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Pro Tip 2: Lay Out Your Living Room on Purpose
Illustration by TW Detwiler11/16

Pro Tip 2: Lay Out Your Living Room on Purpose

Most interior design is accidental, the result of filling a room with piece-meal purchases that may or may not look like they belong in the same space. Tech can only exacerbate this problem, with products that become standout eyesores, whether because of dull, industrial colors and materials, or loud, splashy designs that compete with other bold items in the room. According the Shelby Girard, an interior designer and Head of Design at Havenly, a startup that connects designers with users over the internet, tech doesn’t have to clash with design, so long as you make a few simple choices about the smart gear you’re bringing into the living room.

When it doubt, go minimal. 

“By keeping your tech products simple, you have free reign to go bolder on your interior design style, without fearing your gadgets won’t fit in” says Girard.

Design around the couch. 

Since your couch will probably outlive even the biggest-ticket tech items in room, consider using it as the foundation for the design of the space. The colors and materials of gadgets obviously don’t have to match the sofa, but they shouldn’t clash with its design.

Hide tech in plain sight. 

White products, like the Sonos Playbase, can essentially fade into white walls. But you can also blend more distinctive gadgets into the room by taking advantage of existing non-tech items, “such as styling speakers on a bookshelf alongside books, decor or small plants,” says Girard, “or creating a gallery wall around your TV.”

Control your color pops. 

If the room has a contemporary look, a single device with a splash of color can be a playful design statement. Still, consider keeping those accent products minimal in number and design. Fabric-wrapped products like the Google Home or Libratone’s speakers can add color without looking garish.

Don’t forget lighting. 

Finally remember that lighting is a crucial part of design, and should be as flexible as possible in multi-purpose spaces like a living room. “Consider levels of lighting, from ceiling pendants to floor lamps, sconces, and table lamps,” says Girard. “Not having to rely on bright overhead lights lets create different moods for different purposes.” And while the ability to fine-tune color temperatures and brightness makes smart LEDs an obvious choice, “I wouldn't recommend them when your bulb is exposed and part of the light design itself, as they tend to not be the most delicate-looking bulbs,” says Girard.

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