The TOH Top 100: Best New Home Products 2012
All the coolest new products to make your home smarter and more stylish, chosen by the editors of This Old House
Every year, as we start thinking about the Top 100, the same thing happens: panic. How will we ever unearth so many worthy products? We have high standards, after all. But judging from the items that follow, we needn't have worried. There's the ice tray that won't spill, the drain plug that sheds clogs, and the wood decking that resists rot. Then there's carpet that stands up to an elephant and all that a six-ton pachyderm can dish out.
In the end, our editors found many more than 100, so we took the 10 that almost made it and decided to share them online. Now we'd like you to chime in. After you're done reading these slides, go to our Facebook page, where you'll be able to vote for your favorite. The winner will be TOH's 101st best home product of the year. Still pretty great when you think about the thousands we considered.
No-Spill Ice Cube Tray, by Oxo
No more crying over spilled water, thanks to a thin silicone lid that seals in water on this quick-release ice tray. It even works if you tilt the tray or store it at an angle. Really. We tried it.
About $10; oxo.com
Allora Faucet with EZ Anchor, by Delta
The only crouching you'll do to install this DIY-friendly faucet is to make the water connections. Mounting it to the sink—all that work happens above deck. Need we say more?
From $440; deltafaucet.com
Corkcicle Color, by Corkcicle
This so-simple-it's-ingenious freezable dipstick keeps chilled wine cool for up to an hour at the table—and, honestly, one bottle isn't likely to last much longer than that anyway. Very cool.
About $30; corkcicle.com
Vert VRT350, by Omega
Liquefying fruit and veggies usually means sacrificing fiber, in the form of removed pulp, but this auger-style extractor gives you the option of more pulp. Its small footprint earns it a reserved spot on the counter.
About $380; omegajuicers.com
Coreguard Sink Base Cabinet, by KraftMaid
Here's an idea we've been waiting for: A seamless synthetic pan built right into the structure of this kitchen base cabinet catches under-sink leaks.
From $225; kraftMaid.com
Soybean Solid Surfacing, by EcoTec
Mix a soy-oil-based urethane with powdered glass, and what do you get? A scratch-resistant countertop that's 25 percent lighter than other solid surfaces, like Corian—and, better still, about one-third the price.
From $15 per square foot; ecotecss.com
Aspect Honeycomb Tiles, by ACP
This peel-and-stick aluminum tile goes up right over an existing backsplash. It requires no grout and you can trim the mats with a jigsaw, so you don't need to hire tile setters.
About $20 per square foot; backsplashideas.com
Slate Finish, by GE
Ready to move on from stainless-steel appliances? Meet a matte gray finish that looks metallic without the surgical feel. It hides fingerprints, and it partners smartly with wood cabinets—and all your old appliances.
Available from ge.com/appliances
Four-Tier D5894XXL Dishwasher, by Asko
Three main racks, a small rack for utensils and knives, and three baskets can be rearranged to swallow pots, platters, baking sheets, stemware, and a whopping 17 place settings. And it actually dries Tupperware.
From about $2,250; askousa.com
Clout Mini Pendant, by Varaluz
One part vintage pendant, one part caged shop light, this unique fixture is made from hand-forged recycled steel. It's available in this bronze finish as well as a less industrial pearl white.
About $250; lumens.com
Vitus 110-Degree Soft-Close European Hinges, by Hardware Resources
If you have Euro-style hinges without the coveted soft-close mechanism, these offer a remarkably thrifty upgrade. An integrated piston, rather than a bulky add-on housing, keeps them from slamming shut. Available for inset or overlay doors.
About $3 each; hardwareresources.com
Alterna Premium Groutable Vinyl Tile, by Armstrong
Fooled us. These 16-inch faux-stone vinyl squares, which contain limestone dust, have a convincingly textured pattern that repeats only every 16 tiles. They can even be grouted.
