45+ Simple But Clever Design Solutions

Sometimes, simple is better. Believe it or not, when it comes to clever design, many problems can be solved by a simple innovation. Of course, just because something is simple doesn’t mean it is easy to come up with. If anyone could come up with these ideas, they would have come around a long time ago! Either way, here are some design solutions that are especially clever, but at their core, extremely simple.

The Bathroom Combo

OK, on the surface it may seem undesirable to have a sink and a toilet as one piece of equipment, but when you think about it this idea is actually quite clever, as it saves on both water and space. Of course, we could understand why some people may not like the idea.

The Bathroom Combo

This is an innovation that probably won’t become mainstream simply because it isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing idea, but it is extremely clever nevertheless.

The Purpose of the Lid

Do you ever wonder why some of the lids for your plastic kitchen containers have small circles on the inside? Almost like they are supposed to hold something themselves? Well, turns out they actually are supposed to hold things! If you need to fit smaller containers in a bigger one, like condiment cups, that’s what those circles are for.

The Purpose of the Lid

Granted, we doubt too many people actually make use of them, but the fact that someone thought to include them shows how clever they were.

A Double-Edged Design

Even if a design choice is both simple and clever, that doesn’t mean it’s universally good. The idea behind this elevator button, 30 feet away from the elevator itself, is that the elevator will arrive by the time the person who pressed the button gets to it.

A Double-Edged Design

That said, we can see some issues with the door being held open for a long time when someone is already in it. And of course, most people would expect the button to next to the elevator, not 30 feet away from it. But at least the idea was clever in principle.

Designated Clothing Hooks

It may be a small thing, but with clever solutions like these, life can be just a little easier no matter what. Women trying on clothes at stores, especially if they are trying on a whole bunch of clothes, could benefit from hooks in changing rooms like these.

Designated Clothing Hooks

After all, if you’re trying on a whole bunch of things, it would be nice to have a readily available way to separate what you do and don’t want.

Dining Made Easy

Imagine being able to call a server, ask for a bill, or inform the restaurant that your table is finished, all at the touch of a button. That’s what this clever design does, and we have to say, fantastic idea! It would certainly make restaurants more efficient.

Dining Made Easy

On top of that, it would take a little bit of stress off of servers as well. Either way, this is definitely a simple idea that society could benefit from it if it were implemented large scale!

Tipping Turned Digital

Tips are often still done with physical money, something that people are carrying around less and less. With this simple but clever innovation, you don’t have to worry about having any money on hand to tip your waiter: just dip your credit card in here and the problem is solved.

Tipping Turned Digital

It’ll probably be some time before we see these things everywhere, but we do believe something like this will become pretty common at some point in the future.

On-Demand Pricing

Sure, we all have calculators on our smartphones, but even so, having a calculator readily available on the shopping carts we use would be a helpful addition to any shopping trip. We figure the reason we don’t see this often is because stores don’t want to spend extra for calculators to go on their carts.

On-Demand Pricing

Even so, this is a really simple idea that is nevertheless quite clever, and we would like to see things like this more often as retail advances into the future.

Dessert Design Made Easy

So maybe this isn’t solving some great problem, but it is helping with those who can’t make cool designs on their cookies. The idea is pretty simple: take a rubber stamp, use them on your cookie dough, and get a cool design out of them in the end.

Dessert Design Made Easy

It’s definitely unconventional, but still a lot of fun to think about, especially since there are all sorts of stamps out there that you could use with these cookies.

Paint Prodigy

We all know the issues that can arise from trying to paint walls at their corners. This clever design aims to eliminate those problems with one simple modification, that being a pointed tip. Why no one has thought of doing something like this before now, we have no idea.

Paint Prodigy

Honestly, many simple designs seem like something that anyone could have come up with, and yet very few people actually do. Why is that anyway?

One Useful Teacup

If you’ve ever made tea directly in a cup, then you know that sometimes the bags themselves can get stuck down in the bottom, and then you have to fish them out with your fingers. Frankly, nobody wants that! With this nifty teacup, you can keep the strings out of the cup.

One Useful Teacup

All it takes for this design is a slight alteration, but that’s what this whole list is about, isn’t it? Simple designs that are nevertheless quite clever.

The Toddler Faucet Extender

Do you have kids who are too short to reach the water coming out of the faucet? Well, this simple but clever solution makes that problem irrelevant. Simply by extending the length of the faucet, you can let your short family members wash their hands with ease.

