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I’m here, I’m queer, and I’m living up to every gay stereotype about the relentless need to redecorate or “reimagine” my apartment every few weeks. And now that we’re in the midst of Pride month (which we were deprived of in its full form last year), I feel even more compelled to spend my hard-earned money on the furniture, accessories, and home goods that will bring these visions — no matter how grandiose — to life.
While it may be tempting to shop deals from the rainbow-washed storefronts of corporate America, it’s more important than ever to support the smaller LGBTQ+-owned businesses that are the bedrock of our creative community.
Check out 15 of my favorites, including some fabulous finds that more than warrant a tongue snap and a death drop in response.
The only thing I love more than a good candle is a good pun and L.A.-based Boy Smells combines the best of both worlds. Using an all-natural coconut wax and beeswax blend with essential oils, the candles aim to go “beyond the gender binary.” The result: full-bodied beauties like Polyamberous (cardamom, geranium, tobacco flower, pistachio, patchouli fraction, beeswax, and tonka bean) and Slow Burn (incense, black pepper, elemi, guaiac, raspberry, tonka, amber, and smoked papyrus) that really set the mood, no matter the room or decor.
MINNA “cares about the world and [their] place in it,” which means you can feel good about purchasing products that are not only sustainably sourced, but also authentically created through ancient craft techniques that celebrate Central and South American culture. From rugs and pillows to furniture and kitchen accessories, there’s no shortage of options, though I’m particularly fond of their cozy throws, like this split grid merino must-have that hails from Uruguay.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect sofa or sectional, look no further than Roger + Chris, the burly boys behind the 63 styles, 1,719 sizes, and 1,381 colors they boast on their website. While the process of customization may be intimidating and overwhelming for a typical customer, the company offers a free personal design consultation with a “love it guarantee.” They also craft handsome ottomans and accent chairs, like this rainbow-inspired design that is all-too-appropriate for Pride.
TRNK has inspired pieces that are crafted to last a lifetime. The furniture is contemporary and bold, much like its accessories where planters and vases, both asymmetrical and Greek-inspired, will bring character to any room and any plant. Frankly, I just dig their funkiness.
Witch, please. Every Les Loups candle is catered to the energy of the moon and poured (only on new moons, full moons, lunar eclipses, and solar eclipses) over crystals to “help you find a space to amplify and purge what you need during times of transition.” If the desire for protection is calling your name, their “wolf-moon” dreamcatcher candle is said to assist in igniting your life and “inner wolf,” which has two different meanings in the gay community but I’m completely here for it.
N.Y.C. icon Lockwood sources thousands of affordable lifestyle goods from local artists, making it my go-to spot for clever, one-of-a-kind gift ideas that are truly conversation starters. This Just in Queso dip set is one example of something I already own and use as an excuse to make heaps of queso. Because there’s never a wrong time to melt cheese and dip things into it, said me always.
Eclectic, bold, and everything I could ever want in a furniture store, this Lower East Side gem offers furniture and trinkets, but with a wonderful range in prices (mostly affordable!). You can stop by Coming Soon to decorate an entire apartment or leave with only a few objects that will make you smile, like this vibrant cocktail glassware that is just begging to be clinked before a Pride parade.
Founders Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart had one goal before opening their antique and vintage concept shop that specializes in collectibles: communicating very explicitly to the Black community “not only do [they] see you, but [they] love you as well. You’re worthy. What you’ve created is worthy. You are important here.” And they’ve accomplished just that with items that are not only unique and in excellent condition, but also snapshots of defining moments in American history. Perusing the BLK MKT Vintage website feels more like exploring a museum exhibit, which makes purchasing items like these vintage photographs all the more special.
Injecting a bit of humor into a living space is, perhaps, my favorite way to bring in some personality beyond loud colors and unique shapes. This is The Gay Bar Shop’s specialty, cementing them as your one-stop-shop for anything that pokes fun at the absurdities and vulgarities of LGBTQ+ culture. From prints to candles to drinkware, you’ll absolutely be able to find something to bring to a housewarming party or uber-gay social gathering, like this mug that I’m sure someone will gift me in the next few weeks.
Otherwild is other-wordly with its plethora of housewares that highlight the fun and playfulness you can have with the most simple of objects. “We aim to manifest a countercultural relationship to exploitative, extractive, and excessive consumer capitalist culture, dedicated to carrying products made with care, concern, and awareness of their impact and design,“ their website reads, which is a mission statement I can absolutely get behind. I can also get behind these cow-inspired dishes that also serve as jewelry trays. If you can’t, then moo-ve over.
In 2019 alone, this mindful company upcycled over 250,000 pounds of trash from landfills to create a line of sustainable and stylish home goods. Famous for their epic linen body pillows (that are especially fantastic if you’re single), SUAY defines themselves as a “movement,” rather than a conventional shop by making it their primary objective to impact the planet and “our daily quality of life.” Consider me impacted.
Frankly, Putnam & Putnam had me when I learned Beyoncé and Drew Barrymore are clients. You’ll need to visit their L.A. or N.Y.C.-based stores in person to discuss any type of floral event needs, but can purchase their vibrant and colorful books (“Flower Color Guide,” “Flower Color Theory,” and “Rainbows in Bloom”) in the meantime to dream up the arrangements they’ll do for you. Flowers are power and owners Mikey and Darroch know a thing or two about them.
Inspired by the people and places (and animals!) he has met during his travels, designer Anthony Gianacakos of Anthony George Home has developed a hand-sketched fabric collection that’s chock-full of whimsy, fearless colors, and a signature dramatic flair. It’s quite easy to upholster any piece of old furniture with his offerings, but I’m fond of his sphere pillow to really get a 360-degree look at the intricacy of his designs.
Tasteful, refined, and, frankly, a showroom of everything you didn’t realize you needed in your living space, Dallas-based Erdos + Ko is a new homeowner’s dream. I can’t seem to find anything I wouldn’t use to decorate a room, which is saying a lot, because I’m quite particular (code word for difficult) lately and can spend hours searching for the perfect piece, much like this sea cluster wall art that would be a wonderful nod to my Florida upbringing.
You know him, you love him, and this list wouldn’t feel right without him. My favorite designer, Jonathan Adler, embodies what I interpret to be the true spirit of Pride: living life authentically and unabashedly as yourself. (And having a lot of fun while doing it.) While it’s impossible for me to choose a favorite design or collection, I’m obsessed with his decorative items where his personality and wit shines through most. These acrylic pills (that circuit queens are all too familiar with) are just one example.