'I'm shocked at how affordable this is!' Our edit of the most elegantly whimsical accessories that are genuinely useful, too

Love unique decor pieces but don’t want to spend your money on something you’ll never actually use? You’ve come to the right place

a pear mug, bodyshape vase, and an orb candlestick on a bright background
(Image credit: Anthropologie, Lulu and Georgia, Net-a-Porter)

Everybody loves a unique decor piece. But often that’s all it is - a stationary (though beautiful) ornament. If you love the thrill of an impulse homeware purchase but still want to get the most out of your money with pieces that have a primary purpose, then that makes two of us. 

As a shopping editor, I often come across pieces that look like one thing but act like another, and sometimes they fit the brief of ‘useful impulse buys’ too! I’m talking serving bowls that masquerade as gigantic sea shells and vases in the elegant shape of the human form that are further transformed when you pop a bunch of fresh blooms inside. 

Even for someone who does this for a living, it’s rare to find a piece that feels like the ultimate impulse purchase but still looks elegant and is actually really useful. So I scoured through the best home decor stores, and these clever pieces tick all the boxes. 


Livingetc knows design. We spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, bringing only our edit of the very best to you. Find out more about how we review.

Valeza Bakolli
Contributing Shopping Editor

Valeza Bakolli is an experienced shopping editor. She previously worked at BuzzFeed where she honed her skills in all things shopping - from gift guide curation to spotting top home trends. Finding the best bargains online is her happy place (you won’t believe how much she got her Nespresso machine for!) and when she’s not romanticizing her morning coffee routine, you’ll probably find her creating a tablescape for yet another alfresco dining event in her backyard.