The Toddler Faucet Extender

Of course, stepping stools exist too, but those don’t really tickle the same fancy as a clever solution that makes you feel like an engineer, do they?

The Umbrella Backpack

When it rains, it pours, and more importantly, umbrellas require you to use your hands when they could be doing other things. This nifty backpack grants you a portable umbrella that requires no hands to use, leaving them free for other, more pressing matters.

The Umbrella Backpack

Not to mention, it’s a bit more aesthetically pleasing than an umbrella hat, so there’s that too. Either way, something this clever definitely deserves a spot on this list for its ingenuity.

The Gum Cup

In Hong Kong, littering is a very serious crime, and can get you a fine equal to about $200. To help urge people there to dispose of things properly, these gum containers come with paper pre-loaded for you to wrap your gum in. That way, you’re more likely to dispose of it properly.

The Gum Cup

That said, this isn’t really an innovation so much as just including one product with another, but since it isn’t a widespread practice, we still consider it to be pretty clever.

Teacups With Teabag Holders

Not quite the same as the earlier teacup entry, this clever design has a means of holding teabags on the outside of the teacup. This way, you can select the bags you want to use with a certain cup beforehand, and they’ll be ready to go as soon as you grab your favorite cup for a brew.

Teacups With Teabag Holders

Really, we feel that cups just don’t get as many design updates these days as they should! There’s so much more you can do with them than society realizes!

Retractable Wall Outlets

We can’t wait until this innovation becomes the standard. Just imagine how useful it would be if outlets had built-in extension cords like this! Once again, it’s an idea that’s simple in theory, yet it’s taken a very long time for anyone to actually think of it.

Retractable Wall Outlets

Unfortunately, we doubt we’ll see it anytime soon, but it’s definitely the way outlets should be done in the future, however many years away that is.

Carving Made Easy

Carving a pumpkin isn’t easy, and Halloween is behind us for the year. But for next year, if you really have trouble getting those clean cuts and crisp images, try using a cookie cutter to get the outline just right! Sure, that limits what you can do, but it sure helps!

Carving Made Easy

Granted, this isn’t a clever innovation, but it is a clever solution to a simple problem that a lot of people have around that time of year.

Take Your Medicine

If you have a schedule you need to keep when it comes to medicine, we all know how easy it can be to accidentally forget when you did or didn’t take it. Well here’s a clever solution: just make a chart on the bottle itself! Then you will always know when you took what you needed to.

Take Your Medicine

It’s shocking really, how many great ideas are truly simple, yet it doesn’t often occur to most people that it can be done. We need to broaden our horizons and our problem-solving skills!

Slide Stairs

We believe there should be slides next to every set of stairs in the great outdoors. After all, why not? Frankly speaking, slides are just a more efficient means of travel than stairs, and people with places to be could make great use of them!

Slide Stairs

That said though, we imagine many cities don’t want to spend the money on something like this. And besides, stairs are good exercise too.

The Shaving Nook

We all know how dangerous it can be to shave your legs or lift them up for a thorough washing in the shower. It’s slippery in there! Well, how about a nook like this one to provide those in the shower with a stable place to put their foot when doing those activities?

The Shaving Nook

Really, it’s just a small hole in the wall of a shower. And yet, this novel idea is one that has yet to be adopted worldwide, and probably never will be. What’s with that?

The Fork Candle

Alright, we’ll admit it. There’s really no problem being solved here. Truly, there is no valid reason to have something like a fork and candle hybrid. However, it’s still clever in its own way. You can blow out your candle and then eat your cake right away.

The Fork Candle

That said, it might be a little weird to have a ton of fork candles for those of us who are older. Oh well, at least it was a pretty amusing idea.

Car Accessibility

For people in wheelchairs, getting in and out of cars can be a real hassle, and often requires special equipment or the assistance of another person. With this car, they don’t need either. This mini car lets them roll right into the driver’s seat.

Car Accessibility

We’re not sure how expensive such a car would be, but either way this is an idea that should definitely become more widespread around the globe.

The Fish Tank Sink

There is no problem being solved here. We admit that readily, and so one may consider this an ill-fitting selection for our list. But, well, it’s just super cool and super clever. Sure, you don’t need your sink to be an aquarium, but at the same time, why not?

The Fish Tank Sink

It would certainly make for the coolest guest bathroom anywhere. People would probably pay it a visit just to take a look at the crazy contraption.

