(ARA) - Function alone isn't enough to sell us on a new piece of technology anymore. Americans increasingly want their technology to look good -- stylish, even -- in addition to working well.
"If you're old enough to remember the huge, clunky-looking 'car phones' of the late '80s and early '90s, or if you've seen them in the movies or on old TV shows, you'll have some perspective on how technology has evolved toward being beautiful as well as functional," says Jeanne Benedict, host of DIY Network's "Weekend Entertaining" and regular contributor to Celebrations.com.
Designers agree that a balance of form and function is essential to appealing and useful home decor. With new wafer-thin, high-definition flat-screen TVs, surround-sound systems with wireless speakers and sleek home telephones that allow you to receive cell phone calls on your landline, modern home technology is trending toward beauty and usefulness.
If you're in the market to upgrade your home technology, be sure to look for gadgets that blend style and practicality, including:
* LED high-definition, flat-screen TVs that are almost as thin as a sheet of glass. These TVs are ideal for mounting on the wall as a focal point of virtually any room. The flatter the better, and the new generation of TVs are so thin and light, they make their predecessors look like those '90s chunky car phones. Some manufacturers also offer flat screens in colors to match virtually any home decor -- no more settling for just silver or black.
* Sleek new home phones combine advanced technology that lets you receive both landline and cellular calls on the cordless handset. Its fashionable profile fits into virtually any home decor. The phone offers touch-sensitive buttons on the handset and base as well as capabilities that allow you to connect up to four wireless devices such as cellular phones or wireless headsets.
* Wireless technology has made it possible to enjoy surround sound and your favorite DVD without the visual distraction of wires running between the components. From wireless speakers that work with your surround sound system and stereo to flat screens and DVD players that can communicate with each other, technology has eliminated the old problem of ugly -- and potentially hazardous -- wires throughout your home.
"It's no longer necessary to sacrifice stylish design and decor-enhancing beauty to get the latest technology for your home," Benedict says. "Modern product makers are manufacturing better-looking technology that fits with our lifestyles and home decor." Courtesy of ARAcontent