Bring your home into 2018

Even the most beautiful and well maintained of period properties can benefit from current day technology and conveniences; innovations within the home bring all sorts of advantages from added safety and security, to streamlining household management and saving you money (as well as simply looking great!). Plus, in this seemingly more connected world, such technologies are paving the way to a more tech-savvy utopia.


Luckily, introducing some modern touches to your household doesn’t have to cost a fortune, depending on what you’re looking for. Once a new technology is available in the mainstream, its price tag tends to become more attainable as well. From smart energy meters, to autonomic cars, we’ve rounded up the hottest homeware products and trends to look out for in 2018…


The future is in-home connectivity


To start with, in-home technology went wireless; dial-up internet became WiFi and appliances that once required mains leads were now able to be placed anywhere in the room. Fast forward to now, and modern lives have been dependent on total connectivity; a fitness tracker speaks to your phone which tells you how you slept, parcels can be delivered via drones and tracked in real time, and you can even answer your front door without being at home! Regardless of whether you deem these innovations useful, or useless, the trend for in-home connectivity has been sweeping the nation.


If you invest in a smart speaker and home assistant, akin to Amazon Echo or Google Home, it’s possible to do your food shopping, set reminders, play music, call friends… almost anything, all through voice activation alone. While inventions like this may spell doom for supermarkets (because who would really choose to suffer around the aisles when you can re-order dog food from the comfort of your own house?) they are making everyday life so much simpler.


It’s thrilling to try and imagine what in-home connectivity will look like in just one year — what technological leaps will enable digital devices to do — let alone in five years’ time!


Get smarter with your utilities


Looking for alternative ways to produce and control your household’s water and power could save you money, as well as being kinder on the environment.


Many people are now making the most of the tax credits, and financial incentives offered to those who opt for solar energy in their home. Solar energy works by harnessing sunlight stimulation and converting this into free-flowing electricity. The number of solar panels you need depends on what you’re hoping to achieve with solar energy: are you looking to reduce your utility bills, or become totally self-sufficient? Either way, if you’re looking to save money and run your house in a more environmentally friendly way, solar is a great option to look at in 2018.


With new technologies comes the ability to have greater control over how and when you heat your house. Whereas before you’d have to set a thermostat in advance, so the heating would kick on at a set time every day, now homeowners can be much more reactive and respond to weather changes in real time, and from outside of the house. Imagine you’re on holiday getting some winter sun, and you hear from a friend back home that your neighborhood is suffering a real blizzard. If you’ve installed a smart meter, you’ve got the option of turning up your heating a few points through your smartphone — this way, you’ll get home to a warm house and not have risked any pipes bursting from the sudden drop in weather temperature.


Another way to influence your utility consumption is to look at your water usage. Chances are, if you live in a family household you’ll have laundry washing near constantly, with people jumping in and out of the shower every morning. Even if you live alone, water can be quite a drain financially. There are also many places in the world now experiencing severe water shortages, especially in the summer months, so it makes sense for everyone to increase control over how much water you use in the house.


These days, smart technology is being put in to shower heads, and other shower accessories, to track shower durations and water levels, suggesting the temperatures that are most environmentally, and economically friendly. Of course, these innovations are also linked into the Internet of Things in the home so that you can follow your water usage over time via an app.


Ditch that costly unlimited data cell plan


Someone very wise once said that, “Home is where your WiFi automatically connects”, and if that’s the case then the definition of ‘home’ will have to stretch to cover not only your own abode, but all your friend’s houses, your favorite coffee store, bar, restaurant and even some public spaces! With the proliferation of free wireless internet pretty much wherever you go, it seems there’s little point spending money on unlimited mobile data contracts on your cell phone.


Why not ask for a detailed history of your data spending your cell phone for the last few months and see if you really need to be paying out for this service.


Contemporary kitchens and modern food solutions


When microwavable and TV dinners were first launched in the 1950s, it was one of the biggest revolutions to hit the kitchen, and thus fundamentally changed how families and individuals prepared and enjoyed their meals. A lot has changed since then, indeed some foodies would now demonize the microwave cooker, and many parents insist that family dinners should happen with the television switched off!


Wherever you choose to eat your meals, it’s likely that you’re open to today’s modern conveniences to make buying and preparing food less time demanding. For those living in cities or big towns, the rise of online grocery shopping from providers like Amazon has offered a new approach. Similarly, the introduction of subscription meal boxes such as Hello Fresh and Blue Apron now gives guidance on healthy, balanced meal plans and diets for all types of tastes. It’s safe to say, our relationship with food continues to change thanks to technology.


So how do you look for the latest food solutions that will make your life easier? If you enjoy preparing food and like to get creative in the kitchen, the number of sleek, smart appliances on the market is likely to whet your appetite. If you’re a keen entertainer, you can wow your dinner guests with the latest in mixology technology: Perfect Company is a smart scale and shaker, connected to your smartphone or tablet, which helps you prepare the perfect cocktail.


If you’d rather delegate most of the culinary tasks, there are even AI options in development, to deliver you your very own in-house chef.


The interior design trends that are hot right now


It’s interesting that despite the increasing prevalence of technology in homes, interior design styles are swinging the other way; some experts think that the ‘industrial chic’ esthetic which has enjoyed great popularity in recent years is finally no longer on trend. In fact, if fashion publications are to be believed, then ‘chintz’ is even on the cards for a big comeback in 2018; think floral fabrics and pastel colors. This juxtaposition might be just the thing to keep everyone grounded.


If you’re looking to redecorate in 2018, trend forecasters predict that home decor stores will be alive with rich pigments, so it’s time to paint over those neutral grays and off-whites with a new bolder hue. Travel and the Tropics continue to be a big inspiration for interior style, so keep your eye’s peeled on your next vacation for anything to bring a sense of adventure into the home.


Driverless cars: the next big thing, or an accident waiting to happen?


It’s not often that new technologies are met with such a mixed response from the public — despite the majority of people understanding that robotic cars are an inevitable development, many harbor fears about getting in the passenger seat. Nevertheless, with early trials of autonomous cars showing great potential in the invention, it seems their use will be rolling out faster than many people can get their heads around the concept.


To begin, the first utilizations of driverless vehicles may be seen in professional contexts only — for example, in long-distance transportation of goods, a job which is very physically and emotionally demanding on a human driver. As such, we may not see fully electric, driverless Toyotas on every neighborhood drive too soon, but if you like to be an early adopter maybe swing by your local car dealership to pick up an information packet. Society may not be many years away from autonomous school runs.


Change happens fast, so act quickly to get on board


There are many motivations for future-proofing your home and bringing it into 2018. Whether you’re driven by a desire to save money or time, to reduce your carbon footprint or to simply surround yourself the most state-of-the-art technology you can afford, you certainly won’t find a shortage of goods available on the market.