Internet of design

Manika Dhama | Updated on January 11, 2018

The gadget revolution: Home automation needn’t be prohibitively expensive   -  Shutterstock

Gadget guru: By using a smartphone, tablets or custom in-wall screen touch devices, different appliances can be controlled from a central point   -  Shutterstock

How to smarten up your home using the principles of design

If the modern home has to match the hurried rhythm of contemporary lifestyle, and yet allow for more time, technology is an aid. While some prefer their personal lives to be free of technology, for most, it can make life simpler and more efficient.

“Smart home systems can bring technology into design with fixtures such as lighting, heating and cooling, security, shades and gate entrance devices. By using a smartphone, tablets or custom in-wall touch devices, different appliances can be controlled from a central point”, says Mumbai-based designer Milind Pai. Integrating technology into your design can sometimes impact the décor of your home. Achieving the right balance between technology and aesthetics means a better understanding of space utilisation. The environmentally-conscious home-owner can now use technology as an enabler in their daily activities rather than a hindrance to enjoying the finer things in life.


Tech in design

Technology can help enhance an understanding of the concept and availability of space, as well as how different elements engage with each other. “Electronic gadgets are not only being integrated into the interiors of a home, they are also being used extensively to further design philosophy,” says Lipika Sud, a leading interior decorator. “Nowadays, 3D visuals and walk-throughs help the client give their inputs at every stage of the project and make it easier for them to imagine what the house would look like.” For instance, your lounge area with a state-of-the-art home theatre system might double as a space for entertaining.

For example, all the gadgetry used during movie night might need to be hidden away, possibly behind artwork and book-shelves when guests are milling about during a dinner party. Retractable TV units could solve this problem and, with a little planning ahead, new technologies can help strike the right balance between electronics and aesthetics.


Smart homes for all

Smart homes have always belonged to multimillionaires whose lavish lifestyle is supported by technology. But home automation does not need to be prohibitively expensive. It can start with something as simple as introducing remote control devices, without incurring the huge cost of transforming every product in your home into a smart device.

“Smart home designing can transform existing devices into smart devices simply by plugging them into smart outlets. From there, you can create a schedule for your devices, remotely turning them on and off, and more. Technology can become a tool to control devices more efficiently and can lower energy usage when applied correctly,” says Pai.

A sustainable lifestyle with the help of technology is the way forward for the modern home. This need not involve compromising on its character, a common inhibition among homeowners. This is where the role of design comes in, to ensure that each home retains its unique identity. A home can be energy efficient, without turning its inhabitants into drones, and making décor impersonal. On the contrary, it can save time spent by residents managing appliances, and, in the end, lower energy bills with the help of smart devices.

Manika Dhama is a freelance writer based in Dubai

Published on July 27, 2017

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