home with others (or noisy kids!), you no longer have to worry about hearing them when you're getting ready in the morning. "It's a wonderful investment that takes very little energy and can save you money during the colder months," says Cini.
4. A Delivery Bin
If you live in a suburb, this is an absolute game changer. Leave it on your porch so that deliveries can be popped into the locked bin that is controlled with a code (that you can also give to the person delivering your package). Not only will this keep all of your boxes safe, but it will also protect them from rain and other elements. Cini says she loves that this particular parcel bin "combines safety, ease of use, and a planter shelf that adds some life to an otherwise utilitarian object."
Her pick: Citibin Parcelbins, $695
5. USB Outlets
This is one of those modern conveniences that you really don't think about until you have it. Basically, it transforms your hum-drum outlets into electrical plugs and USB outlets. "I love not having to search for an external USB charger or outlet," says Cini. "Changing your standard outlet to these 2-in-1 (electrical plug + USB) charger by Legrand means you can always have your technology nearby."
Her pick: Legrand Radiant USB Outlet, $24.98
6. A Bidet
If you haven't upgraded to a bidet yet, investing in one will make you wonder how you ever lived without. While the one Cini recommends is super nice, there are also more cost-effective options from the brand Tushy as well. That said, if you're already prepared to make an investment, you won't be disappointed in this Toto Washlet. "It does just about everything but make the bed," explains Cini. "It is easy to install on your existing toilet and has a heated seat, night light, and multiple options like clean and deodorize. Everyone in my family loves these bidets all the way up to my grandmother at the age of 96."
Her pick: Toto Washlet S550e Modern, $1,680
7. Ambient Lighting
Lighting certainly has the ability to transform your space, but the problem is that you only have so much room for a variety of lamps and fixtures — that's why LED smart lights are such a game changer. "Lighting can make all the difference in how a space is perceived. It can also set a mood, create ambiance, or what I like to call "theatre" in a space," said Cini. "LED lighting allows you to not only help the environment and save on your energy bill, but it gives you the ability to change the color temperature from warm to cool. It sets the mood whether you're having an intimate dinner or need bright lights to do a puzzle on the dining room table the next day. It can also help you to sleep better!"