About $5 per square foot; armstrong.com
Pop-Up Clogfree Drain, by PF Waterworks
The culprit in the clog is often the connecting rod, the part that raises and lowers the sink's drain stopper and catches hair and other gunk. The rod for this slick stopper plugs the hole from the old rod but doesn't protrude into the drain. How's it work, then? Magnets!
About $10; homedepot.com
Good Grips Press-Sure Corner Caddy, by Oxo
Suction cups and shower tiles don't mix. This soap shelf uses tension and friction, with steel linkages squishing thick gel pads into the two walls of any corner—grout lines and porous tile be damned. You'll be amazed. We were.
About $30; oxo.com
Click seal faucet connector, by Fluidmaster
Hook up faucets to the water supply by hand-tightening the connector's fittings. As with a gas cap, when you hear the click, you know you've got a leak-free seal. Fits most shutoff valves.
OneTouch Showerhead FH220, by Levaqua
Your low-tech showering days are numbered, thanks to this digitally controlled sprayer. A pause button arrests the flow so that water doesn't wash off soap or shaving cream prematurely, or go wasted down the drain when you step out of the stream.
About $70; levaqua.com
Colors Featuring Jonathan Adler Bathroom Sinks, by Kohler
Talk about a bright idea: The king of cast iron partnered with a pop designer to produce four vivid shades of bath sinks. Choose from Piccadilly Yellow, Greenwich Green, Palermo Blue, and Annapolis Navy to jazz up your reno.
From $300; kohler.com
Cadence 1G toilet, by ICERA
By using targeted nozzles and gravity, this toilet focuses water around the bowl so that just 1 gallon is enough. Glaze on the porcelain promotes a tidy flush.
About $470; icerausa.com
AnTeak tiles, by Walker Zanger
Made from reclaimed Indonesian teak, a wood known as much for its rot resistance as its rich beauty, these tiles add patina and texture to a bathroom wall (just not in the shower stall). Trim the mesh-mounted pieces with a circular saw or a jigsaw, and be sure to use the recommended modified sanded grout.
From $20 per square foot; walkerzanger.com
Independence Arts & Crafts Single Wall Bracket, by Rejuvenation
Reproduced from a 1907 Bauer Gas Fixture Works catalog, this lamp boasts just enough Art Nouveau—in the whip-shaped arm—to separate it from the angular Arts and Crafts masses.
About $260 as shown; rejuvenation.com
IOS tub, by Victoria + Albert
If a classic claw-foot would hog too much space, you'll love this double-ended freestanding soaker. Made from an easy-to-clean limestone-resin composite, it's just 31½ by 59 by 23⅝ inches, yet it holds 103 gallons.
About $4,400; vandabaths.com
Universal Tub and Shower Set, by PfisterThis versatile tub-shower replacement fixture fits eight of the most common mixer valves from Delta, Moen, and Pfister, so you don't have to demo the wall to replace the broken one.
From $80; homedepot.com
Bugs Classic Collection Tiles, by The Winchester Tile Company
Under different conditions, a stag beetle or crane fly on a bathroom wall might alarm, but these insects in fire-glazed relief charmed us. Set one or a few hand-painted ceramic pieces in a field of plain tiles for a creatively cost-effective redo with a touch of whimsy.
From $25 per tile; winchestertiles.com
Reveal Clean & Dry Plunger, by Rubbermaid
Worse than clearing clogs is the business of cleaning the plunger afterward. Not so with this slickster. A special polymer coating sheds water instantly, so you don't end up with a murky puddle on the floor.
About $13; rubbermaid.com
Before ripping out any fixtures, browse this trade group's designs for code references to make sure your reno is up to snuff.
About $5; for iOS and Android
RoboReel Power Cord System, by Great Stuff
True, this 12-gauge extension cord costs more than the table saw it will power, but we couldn't pass up the convenience of automatic retraction, a 360-degree swivel, and smart safety features, like auto shutoff if the cord is severed or gets too hot.
About $280; roboreel.com
5-inch Cordless Random Orbit Sander LXOB01, by Makita
We hate sanding too, so cheers to the arrival of a cord-free sander with guts. Expect about 20 minutes of run time on high from the 18-volt battery, 40 on low.
About $280; makitatools.com
Double Driver Screwdriver Set, by Kobalt
This ratcheting screwdriver tightens during both halves of the rotation, thanks to straight-bevel gearing inside. The result? It drives or loosens screws in half the time it takes a typical ratcheting screwdriver, all while preserving manual control.
About $20; kobalttools.com
Multi-Max Multi-Knife MM430, by Dremel
Until now, nobody made an oscillating tool blade that cut like a knife. This one makes mercifully short work of slicing through carpet, vinyl flooring, roofing shingles, foam insulation, or house wrap. Push or pull it through the material.
About $15; dremel.com
Mixing Mate 44360, by Rockler
Replace the lid on your quart-size paint or finish can with this device, crank the auger to mix, and press the thumb pull for a controlled pour. When you're done? Leave the lid on to store it. Next up: a gallon-size version.
About $15; rockler.com
Auto-Stop Screw Guide AR2007, by Ryobi
The knurled brass ring on the threaded shaft of this bit extender acts as a stop, so you can set how deep you drive your screws—great for hanging drywall or building decks.
About $10; ryobitools.com
Lighted Long-Nose Pliers 32004, by Craftsman
Tucked between this plier's jaws is an LED that provides 10,000 hours of light right where you need it. It's powered by three replaceable watch batteries sealed against moisture and dust.
About $20; craftsman.com
M18 Fuel 2603-22CT Drill Driver, by Milwaukee
Brushless motors are the holy grail of cordless tools because they provide longer battery life, greater torque, and extended durability over conventional motors. Now you can have one on a tool that doesn't cost $400 or more. If you need a new 18-volt drill/driver, this is it.
About $230; milwaukeetool.com
Benchmark Portable Work Table T015, by Hager Tools
Wide, 1-inch-deep channels in the crossbars of this 53-pound aluminum-frame workbench make cutting sheet goods like plywood a no-brainer. You can make rip cuts or crosscuts without worrying about slicing through your benchtop. And it's freakishly strong.
About $400; benchmarktable.com
Pass/Fail Lixer LTPF, by Lixer Tools
Measuring twice and cutting once only works if your tape is honest. Put your hook in the slot of this handy checker, and pull then push to see if its 6-inch mark falls between the laser-engraved calibrations—a window of plus or minus 0.030 inch. Close enough for us.
About $30; lixertools.com
Gyro 4 volt Rechargeable Screwdriver BDCS40G, by Black & Decker
Toy tech comes to tools: A Wii-like gyroscopic sensor means this light-duty driver needs no trigger. Twist your hand right to tighten, left to loosen; the more you rotate, the faster the bit spins. The built-in battery holds a charge for 18 months, making it our go-to kitchen-drawer tool.
About $40; blackanddecker.com
Silicone Glue Brush 45624, by Rockler
Raise your hand if you clean glue brushes. We thought so. Most get tossed after one use. This 7-inch-long spreader won't gunk up after the glue dries, because the brush's bristles are made of slick silicone. In fact, cleaning is easier if you let the glue cure, then peel it off.
About $5; rockler.com
Enter the lengths of lumber, sheet goods, crown molding, pipe, and other materials for a project and this app produces a cutting plan that gets the most out of your stock, minimizing waste. Invaluable.
About $4; for iPad only
With a few taps and swipes of your fingertips, you can design wood furniture from a built-in library of stock lumber pieces or find furniture plans that others have made.
About $10; for iOS
Raymagic Radiant Ceiling Drywall Panels, by Messana
These foam-and-aluminum tubing panels radiate silent, even, and draft-free warmth from the ceiling, making retrofitting a breeze—no need to rip up floors. They can be outfitted for cooling duty, too.