No Running in the Halls

Do you have problems with kids (or anyone) running down the halls? Well, we promise there won’t be too many people willing to do that with this crazy visual before their eyes. Of course, even if someone were walking calmly, this type of thing could probably make them dizzy.

No Running in the Halls

All in all, it’s probably not something that should be used in a public installation of any sort, but it sure is a cool idea, at least aesthetically speaking.

Plastic Payment

Plastic pollution is a serious problem worldwide. China came up with a grand idea to help combat it years ago. The idea behind this machine is simple: people can deposit plastic in it, and they will get credit towards their subway fare.

Plastic Payment

Really, the best way to encourage people to recycle is to give them some sort of incentive to do so, and that’s exactly what this does. Genius!

Protecting Your Heels

Before you cock an eyebrow at this image, keep in mind that this clever solution is for outdoors only. If there was some situation in which you need to wear heels outside (an outdoor wedding, perhaps?), then these heel protectors would ensure that you don’t sink into the ground.

Protecting Your Heels

Sure, they aren’t pretty by any means. But at the end of the day, it’s preferable to have heels that don’t break themselves or your ankle, right?

The Seabin

Speaking of solutions to pollution problems, here we have the Seabin. It’s simple really: it just catches plastic on the surface of the water before it can make it out to the ocean and do even more harm. You would need a lot of these to achieve the mission, but any step towards a plastic free ocean helps!

The Seabin

Moreover, it’s really clever to just have little drains around coastal areas in order to facilitate this. Why did it take so long for this idea to manifest?

Designated Assistance Baskets

Are you the type of person that doesn’t really like having to deal with social interaction when you shop? Well, these baskets are labeled so store employees know if you need help or not. It’s a great way for individuals that like to shop in solitude to keep things that way.

Designated Assistance Baskets

It’s an utterly simple design that, nevertheless, is something you don’t see in too many places. Why that is, we have no idea.

A Pen With an Ammo Counter

We’ve all experienced the hassle of whipping out a pen, only to find that it barely has enough ink left to write anything. And then of course, you lose track of which pens are still good and which ones aren’t… well, with this nifty idea, forget all of that noise.

A Pen With an Ammo Counter

This pen tells you right on the side how many pages worth of ink is still available. Needless to say, this would go a long way to cutting down on that example situation.

Charge Station Lockers

There are many places in which public lockers are available to keep your goods safe. This includes phones and the like, and why not have charging stations inside of those lockers available? After all, by doing that, not only are your things kept safe, but they’re fully charged when you return as well.

Charge Station Lockers

Really, it’s just sticking some chargers in a locker, but we are talking about very simple yet clever solutions to common problems, are we not?

Indoor Puddles

Kids love to play in puddles. We all know this. That being said, getting muddy and dirty from puddles outside is a problem. In this Japanese preschool, the building is designed in a way that allows for indoor puddles to be created, letting the kids play without getting dirty.

Indoor Puddles

Is it one of the most important problems to solve? Not by a long shot, but that doesn’t change how fun it is in the slightest!

Custom Cash Machine

Why did it take so long for someone to realize that it would be nice if you could choose the size of bills you want when exchanging money? That’s super simple, but also super rare as far as these machines go. If you have a particular use in mind for the money you’re getting, this is extremely useful!

Custom Cash Machine

Hopefully this is something we’ll begin to see in the future at some point, preferably some point that isn’t actually that far off.

Test Your Toilet Paper

This Dutch store has its available toilet paper brands accessible within their bathrooms, meaning customers can actually try it before they buy it. Needless to say, a clever idea that you won’t encounter too often no matter where you are shopping.

Test Your Toilet Paper

Of course, we can understand why most stores don’t want six toilet paper rolls in each stall, but that doesn’t make the idea any less clever or novel, does it?

Hanging Gas Pumps

Ever pull up to the wrong side of the gas pump, creating an annoying situation in which you have to pull back out and go around? Of course, we all have at one point or another. Well, with this great innovation, that problem is no more.

Hanging Gas Pumps

By simply hanging the gas pumps above the vehicle instead to either side of it, it doesn’t actually matter what side you pull up with. Isn’t that peachy?

Safety Jacket Lights

Motorcycles already have lights on the back, of course. However, considering that motorcyclists are at greater risk on the road than regular drivers, this jacket with functioning brake and turn signals is a great bit of extra insurance.

Safety Jacket Lights

That said, we imagine it has to plug up to the bike somewhere, which seems like a little bit of a hassle. Even so, it’s a great idea with great potential!

For All Sizes

Ever had to hold up your dog to a water fountain while at a park? Well, this nifty water fountain provides water for both dogs and their owners, at their respective heights! It catches all the water from the top section and pours it down to the bottom where it can be consumed by the dog as well.

For All Sizes

This is an excellent example of recycling, and of great design overall. Whoever came up with this simple yet innovative and clever design, kudos to you!

Foot Elevator Buttons

We’ve all been there: in an elevator with our hands full, troubled by the fact that we can’t easily hit the button we need to in order to get the elevator moving. Well, these buttons, situated near the floor, do a great job of solving that problem.

Foot Elevator Buttons

Not to mention, it’s a pretty great way to avoid germs too. Maybe all buttons in our society should be near our feet? Well, perhaps that would be a little too much…

The Testing Ramp

Another brilliant innovation for shoppers is this testing ramp, which allows customers to test out the usefulness of different shoes and working boots on various types of terrain. Needless to say, it’s a great idea, as many people like to try before they buy whenever possible.

The Testing Ramp

We imagine this is an extra expense many stores don’t want to deal with, but we do wish we could see things like this more often in retail from here on out.

Touch Free Entry

Those of us who are paranoid about germs could all appreciate the genius that is a touch free means of opening doors. This sensor allows users to simply wave in order for the bathroom door to open, so they don’t have to touch a handle with who knows how many germs on it.

Touch Free Entry

Considering that motion sensors are not a new technology by any stretch, it seems weird to us that this isn’t commonly seen in stores around the world.

A Dedicated Hockey Button

This Canadian remote has a dedicated hockey button. That is by far the most Canadian thing we’ve ever seen, but moreover, it’s a pretty clever solution to a first-world problem. Who needs TV guides and whatnot when you can just get where you want to be at the touch of a button?

A Dedicated Hockey Button

Of course, it’s not like this issue was extremely pressing or anything, but no one said these simple solutions had to solve serious problems to be on this list.

Easy Tread Labels

Are you ever concerned with how much legal tread is left on your tires? There’s a way to tell, but this particular simple design innovation makes it even easier. As your tread wears away, it tells you outright how much is left with an easy to understand percentage.

Easy Tread Labels

Designs like this, that make life overall much easier for everyone, are some of our favorites because they are so simple yet so immensely helpful.

We’re Coconuts for This

Ever try to drink straight from a coconut? It is a difficult and messy experience that unfortunately takes away from the delicious taste. The obvious solution is to drink a canned beverage alternative but this ruins the authentic coconut essence.

We’re Coconuts for This

Now, with these real coconuts that have the attached tabs, drinking from one will be a pure joy. Much like the taste of coconut. So, grab yourself one of these babies and enjoy a tropical vacation for your tastebuds, without the messy results.

Restaurant Smartphone Holder

Whether we like it or not, smartphones are very much part of our everyday life to the point where not having it on us can make us feel unsettled. However, there are numerous occasions where your phone needs to be put away.

Restaurant Smartphone Holder

When we place our phones in our bag or pocket, we can miss important messages, while leaving it on the table during a meal becomes too distracting. Now, with this table holder, you never have to worry as to where your phone is but at the same time, it’s far enough to avoid picking it up unnecessarily.

Your Doormat Alarm

Ever leave the house in a rush only to realize you’ve forgotten your wallet or keys? Trust us, we’ve all been there but thanks to this doormat you’ll never have to think twice about remembering your things.

Your Doormat Alarm

It’s like an alarm for your memory, in order to ensure your essential tasks are completed and you can leave the house in peace. Say goodbye to your anxiety about whether or not you turned off those appliances and hello to your time-saving friend, that simultaneously cleans your shoes!

Your Door Handle Just Became a Joystick

Oftentimes when winter comes around we wear gloves to keep our hands warm. While the gloves solve one problem, they create another as it becomes a tricky situation trying to do basic tasks, such as opening a door, with them on.

Your Door Handle Just Became a Joystick

However, a designer thought this dilemma through and came up with a glove-friendly door handle that saved the day. With the firm grip of this handle, it will be a joy to open doors with your winter gloves on.

