our first-ever Cleverest Awards sent us down many an internet rabbit hole on a search for designs that brilliantly fuse form and function. Let us tell you, we did not come up empty-handed. As we said when we announced the winners, the common thread among all of our discoveries was us exclaiming, “Why didn't we think of that?!”
In that regard, the Cleverest Awards 2019 is no different. All 50 winners are crazy-beautiful, can’t-live-without-it useful, and most likely innovative in yet another way. However, we did change a few things this year. First of all, to keep it fresh, we only looked at designs that had debuted within the last two years. Second, we divided our winners into five categories—Living Room, Bedroom + Bath, Kitchen, Entryway, and Outdoor—to make navigating our selections a cinch. (You can thank us later.) Without further ado, we introduce the Cleverest Awards 2019 . . .
Architectural Digest may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site. Living Room Products That Do It All (and Then Some) The Cleverest Living Room Products of 2019 Déjà-Vu Booth by Giacopini
What do you want in a room divider: Style? For sure. A mirror? Why not! Lighting? Tell me more. The Déjà-Vu modular system designed by Manuel Barbieri of MM Company offers all these options and then some for a superfunctional design wherever you need it.
giacopini.design Photo by Fabrizio Scarpa Press Sofa by Studio Truly Truly
Imagine if you could arrange your couch cushions in more ways than just flipping the one that’s stained. Well, Australian designers Joel and Kate Booy of Truly Truly created this modular sofa for Das Haus that lets you do just that. Pressure from the wooden frame causes the cushions to squeeze out in exaggerated curves, creating interesting shapes and softness based on their position. Remove the pillows altogether and the sofa becomes a lounger, with the wood that spans the back acting as a table.
studiotrulytruly.com Photo courtesy of Studio Truly Truly Sanora Table Collection by Ben Barber
Attention detail-oriented decor lovers: These coffee and side tables were literally designed with alterations in mind. Pick your preferred dimensions and your favorite color, and Ben Barber will cut your dream two-tiered, powder-coated table from aluminum. Even better: The pieces come flat-packed for easier transport up to your apartment. From $2,405,
benbarberstudio.com Photo courtesy of Ben Barber ( | Sit, Set Chair by Campagna
You know when you finally settle into a chair with a glass of wine after a long day, then realize there isn’t a table within arm’s reach to set down your glass? Ugh. You could anxiously balance it on the chair’s armrest, or you could get this handmade seat that comes with an elegant built-in table for all of your leisure accessories—book, reading glasses, that glass of wine . . . you know the drill. From $6,750,
campagna.cc Photo by Charlie Schuck Discus Surface Mount by In Common With x Domicile
An adjustable wall sconce is truly a small-space hero. Pointed up, it gives off soft, ambient light. Angled down, it emits directional light for reading or finishing that project you didn’t mean to leave till the evening. This particular fixture is extra heroic because of its brass disc mount, which reflects that light in the best possible way. From $560,
domicile.market Photo courtesy of Domicile RGB Wall-Mounted Furniture System by Diez Office for Burgbad
Most wall-mounted storage is of the very basic or very industrial variety. Not the RBG system. Made from extruded aluminum profiles, tinted-glass sidewalls, and attachable shelves and drawers, its hangable pieces will make your knickknacks look like they’re floating in a sea of color. The modular system allows for layering, too, so you can create all sorts of color palettes. Oh, and the whole thing is expandable, simple to transport, and easy to assemble.
diezoffice.com Photo courtesy of Diez Office Arc Coffee Table by Woud
Remember being a kid and thinking that the coolest houses came with a trick door in the bookcase that revealed a secret room? Well, this coffee table, which magically opens up to a storage bin, is basically the real-life, small-space dweller’s version of that. $899,
aplusrstore.com Photo courtesy of Woud Lola Folding Partition by Bodo Sperlein for Schoenbuch
With its sturdy MDF construction and customizable shelves and hooks, this room divider is more like an intimate dressing room than just a simple partition for your open-plan apartment. Craft your own with three, four, or five panels lacquered in your choice of dozens of finishes.
