Stressless Style

How to Balance Comfort and Connectivity in Your Smart Home

Smart phones, smart watches, Alexa, yoga mats that track your downward dog – we’re experiencing the increasing “datafication” of our lives. The Internet of Things has added an unprecedented layer of digital connectivity to our homes as well as leaving us yearning for authenticity. This is reflected in the furniture we’re choosing. We’re opting for clean designs and lean, elegant styles made with rich full-grain leathers and laminated woods – pieces that are both functional and feng shui.

“Global nomadism” is a concurrent design trend that combines the best of urban and contemporary with what’s culturally unique, and it’s having a big impact on colors and materials. It’s all about authentic elements that reflect the meeting of the tribal and the traveler.

Here are some simple ways you can incorporate this organic authenticity into your smart home:

Lighten Up

Make a concerted effort to bring natural light into your surroundings. It might be as easy as opening the shades or raising the blinds. Or maybe you need to simplify your window treatments and remove heavy, dated cornices and draperies. Then clean your windows inside and out with a natural solution of equal parts distilled white vinegar and tap water.

Use reading lamps and floor lamps for warm ambient lighting in addition to recessed canned ceiling lights. Try soft pink bulbs instead of white or clear ones. Rheostats can tone down the overhead wattage and unharsh your mellow.

Make your chandelier a bold statement piece. Industrial chic is still a thing, but it’s refined with sleeker metals and varied tones. Soft gold is a decorator favorite for fixtures this year and plays well with other muted colors like matte silver or pale gray. Updated urban design is more polished and nuanced than the rawboned warehouse style of recent years.

Go Green

Give those plastic plants to Goodwill and invest in the real thing. Indoor plants remove pollutants from the air by absorbing gases through their leaves and roots, so you’re improving your air quality as well as your aesthetic. Peace lilies are practical and hearty with lush foliage and simple white flowers. They’re also one of the best plants for removing formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Boston ferns are especially effective decontaminants that complement any decor.

Worried your thumb’s not green enough to nurture needy house plants? Phalaenopsis orchids are long-lived with elegant blooms and thick green leaves, and they thrive on neglect. Juxtapose their languid, luxurious look with rough terracotta cachepots and hand-collected containers of various shapes, sizes and textures. Or treat yourself to fresh-cut tulips – all one color – from the flower aisle at the grocery store. Pop some daffodils from your yard in a Mason jar bound with raffia. The point is to bring the outdoors inside, in a way that reflects your personal style.

Embrace Empty Spaces

You’ve brightened your surroundings with natural lighting and added a fresh plant or three. Find order in the chaos of daily obligations and information by decluttering your surfaces. See what can go inside your kitchen cabinets instead of on the counters. Purge your closets and clean out your refrigerator.

Clear off the coffee table and put only one or two essential items back on – maybe a book about an exotic place you’ve visited or a piece of art you’ve brought back from somewhere special. Every object is a conversation starter, a reminder of an adventure, a treasured souvenir of a life well lived.

Polish your dining room table to a lustrous sheen, and resist the temptation to fold your laundry on it. It’s a great place for the aforementioned monochromatic tulips. Let the wood surface show, except when it’s covered with food and wine and surrounded by friends and family.

Just Smudge It

Speaking of global nomadism, the practice of smudging dates back to prehistoric times and is still used worldwide to cleanse dwellings and chase spirits. Even if you don’t buy in to clearing negative energy, research indicates that burning sage reduces airborne bacteria. In other words, smudging is a potent antiseptic. And it’s a natural alternative to caustic chemical cleaners and aerosol sprays.

Create some breathing room in your house. Bring livings things into your smart space. Let your home tell the story of you. With light and love and less stuff.

Ekornes has a story to tell about Nordic style from the fjord where comfort takes shape. Sykkylven’s rich heritage and tradition, its serene natural beauty is where Scandinavian design was born. Stressless wraps ingenious functionality in natural materials, striking a balance between the desire for comfort and connectivity in the home.