About $12 per square foot; raymagic.com
True Series Gas Fireplaces, by Heat & Glo
Realistic, towering flames that pump out 65,000 Btus through the largest glass viewing area of any gas-burning unit—up to 50 inches across—make it difficult to distinguish this from the wood-burning real thing.
From about $5,000; heatnglo.com.
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Verilock Sensor, by Andersen Corporation
Wireless sensors built into the sash locks communicate with Honeywell home-security systems to let you know not only if your windows are shut but also if they're locked or not. The sensors are available as an option on Andersen E-series windows.
About $100 up-charge per window; andersenwindows.com
Front-Load Smart DV457 Dryer, by Samsung
This dryer will swallow 7½ cubic feet of clothing and ping your smartphone when your laundry is dry—or when the duct clogs with lint, reducing the risk of fire.
About $1,700; samsung.com/us
MultiforcePro SS-25 Steam Mop, by Haan
Germs don't stand a chance against 212-degree F vapor, aka steam, especially when combined with a novel scrubbing motion that works both grout lines and deck stains. That's right—this cleaner goes outside, too.
About $240; haanusa.com.
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Apollo Solar Roofing System, by CertainTeed
We're all for solar panels that tie into the roofline less obtrusively, and these go right over the sheathing, in place of shingles. Each panel has 14 polycrystalline cells and can generate up to 52 watts per hour and withstand hail and 110-mph wind.
About $100 per panel; certainteed.com
USB Charger with Duplex TR Receptacle, by Cooper Wiring Devices
It won't be long before all receptacles include USB ports for your gadgets. But we're juiced to see one with childproof shutters on the AC ports in a low-profile body, just 1.47 inches deep, that makes retrofitting a cinch.
From $40; cooperindustries.com
IoPhic Smoke and Fire Alarm, by Universal Security Instruments
A new microprocessor that identifies the signature of real fires—instead of your failed flambe—dramatically cuts down on nuisance alarms. Yet it's still sensitive enough to catch both fast and slow-smoldering fires.
From $25; universalsecurity.com
Advanced Light LED, by 3M
Thanks to a dimpled surface inside, this bulb distributes photons evenly from top to bottom without the hard shadow lines common to most LEDs but with the same friendly shape of the bulbs we grew up with. It glows as bright as a 60-watt incandescent and uses only 13.5 watts of electricity.
About $25; 3m.com
Iris Smart Kit, by Lowes
Finally, home automation for the rest of us. This affordable system is the first to work with all three top competitors—Wi-Fi, ZigBee, and Z-Wave—so you can pair a keyless lock from one protocol, say, and a thermostat from another.
Starter kits about $180; lowes.com
Mirrored Cabinet Media Solution, by Pottery Barn
What a nice way to get back to real life after prime time. This open-back media cabinet swaddles your cold, modern, black flat-screen in a traditional look, hiding it behind antiqued mirror windowpane doors. The cabinet will accommodate a 46-inch TV and stands just 6 inches off the wall.
About $450; potterybarn.com
Nest Learning Thermostat, by Nest
This hockey-puck-size Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat is an active learner: It remembers how you set temps, then automatically adopts those patterns. And then it gets better, sensing whether you're home and overriding the program when necessary.
About $250; nest.com
Serena Remote Control Shades, by Lutron
To get around the hassle—and significant expense—of hard-wiring motorized window coverings, these cellular blinds run on batteries hidden in the top rail. Choose an infrared remote or, if line of sight is an issue, a radio-frequency one (shown) to control up to four shades.
From $300; lutron.com
Loaded with helpful photos and specs, this app eases the task of switching to efficient CFLs and LEDs by suggesting ones that will actually work with your fixtures.
Free; for iOS and Android
Keep track of your house's valuables— and keep the list with you—by storing pics and information, such as serial numbers, right on your tablet or smartphone. You'll have it handy if, heaven forbid, you need to share it with the insurance man.
