When I moved into my first solo apartment—about a decade ago, at this point—I “treated myself” to a toaster oven I found on sale at a department store for $19.99. “I’ll cook everything in it,” I thought, and I did—everything from grilled cheese sandwiches to cubes of sweet potato to, once, an entire tuna-noodle casserole topped with three different kinds of potato chips.
The toaster oven has served me well, but I think it’s time to move on. (Toast and bagels come out unevenly toasted, it’s virtually impossible to get crumbs out of the bottom, and, if I’m being honest, there are some really glamorous—and likely more functional— toaster ovens on the market these days.)
Many people associate the concept of upgrading your housewares with weddings and wedding registries, and while that can be an ideal time to increase your thread-count minimums, you don’t need to be getting married to get new stuff. You also don’t need to move, or get a new job, or have a birthday—you can keep using a duvet cover pulled from the back of the linen closet at your parents house, or mismatched dishes handed down from every roommate you’ ve ever had, but you don’t have to. You deserve new stuff—this stuff, to be exact!
For a kitchen that even Ina Garten could love
Whether you’re making a fussy risotto with 15 different ingredients or the dead-simple Marcella Hazan tomato sauce (just tomatoes, butter, and an onion—it’s magic!), you’re going to need a big pot, and why not go with the big pot: a Le Creuset dutch oven. Anything you can think of cooking fits in this pot: Whole chickens, potatoes, all the trash from your freezer you’ve been saving to make stock “someday.”
The pot, beloved by everyone from Ina Garten to Gen-Z TikTokers, first appeared in fire orange way back in 1924, and while it’s bright, it’s so classic that it practically feels like a neutral :
An electric kettle is a surprisingly useful kitchen gadget: Use it to heat up water for pour-over coffee and steaming cups of tea, of course, but also plug it in when you’re going to make oatmeal, anything instant, or hot cocktails on cozy winter nights:
An earthy dinnerware set—a big plate, a small plate, a bowl, and a mug—makes fancy food feel home-y and comfort food feel elegant:
Linens and things
Linen sheets keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and unlike traditional starchy cotton or too-soft jersey, they look best when they’re ever so slightly rumpled. (This means you don’t have to iron them, ever. A bonus!)
Don’t forget the boring stuff!
Hot sleepers, pay attention: This fan is not only much more effective than a standard box fan, it’s also got a 1950s vibe that doesn’t feel too cloyingly retro (and mine has been going strong for close to 9 years):
If you’re upgrading your space, you’ll obviously want to keep it clean, and this handheld vacuum is much better looking than a traditional model—and much more efficient than a dustpan and broom: