Everything is becoming smart these days, from our phones to our microwaves, and furniture innovation ensures that this is only the beginning. What could be cooler than a couch that controls the smart TV or a desk with a built-in touchscreen device and led lights? Furniture innovation and smart furniture are rapidly revolutionizing how we live.
Modern technology affects furniture innovation, from making furniture more comfortable and user-focused to adding luxuries like smart controls and functions. Modern furniture is becoming more ergonomic and aesthetically pleasing in interior design, with the bonus of added functionality.
Read on to find out more about how smart tech has influenced furniture innovation.
Furniture Innovation and Smart Furniture Explained
Chairs and tables have been only chairs and tables for too many centuries. Apart from some visual changes and added comfort, there has been minimal furniture innovation, and a table from 3,000 BC is still recognizable as a table today.
But the last century has seen technological changes that humankind could previously only dream of. These changes and advancements have also occurred in modern medicine, which taught us how the furniture we use could harm our health and well-being.
This led to new furniture manufacturing ideas and forced manufacturers to become more innovative. Furniture innovation caused an influx of modern appliances that are comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, modern and have capabilities far beyond what you would expect from them.
What Is Furniture Innovation?
The Cambridge Dictionary defines innovation as “the use of a new idea or method.” People have been making furnishings and amenities for centuries, but modern manufacturers have begun to find ways to use new ideas and methods to do the same thing but make it new and different.
This furniture innovation is driven by the desire to create something new, unique, and desirable, but there are also deeper motives like making sustainable or more human-friendly products. Regardless of the motives, this innovation has influenced the creation of smart and high-tech furniture pieces. The lines between smart and high-tech are blurring more and more, but what are the differences?
Smart furniture utilizes modern technology to expand beyond its ordinary, everyday uses. Some examples include USB wireless charging ports built into desks and sofas and even something simple like beds with remote controls for built-in foot warmers.
Like smartphones and other smart devices, the idea behind smart furniture innovation is that it should give you more functionality and comfort. Unlike other smart devices, these furnishings’ smart attributes aren’t necessarily focused on connectivity with other devices, though it’s not excluded.
Some non-technological examples of smart furniture include highly comfortable and ergonomic items or those with advanced, modern aesthetics.
What Is High-Tech Furniture?
High-tech furniture focuses on integrating modern technology into our appliances and furnishings. There are varying degrees of this, from smart couches, and Bluetooth-integrated couches so you can adjust them with an app to couches that can transform into other types of furniture when the need arises.
We can also add chairs with integrated iPads and touchscreen desks to the list. Any furniture with modern technology integrated fundamentally can be seen as high-tech furniture.
Furniture Innovation And Ergonomics
Ergonomics is the study of human health and efficiency in a working environment. But because of how the world has changed, with many people working from home, this does not only refer to the office.
We’ve all heard of ergonomic keyboards, mouse pads, and other devices and items designed to be comfortable. But as the study of ergonomics progresses, more and more furniture manufacturers are finding innovative ways to make their products more ergonomic, and not just in the classic sense.
When we are comfortable, we tend not to put too much strain on our bodies. The strain that a traditional desk and chair can place on our bodies may lead to injuries in our back, neck, shoulders, and even arms.
Designers develop ergonomic furniture to improve comfort levels, fitting your body perfectly. The problem with this is that people don’t all have the same body size and shape; on the contrary, there are as many different shapes and sizes as there are bodies.
It stands to reason that ergonomic furniture works best when you can adjust it to fit perfectly. Smart, innovative chairs make that possible by giving you functions like power lift recliner remotes, removing the need to exert yourself even further by adjusting knobs and levers.
What Is Futuristic Furniture Design?
Futuristic design, often referred to as futurism, is a design style that incorporates shapes, patterns, and materials that look modern and futuristic, like something you expect to see in a science fiction movie. It is known for its curves, clean lines, and smooth surfaces.
Futuristic design has emerged in everything, from cars and houses to the furniture in our homes and offices.
Furniture, in particular, can appear futuristic in a few ways. The first is through the implementation of ergonomics. Our body shapes work best with chairs that have curves and comfortable headrests, which is why modern desk chairs often resemble something you might expect to see in Star Trek.
It goes further than that, though. High-tech furniture innovation adds even more futuristic design, especially with integrated devices like tablets and touchscreens.
Furniture Innovation And Smart Furniture
All the aspects we’ve looked at, like ergonomics, futuristic design, high-tech integration, and smart technology, contribute to the furniture we have today. But finding ways to integrate these different components into a valuable and appealing product takes a creative mind, which is where furniture innovation comes in.
Being innovative with the things in your home is not a new thing. In fact, the very fact that we have furniture at all stems from innovation. But modern humans require more, either for purpose or luxury.
Smart furniture is the latest phase in the process of innovation. People have become used to doing more things simultaneously, like scrolling through Instagram while watching television. Innovation makes it possible to do these things more comfortably by making people’s furniture smarter.
Another modern challenge is that life is forcing us more and more to live in smaller homes. Having less space requires us to also become innovative with our furnishings so that we can do more with less.
Smart Furniture For Small Spaces
One of the earliest attempts at furniture innovation was when innovative manufacturers added drawers to a table. Such a small change we take for granted must have been revolutionary in giving the user comfort (no need to stand up to get something, just open the drawer) and making better use of the available space.
Today, that trend is more important than ever, and smart furniture embraces that fact.
