How to include technology in your design scheme

How to include technology in your design scheme

When it comes to creating an interior design scheme that works for you, it’s important that you create a space that solves problems, provides support and improves your quality of life. One of the best ways for you to do this is by embracing the benefits of technology. This will help you to modernise your design scheme and to fill it with features that are sure to impress your family and friends. With so many options available to you, it can be hard to know where to start. Below are four suggestions that will help you get inspired.

Corner of an all-in-one home printer

Your office space

If you have a home office, this is one area where technology will play a big part. Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether you’re going to invest in a desktop computer or a laptop. You’ll also need to look out for a suitable printer. If you’re tight on space, you should try to find a printer that also works as a scanner and even a fax machine. Once you’ve set up all of your devices, you should also invest in cyber-security and create a backup plan for any data loss disasters. You should trust Secure Data Recovery to protect your technology. This is the best way for you to ensure your home office stays up and running and always exists as a functional space.

Using an iPad in the kitchen

Your kitchen

If you’re a real foodie who loves to spend time in the kitchen, you should explore the many opportunities that technology provides for you. One option is to have a television screen mounted on the wall of your kitchen. It’s ideal if you like to follow cooking tutorials from all of your favourite chefs. Alternatively, you could create a mounted platform for your tablet or smartphone. You could also introduce smart technology into your property and sync your oven timer to your phone. That way, you can move around your home without forgetting about your culinary efforts.

Electric noise masker

Your bedroom

In order to enjoy a good night’s sleep, it’s important that you limit your exposure to the blue light of tablets and smartphones before you go to bed. However, other kinds of technology will work incredibly well in your bedroom. For instance, you could invest in a white noise machine. This is a brilliant way for you to take control of your sleeping pattern and to enjoy a deeper sleep. You could also sync your light switches with your smartphone. That way, you don’t have to get out of bed when you’re ready to drift off.

Multi-media setup in a living room

Your home entertainment area

Another fantastic way for you to include technology in your design scheme is by creating a home entertainment area. Instead of relying on basic television speakers, you should think about investing in a high-quality sound system. They will help you to get the most out of the shows and films that you are watching. You could also use your sound system to blast your favourite tunes around the house. It will come in especially handy when you’re throwing a party or completing a deep clean of your entire property!

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Price Points: Outdoor wireless speakers

Selection of outdoor wireless speakers | H is for Home

We know that summer seems an age away, but we’re already thinking about spending sunny days on the beach and in the garden, walking and picnicking in the countryside – perhaps even doing some work on our neglected allotment. Outdoor wireless speakers have become so common and affordable it’s easy to relax al fresco listening to music or our favourite radio shows and podcasts.

When we say ‘wireless’ we use the term in all its manifestations. That’s to say, a speaker that works via wi-fi or Bluetooth and also doesn’t need to be hooked up to mains electricity.

Each of the outdoor wireless speakers we’ve highlighted has its own special features or plus points; whether it be size, affordability, play time between charges, water resistance or the ability to light your way!

  1. Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 – mini wireless speaker: £28.49, Cyclestore
  2. Kreafunk aGlow light up Bluetooth speaker: £99, Prezzybox
  3. Bose SoundLink Revolve Plus Bluetooth speaker: £279.95, Amazon

Do you need a light like Needlite?

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

The clocks go back at midnight on Sunday, heralding the start of daylight saving time and winter. Justin doesn’t mind it, but it’s not a time of year that I look forward to – the long nights get me down-in-the-dumps. I find it hard to wake up and get going in the morning. It used to be much more of a struggle back when I commuted every day – waking up in the dark, coming home in the dark and spending those few precious daylight hours cooped up indoors. Does your mood change when the clocks go back in the autumn?

Boxed Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

Needlite ™ has recently sent us a pair of their daylight desk lamps to try out and review. They’re LED lights which emit a similar spectrum of light that you get from sunshine. They help alleviate negative mood changes and depression from the lack of natural light; and in so doing, can help improve work performance, productivity and creativity.

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamp | H is for Home

They’ve been set up, at the advised 45º angle, either side of a large table which we use for both office and craft activities – a simple, two-minute job. They’re sleek and minimalist – and look really great.

Needlite ™ iPhone app screenshots | H is for Home

You can operate the lights manually by finger touch control – or alternatively, you have the option of downloading an app for your smartphone (another 2-minute job) and controlling them that way. You can alter the brightness/dimness and even give yourself a little daylight boost if necessary.  You can also use the app to programme them to switch off at a particular time – a great way of letting you know that your working day is over!

Needlite ™ daylight desk lamps | H is for Home

I could feel the positive effects immediately – my mood lifting on the dark, drizzly day that we took these photos. Our work room faces almost east, therefore loses direct sunlight pretty early on in the day. With our new Needlite lamps, it will make it feel like it’s south facing!

I think they’re going to be a godsend this winter and they come highly recommended for fellow Seasonal Affective Disorder sufferers.

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4 new gardening trends to try in 2017

4 new gardening trends to try in 2017

Many recent studies indicate that time spent in and amongst nature plays an instrumental role in reducing stress and improving general health & well-being. Fortunately, due to modern advancements, it’s not necessary to go into the woods to spend time with nature. You can do so in the comfort of your own home, office or garden.

No longer are we limited by climate, rainfall, space, and soil conditions when it comes to growing plants. The advancement in modern techniques and technology enables virtually any available space to be transformed into a plant haven. Here are four new gardening trends to consider.

Vegetable seedlings

  1. Growing herbs & vegetables indoors

Indoor gardening techniques and equipment have improved in leaps and bounds over recent years. People are often choosing (or being forced) to live in smaller spaces without large gardens, whilst at the same time the demand for local and organic food has increased tremendously. Hence, many are opting to grow their own herbs, salads and other vegetables such as pak choi and chillies indoors. You can also grow your own herbal plants for infused teas, soaps or medicinal treatments. A windowsill is a perfect site for all this. You might also have a small balcony area that you can dedicate to these plants; or, failing that, grow plants under lights or use aquaponic systems.

Swallow greenhousecredit

  1. Greenhouses

If you do have some outdoor space, it doesn’t need to be large or expansive in order to grow your own food. You can have a Swallow greenhouse installed in your backyard or flat roof terrace. These greenhouses are specifically manufactured to help grow delicate plants that require specific conditions. They are constructed of timber that is heat-treated up to 215ºC, protecting the construction from rotting. Hence, you can be assured of the durability of Swallow greenhouses as they’re built to handle cold and damp weather conditions with ease. If you’re considering installing a Swallow greenhouse in your backyard or other potentially suitable space, pay a visit to the site greenhousestores.co.uk.

Cacti and succulent house plants

  1. Jungle and desert-inspired interiors

A trend that has been gaining momentum recently is grouped collections of house plants. If you browse magazines and interiors websites, you’ll see that many home-owners are using house plants to decorate their homes – arranged in wonderful assemblages of various sizes and shapes. Many have broad, glossy, architectural leaves and others cascade down from shelves and hanging planters. This gives quite a jungle-inspired feel and they’re currently all the rage.

The same can be said of cacti and other succulents. Again, they’re arranged in concentrated collections for maximum impact. Various pot colours & sizes – and using alternative containers such as up-cycled tins can add further interest. When decorating your home, consider these bold and intriguing house plants – for both the natural air purification benefits and to make a real interiors statement.

Click Grow house planting kit

  1. Hi-tech gardening tools

There’s some great new technology on the market for the both the experienced and aspiring gardener.

There is a growing range of apps available for your smartphone or tablet. There are plant identifiers such as the RHS ‘Grow Your Own’ which tells you what fruit & veg you can grow; when to plant and harvest and what pests and diseases you may encounter. There are also a number of podcasts that you can download and watch to improve your gardening knowledge.

The Parrot Flower Power plant monitor is a little device that you stick into your plant’s pot (either indoors or out) and it monitors and analyses the growing conditions. It sends you alerts to your smartphone via an app to let you know if the plant needs more or less light, water, warmth or even if it needs to be re-potted!

If there are rooms in your house that get little natural sunlight, you may find it a challenge to grow plants successfully. This dilemma has now been solved. There are now planting kits that come with integrated LED lights to ensure that your plants get all the light they need.

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Price Points: Air purifiers

Home air purifiers | H is for Home

The quality of our air has been in the news quite a lot recently. Just a few days into the new year, some parts of London have already breached guideline nitrogen dioxide limits. It’s also been discovered that living on a busy road may increase your risk by 12% of getting Alzheimer’s disease.

We live on a fairly busy road, however, I’m more worried about the particles in the air from our multi-fuel stoves. An air purifier seems like a no-brainer for our home. Whether you suffer from allergies, asthma or simply want to improve the smell of your home (all you cooks, pet owners and/or smokers!) air purifiers are a good idea.

  1. Puripod air purifier: £25.99, Wayfair
    Removes contaminants, clears airborne fumes, releases clean and fresh air back into your room and eliminates unpleasant odours:

    • Removes cooking smells and cigarette smoke
    • Light weight and portable
    • Easy to move from room to room
    • Virtually silent
  2. Rabbit Air MinusA2 Peanuts Edition SPA-700A: $539.95, Amazon US
    • BioGS HEPA filtration with six stages of purification and deodorisation
    • Customised filter option of your choice: germ defence, odour remover, pet allergy, toxin absorber
    • Covers up to 700 sq. ft.
  3. Dyson Pure Cool Link™ Tower: £449.99
    • Automatically removes 99.95% of allergens and pollutants as small as 0.1 microns: 360° glass HEPA filter captures ultra-fine particles from the air including pollen, bacteria and pet dander.
    • Intelligent purification: Automatically monitors, reacts and purifies – then reports to your Dyson Link app. So you can remotely control your environment.
    • Automatic night-time mode: Monitors, reacts and purifies; but only using the quietest settings. LED display dims – no disturbance.

Cabling your new home for the future

Cabling your new home for the futurecredit

Home automation of today would have been considered magic just fifty years ago. Lights turning on and off as you move through your house, motorised blinds that adjust on their own, music of your choice being piped into the room you’re occupying and security, power and environmental controls being adjusted just as you arrive home after a hard day’s work. One system can take action based on the input or the status of another, all without any human intervention.

The mainstay of this magic is the wiring. If you take the right steps concerning your wiring when building your home, then you will be ready for most new technologies that will be available in the near and not-so-near future. With the proper cabling, upgrades to any of your systems won’t require you to uproot the existing cables from the walls to install new ones. You’ll just need to replace the equipment and devices on either end. Even if you don’t have the cash to create the systems of your dreams right now, you can install the appropriate cabling for it and take advantage of it when you have the funds. The most expensive part of any home automation system can easily be the labour costs involved with the installation of new wiring!

Before you begin laying down cable, it’s a good idea to develop a plan. It’s actually a good idea to develop a plan before doing anything in life, but that’s enough philosophy for now. It may also be a good idea to get the help of a professional at this point. Decide what you need and where. Electrical and mechanical automation, network communications, telephony, television, video, security and audio are systems that can be included in your plan, but this list is by no means exhaustive. Depending on the applications you’ll require, you must then choose the proper types of cables.

Any British cable supplier can provide the myriad of cable types for any and all home automation and smart home needs, so acquiring the cables should not be a problem.

You can begin your plan by making a list of all the rooms in the house and deciding what applications you want each to have. You can also make a list of functionalities that you want everywhere, such as audio and smart lighting. Think about the long term as well. How will your needs change over the years? How about when the kids grow up, or the guest room is converted to an office? Even if you install cable that you never use, it will still be worth it.

Future-proofing your house in this way will not only allow you to enjoy the benefits of home automation and smart home functionality, but just the very presence of the cabling in the walls will end up increasing its resale value.

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