Everyone loves a new invention that saves time, effort or money, or that changes our lives by offering a new experience or a new take on a familiar experience. If you are feeling bored or uninspired with the gadgets, furniture, and decor in your dwelling, you may find the five inventions, innovations, and designs below worth a gander, because they are unique, useful, and smart. They vary in price and accessibility, but are all inspiring to me, and I would like to have all of them at home. Some of them even come with DIY instructions.
The Zip-Tie Lounge Chair, by Will Holman of Object Guerrilla
Will Holman is a gifted designer who focuses on making good design accessible to all. Along with the slideshow above, he offers this description of this chair on his site:
“The Zip Tie Lounge Chair is a flat-pack armchair made of plywood panels sewn together with zip ties. Requires 16 square feet of plywood, 44 zip ties, and no tools for assembly.”
I love the simplicity and straight forward design of this piece of furniture. If you are inspired to make one, you’ll be glad to hear that Holman is kind enough to offer his designs at OpenDesk as a free download or a kit. I love open source handmade furniture! Holman also works in architecture, community space design, and with the non-profit HERO Housing. HERO strives to address and end poverty in rural Alabama, with a focus on community development initiatives, offering housing education and resources, and also affordable housing construction. Holman manages the maker-space Open Works in Baltimore as well.
The HB Lamp by Michael & George
I love this lamp. As an artist who enjoys drawing and a person who hates unruly cords, I find this solution aesthetic, brilliant, and fun. The cord, or drawn line, depending on how you look at it, can be manipulated into a variety of shapes and designs that would be fun to have in many rooms of the house. As a fan of the pencil in general, I would like to live with a giant, light offering version of one. Michael & George, married designers from Sydney, are also running a Kickstarter and design a smaller, more affordable version of this lamp, called Drew: the pencil lamp (below).
Chairigami’s Cardboard Furniture
As the name (chair + origami) suggests, this design company likes to experiment with and explore the strength and versatility of foldable material (cardboard) and use it to build furniture, which they describe as:
“lightweight, flat packing, recyclable, and inexpensive products to fill the need for temporary yet durable furniture.”
They stay away from glue and resin and build with “triple wall,” three ply corrugated board that is 70% recycled and 30% virgin fiber. They have a great, easily movable standing desk design that they have promoted on Kickstarter that I think most people who work at a computer will be able to appreciate.
If you appreciate Chairigami’s ideas, there are also a variety of DIY cardboard furniture designs out there you might be interested in; select the image below to visit a video of a cardboard chair construction carried out by Nichola Chan.
Secret Door/Bookcase by Bob Clagett
Bob Clagett of I Like to Make Stuff is another inventor and designer who likes to share. What he can make, he wants you to be able to make. He gives away free video and photographic instructions and also offers purchasable plans for his projects. He introduces himself in this way on his site:
“Whether it’s music, websites, software, furniture, vintage scooters or motorcycles—you name it. He is the father of two three four, husband of one and loves his life completely! He recently left the software industry to make stuff for a living and started I Like To Make Stuff.”
I can’t imagine anyone who wouldn’t want, or rather need, a secret door bookcase in their home. You could create a secret hideaway, treasure trove, or reading nook. Clagett explains his down to earth approach to creative problem solving in an interview here:
“Big problems are really just a big bag of small problems.”
Paint Stirrer Picture Frame
This is a DIY project that has been shared by many creators in many forms, so I did not locate the original source. I personally think the magnetic option offered by Skillshare: “Inexpensive Wooden Poster Frame,” pictured above is my favorite (instructional video here).
Using a basic wood stain to alter the shade of the wood grain helps to erase any remaining evidence that the wooden pieces used are in fact paint stirrers. Other variations on this project use screws and hot glue guns to hold the paint stirrers together, but for me, the use of magnets is preferable because you can switch the photos out so easily. Though I will say this wall chart version using the glue gun is very aesthetic:
Or if you’re not DIY-ish, you can buy one. Once I started to look into paint stirrer projects, I found out that they are incredibly versatile and useful little strips of wood. I am going to have to buy some soon to experiment and play with myself.
Hopefully this list of inventions and new designs for the home can inspire us to reconsider some of the standard ways we live with, make, and utilize objects in our homes. These designs could be jumping off points or spark lighters for new ideas of our own.