Creating a home with style that ‘speaks to you’ is every design-lover’s dream. But what if the furniture in your home did, quite literally, talk to you?
The idea isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds. While not all designs have the ability to answer you back just yet, the latest smart home furniture is certainly doing more than just sitting pretty. Inspired by the success of internet-enabled smart speakers, which feature voice assistance from Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant and provide hands-free help around the home, furniture manufacturers are doing more to integrate the latest tech into their design offerings. As a result, the hottest high-tech coffee tables, mattresses, sofas and storage are convenient and functional, as well as eye-catching.
So what’s available now? On the high-street you’ll find tables that will charge your smartphone and tablet wirelessly, simply by placing them on top. And if you want to listen to your music in a calm and minimalist setting, you can furnish your living room with a sofa that discreetly houses a built-in surround-sound system – banishing the need for boxy tech cluttering the room. Clever.
If your budget will stretch a bit further, a coffee table with a touchscreen computer surface that comes ‘alive’ with a single swipe of your fingertip and gives you instant access to the internet is also a reality. The software can also be customised to feature voice recognition and control anything in the house such as lights, security and heating. There’s also a concept on the horizon for a coffee table that houses its very own beer fridge, so you don’t have to move too far from your armchair to reach for a cold drink on a Friday night. Cheers!
“Smart furniture is adding style and convenience to our homes," says Steve Koenig, senior director of research, CTA. “Thanks to ambient intelligence – the vision to give us access to the latest technology in our everyday objects such as our furniture – and the potential of the Internet of Things, the possibilities for our homes are more exciting than ever before."
Expect to see smart couches, recliners and desks on show at this year's CES
You’ll need to use your credit card to get your hands on the most luxurious pieces of smart furniture, such as a sofa with wireless speakers from around $3,000 and an interactive coffee table around $4,000. At the other end of the spectrum, Ikea has made a touch of smart furniture style accessible to all – for just $42 you can buy a stylish wireless charging table. While Steve Koenig expects to see more “smart couches, recliners and desks on show at the Consumer Electronic Show 2018" this week, at present it’s the smart mattress category that is most popular online. According to latest research, we spend an average of 26 years of our lives in bed, so perhaps this enthusiasm for connected bed designs that get to know our habits isn’t so surprising.
It may be a while before all the smart furniture we’re seeing can be connected as part of one all-powerful home network, but for now their tech capabilities will certainly be a talking point in your interior design.
Read on for our edit of the most impressive smart furniture we’ve found and a few jaw-dropping pieces we can’t wait to see furnish our rooms in the near future…
Furniture with hidden tech inside
Keeping boxy black gadgets and cables neatly hidden in fitted storage will help create streamlined style in your living room. Spectral’s range of luxurious furniture is designed to neatly house your tech, without a spaghetti junction of cables in sight, and includes a collaboration with Loewe. Ideal for compact areas with a tight footfall, the range of modular sideboards, shelves and floating cabinets come in five configurations, in a variety of stylish wood-effect and fabric surfaces.
Choose from the attractive Next range (pictured), Cocoon, Scala, Twenty and Ameno collections, which can all integrate a sound system, smart charging surface, smart TV on a rotable mount and include built-in docks for Apple devices, all hidden in the furniture’s body. The tech can be controlled via Spectral smart control: an app and Bluetooth/IR Link system, which gives you access to audio and visual features via your smartphone or tablet.
From £1,000, spectral.eu
The wireless charging table
Feeding our need for a calm and clutter-free lifestyle comes the FurniQi wireless charging side table, which will reduce the amount of unsightly wires you’ll need on display. The elegant bamboo design features a Qi wireless charging spot marked with a subtle laser engraving, which will charge up a range of phones and devices – simply check the website to see if it’s compatible. With the optional audible notification, the table is simple to use when the lights are off.
A sofa with built-in speakers
The clean lines and stylish leather finish of the modular Surround Sofa from Natuzzi is perfect for modern, open-plan living. The range features a touch-operated recliner function so you adjust the seat, headrest and footrest, but the most impressive part is its integrated surround-sound audio system located in the corner section of the sofa. This can be operated via the optional MP3 docking station or wirelessly via Bluetooth.