Free; for iOS
Aquacorner Raised Bed Set, by Gardener's Supply
The powder-coated aluminum corners in this kit accept stock lumber sides, so you can whip together a custom-sized raised bed in an afternoon. The smartest part: A built-in spigot means you can hook up your soaker hose and control it right from the bed.
From $70; gardeners.com
Sta-Green Grass Seed with Nitro-Fuze Technology, by Infinity Lawn and Garden
The cheapest, easy way to create a lawn? Plant grass seed with the fertilizer built into the seed itself.
About $23 for a 7-pound bag; nitrofuze.com
Cut-and-Grab Lopper, by Fiskars
Serrated teeth on the inch-wide jaw of this bypass lopper grip the waste after your cut. Now when you're pruning overhead, you can guide the branch to the ground instead of dodging it.
About $40; fiskars.com
Gate Kit, by TimberTech
No more hopscotching between hardware stores looking for gate parts if you have the Radiance Rail system. The aluminum side rails, brackets, hinges, latch, and fasteners are all here. Customize the size with stock rails.
About $270; timbertech.com
Advanced Formula Fuel Treatment & Stabilizer, by Briggs & Stratton
Gunk is a technical term, and it describes what the gasoline in your mower or blower can turn into unless you treat it. This new brew preserves gas for three years, a full year longer than any other.
About $13 for 16 ounces; briggsandstratton.com
48-inch Riding Lawn Mower YTH24K48, by Husqvarna
A brilliantly simple concept: Build a faster mower so that you can finish the job sooner. The hydrostatic transmission in this tractor tops out at 8 mph, which is the fastest speed for mowers at this price level. Now you can get on with the weekend.
About $1,900; husqvarna.com
Slim Light Professional Garden Hose, by Water Right
What really sets this lead-, BPA-, and phthalate-free polyurethane garden hose apart is how easy it is to lug around. A 50-footer weighs just 3 pounds. That's counting the brass fittings.
About $60; waterrightinc.com
Bountiful Blue Blueberry, by Monrovia
Edibles are great—and even better if they look attractive after the fruit falls. This new variety of blueberry starts with pinkish white flowers before developing large berries, more than most other varieties. Come fall, the foliage turns an appealing purple.
About $30 for one plant in a 2-gallon container; monrovia.com
Peel-Stop Triple Thick Primer, by Zinsser
How thick is 30 mils per coat? Well, it'll hide scaly, alligatored finishes without you having to scrape and sand, a serious relief if you're facing a piece covered in lead paint. It dries opaque white, like a primer should, and plays nice with both latex and alkyd paints.
About $35 per gallon; rustoleum.com
Four Seasons Indoor/Outdoor Rugs, by Safavieh
We still can't believe its polypropylene. This plush loop pile is far friendlier to bare feet than typical outdoor flat weaves, and the intricate patterns, like this Moroccan inspiration, make any space spring to life.
From $160; safavieh.com
Azek VAST pavers, by AZEK Building Products
Made from recycled tires and plastics, these tough, slip-resistant "bricks" snap onto grids that make quick work of laying patios, driveways, and walkways. Once they're in, you're done—the joints are plenty tight.
About $9 per square foot; azek.com
Portable Chicken Coop, by Handcrafted Coops
Up to six hens can roost in the loft at night and head down to the protection of the screened area during the day. Once they're done fertilizing a patch of grass, just grab the sturdy handles and find a new spot.
About $700; handcraftedcoops.com
Choose from various fencing styles and materials to customize a fence to your liking and your yard's dimensions. Even better, this app will calculate picket spacing and generate a shopping list.
About $3; for iOS
Using a library of thousands of species, this tool recommends optimal planting times for your location, suggests garden layouts, calculates plant spacing, and much more.
About $20; for iPad only
Brickweb, by General Shale
These mesh-mounted slivers of brick come ready to install like gigantic sheets of mosaic tile. They go on the wall with adhesive, then you just use a grout bag to fill the joints. You'll have what looks like a timeworn wall in no time at all.
From $8.75 per square foot; installbrickweb.com
Genius Window, by Deceuninck
What's the point of a window with mirror-image double-pane sashes, one that swings out and one that swings in? How about an insulating value of R-14, seven times more than a standard double-glazed window. It's like putting up a batt of insulation. Except you can see through it.
Price not set; deceuninck-americas.com
GO2 Glue, by Loctite
Choosing the right adhesive for home repairs just got easier, thanks to this new nonrigid hybrid polyurethane that doesn't bubble, run, or drip. Works on wood, metal, and some plastics. It dries clear and cleans up with alcohol.
About $6; loctiteproducts.com
Designed Exterior Studio, by Ply Gem
Mix and match Ply Gem shutters, siding, windows, brick and stone veneers, and more on any one of 23 typical home styles online and you'll get a good sense of just how your grand renovation plans may turn out.
Ultimate Polyurethane, by Rust-Oleum
This formulation boasts a matte sheen that mimics the luster of oil-rubbed wood, and a soft-to-the-touch finish that shames plasticky poly coatings of the past. And it'll hold up to scratches, stains, water damage—even fingerprints.
About $11 per quart; rustoleum.com
TruExterior Trim, by Boral
Made mostly of fly ash captured from coal-fired power plants, this new exterior trim provides a paintable surface that's as light and stiff as wood but won't burn or rot, and, unlike PVC, won't expand or contract at all.
About $1.50 per linear foot for 16 trim; boraltruexterior.com
Ecobust, by Ecobust Distribution International
Demolishing concrete with a jackhammer may sound fun, but it's actually dusty, deafening, bone-jarring work. Better to drill a few holes, fill them with this stuff, and wait. An expansive chemical reaction that exerts 20,000 psi quietly cracks up the concrete.
About $50 for an 11-pound bucket of mix; ecobust.com
Unity Homes, by Bensonwood
You expect factory-built homes to be efficient, but this one goes way beyond the norm, without breaking the bank. Cellulose-insulated wall and roof panels, each more than a foot thick, boast triple-pane windows and an airtight seal, which translates into energy usage that's just one-fourth that of a typical home.
Starting at less than $200,000 for a 1,000-square-foot cottage; unityhomes.com
Perennial Wood, by Eastman Chemical Company
No decking is maintenance-free, but this knot-free pine comes pretty close. A modification process changes the wood on the molecular level, making it harder, more stable and resistant to rot, decay and movement.
About $3 per foot for 5/4x6 boards; perennialwood.com
Strong-Drive Structural Wood Screws, by Simpson Strong-Tie
This code-approved screw to anchor rafters or trusses to walls has a tiny head designed not to interfere with drywall installation.
About $45 for a 50-count box; strong-tie.com
Canyon Ridge Ultra-Grain Garage Door, by Clopay
Polymer panels on these charming, carriage-house-style steel doors are molded from real cypress boards to mimic natural wood, but they'll never rot, warp, or crack. And the 2-inch-thick foam core provides a cozy R-value of 18.4.
From about $1,800 for a single door and about $2,800 for a double; clopay.com
TrueMortar, by Innovative Mortar Solutions
With this polymer-modified mortar, stacking bricks and blocks is as easy as decorating a cake: Squeeze it out of its mixing bag like frosting. It's faster and bonds better than traditional mortar, and you need far less.
About $25 for a 11.3-pound bag; imortars.com
Buy just enough hardwood, resilient, or other flooring without going overboard on the overage by entering the room's dimensions and layout into this app.
About $5; for iPad only
You know the saying: "One remodeler's trash..." Using your smartphone's GPS, this app finds nearby recycling locations and pricing for materials you want to get rid of.
Free; for iOS and Android
All-Weather Jacquards, by Sunbrella
This raft of sophisticated new patterns makes us want to reupholster all our indoor furniture with durable outdoor fabric. Shown in Aura Honey, El Greco Avocado, and Luxe Indigo.
About $20–$55 per yard; sunbrella.com/buy
Castro Convertible Ottoman, by Castro ConvertiblesTucked inside this boxy ottoman is a fold-out bed with a steel and slatted-wood frame and its own little headboard. But forget the guests—it also converts into a chaise lounge. Pass the popcorn!
About $700; castroconvertibles.com
Natural Patina Herringbone Teak Flooring, By Indo Teak Design
Made from old-growth teak salvaged from demolished Dutch settlements in Indonesia, these slats are grooved on three sides to fit in a herringbone pattern. Silica and natural oils make them virtually wear resistant. About $16 per square foot; indoteakdesign.com
Milford Pendant, by WAC Lighting
Patterned after a vintage schoolhouse light, this is the first LED mini pendant we've seen that's fit for period-style rooms, and we love the milky white shade. The built-in bulb, rated for 50,000 hours of life, puts out about as much light as a 30-watt halogen and uses a fraction of the energy.
About $300; waclighting.com
Emerald Paint, by Sherwin-Williams
Finally, environmental safety and performance in one pail. This line of interior and exterior acrylic latex paint contains no VOCs or toxic chemicals and its top-shelf resins go on easy and stand up to scrubbing.
$60–$80 per gallon; sherwin-williams.com
Harper 2 Light Wall Sconce with Ice Blue Glass, by Crystorama
We welcome this 21st- century update of the classic candlestick sconce, a mix of glossy chrome and blue-tinged glass.
About $250; crystoramalightinglights.com
Performance Plus Hardwood Flooring, by Armstrong
Perfect for those of us who are downright abusive to our floors, this acrylic-infused product is twice as hard as the untreated stuff. Six species available.
About $5 per square foot; armstrong.com
Hearty Dining Table, by CB2
From spilled spaghetti sauce to a seven-part science project, this handmade acacia tabletop can take everything a household dishes out. It has a sturdy, powder-coated iron base and handy drawers. Seats eight.
About $1,100; cb2.com
SmartStrand Silk, by Mohawk
Thanks to the zigzag shape of each fiber, this carpet stands up to just about any type of traffic or pressure. Need proof? After three weeks in the elephant cage at the Dallas Zoo, a sample looked good as new after a thorough steam cleaning.
About $25 per square foot; mohawkflooring.com
Hammered Drum Coffee Table, by VivaTerra
This recycled-aluminum table's silvery surface, hand-hammered texture, and organic shape—reminiscent of a Senegalese drum—will make it the focal point of the living room. Plus, it's weather resistant and weighs only 11 pounds, so you can move it outdoors and enjoy it there, too.
About $400; vivaterra.com
Vintage Style Sign Letters, by Shades of Light
We chose these retro metal plug-in wall lights simply for their just-for-fun quotient. Styled after old sign letters, they've got the character of salvaged originals without the need for rewiring.
About $90; shadesoflight.com
Sculpted Surfaces Wallpaper, by York Wallcoverings
Running a proprietary new ink nearly as thick as plaster through circa 1895 steam-powered surface presses creates a pronounced relief that looks and feels like handmade papers. But the automated process keeps the cost within reach.
About $90 a roll; yorkwall.com
Emmie Land, by IKEA
Toile, at a bargain? Yep. Bucolic river scenes printed in indigo on a white 104-thread-count cotton background hark back to pastoral motifs from 18th-century France.
Go ahead: Add period polish to a queen-size bed for about $20; ikea.com
Book an appointment with one of the manufacturer's consultants, use your tablet's camera to display the room you plan to paint, and you get a personalized palette tailored to the space.
Free; for iOS
Find design tips, how-to videos, sample rug patterns, and mix-and-match tiles to make your own pattern with this manufacturer's tool. It's promotional, naturally, but it's nice to be able to order right from the app.
Free; for iPad only