Tech Gifts That Add, Not Detract, From Your Home Decor

Tech Gifts That Add, Not Detract, From Your Home Decor

Gregory Han
Dec 8, 2010

Despite heading up Unplggd, tech specs take a secondary seat to my real love and appreciation for smart design. I'm much more apt to be working on projects which aim to hide the array of technologies I've integrated into our apartment than looking for new ones to introduce into it (though Emily notes the completion of one project often segues into a wholly new one, something any tech enthusiast understands is all part of the process of upgrading).

Whenever I consider adding something into our home, whether a technology, a piece of furniture, a decorative or art piece, I am inclined to weigh the inherent beauty of its presence inside the home as a whole. That doesn't mean I don't love tech gear. I do so very much. But I want my tech to work beautifully while also appealing beautifully to the senses (in accordance with these design principles). Here are a few designs which I believe will appeal to both realms of geek and design chic:

[Top Row]
Sherwood+Meister Block22 iPad Stand ($55.00): I've seen plenty of wooden iPad stands out there, but this one won me over with the inclusion of gently carved accessory dish behind it. The stand looks elegant with or without the iPad thanks to this detail.

Samsung 8000 Series 3D LED HDTV ($2,799.99): If I could upgrade to any new HDTV set out right now it would be this .09" waif thin Samsung. Yes, it's packed with the latest in features like 3D imagery, web based apps including Netlfix and Vudu, and a 240Hz refresh rate, but what caught my eyes when I first saw the set at CES last year was the modern furniture-style pedestal stand, which gives the set a sophisticated presence sorely lacking from most set designs today.

Lap Tilt Laptop Pedestal Table by Steuart Padwick ($463): admire the humor of this laptop desk which was designed to be used while seated at sofa. The weeble-style base allows the user to tilt the table forward or back just far enough for a better view.

Koostik iPhone Dock ($85-$90): you've got a choice of walnut, cherry, and birdseye maple finish for these small run, handmade acoustic amplifying docks. Simply drop one in and the Koostik amplifies the volume from the built-in iPhone or iPod Touch speaker by 2-4x.

Native Union Moshi Moshi 03 ($129.99): the Bluetooth 2.1 tech inside is what allows the Moshi Moshi 3 able to communicate with both your mobile device and your computer as a handset for mobile calls and VOiP duty. But it's the high gloss minimalist form and finish that will likely impel visitors to pick up the handset.

[2nd Row]
&Design's Bird Alarm Clock ($40): an alarm clock that awakes you with the sound of avian chirps or more mechanical of wakeup chimes, this digital alarm clock is worthy of nesting bedside if you don't want your alarm clock to look like just any alarm clock.

LaCie CurrenKey USB Drives ($19.99-$54.99): metal die cast drives that state their capacity by coin-style denomination? We'd love a small stack of these next to our laptop.

Cubic Lightplate Switchplate by Design Glut ($8.00): lightswitch cover plates are a bore or often outright atrocious. This one adds a some design dimension and is available in both black and white.

Kikkerland Solar Wall Clock ($48.00): no need to worry about either cords or batteries with this wall clock; the 4" solar panel charges up throughout the day and keeps on ticking through the night. The minimalist design bucks the trend usually exhibited amongst the gaudy-geek designs of other solar devices.

FIVEPOINT Gloves ($39.44): even here in usually sunny Southern California it can get cold enough some of us have to resort to wearing gloves a day or two out of the year [world's smallest violin playing]. But wearing gloves can be a pain while using touchscreen like those on any Android or iOS device. Why not sport something designed with specially-designed conductive fingertips to keep your digits warm while they're dialing?

[3rd Row]
Odesi Media Console ($3039): certainly not an impulse buy, but the low profile furniture design is a modern minimalist's dream come true for a home entertainment center. Look at that rear cord and cable slot opening and the media storage drawers!

FORM 3 Waterproof Rechargeable Vibrator ($145): if you're looking to spend this amount of coin for a vibrator, it seems one designed by Yves Béhar and Ethan Imboden would seem like a good place to start. The mouse-shaped silicone pleasure device could be left out and likely be mistaken for the latest iDevice…except this one is more of an OPod than iPod when used correctly.

Blu Dot Juice Box ($99.00): we think every household should have a tech landing pad. The Blu Dot design is a felt topped walnut box which hides away all the electrical mess of a powerstrip within, and like everything else from the Minneapolis design firm, the Juice Box is going to make your home look that much better (especially when it wrangles in your USB charger cable mess).

Restoration Hardware Artisan Leather Lap Desk and Tote ($199): a handsome and distinguished laptop accessory that works both as carrying case and lap desk. If Dr. Indiana Jones was carrying a laptop, it would be carried inside something like this.

Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player ($399.99): this Google TV enhanced Blu-ray player is basically a grownup version of the Playstation 3, sans the gaming options. Although the remote looks like a bit of a cluttered mess, the player itself is a good looking home entertainment internet box with a dizzying plethora of options in stark contrast to the simplified, serene design of the box itself.

[Last Row]
BeoLab 4 PC Speakers ($990): the BeoLab 4 PC speakers have been out for a couple years now, but they remain one of my favorites for their geometric design and colour options; a 35-watt ICE digital switching amplifier inside and the option for ceiling, floor and wall stands make them also worthy of consideration for home theater setups.

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