Laura Heller, Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish.
We live in a world driven by technology, yet so often we’re told to create rooms as though it didn’t exist. Designers turn their noses up at televisions, while shelter publications and coffee table books unplug lamps and airbrush cords, erasing all traces of electronics.
Except that we all have them, use them, want them and dare we say, enjoy them.
There’s no reason to forgo these pleasures or eschew electronic necessities. Let’s embrace the technology and design homes that are both beautiful and functional for how we live today. Over the next few months, I hope to address all these issues and more.
There’s perhaps no better place in the home for a computer than the kitchen. It’s where we spend the most time and of course, the heart of any home. From accessing shared schedules, video chatting with family and friends while cooking, downloading recipes, news and weather, doing homework, or monitoring a child’s online activity, some form of computing device will serve a family well.
TVs in the Kitchen are a must for many of us but often sneered at by designers. But the time we spend in that room and the myriad of people who pass through makes the screen a welcome addition. Flat panels today are more like portals through which we view television content, order movies, check email and play games. It’s less about starring at a sitcom while eating dinner instead of carrying on a conversation and more about being connected to what you want in the most popular room of the house.
The only place a TV is more controversial than the kitchen is the bedroom. It’s a highly personal space and including electronics here is a highly personal decision. What’s right for one person or couple isn’t correct for everyone, and the same is true about the type of electronics, placement and accessories placed here. Lifts, shades, wireless headphones, docking stations and streaming Internet can help retain the tranquility or add a little spice to our nights.
Living rooms and family rooms are the traditional home for home electronics, and while flat panel TVs and slim components have made it easier to incorporate gadgets into a well-designed room, there are still a lot of challenges. How high is too high to place a TV? Is it safe to mount a screen over the fireplace? (Yes, but don’t do it. It’s the worst viewing angle possible.) How to arrange seating for optimal viewing and sightlines? And the perennial question of whether or not to hide it all.
Home theaters can be tricky; often walking the line between luxurious and cliché. Once we get past the technology – projectors, drop down screens, surround sound, 3-D – the furnishings themselves present a problem. But yes, Virginia, there is a way to design a home theater without the requisite antique popcorn machine and leather loungers.
Whether you’re looking to replicate a five-star hotel experience or simply need access to news while readying for work, incorporating electronics into the bathroom is a great way to create the ultimate retreat. Options go beyond TV panels and docking stations to tubs and tiles that emit sound and mirrors that reflect your own image and images of the world as projected from a TV broadcast.
Home offices are a must for an increasing number of people, but what about the cords? Managing clutter is a constant battle and cord organization a never ending tangle, but new wireless components, home services, cloud based computing and good old-fashioned cord management will help keep the technology working for you.
For those lucky enough to live in mild climates, outdoor entertainment areas can go way beyond grills and picnic tables. All-weather TVs, sound systems and seating create viewing spaces that give movie night a whole new meaning.
Sometimes it’s the things we don’t see that have the biggest impact — an alarm system in the corner, a control panel, in-wall docking stations, whole-home audio systems and speakers, wireless networks. These may be nearly invisible to the naked eye but pose just as many purchasing and design dilemmas as the technology we see.
More from Houzz.com: