Making Busy Lives Beautifully Efficient

“Beauty manifests a hope that life would be better if the object of beauty were part of it.” — Alexander Nehamas

What is “Beautifully Efficient”?


Photo by Brad Javernick of Home Oomph

We all know what beauty and efficiency are. But what does it mean when we put them together? Let me tell you a story of how a building changed the way I think about this relationship.

Het Schip. Photo curtesy of Museum Het Schip.

This is Het Schip, a building in Amsterdam. I couldn’t believe it when my art history professor told me that this was a social housing apartment designed for the low-income workers who were suffering from poor living conditions in Amsterdam a hundred years ago. The expressive and bold architecture embellished with romance and fantasy, the playful use of forms and materials, undulating facades, and curious sculptures all make it look like the Dutch version of the Grand Budapest Hotel.

The interior is even more delicate: fresh flowers, soothing colors, uniquely designed furniture, and well-lit rooms with large windows through which you can have a nice view of nature and the neighborhood. Imagine how uplifting and life-changing it was for someone to move from this shabby little room below to a nice apartment in Het Schip! 

A typical room for a Dutch working-class family of 3 in the early 1900s. Photo by Jan Reinier van der Vliet.

Interior of Het Schip. Photo by Jan Reinier van der Vliet.

I used to think beauty was a luxury instead of a necessity. A hundred years ago, a group of compassionate Dutch architects showed us that those who were considered vulnerable and less fortunate deserved to be treated with respect and exposed to beauty. The resulting contentment and delight led to better efficiency and productivity in the workplace and society. When people live in a beautiful place and are surrounded by beautiful objects, they will have beautiful minds.

How can we live beautifully efficient lives?

Here are four things you can start doing right now

1. Organize!

Do you sometimes struggle with finding things in your house? Can’t find your bike key when you are almost late for work again? Find it hard to memorize and keep track of your commitments when you have too much on your plate? 

Take control of the situation with our GROUPshot™ wall display + organizer. Add an artistic sculptural element to your living space while clipping and hanging miscellaneous objects.


2. Display sentimental objects instead of throwing them away

Many organizing experts and minimalists tell you to throw away things that only have sentimental value. But sometimes, we just need a better way to keep them!

Hitched photo clips & Chained•up magnet display

Hitched photo clips and chained•up! magnet display are easy and beautiful ways to display your photos and postcards, and they can both be used in vertical or horizontal configurations.

3. Work hard, but also work healthy

Hard work is a virtue. Since you're focused on your screens, lift your eyes and work more comfortably by using the up·rise! monitor riser. It even doubles as an office supply organizer! 

4. Decorate your living space with aesthetically pleasing objects

If a cute magnet can put a smile on your face, then why don’t you put it where you can see it every day?


The polyHEDRA object trio in magnetic marble attracts clips, pins, and other small metal supplies with hidden magnets.

Cast animal magnets, backed by mighties magnets, are plated in silver, pewter, copper and gold.

What happens after we have beautifully efficient lives?

1. Have more time to spend with your loved ones


2. Be surprised when you rediscover some of your best memories 

3. Achieve work-life balance

 4. And most importantly, be happy!

Author Yuansi Li. Photo by Elijah Hansen-Lints