This Thuma bed frame is my favorite new addition to my apartment – and it assembles in 30 minutes without tools

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Thumabed
The Thuma bed frame took 30 minutes to assemble, starting from the moment my husband and I laid out all the pieces to placing the slats on top of the frame.

  • Thuma is a new direct-to-consumer brand; its flagship platform bed frame can be assembled easily with no tools required.
  • It took my husband and me 30 minutes to assemble the frame. 
  • Each bed is crafted from solid, repurposed wood and all the pieces interlock, requiring just two hand-tightened screws.
  • It’s pricey, starting at $695 for a Twin, but I’ve never liked a bed frame more and I plan on using it for years to come.

The Bed (Queen) (small)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

When my husband and I decided to upgrade to a king-sized bed, we did tons of research on mattresses. We labored over the decision for weeks, read hundreds of reviews, and toured dozens of showrooms, before landing on a King Sealy Posturepedic Hybrid Premium Silver Chill Plush Mattress. It offered the support of a traditional mattress with the plush comfort and motion reduction of foam and cooling technology that would help us as warm sleepers.

 

As a couple, it’s been our most expensive purchase to date at $2,499, which was much more than we intended to spend. But sleep is important, and the splurge felt worth it. Since purchasing, I’m no longer woken up by my husband’s movement.

But, because we went over budget, we decided to be frugal when it came to an accompanying frame. We chose a stylish but cheap upholstered frame online and ignored negative reviews thinking, how bad could it be? 

Pretty bad. It squeaked at the slightest movement, felt flimsy, and was labor-intensive to build. After a few months, it was proving detrimental to our sleep and we decided once again to go for something well-made that would last for years. So, I began researching high-quality bed frames online. 

What is Thuma?

I started seeing ads for Thuma on Instagram and was intrigued by the claim that it could be built in just minutes (the former frame took hours, not including the resulting bickering), with interlocking solid wood made from Japanese joinery techniques, and no need for tools or hardware. The rounded corners were designed to protect shins, and the bed’s cushioned slots and “pillow board” (a low, padded headboard) aided in noise reduction. Everything about it seemed thoughtful and over a thousand online reviews averaging 4.9 out of 5 stars raved about the quality craftsmanship and functional style.

We decided to try Thuma for these reasons, as well as the fact that it had the exact minimal, midcentury modern look we wanted. Plus, the low-profile platform eliminated the need for a box spring, and still offered nine-inch clearance for storage underneath. The company sent me a free review unit to test out, and after sleeping on it for four months before I moved into a different space, I can say that I love the frame just as much as my mattress. It was so simple to build, is beautifully-made, and doesn’t make a squeak. I’ve never slept better. 

But that’s not to say I wasn’t skeptical. A claim of assembly in “five-ish” minutes without tools seemed too good to be true. Could a couple really build a bed together with no fighting at all? 

Assembly process 

Our first impression was strong. As an apartment dweller, I appreciated that the bed arrived in three boxes, designed to fit upstairs and through hallways.

Thuma boxes
My bed frame, before reaching its final form.

Inside were the frame pieces, slats, pillow board, and legs with pre-applied cork-padded bottoms for floor protection and cushioning. The copy was clever, and a small smile during any type of furniture assembly goes a long way.

Thuma box copy
This is how the wooden slats arrived, cute note and all.

I decided to time how long it took to build the bed. I spent about 15 minutes just getting everything out of the boxes and arranged in order of assembly, which is what the instructions said to do.

Significant minutes could have been shaved off had each frame bar been labeled like the legs were. This would have helped us know if we were laying the pieces out correctly. Instead, we spent a lot of time second-guessing ourselves.

Thuma bed layout
Thuma suggests laying out the bed frame’s pieces in order of assembly.

I would suggest opening the boxes in another room if you’re short on space. We opened everything in the room where we would be building and spent extra time moving around our mess.

However, we were immediately impressed once the frame was in place and ready to put together. Each bar locked into the adjacent one through the leg, without any screws, drilling or hardware. It really did take just minutes to put the base together. The wood was solid and smooth, and the bed felt sturdy and well-crafted.

Thuma leg corners
Interlocking notches eliminate the need for tools.

Two hand-tightened screws then went in on each end, no screwdriver necessary. A word of warning, though: the screws came in an unlabeled box, and we almost accidentally threw them away.

Thuma screw
Tightening the screws by hand.

Next came the slats, which locked into place and were cushioned and lined with eco-friendly felt made from recycled plastics for durability and sound reduction. They too felt solid, unlike our rickety previous model. 

Thuma slats
15 minutes of work got us here.

From the time we laid out all the materials to this point, exactly 15 minutes went by. It took about 10 more minutes to place the mattress back on top, make the bed, and position the pillow board, bringing our total assembly time to half an hour. While that’s a generous interpretation of “five-ish,” it was still very quick. 

Review of the Thuma bed frame

The pillow board comes in dark charcoal or a light linen color and is made of 100% polyester pebbled linen-weave with tapered foam filling. The covers are also sold separately, so you can swap colors when the mood strikes.

It sits comfortably on the back of the frame between the mattress and the wall and is not attached to the bed in any way. It’s an interesting alternative to a more traditional headboard, and it also reduces noise, thanks to the padding. The low profile can be covered by pillows or kept visible as a design accent. 

Thuma Pillow Board
An unobstructed view of our bed frame’s pillow board.

This is one area where I would have loved more options. My husband and I like the look of a headboard and didn’t want that lost behind our pillows. Even while visible, Thuma’s pillow board still sits quite low and doesn’t feature prominently. We’ve tried positioning it higher, which works as a temporary fix, but one side still falls occasionally.

In the future, I’d be interested in purchasing a higher board if Thuma starts producing other options.

Thuma bed

The bottom line

Ultimately, I found the Thuma bed frame to be a well-crafted product that is thoughtfully-designed. It’s solid, eco-friendly, and beautiful.

Since putting it together, we’ve taken it apart and reassembled it again while moving apartments and it was just as seamless and easy.

Starting at $695, and going up to $995 for a king-sized bed like ours, it’s certainly an expensive investment and a high-end alternative to its more affordable competitors.

But I’m confident it’s a piece of furniture we’ll have for many years to come, which, as I’ve learned, you can’t always guarantee.

The Bed (Queen) (button)

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The 2 best smart light strips of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Best light strips Govee

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

  • Smart light strips bring illumination and color to dim spots, like under kitchen cabinets.
  • They also work as night lights or as mood lights.
  • Smart light strips can be controlled from your phone and by voice-activated assistants like Alexa.

Light strips can transform the look of your home. With adhesive backing that enables them to stick virtually anywhere the only limitation is the need for a power outlet. They are designed to be concealed under cabinets or shelves, and behind TVs or panels, so that you only see the light they emit.  

The latest smart light strips can integrate with your smart home, enabling you to schedule or automate different kinds of lighting, select new lighting scenes from your phone, and use voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant to change your lighting. 

We have tested several different smart light strips in the home to see how they perform, and we’ve bolstered that testing with research into the most trusted brands and highly reviewed products. We also sought advice from lighting designer Anna Ames who explained the importance of color temperature measured in units of Kelvin (K) and brightness measured in lumens.

Here are the best smart light strips you can buy:

Govee Wi-Fi Dreamcolor LED Light Strip

best light strip govee Dreamcolor

Affordable, versatile, and easy to use, the Govee Wi-Fi Dreamcolor LED Light Strip is an irresistible bargain for anyone with a limited budget.

Perhaps the most prominent purveyor of budget light strips, Govee offers a wide range of smart lighting. It updates its product line frequently, which can make it a little confusing. I tested a few different models, but the one I’m recommending is the H6163 model. At $33.99 for the 16-foot light strip, this is the cheapest option we tested. 

The Govee Wi-Fi Dreamcolor LED Light Strip comes with a power unit attached that has a button to turn it on or off and one to cycle through colors. There’s also a button to activate the sound-reactive mode, which lights up and changes colors based on the music or other sounds in the room. This is ideal if you’re placing the strip in a child’s bedroom or guest room and don’t want to use a phone to control it. You can also connect to the strip via the Govee app, though you do have to sign up for an account. 

The app connects the strip directly to your Wi-Fi and offers additional features, such as a timer, sliders for brightness and color temperature, and a selection of scenes, including animated multicolored scenes. You can also select colors individually for different segments of the strip and you can create your own scenes via the DIY option. This light strip also supports Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control.

The Govee Wi-Fi Dreamcolor LED Light Strip worked flawlessly during my testing. I’m very impressed by the full range of features on offer for such a low price. It works beautifully as a night light and for background mood lighting, but with a color temperature range of around 3,000 to 5,000 K and a maximum brightness of 800 lumens, it’s not suitable as a main light source. The ability to display multiple colors in different segments simultaneously is the main thing that differentiates this strip from some of Govee’s cheaper models that only display a single color at a time, like the Model H6188, which I also tested and liked. 

The H6163 version 16.4 feet long with an adhesive backing and was easy to install. I stuck these light strips on the underside of a wooden bed frame and behind a large cabinet without any issues. You can cut it if you need to, but you can’t extend it. 

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Light Strip Plus

Best Light Strip Philips Hue

With lots of features in the easy-to-use Hue app, the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Light Strip Plus is ideal for anyone who has already invested in Philips Hue lighting. 

As the leading smart-lighting manufacturer, Philips knows how to make great lights. The Hue range is its best but also its most expensive. The Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip Plus costs $79.99. 

The Hue app is very straightforward and reliable. You can change the brightness, color, and color temperature of your strip; choose different scenes; and create routines. If you want to schedule your light strip to come on or turn off automatically, control it when you’re not at home, add additional accessories like motion sensors or smart switches, or sync with music, you need a Philips Hue Bridge. The bridge also makes for a faster and more reliable connection than Bluetooth.  

