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Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01

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Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Box

Design Sponge is one of the newest Quarterly curators – and this is the very first Design Sponge box. If you aren’t familiar with Design Sponge, it’s one of the original design blogs, and they offer a mix of recipes, home makeovers, stylish items, and other posts – I’m a big fan.

I’m also happy to see a new design/home themed subscription box! Besides Skandicrush, this seems to be an underserved subscription category.

This box was sent to us for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Items

The Subscription Box: Design Sponge Quarterly Box

The Cost: $100

The Products: Items focused on design and home.

Ships to: US and Worldwide (additional shipping costs for Canada and International orders).

Delivered via: USPS

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Letter

Each Quarterly Box comes with a letter from the curator detailing the items included and why they were selected. For the first Design Sponge box, the theme is all about celebrating pattern.

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Board

A Heirloom Cutting Board – Value $45

This cutting board/serving board was the spoiler for this box, and it is just as well-made as I was expecting! In the spoiler photo the wood was much darker, so I’m not sure if there will be variation in the wood coloring box to box. (The flip side of this board is pattern free, so I’ll probably use that side as a cutting board, and the patterned side for serving).

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Candle

Five Stripes Ana Striped Tapers – Value $24

Illume Oversized Matches – Value $5

I think these go great together as a gift. I love how almost none of the patterns in this box match, but they all look nice together!

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Coasters

Cotton & Flax Felt Coasters (Set of 2) – Value $13

Rifle Paper Co. Composition Pocket Notebook – Value $7

While I have more coasters than I could ever use thanks to subscription boxes, I like that the pattern of these coasters plays off the cutting board.

This mini notepad from Rifle Paper Co. is one of my favorite items. (Everything Rifle Paper makes is so gorgeous and fun!)

Here’s what it looks like open:

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Notes

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Soap

Wary Meyers Soap in Sea Air – Value $14

I love the look and scent of this soap! (It’s also paraben, phthalate, and sulfate free!)

Design Sponge Quarterly Subscription Box Review #DSQ01 Tea

Kusmi Tea in Christmas Green Tea – Value $16.95

This tea smells wonderful – it is a mix of orange, almond, vanilla and spices.

Verdict: This box has a value of about $125. While I’m happy to see the value more than covers the cost of the box (for US subscribers), I think this box is much more about the curation. I think this is a great first box. I love the theme that unites all the items but isn’t too restricting, and I was introduced to so many new brands with this box!

What do you think of the first Design Sponge Quarterly Box?

Written by Liz Cadman

Liz Cadman

Liz is the founder of My Subscription Addiction. She’s been hooked on subscription boxes since 2011 thanks to Birchbox, and she now subscribes to over 100 boxes. Her favorites include POPSUGAR Must Have, FabFitFun, and any box that features natural beauty products!
All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.


  1. I checked Quarterly’s website and the box is scheduled to bill in February. I haven’t seen a spoiler yet.

  2. I loved my box! Though I wish the board had been the original dark wood pictured, I still thought the lighter shade was nice and loved the matching pattern on the board and coasters. (If it’s like the lighter ones on the AHeirloom website, then it’s made of maple hardwood.) Would I have liked to have seen maybe a second, higher-priced/larger item in the box? Probably. On the other hand, I really liked the other items and particularly liked that quite a few were from small artisans and vendors.

  3. So…I originally loved this box. I was really looking forward to using and displaying the cutting board for New Years(I am weird like that). However, after looking through my box, I discovered my board is cracking?!! I have a four inch crack right down the center and another crack start starting on the bottom. I too received the unfinished (birch ?) wood board, not the FABULOUS walnut. So, before I call Quarterly to complain–did anyone else have this issue? I didn’t use the board, I did not notice the split when I opened this two weeks ago.The box is in mint condition. and I don’t think it was hit with lightening ;0 … Anyone else have this problem?

  4. My box was missing the soap! Ugh…not even sure I will keep the box, I do enjoy it as a whole but my cutting board is a pine color also. I was expecting (sooooooo looking forward to) the walnut wood. And now I have to go through the hassle of emailing quarterly and getting the missing soap just to return the damn box.

    I found quarterly via DS’s blog, which I read regularly…I bought this as my one holiday treat to myself and am so disappointed. I have emailed the company “Heirloom” asking if there is a way to darken the wood, but I’m sure there isn’t..

    Super disappointed and will not be ordering in the future.

    • You might be able to stain the wood! Just make sure you use a food-safe wood stain. There’s also some DIY all natural tips for staining wood, like coffee/beets/whatnot. Good luck!

  5. I love the sea soap look and ocean scents in general. Bar soaps seem to last me forever, so glad I haven’t received too many in boxes.

  6. I received my box today and it is nice but not worth a $100.00 to me. Was hoping for at least a wow item. The cutting board is light and I had hoped for the darker shade as seen in the spoiler. The soap is a brown and white stripe and I do not care for the scent. Perhaps I am spoiled based on my other subscription boxes that seem to provide a little more bang for the buck.

  7. I love the box. The items are all very tasteful and beautifully coordinated.
    I like the subtlety of the designs.

  8. *THUD* Yup, that’s exactly how this box went over with me. I haven’t even rec’d this box and I already cancelled. I am SO disappointed with what I am seeing in the review. The ONLY item I will keep is the coasters. Everything else is going to be up for swap once my box is in hand. What a giant waste of $100!!

    • You can return quarterly boxes and get your money back.

  9. I really thought I was going to like this box until I opened it. This is where my impatience comes in handy. I would have been sorely disappointed if I had opened this on xmas as a gift to myself. Everything in there is lovely, but compared to the PS Holiday box it just doesn’t wow me enough to keep it or use it for gifts. Especially when I really want new dishes and $100 would buy 4 place settings…and actually now that I’m returning this I don’t feel guilty for keeping all the items I love from the PS box. Hopefully the next one will be better.

  10. I love Design Sponge, and I actually like all of the items in this box (she has great taste), but I admit to being a little disappointed when I remembered that I paid $100- not $50-for this. At $50, home run. For $100– not so sure. I’m sure that including more artisanally made items from smaller producers affects pricing, etc, but it does feel a little light….

  11. Add me to the list of people who was on the wait list, so excited about this box and relieved now I didn’t waste my money on this box. I would’ve been so disappointed had I spent $100 on this. I guess I expected so much more having loved design sponge and being an artist/designer myself. It’s just soap, notebook and candles are all things we get all the time. At least give me a big sketchbook! Plus the spoiler of the cutting board being dark was so much prettier than the light. Also the value of this box is ok but I think I’m spoiled now with little lace box, popsugar and fabfitfun having received this value or higher for $40-50.

  12. I signed up,the first day that it opened and I’m not wowed, but im not disappointed either. This is my most expensive box so maybe I just had higher expectation. My cutting board is light wood. Soap, black and white sandalwood. Tea, same as Liz. That tea smells amazing and I already have a tea strainer because my son is a big tea drinker. Including one in the box would have been a smart move. My candles are broken. I sent an email with pics and I’m awaiting their response. The matches are being paired with the pretty candle in the golden tin from the PSMH Christmas bix for her and gifted. The notebook is up for swap. Overall, I’m ok with it.

  13. I am really surprised by the comments. Looks like Quarterly boxes really know how to hit a nerve! Well, I was really happy with this. Yes, I wish the cutting board was dark wood, not the unfinished blonde wood. Loved the felt coasters that match the cutting board. My soap and candles actually matched in color. My tea was a Rooiboos red tea in Christmas. I would have loved tea bags or a strainer to go with the tea. Instead of a Paper notebook. Perhaps, I will use the notebook to write down that I need to buy tea bags or a strainer 😉
    Otherwise, very happy with this curation.

  14. This box was open to sign up right before it shipped and I was thrilled to sign up. Now that I have it in hand

    • Everything just feels like overpriced filler items. The cutting board was shown in the spoiler to be a very dark color, and I also received the light color…I could work with that it if loved the rest of the box but I don’t so it is going back. So disappointing!

  15. So tired of coasters and ear buds. That should be part of curator 101 training. We do not want these items for a long, long time.

    • lol I am perhaps the only person desperately searching for some cool coasters. I was hoping these would be it, but alas, simple wool felt did not meet my expectations.

      • I’m looking for coasters too 🙂 Also with 2 boys I can never have enough earbuds 🙂

  16. I’m not into design but I like this box. It’s not in my budget, currently, but I would’ve been happy with everything there.

  17. Wow.. I am so happy I did not get this box. I was on the wait list and really excited for this box. As a designer I thought this was going to be right up my alley and finally a non beauty box. What an extreme disappointment. The cutting board was the only nice and design worthy item. But not worth the 100. It seem like the other items were more as after thoughts as nicer fillers. They really missed the mark here.

  18. I like my box! I was pleasantly surprised have it before Christmas. I found the items to be of quality and well-made. Everything will be used. My variations are Earth scent for the soap and St. Petersburg flavored tea. The cutting board is a little bit thicker than my other wood cutting boards. I still need to season it this week. I placed the candles in a wood all-in-one napkin holder/candle sticks holder/salt and pepper shaker although I might move them to a different candle stick holder. The matches are useful and are in a pretty box. Soap is always welcome in this house. I can always use more coasters especially since I have my nice tablecloth out. I have a tea infuser so loose tea is not an issue. Looking forward to the next box!

  19. Eeeeek!! I was on the wait list for this box praying that I would get in because I would have bought this. However…after seeing it I am beyond happy I did not spend $100 on this box. I expected a WAY better box than this. I agree with the above person….matches…a notebook…tapered candles and a not-even-pretty soap?!?! I really thought Design Sponge would have blown this box away. Showing the BEST item in the box as a spoiler really suckered me in…but I’m happy I didn’t get this.

    • I was on the waitlist too and I was dying to buy this box. I was in love with the cutting board spoiler. I am so thankful I ended up not purchasing this box. I had high expectations for a $100 box. This would have been a let down for me.

    • I agree I had different expectations for this box, I would’ve been mad had I gotten matches, tapers, felt coasters and a notebook for $100.

  20. I agree that the curation feels more important than the $$$ value with this one. I can honestly say I’ll use every item, and everything is high quality, well made, and feels true to the D*S brand, which is exactly what I was hoping for. It’s a nice introduction to some new things for me.

    I had the same items with two slight variations. My soap is sandalwood and black-and-white striped (which went well with the overall neutral collection of pattern) and my tea is the St Petersbourg flavor (black tea with citrus, red fruits, and caramel and it smells divine). My cutting board is also the light blonde wood. It’s VERY heavy! I plan to season it this week, which will darken it a bit.

    I’m very happy with it and plan to stay subscribed for spring.

  21. Am I the only one who expected prints or something similar in this box? I’m a bit on the fence with this one. I think it’s all really lovely, but it also requires that I go out and purchase a tea strainer (is that the right word?) for the loose leaf tea, and candle holders for the candles. I’m sure I could get both quite cheap from some place like ikea, but it does require more consumerism at a time when I’m trying to cut down. My sister pointed out that not paying for shipping for each item adds a large value to the box, but I suppose that’s true of every/most subscription box.

  22. Haven’t received my box yet but hope I like it better in person. I expected more than soap, tea and matches and candles. Had expected more pattern. Rather disappointing.

  23. I’m so glad I cancelled after being billed – I’m an international subscriber – and the value doesn’t even cut the cost.
    Even though I would really like some of these things – especially since most of them are hard to find locally. I want to enjoy this box so much – cause I love her blog…but I don’t want to be ripped off either.

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