Top 10 Tech Updates for an MCM Home

Today’s technology was meant for mid-century modern design. Wireless technology was practically made for MCM homes with their high roof pitch and fewer walls. WiFi and Bluetooth connection, ever-improving battery life and a focus on design in modern technology have made it increasingly easy to deck out your dwelling in high-tech gear without impacting your home’s modern style. We’ve found some great, discreet tech upgrades for your mid-century modern home. However, the following tips will work well in any home.

10. Outfit antique lamps with WiFi controlled switches.

If you’re a mid-century modern design fan, chances are you are interested in purchasing or already own a light fixture from the era. Even if the piece is in great condition, the knobs might get stuck with age. Avoid rubbing your fingers raw on a gummed up knob by plugging the lamp into a smart switch that connects to your WiFi network so you can power the lamp on and off using your phone or a remote. For instance the iHome SmartPlug allows you to control a fixture using an iPhone or Android phone. You can even set a schedule or sync it with your smart thermostat.

10 SmartPlug iHome

9. Set up a smart thermostat.

The thermostat came into vogue during the 1950s with the Honeywell Thermostat designed by Henry Dreyfuss in 1953. Since then, thermostat design has fallen by the wayside. Finally, designers are addressing the problem while incorporating the latest technology. Smart thermostats, like the simple and elegant-looking Nest Thermostat, can adapt to your climate preferences and accordingly control the air conditioning and heating in your home.

09 Honeywell Thermostat designed by Henry Dreyfuss in 1953 - Mid-Century Modern with Nest Thermostat

8. Opt for wireless speakers for a clean look.

External speakers for your entertainment system sure seemed like a good idea but once you set them up you’re left with the dreaded problem of cable management – ugh! Fortunately, speaker technology has finally entered connected home territory. Purchase a high-quality wireless speaker and the only cable you’ll need is for power.

08 Wireless Speaker

7. Install a smart door lock.

The deadbolt on your front door has been a standard for decades. New technology takes advantage of this to provide a convenient alternative to carrying around your keys – your car doesn’t need a key anymore, after all, so why should your home? Smart door locks come in a variety of access options including a key pad with codes that you can set remotely, an app to lock and unlock the door, Bluetooth connection between a mobile phone or a key fob, even a biometrics reader. Technology and hardware stores carry many options in a variety of finishes and styles to match the décor and era of your home. The locks are just as easy to install as any deadbolt with a few extra setup steps afterwards.

07 Biometric Deadbolt smart lock

6. Upgrade your light bulbs.

LED lighting used to be out of reach but is finally a cost effective option. You can save some pocket change on your electricity bill by replacing your burnt out incandescent with LED bulbs that last for half a century with regular usage. Pretty soon you’ll forget how to change a bulb. You can even buy smart light bulbs that you can control using a simple app on your mobile device of choice. Some smart light bulbs allow you to change the color on a whim or even play music – it might as well be magic.

06 Hue LED Smart Light Bulbs

5. Ditch slow download speeds with a WiFi Repeater.

Plenty of mid-century modern homes are sprawling, long buildings. The best location for your WiFi router might happen to be at one end of your house, meaning that you’re probably dealing with limited connectivity at the other end. If you are tired of your kids complaining that their cartoons won’t load or through with feeling embarrassed when your guests can’t show you the latest and greatest cat video, don’t worry because there is an easy solution. The best option for this conundrum is to buy a repeater. Setup won’t take long and you’ll finally be able to enjoy your WiFi from any room in the house!

4. Keep your beloved MCM oven and never burn the roast again.

Entertainers rejoice! If you love your antique oven but find it to be unpredictable, don’t part with it just yet. Try a Bluetooth thermometer, like the iDevices Kitchen Thermometer, which comes with an app that alerts you once your dish is done. You may never need to order a pizza for hungry disappointed guests again!

04 iDevices Kitchen Thermometer

3. Upgrade your kitchen and hygiene with a hands-free faucet.

If you’re a meat lover, consider incorporating a design-conscious hygienic faucet in your mid-century modern kitchen. A hands-free option, such as the stylish Align faucet, will make meal prep easier and safer. The fixture even comes in chrome!

03 Align Moen Motion Sensing Hands Free Kitchen Faucet

2. Install motorized shades or drapes.

Living in a mid-century modern home means you are probably exposed to a lot of beautiful, happiness-inducing sunlight with big windows in almost every room. But that makes taking your Sunday afternoon nap a bit difficult. You could install regular curtains or blinds but closing them every time you want some dark seems like more work than your nap might be worth. Never fear, now you can create your own personal cave with motorized blinds or curtains that you control using your smart phone or a handy remote. Check out QMotion, for example, and get ready for the perfect nap.

02 QMotion Motorized Drapery

1. Install a projector and screen in your family room.

Believe it or not, a projector is a cost effective alternative to the large black abyss that is a powered off TV screen. Projector units and screens are much less expensive compared with buying a TV of the same screen size. You may want to add black out curtains for those windows that let in a lot of exterior light. Night viewing is preferred as daylight will dim the picture. To be completely discreet, while also adding James Bond flair, consider installing a motorized projector mount so that you only see the projector when you are ready to watch something. Leave this one to the professionals as it may require electrical work.

01 Hidden Projector in Mid-Century Modern Home

What tech updates have you incorporated into your mid-century modern home? Tell us in the comments below.

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  • Reply John Dark May 28, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    You missed the best tech update of all for modern homes. With our flat rooves, it’s solar.

  • Reply Sarah Roullard Le June 4, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Great point, John! Solar panels are great tech additions, especially here in Southern California. Thanks for your comment!

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