At a maximum of 1,600 lumens, this is one of the brightest light strips we tested, and it has a fairly wide color temperature range of 2,000 to 6,500 K, but it is limited to a single color at a time. The basic Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Lightstrip Plus is 2 meters (6.6 feet) long, and you can buy one-meter extensions that slot into the end for $24.99. It’s quite thick and feels very durable, but it’s very difficult to bend and I had to tape the end with duct tape because it kept peeling away from the back of my TV.

The high brightness and durable covering make this a good choice for the kitchen and other environments where you want plenty of light. Although it doesn’t come with any power button or controls, you can configure it to work with a Hue Dimmer Switch (even without a Hue Bridge), but that’s an additional cost on what is already a pricey product. For people who have a Hue system with a bridge already, or people who need that high brightness level, this could be the best option.

Setup is a breeze via the excellent Hue app, but I made a mess of the installation, as part of the adhesive peeled away from the back of the strip. Philips has also chosen to cut the backing you peel off into sections, which makes it even more fiddly to remove and leaves a mess behind. Once you move the strip to a new location, you’ll need to find a new way of attaching it, as the adhesive doesn’t stay sticky.

How to choose a smart light strip

Here’s a brief explainer of some common terms and things to keep in mind when you’re looking for smart lighting. We also share some advice from lighting designer Anna Ames, who designs lighting for buildings in New York and beyond. As an early adopter, Ames has been using smart lighting in her home for several years now.

Placement: Light strips can bring a futuristic feel or add accent lighting to lots of spaces around your home, but you must consider placement very carefully as they can be difficult to remove. Because light strips tend to look quite ugly, Ames says they should not be directly visible. You can stick them under shelves and cabinets, in recessed areas, or behind furniture. Consider how the light will be reflected; the closer the light strip is to a surface the more intense the light will appear there. Always measure to see what length you require and remember that you need an accessible power outlet to plug the strip into. Some light strips can be cut, and some can be extended, but follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter to avoid problems. Bear in mind that the portion you cut off usually can’t be reused. It’s easy enough to place a light strip in a straight line, but corners and right angles can prove tricky. Be careful not to bend too tightly, or you may damage the strip.

Installation: Smart light strips usually have adhesive that runs their length. You simply peel the backing off and stick them onto the desired surface. Be very careful when you peel the backing off, as it’s easy to accidentally peel the adhesive off with it. If you want the light strip to stay in place, take the time to clean the surface thoroughly first. If you’re fitting a long light strip, it’s also a good idea to get help from someone. In our experience, the adhesive sticks better to some surfaces than others and you may need additional clips or brackets. Bear in mind that the adhesive may leave a mark if you remove the light strip.

Controls: While smart light strips can be controlled from your smartphone, that’s not always convenient. Some smart light strips have simple power switches attached, and even a button that cycles through scenes or colors. A few come with their own remote controls. This is very useful if you’re installing them in a common area or a kid’s bedroom, for example. 

White or color: If you just want the ability to dim lights and schedule or remotely control them, then white light strips will give you everything you need. Color light strips are always more expensive, though they obviously give you much greater versatility. For most people, a mix will work best. Ames recommends sticking with white in certain rooms, like the kitchen or bathroom, but using color in the living room or bedroom to help you relax. She also suggests using more blue in your lights during the day and switching to warmer, yellow tones at night to stay in tune with natural circadian rhythms. When buying color light strips, it’s important to note that some strips can only display one color at a time. Others can display multiple colors along their length. 

Brightness: This is measured in lumens. A standard 60W light bulb, for example, gives out around 800 lumens. Most smart light strips state a lumen count for brightness, but in some cases, you may need to ask the manufacturer. The brightness you need from your light strip will depend on the room and its existing lighting. You can find guides online, such as this one at Home Depot, offering advice on how many lumens different rooms require and a formula for calculating based on the size of a room.

Color temperature: Measured in Kelvins (K), the color temperature of a light dictates how warm or cool it will appear. A range should be given for each light. For example, the Philips Hue Color Ambiance Light Strip goes from 2,000 K up to 6,500 K. Light appears more yellow at 2,000 K and a bluish white at 6,000 K. Ames’ top tip is to aim for a color temperature of 2,700 K for use in most of the home, as this gives a nice, relaxing, warm light. You may want a higher temperature in areas like the kitchen.

Scenes: These are specific brightness, color temperature, and color settings that come as presets or that you create and save for future use. Sometimes scenes can include animations that cycle through different colors. Settings like Daylight or Relax are a quick way to change your lights for a particular mood or activity. 

Connectivity: Smart light strips can connect directly to your control device (usually your phone) through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi or indirectly through a hub (which mostly use the Zigbee standard). There are various trade-offs here. Bluetooth uses less power and doesn’t require a hub, but the control range is limited to around 33 feet and it’s slower to react than Wi-Fi. With a hub or Wi-Fi, you can potentially control your lights from anywhere, provided you have an internet connection. They tend to connect more reliably and respond faster, as well. While a separate hub means plugging a device into your router and a power outlet, it can also help reduce congestion on your home Wi-Fi network, which can prove helpful if your Wi-Fi bandwidth is limited. While hubs are a higher up-front cost, they are easier to swap out than replacing a ton of bulbs around the house if you want to upgrade to a new technology. 

Smart-home integration: There are lots of different services and standards related to smart-home setups, so make sure your chosen lights work with your preferred services. If you want to use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant to control your smart light strips, for example, then look for the relevant logo on the box or in the product details online. If you aren’t sure what you might want to add later, go for a product with more connectivity options. 

Longevity: Smart light strips should last for years. You’ll often see their lifetime listed in tens of thousands of hours. As smart light strips contain many small LEDs, sometimes a single LED or section of LEDs will fail or refuse to display a specific color. This can happen if you physically damage the strip by bending or twisting, so be careful when installing your strip. Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix if this happens and you may need to replace the entire light strip.

What we are looking forward to testing

Kasa Smart LED Strip Light ($54.99): We are keen to try this light strip, as it has a well-rounded spec sheet. This is a multicolored light strip that boasts 16 color zones, and it comes with an app featuring animated lighting effects. There’s also Alexa and Google Home support and no need for a hub. It’s supposed to be easy to cut, bend, and extend. TP-Link’s Kasa smart home range is growing, and we like the smart plugs, so this could be a great product.

Sylvania Smart+ Zigbee light strip ($53.85): A fairly low price and support for the Zigbee standard makes this light strip an interesting prospect. It offers good smart-home integration, lots of colors, and a nice color temperature range (2,700 to 6,500 K), though it is limited to one color at a time and you need a Zigbee hub. The fact that you can cut, bend, and extend this light strip makes it more tempting, and we plan to check it out soon.

Sengled Element Light Strip ($39.99): This light strip has a similar feature set to some of the light strips we’ve tested or plan to test soon, including tunable light (2,000 to 6,500 K), Alexa and Google Assistant support, a wide range of colors and scenes, and brightness of 1,400 lumens. It’s also quite cheap, though you do need a hub. We also like the IFTTT support and the option of the Sengled Smart Switch.

C by GE LED Strip Light ($45.99): With millions of colors, tunable color temperature, and scheduling support the C by GE light strip looks promising. There’s also voice control via Alexa or Google Assistant, and you can select various scenes for different moods. It connects directly to Wi-Fi and you can add out of home control with a C by GE smart plug or smart switch. 

What else we considered

Yeelight Lightstrip 1S ($48.63): This is an affordable light strip from Yeelight, which is part of Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi’s ecosystem. I found it easy to set up and use. It has a physical power button, with a wider range of options in the app where you can tweak the color, brightness, color temperature, select scenes, and set a schedule. It misses out on the list because we prefer the Govee light strip, but one thing Yeelight has that Govee lacks is extensibility, with 1-meter extensions for $12.99.

Philips Hue White & Color Ambiance Outdoor Light Strip ($76): If you want a light strip that’s safe to use outdoors, then your options are limited. This Philips Hue light strip, rated at IP67, is well worth a look. It offers the same features as the rest of the Philips Hue range, but you do need a Bridge to get the best from it. We go into more detail in our Philips Hue Outdoor Light Strip review. The problem is that stock seems to be dwindling. There is also another version of this strip, which is rated at IP44, but neither is currently listed on the US Philips website.

Lifx Z Light Strip ($89.99): Lifx’s light strip is one the most versatile we tested. This light strip has eight addressable color zones, so it can display multiple colors at once. Performance is very reliable, and it has a maximum brightness of 1,400 lumens, which is plenty to light a small bedroom. It’s one of our favorite light strips that we’ve reviewed. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock and only available for pre-order at the moment. 

Nanoleaf Essentials Light Strip ($49.95): With the highest peak brightness we’ve tested and a reasonable price tag, there’s a lot to like with the Nanoleaf Essentials Light Strip. It’s 2,200 lumens at max brightness. It can only display one color at a time and doesn’t support scenes, but at $50 for a two-meter (6.6 feet) starter kit, it’s an attractive option. However, the starter kit isn’t available at the moment. While the one-meter extensions are still for sale, they won’t work if you don’t have the starter kit with the controller. 

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The 6 best gaming chairs of 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good gaming chair will support you and provide adjustable comfort for long gaming sessions.
  • We researched the best gaming chairs to suit different people, environments, and budgets.
  • The Secretlab Titan is our top pick for its comfort, adjustability, and durability.

A gaming chair used to be whatever you happened to use for gaming, but nowadays there’s a whole category of purpose-built seats for playing video games. The best gaming chairs are solidly built, durable, and capable of withstanding occasional soda spills. They are also supremely comfortable and adjustable to accommodate your body and provide proper support as you shift positions.

We researched and tested to find the best gaming chairs and found options to suit different budgets and rooms, as well as choices to accommodate kids and big and tall gamers.

Here are our top picks for the best gaming chairs

The best gaming chair overall

bast gaming chair SecretLab titan

Offering supreme adjustable comfort, real durability, and a classy look, the Secretlab Titan has everything you need in a gaming chair. 

Pros: Comfortable, durable, adjustable, 5-year warranty

Cons: The seat and back can get warm, assembly required

Secretlab makes ergonomic gaming chairs that combine affordability, comfort, and quality construction. With black polyurethane leather and golden logos, the Secretlab Titan is unmistakably a gaming chair, but the design is classy enough that it can blend into a home office. 

Comfort is a priority, so there’s generous padding beneath the durable PU leather. A knob on the side of the Secretlab Titan provides adjustable lumbar support, instead of a cushion. The armrests are fully adjustable, so you can angle them to suit your position. The top of each armrest is padded and concave, which helps to keep your elbows in the right place. There’s also a velour-covered memory foam pillow with a layer of cooling gel for your neck and head. 

The Secretlab Titan can also tilt and fully recline, with a lever to lock it in place, and the pneumatics enable easy height adjustment. The PU-coated wheels allow for smooth movement across different floors. 

You can customize many design elements, opting for fabric or leather, with different color combinations. There are special editions linked to esports, specific games, or even houses from “Game of Thrones.”

All these features will be appreciated by gamers, but it’s the $419 price that makes the Secretlab Titan so compelling. Secretlab keeps prices down by selling direct to consumers. While a fabric finish bumps the price to $449 and real leather makes it $699, these are still very competitive prices for what you get. 

We previously reviewed the Secretlab Omega and loved it, but the Titan offers some improvements and is designed to accommodate taller and heavier gamers. It’s not suited for anyone under 5’9″, but the Omega comes in a smaller size. An XL version of the Titan is rated for up to 6’10” and 390 pounds. 

This is a durable and thoughtfully designed gaming chair, and Secretlab offers a five-year warranty. 

Overall, the Secretlab Titan strikes the right balance between comfort, style, adjustability, durability, and price. This is the best gaming chair for most people.

Read our Secretlab Titan review

The best budget gaming chair

best budget gaming chair GT Racing chair

The GT Racing gaming chair offers padded comfort, adjustable support, and a colorful design without breaking the bank.

Pros: Affordable, some adjustable support

Cons: Can get uncomfortable after a while, prone to faults

If you need a seat that can carry you through hours of gaming but your budget is limited, then the GT Racing gaming chair could be ideal. With bucket style seats, covered in polyurethane leather, extra cushions, and logos all over, this gaming chair certainly looks the part. 

There’s padding over the metal frame, so this is a reasonably comfortable chair to sit in for a few hours. More padding would be nice, and the raised sides and metal frame can make this chair uncomfortable after a couple of hours, especially for larger folks. While the height of the armrests and the seat can be adjusted, the armrests don’t go as high as we’d like.

There’s a removable headrest pillow, and you’ll find a lumbar cushion on the back that you can slide up and down. A lever at the side enables you to recline the chair all the way back to a 170-degree angle. This chair also spins 360 degrees, and the wheels roll freely and quietly on hard floors or carpet.

The GT Racing chair starts from just $169.99, which makes it the cheapest option on our list by a distance. You can get red and black, blue and black, or plain black in the polyurethane covering. While it wipes clean easily, it can also get sweaty, and it’s not something you want against your skin, so you may prefer to pay a little more for a fabric finish. 

While this chair feels reasonably sturdy and does a good job of emulating more expensive gaming chairs, you can feel the difference when you sit in it. This is a budget gaming chair, and the quality reflects that. We can’t speak to longevity either. Online research reveals reports about different faults and parts of this chair breaking. Customer service looks to be good, but we have some concerns about long-term durability. Ultimately, although there are better gaming chairs, we can’t find a superior option at this price.

The best office chair for gaming

best gaming chair for your office Steelcase V2

The Steelcase Leap V2 eschews loud design in favor of functionality, so this is a fully adjustable chair that will blend in seamlessly with your office.

Pros: Fully adjustable, very durable, understated style

Cons: The seat and back can get warm, expensive

Most gaming chairs have a certain style, and it usually involves bucket seats designed to emulate sports cars. Vibrant patches of color and prominent logos are also common. If you’re hunting for a great gaming chair that has to pull double duty as an office chair, then you probably don’t want a garish seat that will catch people’s eyes during video calls.

Our pick, which served as my office chair for more than a year, is the Steelcase Leap V2. It has a well-deserved place in our best office chairs guide. What sets it apart from the competition there and makes it especially suitable for gaming is the padding and adjustability. This is a chair that’s comfortable enough to sit in all day for work and then sit in all night for gaming. Trust me; I do it far too often. 

The Steelcase Leap V2 is fully adjustable. It’s designed to support your body whether you’re leaning forward, sitting upright, slouching down, or reclining back with your feet up on the desk. There’s fully adjustable lumbar support. You can tweak the resistance of the back, change the height and seat depth, and adjust the height and orientation of the armrests. It also spins through 360 degrees, and the wheels roll easily across carpeted or hard floors.

You can get the Steelcase Leap in a wide range of fabric or leather finishes in various colors, with or without the arms and headrest. You can get just the right look for your office, though some combinations are very pricey. 

It’s a relatively expensive chair to buy new. If you buy directly from Steelcase, prices start at $880, though it does offer a lifetime warranty. On the other hand, this is a chair that’s built to last, and if you shop around, you can find heavily discounted refurbished chairs with plenty of life left in them.

Read our full Steelcase Leap V2 review.

The best immersive gaming chair

best immersive gaming chair X Rocker chair

With built-in sound and vibration, the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 fully immerses you in your chosen game world. 

Pros: Affordable, built-in sound and vibration, sturdy

Cons: Not suitable for taller gamers, needs to be plugged in, limited comfort

For those looking for a purpose-built gaming chair, there’s the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1. This curved, black, PU leather gaming chair offers reasonable comfort and support, but it’s the built-in sound that sets it apart.

The X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 features a pedestal for stability, enabling you to tilt and swivel. There’s a cushioned headrest, lumbar support, and armrests, but this is not an adjustable chair. It’s not the most comfortable gaming chair either, especially for taller or heavier gamers. We think this chair will work best for kids, teens, and smaller adults.

The built-in sound support is an unusual extra. It has two forward-facing speakers and a subwoofer inside, along with vibration motors that make for an immersive sound experience you can feel. It can also pair with devices via Bluetooth. Unfortunately, this does mean it needs to be plugged into an outlet. The sound should work wirelessly, but as it relies on RCA technology to connect to your system, it may require extra accessories, such as an HDMI Audio Extractor.

The X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 delivers surprisingly decent sound, and the vibrations add an extra layer of experience to gaming sessions and movies. A panel on the right-hand side houses controls and various wired connections. Assembly is required, and you’ll want help to do so. Once it’s put together, the chair feels pretty sturdy. 

User reviews are mostly positive, with people praising the audio features, but there are also some negative reviews from taller and heavier gamers. If you’re 5’10” and up, this gaming chair is definitely not for you. There’s also a positive review at Lifewire.

Ultimately, the X-Rocker Pro Series 2.1 has a lot to offer for $250, but if you don’t care about the sound features, you should check out a more comfortable, adjustable chair.

The best gaming chair for kids

best gaming chair for kids Arozzi Junior

The Arozzi Verona Junior offers classic gaming chair looks with adjustable support, but in a smaller package that’s suitable for kids and smaller gamers.

Pros: Designed for kids and shorter gamers, adjustable, comfortable

Cons: 132-pound weight limit

If you’re below a certain height, some gaming chairs are just never going to work for you. The Arozzi Verona Junior is built for kids and shorter gamers, offering comfort, adjustability, and durability in a typical racing seat style. The chair comes in a choice of four colors, and it’s finished in PU leather that’s very easy to wipe clean. 

It comes with foam padding and cushions for your head, as well as an adjustable lumbar support cushion. The armrests can also be moved up and down and rotated to different angles. You can set the chair to have some tilt if you want a rocking motion, and it reclines up to 165 degrees. The wheels allow for smooth travel across the floor.

There’s a positive review of the Arozzi Verona Junior at PC Gamer. Choices for kids and shorter gamers are very limited, so the Arozzi Verona Junior fills a niche. Arozzi suggests a maximum height of 5’2″ and a maximum weight of 130 pounds. It’s a shame that the weight limit is so low, because this gaming chair would probably suit a lot of shorter, adult gamers.

The best wide gaming chair

best wide gaming chair Corsair Gaming Chair

The adjustable Corsair T2 Road Warrior is tall and wide for larger gamers or anyone who prefers a roomy seat.

Pros: Comfortable, durable, adjustable, smooth wheels

Cons: Quite firm, armrests can be wobbly

Known for its headsets, keyboards, cooling fans, and other essential gaming gear, Corsair also makes gaming chairs. The Corsair T2 Road Warrior caters to big and tall gamers, so it has a high seat back and a strong, steel frame that allows for a maximum weight of up to 300 pounds.

This is a classy-looking seat that comes in plain black or options that combine black with red, blue, yellow, or white highlights. It’s shaped exactly like a car seat and is finished in perforated PU leather. While it is clearly a gaming chair, it won’t look out of place in most home offices.

There are microfiber cushions for neck support and adjustable lumbar support. The armrests are also fully adjustable, so you can raise or lower them, slide them left or right, and swivel them for the angle that suits you best. Internal pneumatics afford easy height adjustment, and the chair reclines through 170 degrees. The rollerblade wheels finish off a smart design with the ability to coast smoothly across different floor types, though they’re best suited to hard floors.

There are positive reviews of the Corsair T2 Road Warrior at IGN and KitGuru. While this is a roomy chair that feels very durable, it’s also on the firm side, so not everyone will find it comfortable. It does also require some assembly, and Corsair offers a two-year warranty for the chair.

At $399.99, the Corsair T2 Road Warrior is a good choice for taller gamers or anyone seeking a wider seat. The racing style does mean this is firm and curves in at the sides to hug your body. If you need something really roomy and capable of supporting weights of up to 390 pounds, then we suggest you look at the $480 Secretlab Titan XL instead.

What we’re looking forward to testing

Respawn chair

As a fast-growing product category, new gaming chairs come onto the market all the time. These are the gaming chairs we hope to test over the next few months.

  • Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair, from $1,495: A dream partnership between popular gaming peripheral manufacturer Logitech and office chair king Herman Miller is something to get excited about. The Embody Gaming Chair promises a research-based ergonomic design specifically for gamers. Extra thick seat padding and a layer of cooling foam in the back set this apart from your average gaming chair, but it is very expensive.
  • AndaSeat Fnatic Edition Gaming Chair, from $419.99: With a range of gaming chairs featuring a typical racing-seat style, AndaSeat is a popular choice for many gamers. Building on its reputation for affordable gaming chairs, AndaSeat is beginning to turn out a range of higher quality seats with price tags to match. The Fnatic appears to offer a good balance between adjustability and price.
  • Razer Iskur, from $499: One of the top gaming brands on the planet, Razer has created a gaming chair for the first time, the Iskur. This synthetic black leather beauty has Razer’s signature green branding in the stitching with a prominent logo. The ergonomic design boasts an interesting, fully adjustable lumbar support system, thick foam padding, customizable armrests, and a memory foam cushion for your head. Sadly, it’s currently out of stock. 

How to choose a gaming chair

With such a wide and growing choice of gaming chairs, it can be tricky to pick the perfect one. Here are a few of the important factors to keep in mind when you’re shopping for a gaming chair.

Size: It’s vital to find a gaming chair that’s suited to your height and weight. You’ll generally find a suggested range or maximum height and weight in the specs of each chair. Bear in mind that the ideal height and weight for a chair will likely be in the middle of the stated range. This is especially important if the chair isn’t adjustable or has limited adjustability. Make sure you read reviews and see what people are saying about the sizing. If you can, it’s always a good idea to try before you buy.

Adjustability: A good gaming chair will be fully adjustable, allowing you to tailor the chair to your body. Ideally, you should be able to adjust the seat height and the armrests and tilt and recline in the chair. The best chairs will also offer adjustable lumbar support and extras like seat depth adjustments, but these are often lacking in cheaper chairs. Bear in mind that you can always add a cushion for lumbar support, but make sure that you get one that can be strapped into the correct position. 

Material: The majority of gaming chairs are finished in polyurethane (PU) leather, but you can also find fabric finishes and real leather chairs, though they will be more expensive. Fake or real leather has the advantage of being easy to wipe clean but can lead to an uncomfortably sweaty back. Fabric tends to be more breathable but may stain more easily.

Style: You can get gaming chairs emblazoned with esports logos or styled after videogame characters, but if you’re buying something for the home office it’s a good idea to consider what the chair will look like during a business video call. Some options bridge the gap between traditional office chair and gaming chair. 

Our office chair guide also includes expert advice on the best way to sit and how to set up an ergonomic space.

Testing methodology

My gaming addiction stretches back nearly four decades to the days of the Atari 2600. I also spent eight years working in the game industry. I have a lot of experience playing games into the night, and I spent most of them in unsuitable chairs, as my back problems will attest. Nowadays, I take comfort and support more seriously, and I’ve tested out a lot of different gaming chairs over the years. 

For this guide, I gathered recommendations from game developers and hardcore gamers, pored over authoritative reviews, and read countless user reviews and forum discussions to identify the best gaming chairs. 

I tested our top pick, the Secretlab Titan, for several weeks to ensure it measures up to its reputation. I used the Steelcase Leap, picked as the best gaming chair for the office, for many months and it also features prominently in our best office chairs guide. I have also briefly tested our budget pick, the GT Racing gaming chair.

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This startup makes shopping and caring for beautiful house plants easy – even if you don’t have a green thumb

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

leonandgeorge magenta triostar

  • Léon & George’s indoor house plants are easy to care for and each comes in a stylish ceramic planter. 
  • I still own the plant I ordered in 2018, and continue to recommend Léon & George for its robust plant selection.
  • I’ve also tested plants from The Sill and Bloomscape, see how they compare to Léon & George here. 

Bird of Paradise (small)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

Home and interior design magazines frequently espouse this simple trick for refreshing your space: add a house plant. It’s not only a strategic aesthetic move – research has found exposure to nature improves emotional well-being, making you happier and even more creative.

I’m no scientist, but plenty of anecdotal evidence has also confirmed that shopping for and taking care of these beneficial house plants isn’t as easy as the magazines make it out to be.

After hearing similar feedback from friends, plant enthusiasts Ron Radu and Nico Bartoli wanted to show people that owning plants can actually be hassle-free and thus created Léon & George, a full-service online startup that delivers potted, responsibly sourced plants right to your door.

What is Léon & George?

Radu and Bartoli started in 2016 by partnering with local growers who were looking for a change from big box stores and nurseries, which often placed unrealistic demands on crop growth or didn’t store plants in optimal growing environments.

Though the company has now scaled to a point where the founders don’t need to turn their own homes into mini-greenhouses, the level of care and attention remains: they source the highest-quality greenery from US growers, and all plants are stored under conditions that imitate their native climates. 

Customers can choose from a collection of attractive plants, like the airy Birds of Paradise or the Jade Pothos, then pair their selection with a simple and stylish ceramic planter. You can also shop by “Benefits” (easy-care, air purifiers, safe for pets) and “Light” (medium-to-bright, low). Everything except shipping is included in the price: the plant, pot, wood stand, and care instructions. Shipping is only free on orders of $100 or more. 

Review of Léon & George

leon and george plant care

I ordered the Zanzibar Gem, namely because the website indicated it’s “near indestructible” and can “handle long periods of neglect” – music to the ears of traditionally terrible plant owners like myself. It can also handle low-light environments, so I could plan to keep it right at my office desk instead of a distant window sill. 

The potted plant arrived upright in a box, and thanks to layers of cardboard support and bubble wrap, it emerged from the shipping journey fresh and unscathed. 

my leon and george plant

Caring for my Zanzibar Gem has been a breeze. In the two years that it’s sat on my desk, I basically water it whenever I think to (which is really not often) and coworkers comment how green and shiny it is. I’ve been pleasantly surprised about the plant’s resiliency. Despite many desk moves and imperfect care, my plant has held up. Unfortunately, I haven’t been at the office for the past six months due to the pandemic so I can’t say how it’s held up without water for half a year, but it was a great desk mate nonetheless.

If you’re worried about plant care falling by the wayside, Léon & George sends Weekly Plant Care Reminder emails to nudge you to pay a little more attention to your plant. You can also email a “plant doctor” at plantdoctor@leonandgeorge.com if you have specific questions and need personalized attention. 

The bottom line

leon and george 2

My experience with the service couldn’t have been easier. Since I live in a big city, it’s inconvenient and tiring to visit a nursery and haul a large plant onto the subway, so having it delivered (the company delivers nationwide) instead was a major boon.

The potting was already done for me, and the site offers a lot of support if you run into any trouble while caring for your plant. Buying greenery from Léon & George is also an investment back into the Earth because the company plants one tree in a US National Forest through the National Forest Foundation for every plant sold. 

Léon & George‘s selection of high-quality plants will appease plant parents of all types. If you’re new to plant care, the site offers guidance and low-maintenance options, and if your room is already filled with greenery, Léon & George’s all-in-one service makes it that much more convenient to add to your collection. 

Shop all plants at Léon & George here

Bird of Paradise (small)

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35 unique gifts you can find on Amazon, from a Saturn lamp to a gourmet chow-chow relish

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

best unique amazon gifts

  • Amazon has become the “everything store” – the site stocks just about any product you can think of. 
  • Because the site is so big, it can be overwhelming to find unique gift ideas on your own. 
  • We scoured the site to find the best unique gifts, from handmade goods to funny finds.
  • Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here.

From tech gadgets and laptops to fresh groceries and clothes it seems like you can find pretty much anything on Amazon. The sheer breadth of products is one of many benefits of shopping with the e-commerce giant. But it can also quickly become one of the frustrations. With so many options to choose from, you can end up in a seemingly endless shopping black hole scrolling through items.

In a sea of choices that nearly everyone has access to, you might not think of Amazon as a spot to find truly unique gifts. But we did the tough work of scouring Amazon to curate singular and cool gift ideas. Amazon handmade offers locally made and artisan products from small businesses around the country and Amazon has even curated gift lists and ideas catered to different hobbies, styles, and more. You can also shop Amazon’s curated portal to support Black-owned businesses. And with a little digging, there are plenty more unique and thoughtful options to be found.

Here are 35 cool and unique gifts ideas, all available on Amazon.

A trio of flavorful honey

bees knees honey

Bushwick Kitchen Bees Knees Honey Sampler Gift Set, $49.99

If they can’t bear the thought of a meal without something sweet, upgrade their condiments with this set of funky flavored honey from Bushwick Kitchen. 

A cute reusable bag

baggu

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag, from $12

Whether it’s used to carry their groceries or random knickknacks, everyone needs a good reusable bag. We love the original Baggu. It can hold up to 50 pounds of stuff, but can also be folded down to fit in your pocket. It also comes in tons of fun colors and patterns.

A cool planet lamp

unique amazon gifts saturn lamp

UooEA Saturn Lamp, $23.99

You may be seeing trendy moon lamps popping up, but you can make your gift even more unique by opting for this Saturn lamp. The dimmable LED lamp has seven different settings and you can even set it to change colors to a bright hue. Easy to move from room to room, it lasts for up to eight hours after each charge.

A calendar for the dog lover

Amazon gifts under $50 We Rate Dogs

WeRateDogs 2021 Calendar, $15.77

If you ask us, there is truly nothing better than 365 days of dogs. The calendar comes from the same brains behind WeRateDogs’ popular Twitter account, and don’t worry, every dog receives a rating of at least 11/10.

A cute purse for the wine lover

unique amazon gifts wine purse

Insulate Wine Clutch Bag, $24.95

For the wine lover in your life, this bag does double duty as a cute outfit accessory and an insulated bag to easily bring along a bottle of wine to that house party, backyard barbeque, or picnic at the park. It comes in numerous pattern and color options, including nautical stripes, black tweed, beaded patterns, and more.

