The holidays are here, and if you haven’t picked up presents for the special people in your life, now is as good a time as any to do so—the most wonderful time of the year will be gone before you know it.
When it comes to shopping for presents, it seems like almost anything goes: skincare, bottles of wine, and elevated socks are all fair play. In fact, despite their bad reputation, even candles are incredibly giftable. But, the one thing we rarely see on people’s wish list—or gift guides, come to think of it—is home décor.
Sure, home décor is incredibly personal; however, the holidays are a great opportunity to give (or receive!) gorgeous pieces your special someone wouldn’t think to get on their own. So, what’s the deal? Is gifting home décor a holiday faux pas or a bright idea waiting to be discovered? Turns out, it’s a little more complicated than that.
According to interior designer Marie Flanigan, there’s a reason furniture and accessories aren’t at the top of a person’s wish list. “Gifting home décor can risk putting you on thin ice,” she says. “You don’t want the recipient to think their current décor isn’t up to par.”
Which makes a lot of sense. A home is a person’s happy place, and whether it serves a certain purpose or fits a very specific aesthetic, home is one of the very few spaces that is designed entirely with the dweller’s needs in mind. Not only can buying someone else home décor be interpreted as an insult, but it’s also difficult to ensure whatever you buy fits the recipient’s space—literally and figuratively. After all, it’d be a tad awkward to ask your special someone for the dimensions of their living room.
That said, as we continue to spend more and more time inside, home décor is one of the very few things your recipients will get a lot of use out of. And, at the end of the day, we all want to buy presents our loved ones will actually use.
“The trick here is to leverage the easy options–and not to overthink things,” says Karina Lameraner, creative stylist at Modsy. “Veer towards home décor pieces that are not only decorative, but are also functional.”
If you are going to buy home décor as holiday gifts, it’s important to err on the side of caution. Unless your special someone specifically asked for it, stray away from larger pieces like a dining room set or new couch. Instead, opt for small pieces that will enhance their spaces. To help, check out these six designer-approved gift ideas.
A Cozy Blanket
“Everyone always needs more cozy blankets and throws in their life–so I love giving those as gifts,” Lameraner says. “This cozy alpaca blanket will make a great gift for nearly anyone on your list.”
“I love gifting coffee table books,” Lameraner adds. “They’re a great decorative add to any coffee table, bookshelf, or open surface in your home. Oftentimes, I’ll pop into my local used-bookshop to peruse the art book section for amazing vintage finds. This book is on the top of my list this year for gifts.”
“The absolute personal favorite home present, especially for those that work from home, is a leather desk mat,” says Guiditta De Santis, director of architecture and design for Caydon. “It’s a fabulous upgrade to the desk—or any surface used as a desk.”
“I recommend sticking to decorative accessories, like vases and bowls,” says Robin Baron, an interior designer who recently opened her own e-commerce shop. “I personally like to gift vases with flowers in them for an extra thoughtful touch.”
“Anything that you can casually place in the kitchen or on the coffee table will be a hit,” Baron adds. “Think something simple, beautiful, and multifunctional.”
Elevated Serving Tray
“Don’t dismiss artful solutions like a great monogrammed acrylic tray or stylish bookends,” says Kate Aulabaugh, director of home at Zulily. “Functional doesn’t have to mean utilitarian.”