For obvious reasons, the state of our homes is more important than ever. With longer work hours, more workplace stress and global pandemics (sorry), nothing beats coming home to an environment that’s easy, comfortable and entertaining.
From crucial cookery components to the perfect sound system, we’ve compiled a list of household essentials that every modern man should have in his humble abode, especially in lockdown conditions.
A Reading Chair
Every man needs to read more than they currently do, and every man needs a comfortable chair to consume those books in. Something with a slight recline in a soft, aesthetically-pleasing fabric is ideal. Twin with a small foot rest and a modest side table so that a cup of coffee or glass of wine can be kept close at hand. The iconic Eames chair is a design classic to aim for.
A Proper Kitchen Knife
A true essential. No kitchen is even close to complete without a sharp, high-quality kitchen knife. Instead of paying for a block containing four or five mediocre blades (only one of which is likely to be of any use) opt instead for a solid, ideally Japanese-made knife that’s large but comfortable in your hand. Learn how to keep it sharp too.
Not only will it make preparing food noticeably easier and quicker, it’ll nudge you to take cooking more seriously. Global, Wusthof and Sabatier are your go-to brands.
A Large, Thick-Bottomed Pan With Lid
The key with pans is thickness. It doesn’t necessarily matter what metal is used, you just want something that has a substantial base. The thicker the bottom, the less likely your pasta will stick and your sauces will burn. The utilitarian nature of a one-for-all-style chef’s pan will also prove extremely handy in the kitchen.
Additional pans you need are a saucepan, a saute pan and a stockpot. Le Creuset is your go-to brand in this department.
A Coffee Machine
Move away from the instant – it’s not even proper coffee, it’s the cutting room floor. Don’t believe us? Think we’re being snobby? Consult the tin or jar. You’ll be lucky to get a percentage above 15 of actual coffee. With that out of the way, get yourself a coffee machine. It’s an investment that’ll pay itself back in no time.
Whilst a French press is handy to have around, invest in a filter or espresso-style machine that’ll reward you with a tasty cup. Pod-based machines are quick and handy, but you’ll taste the difference using fresh beans. A personal favourite is the Technivorm Moccamaster – a stylish, dependable coffee brewer that’ll make every morning that little bit better.
A 4K Television
We’ve all considered a projector, but the way televisions have evolved over recent years, there’s no competition. With Netflix, Amazon and [insert your go-to streaming service here] binges at an all-time high, what you watch your favourite film or show on has the potential to transform it from merely entertainment into a truly immersive experience.
We’ve mentioned it here before, but Philips’ OLED+ 4K range with Bowers & Wilkins will transform the way you watch (and listen to) the box forever.
The Perfect Sound System
Your home needs a soundtrack. And to do it justice you need to hear it through the highest quality output. Sound nerds may geek out, but really you just need something that is stylish, doesn’t take up too much room and sounds exceptional.
The hype surrounding Sonos is warranted, with their Play units a good place to start. Bose SoundTouch is another to consider, whilst Bang & Olufsen continue to make some of the most stylish sound systems known to man.
Every man should have a small toolbox with a few simple tools that allow them to put together furniture, furnish their home and deal with any surprise maintenance.
You should be able to look after a plant. It’s really not that difficult, plus a few plants here and there really bring a home to life, improve your mood and refresh the visuals of a place. We recommend money trees, cheese plants, assorted ferns and an Aloe Vera here and there. Place them in sunny spots and watch them flourish. Water them when the soil is dry – don’t over-do it.
If you get the taste for gardening, start with a herb garden (encouraging you to not buy throwaway, single-use herbs from the supermarket) and then move on to items that’re used in the kitchen – but often go to waste – like spinach or rocket.
Lighting is extremely important in a home. It really does separate the boys from the men. Are you bringing someone back to a clinically bright room or a well-lit, relaxing environment? The latter being better for your sleep too.
Anglepoise is an immediately recognisable name on the lighting circuit, but mix and match aesthetics to create an environment where the lighting can range in warmth and softness.
Never underestimate the power of candles. A welcome finishing touch when it comes to the visual, a godsend for freshening the air and another great opportunity to play with lighting and ambience. We really are spoilt for candles in this day and age, with many brands creeping into some of your favourite high street and online fashion stores. Look to recognised fragrance houses such as Le Labo, Byredo, Urban Apocethary and Jo Malone for the ultimate quality.
Dress your walls, show that you’re cultured. But with great power comes great responsibility. Everything in this instance comes down to personal taste, but please please stay the right side of cliché. Don’t choose anything that would’ve been on the walls of anywhere you lived during university and just because you like a film, that doesn’t mean the poster should be up high.
The Perfect Mattress
The wise old adage goes you should spend a substantial amount of money on your mattress and your shoes, because chances are if you’re not on top of one, you’re in the other. It’s hard to argue. Sleep is crucial to your well-being and a comfortable mattress can really help with keeping your back in good order and sleepless nights at bay.
Consider the support you want (a lighter person will need less, a heavier person will likely need a stronger spring for added support), your sleeping position and material. Foam options can be more budget-friendly whilst not sacrificing comfort.
If you’re going to invest properly in your wardrobe then you need to be investing in its upkeep and protection. Simple, inexpensive covers are perfect for protecting natural fibres against dust and pests. Bring seasonally relevant items to the front of the wardrobe and retire other garments to a safer space whilst they await either the warmer or cooler months.
The same goes for your footwear. Keep the boxes if not too shabby, but regardless whether you’re storing a pair of Common Projects sneakers or Crockett & Jones loafers, use shoe trees for both when not in use and, if possible, keep footwear in shoe bags and boxes.
No Less Than Three Special Bottles of Alcohol
One bottle of wine, one bottle of champagne and one bottle of fine spirit. Not the cheap stuff – bottles that are worth investing in that are set aside for moments when they’re needed.
The robe doesn’t get enough love when it comes to fashion and style roundups but it’s an essential nonetheless – a crucial piece of attire for relaxed Sunday mornings, taking out the bins and anything Tony Soprano would do around the house. New & Lingwood, Derek Rose and Hamilton & Hare are just a few of the new luxury loungewear brands taking the robe seriously. It’s up to you whether you go full on Hefner.