The Stuff of Life: IKEA Lamps and More Good-Value Housewares

Stylish mirrors, planters, the Stockholm lamp, and a customizable snowflake textile that you can use for almost anything

Over the past week, I've stumbled on some very cool housewares with all the qualities I value: simple, well-designed, enduring, and good value. My favorite is a charming geometric textile made of pieced Tyvek by Woodnotes that can be used as curtains, partitions, and table decorations."Flake consists of snow flake like pieces which are joined together simply by slipping the point of a flake through the hole of another flake. You can create a compact or a net like, loose surface. Three-dimensional forms are also possible." (Woodnotes also makes a variation on the pattern called Flowers.) I love that I can work with the material myself, vary the texture and size, fool around, see where it takes me. I'm thinking room divider...or a pleasingly revealing shower curtain.

IKEA's Stockholm floor lamp ($89) is an homage to Arne Jacobsen's classic design, for about $800 less than licensed version being sold at Design Within Reach.

The IKEA lamp uses energy-efficient LED's instead of regular bulbs. I think it's especially great in white:

I've been looking for some minimalist rectangular planters and found them in the new CB2 catalogue. Made of galvanized steel, they range in size from an eight-inche square ($9.95) to a 31.5 inch W x 10.75 inch D x 15.75 inch H rectangle ($59.95).

West Elm has some great looking black-iron framed mirrors in a 30-inch round ($149) and 36 inch by 24 inch rectangle ($129).

I also like their dramatic 30 inch W x 1.75 inch D x 72 inch H long rectangle in brushed nickel:

Woodnotes Flake and black West Elm mirrors via Better Living Through Design
Floor lamps via Remodelista

More Stuff of Life:

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.

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