schoenbuch.com Photo courtesy of Schoenbuch Lynea Lamp 40” by Humanhome
Plug-in sconces are a renter’s best friend, but we still wish the cords would disappear. Humanhome’s wall lamp takes on that challenge with a seamless design that conceals the wire in a linear aluminum tube anchored at the outlet. Now, rather than an annoyance, the cord is an intentional design element. $320,
humanhome.co Photo courtesy of Humanhome Clamp Tray by Navet Sthlm
Tiny apartments have tiny countertops—and typically zero space for an additional surface. That’s why these clamp-on trays are a must-have for every spatially challenged home. Attach one to your kitchen counter to keep those pantry items you always need on hand, or to your makeshift desk for a convenient place to put a giant mug of coffee. From $82,
trouva.com Photo by Viktor Sjödin Pages Adjustable Chair by Vanguard Industries Inc.
A bit like those thick, pillowlike toddler books, this chair has layers of cushion arranged in a big stack. Simply flip the “pages” and the height of the seat and width of the backrest change, along with the colorway of the chair. Plus, you can customize the cushion material; the options range from bright felts to fluffy faux furs.
kickstarter.com Photo courtesy of Vanguard Industries Inc. Hempcrete Vessels by Yasmin Bawa
The hippies were right: Hemp is the super plant we should have been using all along. Like live greenery, industrial hemp absorbs carbon dioxide, and binds it permanently to whatever material it’s manufactured with. Which means Yasmin Bawa’s collection of ceramics—made from a mix of hemp and natural clay—will be reducing your home’s carbon footprint even more than the plants housed inside them. The “hempcrete” material is also vapor-permeable, so the vessels don’t need a drainage hole to keep your plants happy.
yasminbawa.com Photo courtesy of Yasmin Bawa
ECH 3 Modular Candleholder by UAU Project
These days, 3D printing has become less of a tech nerd’s hobby and more of an everyday solution to building things with a super low impact on our planet. How’s that? By using PLA filament—a printing material that is 100 percent biodegradable and made from renewable resources like cornstarch or sugarcane. UAU Project uses the highest-grade PLA in its range of vibrant 3D-printed decor, our favorite of which is this modular Memphis-inspired candlestick. $48,
uaushop.eu Photo courtesy of UAU Project Stacking Bench by Shawn Maximo for Tortuga
Part bench, part stacking shelf, this piece is perfect if you need a piece of furniture to do multiple jobs. Leather straps tie the benches together to make a tiered storage unit or keep cushions in place when you need extra seating. Available this summer. From $428,
tortugaliving.com Photo courtesy of Tortuga Catssup Cat Furniture System by Studio Ryte
Every cat owner knows that no elevated surface is safe from their furry friend—a cat will jump and climb to the top of your apartment by way of any and all tables and shelves, knocking down your vases, picture frames, and perfectly styled knickknacks along the way. That’s why these go-anywhere platform designs are so genius: Your surfaces are spared those surprise crash landings, and your cat gets the view from above she craves.
catssup.com Photo courtesy of Studio Ryte Beosound Edge Speaker by Bang & Olufsen
This speaker is pretty much magical. Imagined by lighting designer Michael Anastassiades, the Beosound Edge has a touch-sensitive control interface and automatically changes acoustic performance to fine-tune the sound and clarity at all volume levels. Mount it on the wall or keep it on the floor—the speaker rolls back into position as you pull or push the aluminum ring to adjust the volume. Get a 360-degree listening experience with this all-in-one wireless speaker and minimalist design object. $3,500,
store.moma.org Photo courtesy of Bang & Olufsen Modernist Chair and Footstool by Punch The Clock
Footstools are great for kicking back, but they take up precious floor space. If you want one, there’s nothing you can do about that fact. Unless, of course, your chair is designed to store a footstool beneath it, hiding it when it’s not in use. Consider this Gerrit Rietveld–inspired plywood chair a really, really, really chic alternative to the La-Z-Boy. $420 each,
punch-the-clock.com Photo courtesy of Punch The Clock Portale by Kate Crowley-Gilbert and Adriana Jaroslavsky
Why have a boring old door when you could have a vibrant work of art to serve the purpose instead? Made from hand-dyed strings, this customizable piece lets light pass through while providing some privacy (
a ton of personality).
