Science fiction has been showing us a future full of high-tech homes for decades, but only relatively recently have those visions of life started to come to fruition. Smart home technology isn’t just adding convenience to our lives; it’s having an unmistakable effect on interior design, as designers and developers look to blur the lines between technology and our homes.
With that in mind, we’ve put together this list of some of the biggest technological developments that are likely to affect interior design going forward.
Smart Home Integration
Smart technology has the foothold it needs to become just another part of our lives already, with personal assistants like the Amazon Echo and Google Home making their way into millions of households. In the future, however, we can expect to find smart technology working its way into more devices, which in turn will change how we handle our interior design.
Perhaps the most readily available example is that of wireless charging spots. We are already seeing furniture with wireless charging pads built-in, and that is a trend that is likely to continue as more devices with wireless charging hit the market. Another example is the growth of smart fitness mirrors which could see the desire for open spaces in our homes (to exercise in) increase in the coming years.
Though very much still in its infancy, virtual reality has exploded in the last couple of years, and it is becoming an increasingly consumer-friendly device, meaning it’s not just interested gamers who own a VR headset, but also people who use it casually. While VR is becoming more accessible, the physical requirements are unavoidable—you need enough space to move around.
If VR’s popularity continues, we could very likely see an increase in a preference for open spaces, as people choose to design their interiors with this in mind, rather than shuffling furniture out of the way when they want to play.
Tiny House Efficiency
The “tiny house” movement has been hard to miss if you’ve spent any time on YouTube over the last few years. And, while tiny houses themselves may not be to everyone’s tastes, the tips and tricks that these intrepid miniature homeowners are discovering have proved to be just as popular for regular house owners.
Making more efficient use of our space—especially when it comes to storage—is something more and more people are working towards. This extends to decluttering, as well, with many homeowners choosing to cut down on the amount of stuff they own, leading to more minimalist homes.
The plight of the environment is increasingly at the forefront of our minds these days, as we all become more keenly aware that this is not a fight we can put off for another day. For interior design, this means an increase in sustainable products, a stronger emphasis on energy efficiency in the home, and the incorporation of renewable energy solutions where possible.
This has a more profound impact on the interior design of new builds as the drive for more environmentally friendly homes leads to significant changes in the construction and design of the homes themselves.
What was once a quirky novelty that only big businesses and enthusiasts with a lot of disposable income could play around with, has since become an affordable pastime for pretty much anyone. But more than that, the quality of professional 3D printing has grown to a point where real, functional consumer products are being created this way.
While this won’t make a significant difference to interior design in the sense of consumers buying products—other than perhaps some products being a little cheaper—the potential of 3D printing is clear for all to say.
It is not fantastical to envision a future where the average homeowner could own a 3D printer in much the same way they would own a washing machine or vacuum cleaner. But unlike today’s 3D printers, these would be capable of printing high-quality, durable products that could be used around the home. We’re a long way from printing things like furniture at home, but it’s quite possible we could be using home-printed plates and cutlery, shelf brackets, and really anything else around the home that is small.
Technology can often be scary—or at least the change that the technology represents can—but the advancement of technology in the home will undoubtedly affect how we choose to design our homes going forward. The good news is that even with the breakneck pace that technology moves at these days, this won’t happen overnight.
We are far more cautious about adopting new technology into our homes, and that is still the case here. In reality, our homes will probably continue to adapt and change at a rate that is just slow enough to not be jarring. In other words, change is coming, but it doesn’t need to come any faster than you’re comfortable with.
Eoin Pigott is a Business Development Associate for Wisetek, a global leader in IT Asset Disposition, Data Destruction, & IT Reuse.