Tag Archives: Wayfair

Holiday Gift Ideas for Those Working from Home

 By Tracey Dowdy

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that working from home isn’t the dream some thought it would be. Unreliable internet, frequent interruptions from our family or housemates, and the countless other distractions that come with working at the kitchen table mean our productivity and job satisfaction have been all over the place. 

With the number of COVID cases skyrocketing around the country, many employers will maintain their “work-from-home” policies well into the new year. That means we need tech that adapts to our new environment, helps us stay focused, and lets us hold on to what’s left of our sanity. 

Tech Radar just published a list of the best noise-canceling headphones of 2020, whatever your budget. Top of the list is Sony’s WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones, but at nearly $300, they may be outside your price range. A less expensive but still reliable choice is their WF-1000XM3/S for $168.

If you still need to hear what your kids are up to, a white noise machine may be a better option. The Lectrofan Noise Machine gets consistently high marks from sites like PC Magazine and Wirecutter. It offers brown and pink noise options, is aesthetically pleasing, and at just $30, the price is hard to beat. 

Though most offices do their best to be paperless, desk organizers are still essential. An organized workspace is an efficient workspace, so choosing the right design is important. Get inspired with this list of The Best Desktop Organizers from Wirecutter, or check out this list of The Best Desk Organizers, According to Professional Organizers from New York Magazine. 

Speaking of going paperless, a smart notebook is a great way to eliminate waste while making note-taking more intuitive and interactive. Smart notebooks allow you to write with pen and paper while offering the ability to turn notes into digital files users can edit and manipulate digitally later on. Business Insider has a list of the best smart notebooks ranging in price from $25 to $200. 

According to a study by the University of Exeter, a houseplant transforms your workspace and has the potential to boost productivity by 15%. Who knew? And, who doesn’t need a little boost these days? The Sill offers a huge selection of plants, with entire categories dedicated to pet-friendly and beginner-friendly plants. Of course, if even hardy succulents aren’t a good option, sites like IkeaTargetWest Elm, and Wayfair offer plenty of artificial alternatives. 

If your commute included walking or time for the gym, working from home may have interfered with your fitness routine. You can change that up with an under-desk elliptical like the Stamina Inmotion Elliptical, the Cubii Pro Under-Desk Elliptical, or replace a  traditional desk with the Flexispot Bike Desk

Somehow, it seems choosing a healthy snack or lunch is trickier when working from home. It’s easier to grab something quick or to eat whatever you’ve fixed for your kids. To help resist the temptation to make poor choices, Urban Tastebud collated a list of the 20 Best Monthly Healthy Subscription Boxes at various price points. The list includes organic, gluten-free, and vegan options, and even boxes designed with the perfect personalized protein powder blend.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.


Use AR for Your Online Shopping

By Tracey Dowdy

Today in “Been around for a while but just popped up on my radar” news, I was reminded of Amazon’s AR View which allows Android and iOS users to view products in your home before you buy them. 

I’ve recently started a kitchen/family room renovation, and the option to see whether or not that island or cabinet will fit or overwhelm a space before I buy is very appealing. So, I started doing a little research and it turns out they’re not the only – nor were they the first – to add AR to their online shopping features. IKEA and Wayfair were among the first to use AR for furniture and home goods retailing to realize that letting consumers place and manipulate catalog items at scale in their homes without having to first purchase the item was a ticket to bigger sales. 

It’s not just furniture. Sephora offers magic mirrors in both their retail stores and their mobile app to help customers visualize what different colors and make-up treatments will look like on them. L’Oreal, Cover Girl, and others also saw AR’s potential and jumped in with their own versions.

Ikea’s Ikea Place app allows shoppers to virtually place Ikea furniture within their home, checking for fit in color, look, size and more. Perhaps most impressive is that the app scales furniture size with 98% accuracy, so you can feel confident the item really will fit in the space and not have to fear roaming an actual Ikea trying to follow the arrows to escape. Here’s to your relationship surviving assembling that flat pack – for that you’re on your own.

Lowe’s lets customers shop their furniture line with the Envisioned by Mine and the Measured by Lowe’s apps, which turns your phone camera into a virtual measuring stick to measure the dimensions of floors, walls, and other items, making it easy to shop for furniture online and in-store.

Perhaps the universe’s greatest gift to home renovation is Dulux’s Visualizer App lets you pick a color from anywhere and see the colors live in your living space. Save the image as a video or photo which you can then share with your family and friends for that always important second opinion. 

Not every retailer has AR native to their apps or websites, but as the old iPhone commercial says, there’s an app for that.  The Amikasa app invites any furniture seller to upload 3D imagery of their product to be featured on the app and similarly, TapPainter lets users visualize paint colors from several different brands. Users select shades from a color wheel or input a color code from a swatch.

Chip and Joanna Gaines, the couple behind TV’s Fixer Upper and owners of Magnolia Market use Apple’s ARKit to allow shoppers to view their entire product line, everything in store and in stock, from any angle, allowing you to examine the product from above, below, or around the side.

Stone Crandall, Magnolia’s digital experience manager, says, “Thanks to AR, online shoppers will now have the answers to: How will this piece look in my home? How big is the item in real life? What does the inside look like, or the back? At the end of the day, nothing tops the in-store experience, but AR provides the capabilities for guests to make equally informed buying decisions from afar, at all hours of the day.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some shopping to do.

Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.