The interior design industry often seems to be at odds with the world of technology, whether we’re trying to find a way to hide the many cables from various devices or, to incorporate a device and create a seamless look. These worlds always seem to be in one another’s way. How often have you bought a smart speaker, or a PlayStation, installed it and plugged it in, only for that disheartening feeling to consume you…you need to hide the wires!
But for the foreseeable future, interior design and technology will be seen to work together and create a harmonious relationship. This has to happen because we live in an ever-changing world of technology. It floods each and every part of our day to day lives and so it needs to become a welcome part of the interior design world.
For years interior design trends have been going round and around in circles. There seems to be a never-ending cycle of trends coming in and going out of fashion year after year. Whether it’s minimalism, floral patterns or even artisanal fixtures, people are always ready to redecorate and redesign their homes. But one thing that seems to have a ubiquitous nature in today’s interior design is technology. Tech has been something that sticks and with this, it’s here to stay.
HOW IS IT ALL CHANGING?
Interior design is something that not everyone has an eye for, and so that’s why people are able to make a living helping others create a gorgeous space to live in. There’s a psychology to interior design because you need to be able to tailor a home/room to the client’s taste all while maintaining a level of functionality.
Tech is changing the interior design scene because it’s another element that designers have to implement. It could be hiding wires and cables or even making a Bluetooth speaker invisible by weaving it into the design around it. There’s more to think about than there used to be and this creates an enjoyable challenge. Most people are looking to stay up to date with not only the design trends but also the tech trends. This means that incorporating these items will be necessary. Not only that but due to the ever-changing world of technology, a room will need to be malleable when swapping/changing the technology.
A lot of interior design revolves around not only the style and look of the space but also the way in which it functions. The functionality shouldn’t be jeopardised to make a space look nicer. The two have a simpatico relationship which can sometimes create a slight dilemma. Many feel that instead of having something that functions perfectly, focus on the style, while others argue that you should sacrifice some style for a well maintained, practical area.
THE FUTURE OF FURNITURE
There have been many styles in which furniture has been the centre. We’ve been through everything from a ‘miss-match’ style to minimalism. But during this time, developments in technology have been introduced to create something in line with the latest trends that utilises advancements in the tech industry.
An example of this would be the use of wireless chargers and how they’ve been included within furniture in our homes. There have been a number of iterations of the wireless charger and as time has gone on, they’ve been more and more efficient. Once they had the capacity to charge through a solid surface, wireless chargers were added to interior furniture. From coffee tables to bedside tables and even office desks. These pieces of furniture allow for simple placement and ease of use. You can simply put your phone or tablet on one of these surfaces and start charging without having to worry about it. There aren’t any wires or cables to consider!
SMART COFFEE TABLES
We’ve also seen a coffee table that doubles as a tablet itself. A touchscreen table top that allows the user to play games, surf the web and even text other people. The coffee table tablet could act as a multimedia station for a lounge area. It could be used cast favourite shows to the TV or browse streaming apps like Netflix or YouTube. Similarly, it could enable access to emails and texts. There’s be no need or a phone or a laptop in the living room when you can simply use the coffee table.
Smart beds have become something of a sought-after piece of furniture for the bedroom. When we mention ‘Smart Beds’ people will usually think of a sleek frame with a TV that emerges from the foot of the bed. Instead, we’re thinking of something more. With a smart bed, the possibilities are endless, from speakers to projectors to climate control for each side of the bed.
This futuristic design and a state-of-the-art tech offers the best night’s sleep possible. Having the ability to control the temperature of just one side of the bed means enables the optimal environment for sleep. The idea that a bed can even track sleeping habits and report on the ways in which people sleep throughout the night could have a huge effect on health. So, with this in mind, the design of each bed and bedroom needs to be carefully planned to ensure each item is in keeping with the style and design that the clients have asked for.
One of the simplest ways to seamlessly implement technology into a home without people noticing or making it blindingly obvious is to take something that looks like it belongs and create something new. At the end of the day, technology is all about creating an easier life for those who use it. A simple idea that can be interpreted in any way imaginable, which is why it’s such a fast-growing, constantly developing industry. With that in mind, taking something as trivial as a mirror and creating something exciting has become a very popular idea.
Smart mirrors have been a thing of the future for some time now and although they haven’t become a mainstream product, they have been making inroads into our homes. These smart mirrors are usually created with a Raspberry Pi connected to a screen behind a mirror. Smart mirrors haven’t been picked up by any big brands yet and this may be due to the fact that they are so easy to make at home. These mirrors offer an easy way to interact with your day before it even begins: checking the weather, your schedule and even gliding over a news feed.
It would be fantastic to see these become a mainstream product in the next 10 years because they lend themselves to the very popular minimalist design style. It would allow for less clutter and there wouldn’t be the need for smart speakers all over the place! So, fewer wires to hide.
TVS MADE FOR INTERIOR DESIGN
One of the best TVs on the market at the moment would be Samsung’s Frame TV. This is a TV that gets mounted on the wall and has been designed to look like a picture frame. With this, Samsung has included a feature that allows the user to choose images and pictures to feature on their wall when it’s not in use. This means that you can have some of the most famous paintings in your home without having to purchase them. And those paintings could be changed depending on mood.
However, in the future we could be seeing TVs that reside within the walls of our homes and can only be seen when they’re turned on. This would change a lot in the interior design world and so we’d most likely need a new focal point within the lounge! For years, the TV has been the focal point of a lounge even if it isn’t on. With this not visible, we’d need to produce something else to take the attention away from a big open space.
Smart homes have been slowly creeping into a mainstream market for a while and one of the simplest pieces of decor that come with this are smart bulbs. These smart bulbs allow for an atmospheric lighting change to suit any mood. These can be controlled using a smartphone or even a voice assistant which means they’re easy to use and make a great addition to a home. The use of these bulbs can sometimes mean that the conventional style of a ‘main’ lighting fixture and a number of lamps around a room could start to fly out of the window. Smart bulbs are usually LED, and this means that we’re able to dim them and control the brightness level, creating an adaptive atmospheric effect.
With CCTV technology getting better and better every day, it’s become easier to hide cameras to better protect not only the home but also, it’s aesthetic. Interior home CCTV can come in all shapes and sizes and with this in mind, we’re now able to blend this technology with the normal decor around the home. So, if you’re looking for a stylish, modern design that works perfectly with the design of the space, that’s easy to find. If you’re after a simple, animated character that interacts with the people in the home, this exists too!
Hopefully CCTV of the future will be undetectable to the naked eye. This would mean that we won’t have to see an ugly camera or even a strange, animated character that acts as the camera, recording the room or the exterior.
“We’ve found that whether we’re creating an interior that conforms to a traditional style or a modern, sleek design with harsh lines and uniform corners, the clients always look for simple to use ‘smart’ products or an abundance of tech to create a luxurious, easy lifestyle. This is an understandable request because as you’re redesigning an interior the last thing you want is to get left behind in the times. Staying up to date is important, not only in the world of tech but the world of design too. This is sometimes due to the fact that when it comes to reselling a home, the more outdated the interior is in the way of design and tech, the less you’re likely to sell it for.”
Neil Partridge, NGI Luxury Interior Design
Goodrich Cashmere Oak – not a smart floor, just for effect
When you think of smart floors most aren’t sure what to expect, how is the floor smart? What does it really mean? But Smart floors seem to be taking off in the world of flooring and they offer a number of benefits to both commercial and domestic settings.
The idea of a smart floor is pretty simple really and could even save lives! Let’s say that an elderly man lives alone and struggles to get around the house. He isn’t very mobile and can’t walk without the aid of a walking stick. At some point in the day, he falls over, he’s hurt to the point that he can’t get up and there is no one around to him! A smart floor features pressure triggers and other technologies to instantly recognise the distress, in which case it will request an ambulance!
This smart floor technology means that we could be saving lives and adding years to people’s lives. Using something like this might also help to save the planet too. As a concept, the smart floor might be able to track where you are and turn off lights or control the heating. For example, if you’re going to bed, it might turn the heating off for downstairs but keep it on for upstairs. Alternatively, it might only heat the one room that you’re in. In doing this, money would be saved in the long run by using less energy to heat the home. It’s an exciting prospect.
Regardless of the styles that you choose, tech will always be a part of interior design. That’s just the way the world is moving and although some tech can be easily hidden, other pieces need a little more thought and attention. One of the biggest problems that many face is keeping a traditional theme all while implementing technology in and around the home. For example having dark wood, traditional lighting fixtures and wooden floors might mean that you don’t want to ruin the atmosphere with modern looking technology. But, having the contrast might work well and offer a refreshing take on a space.