(Family Features)--When it comes to adding technology to your home, the bedroom might not be the first place you would consider. But the reality is that high tech is becoming an integral part of every living space -- including the bedroom.
A survey by the International Furnishings and Design Association (IFDA) looked at what designers expect to see in American homes by the year 2020. The report predicts that:
Master bedroom suites will get busier, sharing time as a home office, media center or exercise room.
97 percent of respondents believe that by 2020 many home furnishings will be activated by means such as voice and sensor. Primary candidates for remote control/motorized operation include lighting, entertainment gear, environmental controls and window treatments.
"High-tech is here to stay," says Emily Henderson, HGTV "Design Star" winner and designer on "Secrets from a Stylist" on HGTV. "Technology can make your life easier in so many ways. And with so much activity centered in the master suite, it makes sense to add useful tech devices into that living space, too."
Here are a few of Henderson's favorite ways to modernize the master bedroom in style:
"It shouldn't take a lot of work to get comfortable enough to relax," said Henderson. "Traditional beds only have one position, and that's not going to be a good fit for everyone or every activity. That's why I love Leggett & Platt's adjustable bed bases. With a wireless remote I can easily change my position to be comfortable no matter what I'm doing."
Henderson says that today's adjustable base beds are not only more functional than old models, but they're more attractive, too. "You can find a style to fit your room and a model that offers the level of technology that you're comfortable with," she said.
Motorized window treatment control
"It's such a luxury to be able to lie in bed and use a remote to open your curtains or shades in the morning," said Henderson. "I think it officially means you are a grown up, but in a good way."
Henderson recommends that you get shades or curtains that have blackout lining, and ideally two settings -- one for privacy and light control, which would be lighter and thinner, and one with the blackout lining for that perfect dark room that you can sleep in. Blackout curtains also muffle outside noise. "I'm a big fan of The Shade Store motorized window treatments, which are all custom made. They are super high quality so less likely to break down and are still very attractive."
You can find motorized shades or shutters with a timer, which lets you program them to open and close whenever you like. Some have wall switches, while others have a remote control so you can operate them from anywhere.
Remote control TV mount
"Wall mounting your TV isn't anything new, but being able to lie in bed and control the exact placement (right, left, tilt up, tilt down) is a total luxury," says Henderson. "Many companies are starting to do this so you don't have to have the TV across from your bed, instead you can put it on a side wall and have the long extendable arm bring the TV to you -- by remote."
Make sure that your wall mount is compatible with your television.
Check the weight rating on the mounts and brackets to make sure they can support your TV.
Some mounts have different shapes to fit different screen sizes. Check the specification on the packaging to be sure.
Hide ugly cables with a cord concealer. You can find low-profile paintable flat screen cord cover kits at your local home improvement stores. Paint them to match your wall and they'll blend right in.
Sleeping at the right temperature is crucial for a wakeless night's sleep, but finding an attractive thermostat can be tricky. "There are thermostats which you can control with your iPhone even if you are traveling, so that when you are headed home you can make sure it's warm enough without wasting a lot of energy," said Henderson.
These thermostats are intended to save you energy and money by automatically learning your patterns and behavior and adjusting itself accordingly.
You can also create your own personal comfort zone within the bedroom with temperature controlled pillows and blankets. And there's nothing quite like waking up and putting your feet down on heated flooring.
You want to listen to music on good quality speakers, but you don't want a huge speaker in your bedroom; nor do you want to have to get up and turn the stereo off. "Also, I don't always like the music right next to my ear, on the nightstand," says Henderson, "so instead I recommend a Bluetooth or wireless speaker that plugs into your wall. You can find speakers that are small and attractive with a great sound and can be controlled by your smartphone next to your bed."
When choosing a speaker, keep a few things in mind:
- Bluetooth reach is limited to about 30 feet. Some speakers use Wi-Fi wireless network technology, which has wider coverage.
- Some models have a dock for smartphones or other devices, as well as additional audio inputs for connecting other devices such as your TV. Make sure the model you choose is compatible with your devices -- some only work with iOS or Android systems.
- Some wireless speakers come with remotes or voice recognition controls, but the quality varies. Read user reviews before making your decision.