The 12 Best Splurges That Made Our Kitchens More Joyful and Functional During This Very Terrible Year

published Apr 11, 2021
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This past year has been so hard for so many of us, filled with immeasurable loss and sadness. I myself have had days when it felt like this pandemic would never end (heck, I still have them). When I’m sad, I do a few things (I call them my happy things) to lift me up: I cook, clean, and organize. They just help me feel a little bit better. Many of us here at Kitchn operate the same way and have found ourselves spending accordingly — on gadgets and gear that can help us do more of those things.

While a lot our best buys have been fairly reasonably priced, some of us have also splurged on bigger-ticket items. We’ve saved up and spent on stuff that can really help us — things we contemplated buying for a while, and items that needed to be replaced now that we’re all home 24/7.

Here are 12 of the best splurges Kitchn editors have made during the last year.

1. A Coffee Maker

“I just got this Breville coffee maker, which I’ve had my eye on for almost a year. I had a really hard time justifying it, but now that I’m using it I wish I got it sooner. Morning coffee (and afternoon iced coffee!) feels like such a treat.” Kelli Foster, Food Editor

2. An Espresso Machine

“Pre-pandemic I bought a $5 lukewarm latte every single day from the fancy coffee shop under our office. Despite the hefty price tag of the Barista Express, I still think I’m saving money by making my own piping-hot coffee at home. Plus, the flexibility to use my own milk and coffee beans is simply priceless.” Sholeen Damarwala, Commerce Editor

3. A Stick Vacuum

“I was cleaning an almost 800-square-foot apartment with a two-year-old handheld vacuum, so getting the Dyson V8 has been the ultimate luxury! It’s super powerful and easy to use, but my favorite thing about it are the various attachments. I can get every single nook, cranny, and surface using just the Dyson. Best cleaning purchase ever!” Sholeen

4. Pretty and Functional Storage Bowls

“I’ve been cooking a lot more this past year, which means I also have a lot more leftovers. So I bought these storage bowls (we featured them in Kitchn Essentials!). At around $60, they certainly felt like a splurge for food storage, but I truly love them. They have a tight-fitting lid, are microwave-safe, and come in such fun colors (I have Nordic Berry!).” Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm, Tools Editor

5. A Hardwood-Friendly Vacuum

“Another one from me! We recently moved into our first home after a year-plus of searching and more than 10 rejected offers. We’re extremely grateful, of course, but our new home seems to have the most scratch-prone hardwood floors on the planet and even our vacuum was damaging it. And we have a German Shepherd, so I am constantly sweeping up hair. I invested in this Miele vacuum and the soft floor head attachment and am FINALLY able to de-fuzz the floors without scratching them. I also love that the vacuum is super-powerful, quiet, and has a retractable power cord.” Riddley

6. Lots of Pottery

“East Fork pottery! I bought six of the breakfast bowls and six of the everyday bowls, both in eggshell. I am a bit bowl-obsessive, and have a collection of all shapes and sizes in my kitchen, but the moment I met East Fork’s bowls, it was love at first sight. They’re perfectly sized and so lovely to look at and hold. They truly make everything I eat of out them feel special, even if it’s just my morning yogurt and granola.”  Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor

7. A Stand Mixer

“I’ve been baking so much lately that even though there wasn’t anything technically wrong with my 15-year-old KitchenAid I decided it was time to treat myself to a new mixer. Plus, the sky blue/teal color is an upgrade from the basic white of my original.” Patty Catalano, Contributor

8. An Electric Kettle

“My husband and I have been saying we were going to get really into coffee for years now. And yet, we mostly just make drip coffee in our Moccamaster (which was also a splurge!). I decided to stop being a drip (get it?) and ordered this gorgeous electric kettle in pink. And it’s as fun to use as it is to look at. Our Chemex game is strong and we like having the ritual to look forward to. It’s the little things … ” Lisa Freedman, Lifestyle Director

9. Glassware

“I finally replaced all of our mismatched, cheap, chipped glassware last November when we started getting really into at-home happy hours. We bought the very classic Duralex glasses for everyday use and also bought rocks glasses and coupes from our favorite local bar. I don’t love spending money on glassware, so it felt like a splurge to me!” Meghan Splawn, Food Editor

10. A Robot Vacuum

“We bought a Roomba! It’s great to run after dinner in our living room because my family seems to be frequent crumb droppers and our dog is weird and ignores most of them. The Roomba has helped immensely with the aftermath of crusty sourdough bread slicing and eating! We initially got a cheaper one but then returned it to get the i7 because we wanted one that could clean specific rooms rather than the whole house.” Christine Gallary, Food Editor-at-Large

11. Side Plates

“I recently moved out of NYC and (temporarily) into my parents’ house in Cincinnati, so all my stuff is packed away in boxes. I wasn’t worried about not having access to most of my clothes or even my cookbooks, but I was anxious about not being able to use my beloved Lail plates and bowls. I figured I can never have too many, so I splurged and bought myself a few side plates to use when I’m here. Now I’ve got my mom hooked, too!” — Grace Elkus, Deputy Food Director

12. Material Cutting Boards

“I always fawned over Material cutting boards (the dreamy colors, recycled plastic, and dishwasher safe-ness!), but couldn’t justify the $35 price tag. After sufficiently dwelling on it, I changed my tune and sprung for The reBoard in Deep. It’s so beautiful I think I might leave it out on my countertops forever.” Lauren Masur, Lifestyle Editor

Have you splurged on anything? Tell us about it in the comments!