Couches with built-in shelves and cupboards or that can instantly transform into beds with the flip of a switch are excellent examples. So are nightlights with built-in chargers and usb ports, ergonomic chairs with laptop chargers and nightstands, and desks that house touchscreen computers and Bluetooth speakers.
All it takes is a little bit of creative thought to design smart furniture that can fit perfectly into a small space.
What Are The Advantages Of Having Smart Furniture?
The advantages of furniture innovation are countless, limited only by your needs and the innovation of the people who design it. Just a few examples include:
- Ergonomic designs will improve your health and wellness.
- Futuristic designs will look aesthetically pleasing in almost any environment.
- Some smart furniture can help track your health, like beds with built-in heart rate and sleep monitors.
- You can do more, more efficiently. For example, you don’t have to leave your phone in the bedroom to charge while watching TV in the living room since you can charge it right on your sofa.
- Some smart furniture can link with other smart home devices to allow voice controls, like a fan you can control through Alexa.
- Save space in your home or office. Having a few things that can perform the functions of multiple furnishings makes your living space more optimal.
- Bragging rights. Though this may seem unnecessary, many of us desire to own something unique to show to our friends and family, and smart furniture fits that bill.
How Smart Furniture Technology Is Redefining The Modern Home
Smart furniture innovation is a very young trend. According to the IDC, the trend is growing phenomenally, but we will only see the full impact of it in a few years.
However, we can already see that these modern devices are beginning to change how we live.
- We can use less furniture, uncluttering our often small living spaces.
- Some furniture may be hidden from view until needed, like beds that descend from the ceiling when you press a button or give a voice command.
- We can control aspects like lights, heating, and various appliances remotely. You can tap a button on an app to start heating your bed when coming home late on a cold night.
- All of it is in line with the modern trend of cleaner living areas with futuristic designs.
- Your smart home allows you to do more within the smallest space possible.
- Controlling all of this from an app or a keypad built into your couch is a dream come true.
Examples Of Smart High-Tech Furniture
Examples of smart furniture innovation are plentiful, and designers add more to the list daily.
Mozayo Multi-Touch Table
This table is perfect for office or home use since it has a built-in Intel Core i7 computer and touchscreen interface. It can run Windows or other operating systems, and since it contains a standard PC, you can be every bit as productive on this table as on an ordinary desktop computer.
ReST Smart Beds
ReST manufactures smart beds that you can control through an app. The beds have five different zones for different parts of your body.
You can set different firmness levels for each zone, and the bed can automatically adjust firmness settings based on your movements during the night to ensure the best good night’s sleep. It can even adjust to minimize snoring.
NuHolme Office Smart Desk
This smart desk is packed with furniture innovation features to make your working space more efficient and comfortable. It has a built-in QI wireless charger, two USB ports, and speakers that you can connect via Bluetooth or the Aux port.
Apart from the smart features, the desk is also stylishly crafted from oak and has a good working surface and adequate drawer space.
Furniture Innovation: AR Furniture Shopping Apps
Now that you know what smart furniture can do for you, how will you know what will look good in your home? Once again, smart technology has the solution: AR shopping apps.
These apps use augmented reality (AR) to show you what a piece of smart furniture will look like in any corner of your house or apartment. It’s like Pokémon Go, but for furniture shopping, offering a different angle to furniture innovation.
This is not the standard IKEA shopping app. IKEA Place is an AR app that lets you choose a piece of IKEA furniture (traditional or smart) and see precisely how it would look in your home. You can even take a photo of something that you like, and the IKEA Place app will show you the closest product to it that IKEA has available.
Wayfair sells both traditional and smart furniture, and the Wayfair app is the perfect way to shop for it through Augmented Reality. The app is intelligent enough to dynamically place the products you select within a live view of your home and even customize some colors.
What Future Trends Should We Expect To See From Furniture Innovation?
Furniture has two sides to it. The first has always been practicality, as all furnishings should serve a purpose. The second side is decoration, and the appearance of your furnishings can say a lot about your tastes and even your social and economic status.
When we watch the trends, we can see that certain modern tendencies will become even more critical in the future, and many of those trends apply to furniture design. According to the Design Institute of San Diego, we can expect the following:
- More integration between types of furnishings and appliances. With the world population increasing at a tremendous rate and limited living space being a problem in cities like London and New York, it will become more critical than ever to have less furniture that can do more.
- More high-tech integration. Many modern technological marvels have been inspired by science fiction, and like sci-fi movies, we can expect more tech to come built into our furniture in the future.
- More environmentally friendly products. There are already trends to involve living plants in designing many homes and appliances, which will likely increase as the need to experience nature safely in our homes increases.
- Modernizing of designs. Futurism has been around for decades, but it changes with time. Futuristic designs from 50 years ago look nothing like futuristic designs today, so we expect them to change even more over the next 50 years.
- Portable power solutions will become more crucial than ever, and modern furniture will surely integrate this in unique ways.
Smart furniture innovation is about finding innovative ways to make everyday furnishings more valuable by integrating different functions. The addition of modern technology to everyday items, like desks, chairs, and beds, makes them even more powerful.
Designers aim to make furniture more comfortable, user-friendly, robust, aesthetically pleasing, and sustainable, an endeavor that requires endless ingenuity and innovation.
We will see even more of this trend in the future, and it’s hard to predict where it will go. But we can be sure that our homes will look and function completely differently in a decade or two.
It’s abundantly clear that smart furniture innovation is the way to go when you’re looking to equip and decorate your home. There’s no reason for you not to go smart when you buy. The best way to start is by downloading an AR furniture app and perusing the available options, so download the IKEA Place and Wayfair apps to get started.