10 Products to Punch Up Your Space, According to a Skincare Expert

The cofounder and CEO of Alder New York, Nina Zilka, shares the products that add a bit of flair to her everyday.

Nina Zilka and best-friend-slash-cofounder David Krause are design lovers who also care about looking and feeling good. The pair launched Alder New York in 2016 in response to a gap they saw in the market: a distinct lack of skincare options that are both earth-friendly and gender inclusive. To solve for this particular issue, the two Pratt alums put their heads together and came up with a solution: Alder New York, a line of personal care goodies that are for design people, by design people. The product line features pretty packaging and plant-powered beauty products that are vegan, dermatologist-approved, and meet EWG (Environmental Working Group) and EU sustainability standards.

Zilka is still a designer at heart. In addition to Alder New York, you can find her sharing "little design things making me happy" on her TikTok, a fun series where she highlights everything from Baggu bath towels, to Swarovski crystal soda can art, to candles shaped like cannolis. We asked her to share some of her favorite home items that merge aesthetics with functional efficiency.

Nina Zilka is the cofounder and CEO of Alder New York.

Nina's Brooklyn home.

"I use this dish for so many things. It’s perfect as a tea light holder at dinner parties, scrunchies and clips on a vanity, or a vessel for dips at parties. Whichever way you use it, someone will compliment you on it."

Mosser Glass Bathing Beauty Dish
A real beaut. We’ve never seen a dish quite like this, and oh, do we have plans for it. From our friends at Mosser who brought us everyone’s favorite cake stand, the Bathing Beauty is made of hand-pressed glass and comes in the same candy colors you know and love.

"Everything about this laundry bin is genius for small spaces. The fact that it’s meant for corners is brilliant—laundry hampers take up so much dead space and you always want to tuck them in a corner. And the little wooden top you can use as a little table takes it to the next level. Now your laundry hamper is multipurpose, something I never thought I’d say.’

Steele Canvas Elevated Laundry Basket With Lid
Make laundry better. If there's one chore that requires heavyweight champs to get the job done, it's laundry (we see you nodding over there). Let's ditch the flimsy, narrow hamper, and invest in something that will last as long as the loads keep coming.

"I’m feeling Dada-ist vibes lately, and I love these weird, playful, wavy wooden serving spoons by Selena Liu for Areaware. I think the sophisticated materials of these strikes the perfect balance between chic and fun."

Areaware Serving Friends
Whoever said food isn’t to be played with hasn’t met Serving Friends. These wooden spoons, carved into charming shapes, bring joy and humor to your dining table.

"I want everything in my life to be chic and functional- I’m a design junky. That’s why I am obsessed with our Cleansing Kit. The products are formulated just right so my skin glows and they look amazing in my bathroom, which is a tough needle to thread."

Alder New York Cleansing Kit
Feel refreshed and promote clear, healthy skin with our Cleansing Kit made up of our best-selling cleansing products. Designed for all genders and skin types.

"As a cat person, I appreciate the brand Cat Person, and am super into their Jason Wu collab. The litter box is actually attractive, the hideaway scoop is brilliant, and it all comes in a matte black finish."

Cat Person x Jason Wu Skylight Litter Box
Living room, meet litter box. Designed to suit your cat’s needs and your home’s aesthetic, this modern litter box features a ventilated wooden lid and accessible corner entry. Part of the Jason Wu / Cat Person Collection.

"I guess I have a thing for matte black accessories, because I am so pleased with the Fellow Stagg EKG electric kettle. I love the temperature control on it. While it’s ideal for coffee, I’ve gotten very into nice teas this year, and the exact temperature capabilities are a tea-making game changer."

Fellow Stagg EKG+ Electric Kettle
Ready to kick your brewing up even another notch? Stagg EKG+ has all of Stagg EKG’s features and then some using Bluetooth magic. Whether you're a coffee aficionado or a brewing beginner, Stagg EKG+ will be your countertop partner in the pursuit of a ridiculously good cup of coffee.

"Did I mention I like matte black? If you are not an MB enthusiast like me, you’ll be happy to know Alder New York’s sophisticated soap dish also comes in white. Either color is a real bathroom upgrade: it looks like ceramic but is super durable yet completely plastic free (it’s made of plant fibers). I also love that I can easily remove the bamboo insert to clear out any water or soap residue, which is such a pain point with other soap dishes."

Alder New York Plant Fiber Soap Dish
Upgrade your bathroom with this sleek, plastic-free soap dish made from durable plant fibers. It's designed with a removable bamboo insert to prolong the life of your bar soap by keeping it elevated from residual water. Available in black or white.

"Nothing elevates an iced coffee or tea in your own home like a glass straw. I usually need a mid-afternoon caffeine infusion, and these make my at-home summer caffeine intake much classier."

Poketo Glass Straws in Warm Set
Reusable glass straws that are durable enough to take with you anywhere. Environmentally sustainable and compact, this set of straws fights one-use plastic waste culture one sip at a time, anytime. Made with Borosilicate glass which is resistant to thermal shock, more so than any other common glass.

"I like to keep my black obsidian gua sha tool on a tray on my coffee-table. This way it functions as home decor and I remember to use it while binge-watching Hacks."

Alder New York Black Obsidian Gua Sha Tool
This smooth heart shape stone helps relieve tension, reduce puffiness, and create a more toned and sculpted appearance.

"I love a pool party in the summer, but I don’t like the associated kitschy pool floats. For an elevated float experience, I like The Nice Fleet, which has really lovely prints and uses a durable PVC so they’re less likely to puncture. I think these make an excellent thank you gift to friends who let you hang in their pools."

The Nice Fleet Inflatable Printed Pool Rings
Splish splash. Quick, point us to the nearest pool or lake—because that’s exactly where we’re taking these floats. They’re made of BPA-free and happily recyclable PVC plastic. And those beach-inspired prints on both sides? They’ll shine bright even on the cloudiest of days.

We love the products we feature and hope you do, too. If you buy something through a link on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. 

More Expert Recs:

How to Stylishly Blend Form and Function, According to a Ceramics Artist

10 Items Glass Guru Sophie Lou Jacobsen Can’t Stop Raving About


Get the Shop Newsletter

Smart shopping for the design obsessed. Find what you love in our expertly curated selection of finely crafted home, office, travel, and lifestyle products.