katecrowbert.com Photo courtesy of Kate Crowley-Gilbert Recess Modular Drawer by Earnest Studio
The possibilities are almost endless with this modular drawer system. Inspired by Shaker furniture, the individual drawers can be stacked vertically or horizontally, atop a set of legs or on the floor. Because changing it up might just be our favorite weekend activity.
earnestly.org Photo courtesy of Earnest Studio Tape Sofa by Benjamin Hubert for Moroso
It’s stressful to buy a new sofa, but it’s fun to build your own with modular pieces like those in the Tape collection. Each seat and table includes a strip of polyurethane tape to bond it together with the other pieces. Now, crafting your perfect seating arrangement can be as entertaining as playing with Legos.
moroso.it Photo courtesy of Moroso Ocean Plastic Knobs by Spark & Burnish
It’s hard to believe these pretty, marble-like cabinet knobs are actually constructed from the most depressing of materials: ocean plastic. Yes, that forever trash that’s been piling up in oceans and on beaches has been reimagined as luxury hardware by Vert Design for Spark & Burnish; the proceeds are donated to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, so it’s a win-win for both you and the ocean.
sparkandburnish.com.au Photo courtesy of Spark & Burnish The Grand Complication Cabinet by Sebastian ErraZuriz
When you look at furniture all day long like we do, it becomes almost impossible to be wowed by a design. This cabinet, which transforms like a fan from a compact box to a massive cabinet system, is one of those rare pieces that stopped us in our tracks.
meetsebastian.com Photo courtesy of Sebastian Errazuriz SYMFONISK by Sonos x IKEA
This go-anywhere speaker is what happens when top experts in sound systems and affordable home furnishings come together. Mount it on the wall for a multifunctional ledge or set it vertically on a shelf (it’ll blend right in with your books). The speaker is also the smallest one Sonos has ever made, ideal if you want great sound but nothing too obtrusive. Available in August. $99,
sonos.com Photo courtesy of IKEA Grafeiphobia Collection by Geoffrey Pascal
Anyone who has tried the freelance life knows that working from home is not as glamorous as it sounds. Typing away from your bed or sofa quickly leads to back pain, and the trendy desk chair you bought is certainly not ergonomically correct either. But French designer Geoffrey Pascal set out to solve this dilemma with a collection of colorful furniture designed to emulate NASA’s Neutral Body Posture (your weight is evenly distributed throughout parts of your body, not downward on your lower back). If it’s good enough for astronauts, it’s good enough for us.
geoffreypascal.com Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Pascal Bedroom + Bath Products That'll Make Mornings So Much Better The Cleverest Bedroom + Bath Products of 2019 Breeze Comforter by Buffy
Sustainability meets good sleep. The latest comforter from natural home decor brand Buffy is made entirely of eucalyptus fabric, which is naturally softer and more earth-friendly than cotton, and equals fully biodegradable bedding. Minds. Blown. The comforter’s waved stitch pattern gives the product better structure and just looks, well, breezy. From $170,
buffy.co Photo courtesy of Buffy Toilet Paper Holder by Emiel Remmelts & Noortje de Keijzer
Bathrooms often have limited options for fun decor details. Designers Emiel Remmelts and Noortje de Keijzer sought to give us a much-needed punch of joy, color, and functionality with none other than a toilet paper holder design. The powder-coated steel creation also happens to be just the right size for a candle, a set of matches, or tiny vase of flowers—because why not cheer up this little part of your home? From $95,
noortjedekeijzer.com Photo courtesy of Noortje de Keijzer Tiny Home Bed by Yesul Jang
Sure, you could shove a bunch of storage containers under your bed and get an extra long duvet to cover the evidence. Or you could get the Tiny Home Bed. Ideal for compact apartments, this raised bed comes with simple pleated curtains to hide the spacious shelving underneath.