A sleep monitoring smart mattress
Love your sleep? The ReST Bed will come as a welcome addition to the bedroom for anyone who has trouble getting comfy at night or those prone to a touch of insomnia. The smart mattress has five ‘zones’, each corresponding to a part of the body – head, shoulder, lumbar, hips and legs – and using the ReST app you can customise the level of support in each zone to suit you.
The mattress monitors your shape and pressure profile, automatically adjusting the firmness in real time as you sleep, so you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. The app will also report your unique sleep data so you can analyse your sleep patterns to make improvements. Most excitingly, the ReST bed will have the ability to connect to other smart home devices – such as lighting, heating and personal home assistants – later in 2018.
From $2,799, restperformance.com
The baby soothing smart crib
Any new parent obsessing over their baby’s sleep will want to give the Snoo Smart Sleeper a big hug. The Yves Béhar designed crib has a big claim – to help boost a baby’s sleep and calm their fussing by responding with white noise and a ‘jiggly' rocking. According to the company’s research, newborns will start to sleep better within two days of using the crib.
If your baby gets fussier, the white noise will increase in volume and the rocking will respond to your baby’s cry by speeding up or slowing down. The Snoo has a smartphone app so you can control it remotely via your iPhone. After three minutes however, the Snoo will shut off, and it’s time for you to step in – but that’s precious time to finish your cup of tea at least.
A coffee table that talks to you
The 43-inch Mesa touch screen coffee table provides more than just a place to perch your drinks. Its anti-reflective glass surface doubles up as a PC or Mac computer screen, which can be accessed with a single swipe of your fingertip. Use it to browse online, show guests your holiday snaps, play digital board games or read the papers at your leisure. It can even be customised to control the features in your home such as lights, security and heating using voice recognition.
From £4,340, mediamea.com
Seating that charges your gadgets
Sit back, relax and enjoy. Parker Knoll’s latest Evolution collection not only looks good, but is luxuriously comfortable. You can smoothly adjust your seating position from upright to incline, and vice versa, at the touch of a button and you can also choose from up to 27 head rest settings.
What’s more, the integrated USB port positioned by the brushed chrome recline control button provides the perfect place to charge your smartphone, tablet or computer. Pictured here is the Design 1703 Swivel Tilt Chair in Speckle Blush and the Design 1702 large two-seater sofa in Como Slate, but the designs can also be upholstered in a range of tactile fabrics and Italian leathers to suit your taste.
£1,274 (swivel tilt chair)/£3,000 (two-seater sofa), parkerknoll.co.uk
Your beauty obsessed mirror
Working as your own personal beauty guru and operated with gesture control, voice commands or remote control, the HiMirror Plus + will assess your skin’s condition pinpointing fine lines, red spots, wrinkles and pores so that you can target problem areas. It features LED lighting to simulate five different lighting scenarios to make it easy for you to apply your make-up appropriately for the occasion. Choose from sunset view, brightly lit office, shopping centre and restaurant and party venue. It links to an app on your smartphone too so you can track your skin's condition day by day and compare which products work for you.
From $299, himirror.com
More smart home inspo
The smart furniture concepts we can't wait to see in our home
The coffee table turned party piece
The Sobro coffee table, an all-in-one centre that connects your "powered-up life", is a tempered glass-top coffee table that comes complete with touch controls, Bluetooth speakers, USB/12V charging ports and a refrigerator to keep your beer cold – Homer Simpson would be proud.
The kitchen counter of the future
Ikea has imagined the way we might be living in 2025 with its Smart Table prototype that takes multi-tasking to a whole new level. The Table of the Future is a preparation surface, hob, dining table, work bench and children’s play area in one. We’ll be waiting a while before we can add the Table of the Future to our shopping trolley, but it’s definitely worth visiting Ikea to take a closer look at its range of stylish smart wireless charging tables and lamps – and, of course, to indulge in a slice of Dime Bar cake.
The anti-snoring mattress
Fed up with your partner snoring while you’re lying wide awake? Help is on its way in the form of the Balluga smart mattress, which had a good run on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo Demand. It features a built-in sensor that picks up snoring sounds and adjusts the tilt of your pillow to ease the offending noise gently. You can also use an app to tailor the mattress firmness, heat or cool it and give your back a massage.