Safety First for Skateboards

While skateboarding has become a popular form of transport, it does come with its own set of problems. For example, once your board has gotten you to your destination, where do you store it? It’s too big to be placed in a bag and not viable for a parking spot.

Safety First for Skateboards

Now, this lock-up and go system makes a skateboarder’s life so much easier, that it may even increase the sales for skateboards. More boards and fewer cars mean fewer fuel toxins in the air and overall, a safer environment.

Multi-purpose Utensil

When eating at Asian-fusion restaurants, using chopsticks is an authentic way to go. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park. Oftentimes when eating with them, we are unable to get a good bite of food and this results in complete irritation.

Multi-purpose Utensil

At this point, we secretly want to opt for a fork but are often too embarrassed to ask. Now, with this fork-chopstick utensil, all your problems can be solved with one full bite of those delicious noodles.

A Kid-Friendly Menu

When it comes to ordering food for kids at a fast-food restaurant, it can be a chaotic experience for any parent. Having to explain every option over and over again is also time-consuming and takes away from the dining experience.

A Kid-Friendly Menu

Until a designer analyzed this problem and created a kid-friendly restaurant board that provides the perfect solution. The menu is tailor-made to a child’s food palate and basic language understanding. The only requirement is that the child can read.

Toaster Tongs

You know that dreaded experience when you burn your hands while trying to get your toast out of the toaster? It’s a real day-ruiner and oftentimes we are left with the scars to prove it. However, after this invention, burning your hands on a toaster will be a long-forgotten memory.

Toaster Tongs

These tongs are an easy way to grab your toast right as it comes out, fresh and warm, from the toaster. Say goodbye to burned fingers and hello to your new best friend!

A Dog-Friendly Bathroom

When traveling with our furry friends at the airport, it is known to be as difficult as taking a new-born baby. Every time your dog needs to go potty, you have to find an outside spot or safe area, which is generally scarce inside an airport.

A Dog-Friendly Bathroom

A designer thought this predicament through and developed a synthetic grass-pad area for your hound so that both you and your bundle of furry joy can do your business at the same time.

Backyard Tree Holder

Gardeners know the struggle of dealing with big trees with brunches grow at their own unexpected rate. Often, the trees get caught on fences and this results in you having to re-think the landscape design of your home.

Backyard Tree Holder

However, now with this well-thought-out fence, the trees can perfectly fit into it, without causing any damage. Plus, the backyard looks so much neater. Let’s all give it up for our new tree holder that’s going to save the day!

Advanced Elevator Weight Gauge

Do you ever see one of those warnings in an elevator that tells you that only a certain number of people or a certain amount of weight can be fitted into it? Do you ever wonder how on earth you’re supposed to know when those limits are really being reached?

Advanced Elevator Weight Gauge

Well, with this far easier to understand gauge, knowing the maximum weight capacity of an elevator is much, much easier. Why don’t they all do this?

The Baby Scooter

We’re going to level with you: this idea, while clever, is probably not the best idea anyone’s ever had. It is simple, but also bears a pretty big risk by its very nature. After all, you really shouldn’t move too fast when babies are involved.

The Baby Scooter

That said, it’s still a pretty nifty way to get some exercise and fun while taking care of your baby. Unfortunately, it’s just probably not worth the danger involved.

Wine Ice Cream

What kind of clever solution is this? What kind of problem is it solving? Well, at the very least it certainly does something about to cravings that people often experience, and with just one stone! That said, it’s kind of a weird thing to include on this list, but we’re feeling generous.

Wine Ice Cream

After all, it’s still clever and it still solves some problem or another, so why not, right? That’s really the only two things that matter as far as this list is concerned.

The Lawn Cup Holder

Don’t have one of those nifty folding lawn chairs that have a cup holder included? Never fear, as using a mere lawn stake like this one can solve the problem with little to no trouble. Of course, while this clever bit of innovation is exactly that, those aforementioned lawn chairs aren’t that expensive…

The Lawn Cup Holder

But if you were mowing the lawn or something similar, this might be a good way to keep your drink off of the ground while doing such a task. So we’ll still give it some clever points!

The Future of Audio

Some people prefer Bluetooth and wireless headphones because they don’t like dealing with cords. But it’s easy to lose track of those. Of course, cords get tangled and whatnot, but you can avoid that with this nifty design innovation: zipper headphones!

The Future of Audio

We would have liked to have something like this ten years ago. We certainly had the technology back then as well, but apparently, no one thought of this great idea at the time.