yesuljang.com Photo courtesy of Yesul Jang Petunia Lighted Makeup Mirror by Amiro
If you’ve ever walked out of the house and realized your makeup looks awful in the light of day, chalk it up to your bathroom lighting. Outfitted with Purelux LED technology—the same stuff responsible for illuminating the screens of smartphones—this tabletop mirror simulates sunlight, allowing you to preview how your face will look outside before you head out. $55,
amazon.com Photo courtesy of Amiro Wardrobe by Emiel Remmelts
One of the simplest upgrades you can make to your closet is matching hangers. One step further: a bar that matches those hangers. Made to order per meter, Emiel Remmelts’s colorful Wardrobe is so pretty you’ll want to install it out in the open for all to see.
emielremmelts.com Photo courtesy of Emiel Remmelts Usetool Toothbrush by Jiyoun Kim Studio for Usetool Company
This toothbrush holder is so much more than storage. It’s also a sterilizer, cleaning and drying the accompanying toothbrush between uses, and a clock, timing your three minutes of brushing.
usetoolcompany.com Photo courtesy of Usetool Company Multiply Wireless Charger and Table Mirror by Ato Design Studio
Ato Design Studio thought about where you’re always near your phone—at your desk, in bed, in the bathroom while you’re zhuzhing yourself up—and put two and two together. Now you can charge your phone and check yourself out at the same time. We love how the primary-colored base can be paired with different-shaped mirrors (a triangle, a circle, or a rectangle).
atodesignstudio.com Ato Design Studio Luxy Light Therapy Lamp by Circadian Optics
Guys, this little device is the very first USB-powered light therapy lamp, which means it can come with you where you need it most: at work (when winter blues can feel worse than ever), and on vacation (when jet lag can be very real). $30,
circadianoptics.com Photo courtesy of Circadian Optics Kitchen Products for Seamless Breakfasts, Dinner Parties, and Every Meal in Between The Cleverest Kitchen Products of 2019
__ Hour Glass Cocktail Glasses by Mamo__
Whether you’re in the mood for a glass of wine or a shot of whiskey, these glasses have you covered—their colorful bases are actually hold two ounces of liquid. $28 each,
comingsoonnewyork.com Photo courtesy of Coming Soon June Oven by June
It’s officially impossible to mess up dinner. With a tap of the touchscreen, set this countertop smart oven to cook one of more than 100 items to your preferred doneness, then just walk away—seriously! The oven handles everything for you (it’s a convection oven, air fryer, dehydrator, slow cooker, broiler, toaster, and warming drawer in one) and will notify you on your phone when it’s time to dig in. $599,
juneoven.com Photo courtesy of June Brew Bottle by Soma
Why should you have to choose between a hot and a cold coffee to-go cup? You can brew either right into this double-walled glass bottle, which comes with a stainless steel filter. $40,
food52.com Photo courtesy of Soma Butter Easy by Debra Matt
Stop trying to convince yourself that scrunching the paper wrapper around a half-stick of butter is an OK storage technique. The three-part silicone Butter Easy includes a proper airtight cover for that unused segment, plus a sealable sleeve for easily dispensing the portion the recipe calls for. $6,
store.moma.org Photo courtesy of MoMa Design Store Modern 2-in-1 Silicone Candle Holder Trio by Blomus
Some nights call for elegant pillar candles, others for low-key tea lights. These two-sided vessels can hold either, and they’re stackable for easy storage (or for when you want an extra dramatic tablescape). $34 for three,
food52.com Photo courtesy of Blomus Knork Eco Cutlery by Knork
Metal cutlery is better than plastic, but it’s a literal burden to carry around. Knork’s plant-based Eco collection, on the other hand, is super lightweight, plus the fork has a beveled edge that eliminates the need for a knife. Best of all, the compostable cutlery is miraculously dishwasher-safe. $17 for eight-piece set plus carrying case,
