How I Pick My Picks: Lauren Ro 2024

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photos: Pali Xisto Cornelsen, Lauren Ro

We initially published this story as an exclusive for our newsletter subscribers on February 5, 2024, but we liked it so much we’re putting it up on the site, too. If you’d like to sign up for the Strategist newsletter, you can do so here.

Welcome to How I Pick My Picks — a kind-of-regular newsletter series where we check in with the Strategist staff on the stuff they’re using day-to-day, the products they’re testing for stories, and the things their friends and family won’t stop asking them about. Consider it a peek into the always whirring brain of a Strategist writer. Today, we talk to home, design, and baby-gear writer Lauren Ro.

Whether it’s figuring out why tasteful people like Laila Gohar are opting for wall-to-wall blood-red carpeting or scouting stylish folks for the new Noguchi lamp, I’m a professional noticer of interiors. My latest discovery? In the world of kids’ décor, sad, beige nurseries and playthings are on the way out. I love Oeuf’s new twin bed and nightstand that are offered in tomato (a perfect red) and pea pod (a really nice, deep chartreuse). This mirrors the delightful display of color I recently saw at MoMA Design Store’s spring/summer 2024 press preview. I ogled tiny portable lamps in subdued jewel tones, Japanese glassware adorned with ’70s-inspired painted florals, and a zaftig bottle shaped like an eggplant (all exceptional gift ideas, by the way). The collection’s bright and cheerful color palette got me thinking that we’ve graduated from kindercore and onto something a bit more mature but still youthful. (I’m working out the new -core term; submissions welcome.)

I love getting texts from my pregnant friends asking me about the big-ticket items for their registries: What stroller should I get? What crib do you have? Does the Snoo work? (Answer: It did for me, but rent instead of buying it.)

SNOO Smart Sleeper Monthly Rental

I get why bedding is expensive because it’s such a large swath of fabric that has to hold up to a lot of wear and tear. That being said, you really don’t have to spend too much. Target’s Threshold sheets are a really solid budget option: They’re smooth, durable, and soft for under $50.

Threshold 400 Thread Count Solid Performance Sheet Set

If you want a sofa that’s well made, I think you need to spend at least $1,000, but $2,000 will get you something even better. I still love the (now discontinued) Crate & Barrel sofa we bought ten years ago, which cost around $2,000 at the time; it’s as comfortable and stylish as on day one and the cushions still look great.

As the Strategist’s bedding expert, I’m constantly doing the laundry and making the bed with all kinds of different sheets — sateen, percale, linen, bamboo, jersey, you name it. I’ve actually loved getting to know each type of material, because each one feels so distinct.

I already own several pieces, but I’m slowly replacing all my cookware with All-Clad. I just bought this nonstick set from the brand’s latest factory-seconds sale for $70, $30 off the MSRP.

All-Clad Essentials Nonstick Cookware Set, 2 piece Fry & Sauce Pan with lid Set, 8.5 inch & 2.5 quart
Very Good Deal

I’ve never bought anything this expensive so fast. I was fed up with the storage situation in our foyer that we’d been meaning to replace for over five years, then I saw this bench on Crate & Barrel — it was the right length, had drawers, and looked modern. I ordered the whole set without overthinking it and got it delivered immediately.

Crate & Barrel Terra Natural White Oak Wood 3-Piece Entryway Storage with Bench

The Strategist team often daydreams about taking a field trip to Ikea, but until then, here are a few things we’ve shared in Slack recently: I love this reissued-from-the-’70s yellow side table that someone on X said was heavily inspired by a Marcel Breuer piece; continuing with the yellow theme, my colleague Liza Corsillo just bought this cute little lamp for $18 that I’d love for one of the kid’s rooms, and this (also reissued) armchair would tie it all together.

Ikea Baggboda Side Table

Ikea Blasverk Table Lamp

Ikea Sotenäs Armchair

I’ve been coveting a Japanese donabe from Toiro for a while, but I don’t know which one to get. I want one that can make rice but also stews and other dishes. I love my Cuckoo rice cooker, but rice can take 40 minutes, a lifetime when I’m rushing to get dinner on the table for two screaming kids. My friend told me that she can make rice in 11 minutes with her donabe, which sounds impossible, but now I’m dying to try it for myself.

Toiro Shiro-Yu Donabe

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.