A diffuser disguised as a houseplant

cactus diffuser

Round A’round Cactus Room Scents, $32

A cactus is a fun way to add some color to your desk or countertop, but if you’re not ready to be a plant parent, go for this instead. It’s actually a diffuser — it’ll fill your room with a nice floral scent — but it looks like a cute potted plant. 

A keychain for hot sauce lovers

Unique Amazon gifts Tabasco

Tabasco Hot Sauce Keychain, $11.88

They’ll never have to endure a flavorless meal again. This mini bottle of Tabasco sauce comes with a keychain for spice that goes wherever they do. 

A set of modern, geometric coasters

Unique Amazon gifts coasters

Hexa Drink Coaster Set (set of 6), $17

While coasters are a pretty basic household accessory, there are plenty of ways to make them more fun — like this unique set that is made with geometric designs. While the tops are colorful, the sides are a clear acrylic which creates a prism-like effect when sunlight passes through. 

A retro rice cooker

dash, $35

Dash Mini Rice Cooker, $19.99

This little gadget not only cooks rice but can make stew, oatmeal, soup, pasta, veggies and more. The style and colorful enamel coating add a retro look to their kitchen.

A cute and practical phone holder

Unique Amazon gifts phone holder

Dinosaur Silicone Phone Holder, $9.99

This endearing little dino isn’t just a piece of decor, it can actually can hold their phone. It comes in over ten colors, so you can find one in their favorite color.

A hydrating face cream that the French swear by

embryolisse, $25

Embryolisse Lait Cream Fluide, $35

French pharmacies are known for their readily-available, high-quality skincare products. Gifting your buddy a ticket to Paris may be out of the budget, but you can still snag them some of these cult-favorite products, like this seriously hydrating face cream.

A little fan to deal with their unpredictable office temperatures

Unique Amazon gifts fan

Fred & Friends Little Big USB Fan, $18.49

Office dwellers know how unpredictable temperatures can get. To save them when their office (or home office) transitions from an icebox to a desert, gift them this little portable fan. It’s small, mobile, and plugs into any USB for a quick, cold breeze. 

A gourmet chow-chow relish

best unique amazon gifts royal relish

Winfrey Foods Royal Relish, $36

This delicious chow-chow relish is made with a family recipe dating all the way back to the 1930s. A gourmet blend of pickled vegetables and spices, it’s a classic that can be used to dress up everything from hot dogs to hummus. 

A bunny-shaped speaker with good sound

Unique Amazon gifts Bunny Speaker

AEO Bunny Bluetooth Speaker, from $19.99

This compact Bluetooth speaker may not be the best around, but it’s surely the cutest. Shaped like a little bunny with floppy ears, you get your music and a fun piece of decor too. 

A punny apron that reminds them of their favorite show

got apron, $38

GOT “Dinner is Coming” Apron, $25

If you’re looking for the right gift for that special person who loves “Game of Thrones,” is always cooking, and has a great sense of humor — we think we’ve found it. 

A bright and colorful hamper

hamper, $71

Pehr Designs Pom Pom Hamper, $79.61

No one wants to see a giant pile of dirty laundry on the floor. Help them conceal their mess with this hamper, which is actually nice to look at and adds a pop of color to their room. 

Relaxing bath salts

Unique gifts Amazon Herbivore

Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Bath Soak, $22

Everyone deserves some relaxation, which is why this calming bath soak makes such a great gift. Inside there’s dehydrated coconut milk, vanilla, and Himalayan coconut CO2 extract, which together help soothe the skin and calm the mind.

A candle that smells just like home

homesick, $30

Homesick Scented Candle, $18.08

One of our editors asserted that “candles are the most classic gift of all time.” We have to agree, and while there are many to choose from, we love the sentimentality and customization Homesick candles offers. They have candles made to smell like each of the 50 states, many cities, and even experiences like watching Friday night football or taking a road trip. No matter where they call home, one of these candles is sure to bring them a rush of nostalgia.  

An insulated pint glass that keeps your brew cool

Unique Amazon gifts BruMate

BruMate HOPSULATOR, $24.99

If they like their beverages ice-cold, they’ll appreciate this thoughtful bottle holder. It can hold 12 oz. cans, 16-ounce cans, or be used as a pint glass holding 16 fluid ounces, so it’s really a three-in-one gadget. When they need a break from beer, this is perfect for keeping their water bottles chilled too. 

A creative journal that’ll help them get some sleep

Unique Amazon gifts Nocturnal Journal

“The Nocturnal Journal” by Lee Crutchley, $16

A great night’s sleep is essential to our well-being, but getting those eight hours each night can be easier said than done. If you know any night owls who need to catch up on their sleep, this journal will make a great gift. It’s full of prompts, illustrations, and questions to put their minds at ease when they’re up in the wee hours of the night.

A pack of sticky notes to keep them on track

Unique Amazon gifts Knock Knock

Knock Knock “To Accomplish” Sticky Notes, from $12.41

For the friend who likes to keep it really organized, help them stay on track with this thoughtful set of sticky notes. With categories like “To Ponder,” “To Remember,” and “To Buy,” they can keep track of everything they need to accomplish in the near future. 

The cutest hot chocolate mugs

marsh mugs, $38

Ceramic Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Mugs, $21.99

Imagine the warm and fuzzy feeling that you get sipping on a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows. These mugs embody that and all other kinds of cozy feels. 

A phone case for Disney lovers

mickey case

OtterBox Symmetry Series Disney Classic Case (iPhone 7/ 8), from $29.99

There are plenty of Mickey-themed gifts for the Disney lover in your life. We love this phone case because it not only has a cute design but the signature durability of OtterBox, too.

A set of Moscow Mule mugs to add to their bar cart

mugs, $30

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs (set of 4), $48.97

Whether they use them to drink the namesake cocktail or not, these copper mugs make drinking any beverage more fun. 

A breakfast station with everything they need to make the most important meal of the day

Unique Amazon gifts Nostalgia

Nostalgia Breakfast Station, $79.99

If a classic American breakfast sounds like their perfect morning, give them this clever kitchen gadget that can do it all — crunchy toast, crispy fried eggs, and a hot cup of coffee. 

A fruity hand cream that’ll look great on their counter

Unique Amazon gifts peach cream

TonyMoly Peach Hand Cream, $12

This rich hand cream is made with shea butter and peach extract to moisturize seriously dry skin. We love the refreshing, light peach scent and the adorable container, which looks just like a peach. 

The perfect socks for pizza lovers

pizza socks, $26

Pizza Socks Box (4 pairs), $25.99

From pizza ovens to pizza apparel, there’s no shortage of gifts catered to pizza lovers out there. We’re partial to these socks for their packaging, which is made to look like an actual pizza in an actual pizza box. 

Simple illustrated prints to hang around the house

Unique Amazon gifts Dream Big Printables

Dream Big Printables Botanical Prints (set of 4), $19.97

Finding unique home decor that’s also affordable can be a tough feat, but these artistic prints check off all the boxes. The illustrations of plants make a great addition to their kitchen, or even their bedroom if they want to show off their green thumb.

Reusable lunch bags that they’ll actually want to use

Unique Amazon gifts Diweiya Reusable Snack Bags

Diweiya Reusable Snack Bags, $11.99

Plastic bags are an unnecessary expense when you could just have reusable ones. Their environmentally-conscious and frugal sides will thank you for these sandwich and snack bags, which are dishwasher safe and BPA free. They’ll save a ton of money and plastic waste by using these, plus the colorful patterns are much more fun than clear plastic. 

A travel pillow that actually works

trtl, $30

Trtl Travel Pillow, $29.99

We’ve sung the praises of the Trtl Pillow before — it’s an essential for any traveler. The cozy and supportive neck pillow is a great gift for any frequent travelers or anyone who’s about to head out on a trip. 

A cutting board of their favorite place

bamboo board

Totally Bamboo State Cutting Board, $29.99

Entertainers and those with state pride will love this cutting board. You can find a board shaped like any of the 50 states or Puerto Rico, each laser engraved with important landmarks, cities, and sights. It’s a fun, personal gift that they’re sure to love. 

A portable printer that lets them print instantly

hp

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer, $99.99

Nowadays, most of our photos live on our smartphones and social media apps, but many of us still love getting to look through or hang up printed pictures. This portable printer lets them do that super easily and with no wires so they can print pictures in a snap.

A charging stand for all of their devices

Unique Amazon gifts charger

elago Charging Hub, $26.99

This gift is a no-brainer for loyal Apple users. Instead of dealing with a tangle of chords from charging all of their products, they can streamline with this singular hub, which has a designated spot for their iPhone, Airpods, and Apple Watch. 

A gift set made for an at-home spa day

unique amazon gifts bath salts

Live by Being Bath Salt Gift Set, $56

Your giftee will be saying “aah” when they use this set of three calming bath salts during their next deep soak. All three blends are made with Dead Sea salt and enhanced with essential oils to hydrate skin, relieve stress, and relax the muscles. 

 

A leather wallet and notebook combo

coal creek, $39

Coal Creek Leather Field Notes Cover, $49

This leather Field Notes cover is completely handmade in the United States. With card slots and a memo book included, it’s a great gift for someone who’s about to embark on a new adventure, or anyone who loves to travel.

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Homesick candles smell like home and make great gifts for any occasion

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

homesick candles diffuser

Scent is very closely tied to memory. That’s why when you smell cookies baking in the oven, you might feel like you’re back in your kitchen helping your grandma decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles. 

But what about the scents of more abstract things like “home” and even geographic locations like New York? 

Homesick candles range from the hilarious to the sentimental, with unique scents that somehow smell like how you’d imagine

Candle company Homesick polled people around the US to find out what home smelled like to them to develop customized scents for each city and state, as well as experiences. The results range from the celebratory – like Let’s Toast, which includes citrus and Champagne grapes – to the more sentimental – like Love Letters, which includes notes of rose, jasmine, sandalwood, peony, red plum, and lemon.