knork.net Photo courtesy of Knork Noon Bento Box by Shane Schneck
For the ultimate elevated desk lunch, there’s this two-in-one bento box. A shallow dish rests inside the main bowl, so you can enjoy multiple courses while you answer those emails. $20,
ommo.com Photo courtesy of Shane Schneck Five Two Silicone Straws by Food52
We’re all for the switch to reusable straws, but sipping iced coffee out of something that was just floating around a (probably germ-filled) bag will never not gross us out. Food52 clearly felt our pain, because its silicone straws come with matching cases, which the straws neatly fold into. Attach one to your key ring and live your life plastic- and worry-free. $25 for ten straws, four squeegees, and four carrying cases,
food52.com Photo by Rocky Luten for Food52 Entryway Products Made to Maximize Your Teensy Hallway The Cleverest Entryway Products of 2019 Slim Archway Mirror by Bower Studios
Don’t be surprised if your friends keep walking right into this mirror. At first glance, it appears to be an opening to another room—a genius design trick for teeny-tiny rental apartments. $2,950,
bower-studios.com Photo courtesy of Bower Studios Artek Kiulu Bench by Koichi Futatsumata
A standard bench in your entryway would only serve as a dumping ground for your keys, bag, and other everyday grab-and-go items. But this design comes with spacious storage bins on either end, so those essentials can be tossed out of sight for that clutterless life you’ve been meaning to have.
artek.fi Photo courtesy of Artek Just Cant Valet by Another Human
Even though this slice of powder-coated metal takes up almost no space, it manages to provide a landing spot for your phone, a hook for your keys, a notch for your bag, and a mirror to check your hair before you head out the door. $2,950,
1stdibs.com Photo courtesy of Another Human Ü Coat Rack by Studio Matérial
Screw together three of these sculptural acrylic resin hooks and turn an otherwise useless corner into a handy spot for storing coats and hats. $168,
fracas-online.com Photo courtesy of Studio Matérial Costellation Shelf by Formae
For double-checking your lipstick on the way out and tossing your purse on the way in. $56,
formaecollection.com Photo courtesy of Formae Outdoor Products for Trips to the Backyard and Beyond The Cleverest Outdoor Products of 2019 Tung Skånsk Form by Malmö Upcycling Service
Modular furniture meets the great outdoors. Not only can these scrap concrete blocks be rearranged endless different ways, they can handle being out in the elements (a.k.a. on your patio).
malmoupcyclingservice.com Photo by Malin Falck Globe 12" Solar Lantern by Allsop (Soji Tyvek Prints in Stella Batik)
As if a solar-powered outdoor lantern wasn’t genius enough, Allsop recently released a collection of the lights made with Tyvek material, which allows the company to dye and punch patterns into the lanterns for its most original designs yet. $38,
allsopgarden.com Photo courtesy of Allsop IGT Slim by Snow Peak
A dining table one minute, a stove and prep surface the next, this collapsible teak surface is a must for camping trips or even just a day at the beach. $485,
snowpeak.com Photo courtesy of Snow Peak Nu Chia by Studio Orange
This sculptural terra-cotta vessel is like a Chia Pet from the ’80s, but chic and for growing microgreens. Need we say more? Fine, we will: It acts as a flower vase, too. Price upon request,
studioorange.design Photo courtesy of Studio Orange Solar Battery Charger by Yolk
Don’t be that person who needs to charge their phone behind the bar at the restaurant. Get ahead of the game with this incredibly thin and incredibly light solar charger, which is compatible with almost any device that recharges via USB and can power up while you’re out and about. The panel opens into two, for when you need more power to charge larger devices, and easily hangs from a backpack or bag. Plus, the pieces are water-resistant and connect together with simple magnets, so you don’t need to be precious about it. $225,
poketo.com Photo courtesy of Yolk
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