From smart TVs to modems and tablets, technology has become a central part of our lives and our homes. But unsightly cords, wires and devices, if left ignored, can distract from your home’s character and disrupt your calm. So how can you keep up with the latest technology and preserve a comforting, Kondo-approved oasis? According to an expert, it’s all about integration.
“Design is becoming more about creating a symbiotic relationship with technology,” said Kinley Sanborn, a North Carolina-based interior designer with Dianne Davant & Associates. “[The key is] making technology a part of the home, while preventing [it] from taking away from the overall aesthetic.”
Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.
Start with your priorities
If you’re remodeling or building and have some decisions to make, consider your top priorities. Cost-efficiency, safety, sustainability — it all starts with what’s most important to you and your family, according to Sanborn.
If you want to save money on your energy bills, opt for energy-efficient, sustainable technology. If making sure things are running smoothly is most important, add Alexa or Google Home to enhance your place’s overall efficiency. Safety at home is always an important factor, so perhaps consider an advanced home security system. Or maybe it’s all of the above. “As designers, it is our job to make people aware of their priorities and show them [their] tech options,” said Sanborn.
Disguise wires and use cord covers
Once you’ve determined which types of technology are necessities, the best thing to do is engage an electrician to hide wires and other unsightly technology behind the wall. An outlet in the same location eliminates the need for stretching messy cords along the wall or floor.
“Truthfully, the only way you’re going to get an absolute seamless design is if you plan it out ahead of time,” said Sanborn. “Know where everything is going and then hire a professional to help design, install, and program everything for you.”
Too late for all that? Don’t have the budget? Don’t worry. Cord covers are available at home stores or online retailers. Cord clips also keep lines straight and out of sight behind desks and couches. Baskets, boxes and crates are also creatively designed to run cords through the back, hiding wires and plugs as they journey to the outlet.
Many companies even offer clear cords or varying colors to best match your home’s palette. For an exact match, Sanborn offered, “You can also paint cords to be the same color as [your] trim, wall or flooring.”
Honor your aesthetic
Misaligned tech storage or large devices can seriously disrupt your home’s vibe. Nothing distracts more from an antique or cottage-style aesthetic than a shiny flat-panel hanging clunkily on the wall.
Antique cabinets, curios and wardrobes are good for housing smart TVs and cable boxes above the fireplace or in the living space — out of view. Like your pantry door hides canned goods, sliding barn doors or aesthetically-aligned folding screens creatively disguise electronics.
Secret compartments hidden in fake rows of books, for example, are also an option for disguising smaller accessories like remotes, routers, cable boxes, cords and plugs.
Designate a tech drawer
Consider a tech drawer for your tablets, chargers and remotes. Sanborn offered that the drawer should be in a location that’s accessible to whoever needs to use it and large enough to store all the devices. “A great location for these drawers would be in a community space — a kitchen or great room,” she said.
Alternatively, you can also designate a specific room — a home office, for example — to house all of your devices so they don’t creep into your living spaces and bedrooms.
Whether you’re starting from scratch with the freedom to build tech into your home, or looking to touch up your home’s current state, you’ve got options. With a little foresight, creativity and a few cord covers, up-to-date technology doesn’t have to compromise the aesthetic and feel of your home.