Each candle is made from all-natural soy wax, which is then hand-poured into a glass container. The simple black and white labels are minimal, and let you know what candle you’re smelling. The candles come in cute, colorful packaging, making them ready to gift to anyone who wants a whiff of nostalgia in their home away from home.

Homesick’s candles are reasonably priced starting at $34, and orders over $59 will get free shipping too.

What Homesick candles actually smell like

We tested a few of its candles and liked how the unique scents transported us “home,” whether that meant New York City or baking with our grandma in the kitchen.

New York City candle

As denizens of New York City, the Insider Reviews team typically remembers the malodorous smells we catch a whiff on the street rather than the candle’s idealistic “scents of spring days in Central Park, fine department stores, and concrete.”

Senior reporter Mara Leighton said it best when she described the candle as “what New York smells like in your dreams before you actually move here.” Still, we cannot deny that the candle smells a lot like Macy’s in Herald Square, or that the scent is infinitely preferable to the iffy smell of the city streets and the subway.

When I burned the NYC candle in my apartment, it smelled amazing. The gentle scent made my entire apartment smell great, and it burned evenly.

Holiday candle (currently unavailable)

The Holiday candle hit all the right notes with its scents of “freshly cut Pine trees and pomander balls; Mom’s sugar cookies and Grandma’s pies, warm from the oven.” The whole Insider Reviews team agreed that it smelled wonderful.

Just like the NYC candle, it burned evenly and beautifully all evening long in my apartment. When I closed my eyes, the gentle and aromatic pine scent reminded me of Christmastime at my Grandma’s house, which was surrounded by pine trees. The hint of cinnamon in there brought me right back to baking Swedish cinnamon buns with her too. It’s my favorite of the two I tried.

Homesick also makes a reed diffuser if you’re not into candles

If you don’t like candles because of the fire risk, you may prefer Homesick’s reed diffuser. The glass bottle has four ounces of essential oils that saturate reeds for a lovely scent, and you can choose from several different Homesick oils that smell the same as the brand’s candles.

At $34, Homesick candles are reasonably priced so you can gift them for every occasion. College students and new-ish grown-ups who are just getting started in a new city or state will love the nostalgia factor, and anyone who likes candles will appreciate how well made they are.

Shop all Homesick candles and diffusers

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I tested furniture from Amazon’s private-label brands – and the quality is surprisingly comparable to my higher-end furniture

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

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Rivet’s mid-century modern furniture is composed, elegant, and affordable.

I remember the days when Amazon only sold books. I was little a kid, knee-high to my mother. She loved ordering from the site, which offered an inexpensive way to supplement our weekly family nights at Books-A-Million (and general addiction to reading).

At the time, Amazon was not, by any stretch, a household name.

Fast forward about 22 years as I walk into my apartment and set my Amazon Kindle on the Amazon-made console while my cat slept soundly in the cardboard Amazon box that once contained her food. It was a somewhat weird reminder of how ubiquitous and all-encompassing the site has become. 

That said, it hasn’t gotten to where it is because people don’t like its products. In fact, it’s grown to become such a powerhouse precisely because people desire the convenience it provides – fast shipping, useful services, and great tech that makes life easier and more connected.

That success was why the company chose to launch so many more private-label brands beyond its familiar tech accessories like the Echo Dot and Kindle Paperwhite. Over the past few years, it’s invested heavily in its in-house fashion brands like Ella Moon and Goodthreads, and launched quite a few brands that offer household basics.

Now, it’s on to a new venture: home furniture 

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Stone & Beam’s furniture has an elevated farmhouse feel to it.

In 2019, Amazon announced the launch of Rivet and Stone & Beam, two new furniture brands dedicated to making stylish mid-century modern and rustic furniture accessible and affordable to its customers. 

By the looks of it, you’d think that West Elm or Crate & Barrel had suddenly been made available on Amazon.com. In reality, the designs are developed and manufactured exclusively for the site, and they actually look comparable to brand-name furniture in person.

Rivet, with its up-to-date designs based on the popular mid-century modern style, offers more affordable takes inspired by the classic Hans Wegner and George Nelson originals we all wish we could afford. The aesthetic is slightly industrial, featuring bold brass finishes, walnut wood, black steel accents, and lots of cognac leather, plus gentle grays and navy blues. Many of the individual pieces are still warm enough to fit seamlessly into essentially any sort of decorative theme, but the shapes and lines tend to skew more angular and masculine. 

Stone & Beam‘s style is a bit more upscale, with warmer pieces and lighter finishes. The aesthetic leans toward clean, cozy, and slightly rustic – like a farmhouse that’s as comfortable and livable as it is picturesque. The price points are a little higher than Rivet, but not so much that they render the furniture unreasonable by any means. 

Both collections offer a full suite of designs, with items for every room of the house – from sofas and accent chairs to nightstands and bed frames. 

I checked some of the styles out myself and tested them in my own apartment.

unnamed 5
The Stone & Beam console doubled as a bar cart.

My home is full of a combination of CB2, West Elm, IKEA, and vintage mid-century modern furniture, so I was curious about how Amazon’s furniture would fit in among the rest. I love to collect quirky, cool pieces that stand out (that green glow in the picture is from a vintage green Lucite ghost chair I bought from an antique dealer), but when it came to the new furniture I picked out, I opted to go for styles I thought would elevate the star pieces and stay relatively low-key.

That’s exactly what Amazon’s pieces did. 

unnamed
The Rivet nightstand gave me more storage, and a spot for my cat to sit.

What I tested:

The Stone & Beam console ($367.84, currently unavailable) you see above created a place for me to set up additional barware that we might want to access while sitting at the dining table, while the Rivet nightstand ($99.99) below offered an extra bit of storage in my small Brooklyn apartment (I’d use the top to store more items, but my cat decided this would be her new chill spot so I put a sheepskin over the top for her). The glass and brass globe lamp ($69) on the console was also from Rivet, and it offered a fun, mod touch to my space. It even came with the bulb, which was a nice bonus.

The assembly process:

The furniture was also easy to assemble, though I recommend having a friend help you out if you’re opting for a larger item. I didn’t spend more than 20 minutes on either piece of furniture, and all the tools needed to assemble them came with the box (though I used a power drill on the console for lack of patience with those dinky Allen wrenches). 

The one kink was with the metal parts on the console that hold the wood top into place – one of them was slightly bent when we received it, but that was fixed easily by bending it back into place by hand. Other than that, everything fit together smoothly and assembled to feel sturdy and complete. 

Overall impressions:

Overall, the pieces were sturdy, well-constructed, and easy to assemble. The styles I chose really helped to ground my space – plus, they looked just as nice next to furniture from CB2 when mixed in with some of my antique pieces. 

Though Amazon certainly does offer some standout styles that can really serve as accent pieces in your home, I was really happy with my simple picks. The quality of the pieces was exactly what I’d expect from more expensive stores, which actually made me kick myself for ordering a set of dining chairs from West Elm when I could have gotten a near-identical style from Rivet for a lot cheaper. 

There’s so much variety from both labels, and the prices are almost always less than the equivalent or similar styles from competitors. You’d be hard-pressed to find such a large selection of quality designs at a similar cost (not to mention the addition of free Prime shipping). 

I definitely recommend checking out Amazon’s private-label furniture brands if you’re looking to spruce up your place or start from scratch. Your guests won’t be able to tell that you didn’t spend thousands of dollars at a big name store, but your wallet sure will.

Shop all furniture from Rivet here >>

Shop all furniture from Stone & Beam here >>

Read the original article on Business Insider

23 last-minute gifts from Uncommon Goods they haven’t seen before

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

uncommongoods gifts 24

  • We highly recommend shopping Uncommon Goods for any gifting occasion
  • Its unique products are made by independent makers from around the world, saving you from generic and unmemorable gifts. 
  • Uncommon Goods is one of the few places we know we’ll always find something cool for our loved ones, whether they’re hungry home cooks, die-hard sports fans, or classic old souls.
  • The expedited shipping deadline for delivery by Christmas has already passed, but if time isn’t an issue, these still make for excellent gifts. 

Shopping is time-consuming and stressful, so it’s no wonder many of us often default to buying generic, unmemorable gifts just to get the whole process over with. We’ve all been guilty of it, and part of the reason is the lack of unique options that live in one, easily shoppable place. 

Uncommon Goods, an online shop inspired by the founder’s experiences roaming craft fairs and trade shows, highlights the best of independent makers from around the world. Selling thousands of unique products, it’s one of the few places we know we’ll always find something cool for our loved ones, whether they’re hungry home cooks, die-hard sports fans, or classic old souls. 

If you see a lot of gifts from the site that you like, or you think you’ll shop Uncommon Goods beyond the holidays for other gifting occasions, sign up for its Uncommon Perks shipping program. Shipping prices ordinarily start at $4.95 and depend on your order value and desired shipping speed, but this $14.90 annual membership will get you free standard shipping on all US orders, regardless of order value. You’ll also get two $5 credits every year and first access to new products and sales. 

Keep in mind that the site’s expedited shipping deadline has passed. If you order now, the gift will not make it to your recipient until after Christmas. You can, however, send a “Thinking of you” card, email, or text to let them know it’s on its way. 

The top 5 best holiday gifts from Uncommon Goods:

  1. A pair of lamps made for long-distance relationships
  2. A hot sauce making kit
  3. A cheeseboard shaped like their home state
  4. A portable microphone that lets them sing their heart out wherever they are
  5. A cooking gadget that brings their waffles to the next level

Before you dive into the treasure trove that is Uncommon Goods, check out our 23 top gift ideas from the site:

A pair of kissing mugs

uncommongoods gifts 36

The Kissing Mugs, $65

These mugs fit together effortlessly and provide a sweet start to the morning.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

 

A cooking gadget that brings their waffles to the next level

uncommongoods gifts 37

Stuffed Waffle Iron, $69

Whether they’re a savory or sweet breakfast person, they’ll be able to customize their waffles with different types of filling. To use, fill the bottom with batter and the middle with any filling, then flip and cook. 

A pair of lamps made for long-distance relationships

distance lamp

Long Distance Friendship Lamp, $85-$170

Everyone is busy these days, and it’s not as easy to keep up with loved ones as we all wish. With the ongoing pandemic, meeting them in person may also be impossible.

A set of paired lamps, one of which lights up when the other is touched, lets them know you’re still thinking of them even when you don’t have time to talk or can’t physically visit them. One of our editors uses them to keep in touch with her parents.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A beautiful and unconventional puzzle

geode puzzle

Geode Puzzle, $65

If regular puzzles just aren’t challenging enough for them, these nature-inspired ones exercise their brain in new and exciting ways. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A cheeseboard shaped like their home state

new york board

USA and State Serving Board, $48

State pride and an excellent cheese and charcuterie spread go hand in hand with these beautiful bamboo boards.

An inspiring and empowering set of mugs

Uncommon Goods gifts mugs

Historic Women Who Dared Wine Glasses, from $16

These wine glasses celebrate the feats of some of history’s most iconic women like Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, and Marie Curie. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A portable microphone that lets them sing their heart out wherever they are

uncommongoods gifts 34

Karaoke Microphone Speaker, $50

For better or for worse, everyone in the vicinity is going to hear your recipient’s voice, thanks to this fun and easy-to-use microphone. There’s no need to visit a karaoke bar this year. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

 

Soap that looks like gemstones

gem soap

Birthstone Mineral Soaps, $25

They almost won’t want to use these pretty soaps that look like birthstones. The handcrafted soaps are made with safe vegetable-based dyes and vitamin E oil. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A personalized print to commemorate a couple’s first dance

dance poster

Wedding Waltz Personalized Art, $300-$500

Aside from playing the song over and over, another way to remember their first dance is with a sophisticated, classic print that incorporates personal details like location and dates.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A poster fit for movie buffs

Uncommon Goods 100 Movies

100 Movies Scratch Off Poster, $15

Cinephiles will rejoice at the opportunity to document their knowledge with this creative poster. A hundred classics like “Casablanca” and “Jaws” have made the cut.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

An embroidered mask made by local artists

uncommongoods gifts 33

Embroidered Hummingbird Face Mask, $20

These days, there are fewer gifts more practical than PPE. These cotton masks are also beautifully embroidered with colorful hummingbirds and flowers. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A washable tablecloth to entertain the kids as they wait for dinner

uncommongoods gifts 35

Christmas Cookie Coloring Tablecloth, $30

The festive cotton tablecloth is adorned with bows, cookie cutters, and other holiday baking tools to color in. It comes with a set of markers for the kids and four holiday recipes for the adults to try this season.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A jar that looks deceivingly similar to a plastic bag

glass zipper bag

Unzipped Glass Zipper Bag, $17

Only upon closer inspection do they realize that this ordinary bag is in fact made from glass, not plastic.

A chess set for anyone who loves New York

nyc chess

NYC Skyline Chess, $120

All the NYC buildings they love, from the instantly recognizable ones like One World Trade and the Empire State Building to the brownstones they walk by every day, make up this novelty chess set.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A case that sanitizes dirty phones

uncommongoods gift update

PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer, $80

Most of us carry our phones with us everywhere — and we mean, everywhere. PhoneSoap kills 99.9% of common household germs, including bacteria that can lead to e. coli, salmonella, staph, flu, and the common cold.  

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A Pantone chip ottoman for artists and designers

pantone storage stool

Pantone Storage Stool, $80

This storage stool lets them appreciate the iconic Pantone system and adds a pop of color to their living room or bedroom.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

Soothing eye stones made from Finnish bedrock

eye stones

Orbits Eye Stones, $20

Don’t bother with an overpriced spa. When they’re feeling stressed or suffering from puffy eyes, they can bring out these cooling stones at home.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A build-it-yourself light sculpture

light blocks

Sound-Activated Light Blocks, from $30

There are no guides to this set of light-up, sound-activated play blocks. Be prepared for the room to light up with creativity. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

Guitar picks made out of quarters

quarter picks

Custom Repurposed Quarter Guitar Picks, $30

Coin guitar picks not only look cool but they also change the feel and sound of the music-playing experience. For this gift, you can choose one commemorative state quarter and one quarter minted during your choice of the year.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

Fleece fortune cookies that are actually baby booties

fortune cookie booties

Baby Fortune Cookie Booties, $29

These creative, handmade fleece booties couldn’t be more adorable. Each curl into a fortune cookie when not in use and comes with its own fortune slip. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A DIY root beer kit

Uncommon Goods gifts Root Beer Kit

Root Beer Science Kit, $16

If they’re a fan of the classic root beer, gift them a fun science experiment that will end with their favorite drink. If they’d prefer a cocktail, another soft drink, or a snack, Uncommon Goods has quite a few DIY food and drink kits to choose from.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

A watch that runs on regular tap water

uncommongoods gift update 3

Revolutionary H2O Powered Watches, $40

Fill the backs of these watches with water and they become fully functioning time tellers. 

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

Delicious lollipops that can then be grown into herbs or flowers

uncommongoods gift update 5

Blooming Lollipops, $20

After consuming one of these eight delicious lollipops (flavors include lavender-lemongrass, strawberry-basil, and peach-marigold), you can plant the stick to grow the lollipop’s ingredients.

Note: Arrives after Christmas. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

34 unique and interesting gifts you didn’t know you could find on Amazon

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

knock knock $13
A set of notepads for the list maker.

From laptops and fresh groceries to a pair of socks – or even a car – it seems like you can find pretty much anything on Amazon. The sheer breadth of products is one of the many benefits of shopping with the e-commerce giant, but it can also become one of the frustrations. With so many options to choose from, you can end up spending far too much time scanning the site for what you want, or in a shopping black hole for something you definitely didn’t need in the first place. 

In a sea of choices that nearly everyone has access to, you might not think of Amazon as a spot to find truly unique gifts. But if you’re willing to do some digging (that’s what we’re here for), you can find some pretty cool things. Amazon handmade offers locally made and artisan products from small businesses around the country and Amazon has even curated gift lists and ideas catered to different hobbies, styles, and more. 

If you want to get straight to the point, keep scrolling. We skimmed through the site and found lots of unique products that will make great gifts this season.

See more unique gifts from Amazon:

A trio of flavorful honey

bees knees honey

Bushwick Kitchen Bees Knees Honey Sampler Gift Set, $49.99

If they can’t bear the thought of a meal without something sweet, upgrade their condiments with this set of funky flavored honey from Bushwick Kitchen. 

A cute reusable bag

baggu

Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag, from $10.80

Whether it’s used to carry their groceries or random knickknacks, everyone needs a good reusable bag. We love the original Baggu. It can hold up to 50 pounds of stuff, but can also be folded down to fit in your pocket. It also comes in tons of fun colors and patterns.

Buildable magnets that will keep adults entertained

speks

Speks Magnetic Toy, $27.95

The fidget spinner had its moment, and now it’s Speks’ turn. This set of over 500 magnets can be mashed, rolled, and molded into different shapes. It’s a productivity toy that even adults will love to play with. You’ll find a set on nearly every one of our desks at Insider Reviews.

A calendar for the dog lover

Amazon gifts under $50 We Rate Dogs

WeRateDogs 2021 Calendar, $14.39

If you ask us, there is truly nothing better than 365 days of dogs. The calendar comes from the same brains behind WeRateDogs’ popular Twitter account, and don’t worry, every dog receives a rating of at least 11/10.

A diffuser disguised as a houseplant

cactus diffuser

Round A’round Cactus Room Scents, $42.20

A cactus is a fun way to add some color to your desk or countertop, but if you’re not ready to be a plant parent, go for this instead. It’s actually a diffuser — it’ll fill your room with a nice floral scent — but it looks like a cute potted plant. 

Editor’s note: This gift may arrive after Christmas, depending on the version selected.

A stocking stuffer for hot sauce lovers

Unique Amazon gifts Tabasco

Tabasco Hot Sauce Keychain, $11.88

They’ll never have to endure a flavorless meal again. This mini bottle of Tabasco sauce comes with a keychain for spice that goes wherever they do. 

A set of modern, geometric coasters

Unique Amazon gifts coasters

Hexa Drink Coaster Set (set of 6), $17

While coasters are a pretty basic household accessory, there are plenty of ways to make them more fun — like this unique set that is made with geometric designs. While the tops are colorful, the sides are a clear acrylic which creates a prism-like effect when sunlight passes through. 

A retro rice cooker

dash, $35

Dash Mini Rice Cooker, $19.99

This little gadget not only cooks rice but can make stew, oatmeal, soup, pasta, veggies and more. The style and colorful enamel coating add a retro look to their kitchen.

A cute and practical phone holder

Unique Amazon gifts phone holder

Dinosaur Silicone Phone Holder, $12.99

This endearing little dino isn’t just a piece of decor, it can actually can hold their phone. It comes in over ten colors, so you can find one in their favorite color.

A hydrating face cream that the French swear by

embryolisse, $25

Embryolisse Lait Cream Fluide, $35

French pharmacies are known for their readily-available, high-quality skincare products. Gifting your buddy a ticket to Paris may be out of the budget, but you can still snag them some of these cult-favorite products, like this seriously hydrating face cream.

A little fan to deal with their unpredictable office temperatures

Unique Amazon gifts fan

Fred & Friends Little Big USB Fan, $20

Office dwellers know how unpredictable temperatures can get. To save them when their office (or home office) transitions from an icebox to a desert, gift them this little portable fan. It’s small, mobile, and plugs into any USB for a quick, cold breeze. 

A mini teepee-style tent to pamper their pet

Unique Amazon gifts pet teepee

Norgail Pet Teepee, $46.99

They love their furry friend more than anything, so get them a gift that shows you know that. This dog bed is one of the cutest we’ve seen, and we’re sure their precious pet will enjoy having their very own fort. 

A bunny-shaped speaker with good sound

Unique Amazon gifts Bunny Speaker

AEO Bunny Bluetooth Speaker, from $19.99

This compact Bluetooth speaker may not be the best around, but it’s surely the cutest. Shaped like a little bunny with floppy ears, you get your music and a fun piece of decor too. 

A punny apron that reminds them of their favorite show

got apron, $38

GOT “Dinner is Coming” Apron, $25

If you’re looking for the right gift for that special person who loves “Game of Thrones,” is always cooking, and has a great sense of humor — we think we’ve found it. 

A bright and colorful hamper

hamper, $71

Pehr Designs Pom Pom Hamper, $60.44

No one wants to see a giant pile of dirty laundry on the floor. Help them conceal their mess with this hamper, which is actually nice to look at and adds a pop of color to their room. 

Relaxing bath salts

Unique gifts Amazon Herbivore

Herbivore Botanicals Coconut Bath Soak, $22

Everyone deserves some relaxation, which is why this calming bath soak makes such a great gift. Inside there’s dehydrated coconut milk, vanilla, and Himalayan coconut CO2 extract, which together help soothe the skin and calm the mind.

A candle that smells just like home

homesick, $30

Homesick Scented Candle, $28.84

One of our editors asserted that “candles are the most classic gift of all time.” We have to agree, and while there are many to choose from, we love the sentimentality and customization Homesick candles offers. They have candles made to smell like each of the 50 states, many cities, and even experiences like watching Friday night football or taking a road trip. No matter where they call home, one of these candles is sure to bring them a rush of nostalgia.  

An insulated pint glass that keeps your brew cool

Unique Amazon gifts BruMate

BruMate HOPSULATOR, $24.99

If they like their beverages ice-cold, they’ll appreciate this thoughtful bottle holder. It can hold 12 oz. cans, 16-ounce cans, or be used as a pint glass holding 16 fluid ounces, so it’s really a three-in-one gadget. When they need a break from beer, this is perfect for keeping their water bottles chilled too. 

A creative journal that’ll help them get some sleep

Unique Amazon gifts Nocturnal Journal

“The Nocturnal Journal” by Lee Crutchley, $16

A great night’s sleep is essential to our well-being, but getting those eight hours each night can be easier said than done. If you know any night owls who need to catch up on their sleep, this journal will make a great gift. It’s full of prompts, illustrations, and questions to put their minds at ease when they’re up in the wee hours of the night.

A pack of sticky notes to keep them on track

Unique Amazon gifts Knock Knock

Knock Knock “To Accomplish” Sticky Notes, from $12.55

For the friend who likes to keep it really organized, help them stay on track with this thoughtful set of sticky notes. With categories like “To Ponder,” “To Remember,” and “To Buy,” they can keep track of everything they need to accomplish in the near future. 

The cutest hot chocolate mugs

marsh mugs, $38

Ceramic Marshmallow Hot Chocolate Mugs, $21.88

Imagine the warm and fuzzy feeling that you get sipping on a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows. These mugs embody that and all other kinds of cozy feels. 

A phone case for Disney lovers

mickey case

OtterBox Symmetry Series Disney Classic Case (iPhone 7/ 8), from $29.99

There are plenty of Mickey-themed gifts for the Disney lover in your life. We love this phone case because it not only has a cute design but the signature durability of OtterBox, too.

A set of Moscow Mule mugs to add to their bar cart

mugs, $30

Moscow Mule Copper Mugs (set of 4), $54.97

Whether they use them to drink the namesake cocktail or not, these copper mugs make drinking any beverage more fun. 

A breakfast station with everything they need to make the most important meal of the day

Unique Amazon gifts Nostalgia

Nostalgia Breakfast Station, $113.99

If a classic American breakfast sounds like their perfect morning, give them this clever kitchen gadget that can do it all — crunchy toast, crispy fried eggs, and a hot cup of coffee. 

A fruity hand cream that’ll look great on their counter

Unique Amazon gifts peach cream

TonyMoly Peach Hand Cream, $12

This rich hand cream is made with shea butter and peach extract to moisturize seriously dry skin. We love the refreshing, light peach scent and the adorable container, which looks just like a peach. 

The perfect socks for pizza lovers

pizza socks, $26

Pizza Socks Box (4 pairs), $25.99

From pizza ovens to pizza apparel, there’s no shortage of gifts catered to pizza lovers out there. We’re partial to these socks for their packaging, which is made to look like an actual pizza in an actual pizza box. 

Simple illustrated prints to hang around the house

Unique Amazon gifts Dream Big Printables

Dream Big Printables Botanical Prints (set of 4), $19.97

Finding unique home decor that’s also affordable can be a tough feat, but these artistic prints check off all the boxes. The illustrations of plants make a great addition to their kitchen, or even their bedroom if they want to show off their green thumb.

Reusable lunch bags that they’ll actually want to use

Unique Amazon gifts Diweiya Reusable Snack Bags

Diweiya Reusable Snack Bags, $11.99

Plastic bags are an unnecessary expense when you could just have reusable ones. Their environmentally-conscious and frugal sides will thank you for these sandwich and snack bags, which are dishwasher safe and BPA free. They’ll save a ton of money and plastic waste by using these, plus the colorful patterns are much more fun than clear plastic. 

A travel pillow that actually works

trtl, $30

Trtl Travel Pillow, $22.49

We’ve sung the praises of the Trtl Pillow before — it’s an essential for any traveler. The cozy and supportive neck pillow is a great gift for any frequent travelers or anyone who’s about to head out on a trip. 

A cutting board of their favorite place

bamboo board

Totally Bamboo State Cutting Board, $29.99

Entertainers and those with state pride will love this cutting board. You can find a board shaped like any of the 50 states or Puerto Rico, each laser engraved with important landmarks, cities, and sights. It’s a fun, personal gift that they’re sure to love. 

A portable printer that lets them print instantly

hp

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer, $89.99

Nowadays, most of our photos live on our smartphones and social media apps, but many of us still love getting to look through or hang up printed pictures. This portable printer lets them do that super easily and with no wires so they can print pictures in a snap.

Editor’s note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A charging stand for all of their devices

Unique Amazon gifts charger

elago Charging Hub, $26.99

This gift is a no-brainer for loyal Apple users. Instead of dealing with a tangle of chords from charging all of their products, they can streamline with this singular hub, which has a designated spot for their iPhone, Airpods, and Apple Watch. 

Editor’s note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A gift set made for an at-home spa day

spa gift set

The Little Flower Soap Co. Spa Gift Set, $32.10

A soap, lip balm, bath salts, and two body balms that relieve muscle tension are all they need for a relaxing holiday weekend. Anyone will appreciate these pampering products. 

Editor’s note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

A leather wallet and notebook combo

coal creek, $39

Coal Creek Leather Field Notes Cover, $49

This leather Field Notes cover is completely handmade in the United States. With card slots and a memo book included, it’s a great gift for someone who’s about to embark on a new adventure, or anyone who loves to travel.

Editor’s note: This gift may arrive after Christmas.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Homesick candles smell like home and make great gifts for any occasion – and they’re 20% off right now

When you buy through our links, we may earn money from our affiliate partners. Learn more.

homesick candles diffuser

Scent is very closely tied to memory. That’s why when you smell cookies baking in the oven, you might feel like you’re back in your kitchen helping your grandma decorate cookies with icing and sprinkles. 

But what about the scents of more abstract things like “home” and even geographic locations like New York? 

Homesick candles range from the hilarious to the sentimental, with unique scents that somehow smell like how you’d imagine

Candle company Homesick polled people around the US to find out what home smelled like to them to develop customized scents for each city and state, as well as more nostalgic experiences. The results range from the hilarious – like Jewish Christmas, which smells like “Buttered popcorn and a movie at the local theatre followed by an overindulgence of Chinese food with friends and family” – to the more sentimental – like Thank you, Mom, which smells like “Freshly trimmed flowers on the kitchen table. The smell of breakfast sizzling on Sunday.” 

Each candle is made from all-natural soy wax, which is then hand-poured into a glass container. The simple black and white labels are minimal, and let you know what candle you’re smelling. The candles come in cute, colorful packaging, making them ready to gift to anyone who wants a whiff of nostalgia in their home away from home.

Homesick’s candles are also reasonably priced starting at $34

What Homesick candles actually smell like

We tested a few of its candles and liked how the unique scents transported us “home,” whether that meant New York City or baking with our grandma in the kitchen.

New York City candle

As denizens of New York City, the Insider Reviews team typically remembers the malodorous smells we catch a whiff on the street rather than the candle’s idealistic “scents of spring days in Central Park, fine department stores, and concrete.”

Senior reporter Mara Leighton said it best when she described the candle as “what New York smells like in your dreams before you actually move here.” Still, we cannot deny that the candle smells a lot like Macy’s in Herald Square, or that the scent is infinitely preferable to the iffy smell of the city streets and the subway.

When I burned the NYC candle in my apartment, it smelled amazing. The gentle scent made my entire apartment smell great, and it burned evenly.

Holiday candle (currently unavailable)

The Holiday candle hit all the right notes with its scents of “freshly cut Pine trees and pomander balls; Mom’s sugar cookies and Grandma’s pies, warm from the oven.” The whole Insider Reviews team agreed that it smelled wonderful.

Just like the NYC candle, it burned evenly and beautifully all evening long in my apartment. When I closed my eyes, the gentle and aromatic pine scent reminded me of Christmastime at my Grandma’s house, which was surrounded by pine trees. The hint of cinnamon in there brought me right back to baking Swedish cinnamon buns with her too. It’s my favorite of the two I tried.

Homesick also makes a reed diffuser if you’re not into candles

If you don’t like candles because of the fire risk, you may prefer Homesick’s reed diffuser. The glass bottle has four ounces of essential oils that saturate reeds for a lovely scent, and you can choose from several different Homesick oils that smell the same as the brand’s candles.

At $35, Homesick candles are reasonably priced so you can get a different one as a gift for every occasion. College students and new-ish grown-ups who are just getting started in a new city or state will love the nostalgia factor, and anyone who likes candles will appreciate how well made they are.

Shop all Homesick candles and diffusers

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