At Opun it goes without saying that we absolutely love technology, heck our service relies on some seriously clever software. However, as each and everyone of us spends more and more of both our working and leisure time staring at one kind of screen or another, there is a growing consensus that it can be beneficial to take a bit of time each day away from our beloved devices.
As such the concept of a tech-free room or zone is becoming an increasingly common feature in homes, with many interior designers considering them to be bordering on a necessity. Of course it’s all very well and good to take all the technology out of a room, but how can you ensure that this room doesn’t sit unloved and gathering dust while you and the rest of the household still have 6 episodes of Stranger Things and Westworld to start?
Well pulling yourself away from TV, video games and social media may not be the easiest feat but, by following these simple tips you’re sure to create a tech-free zone that becomes an escapist's heaven which you and your household will love to use. Rather than making you feel like you’re enduring a blackout during the Blitz.
Create a reading nook
We all know how it goes, you’ve been trying (and failing) to read The Girl on the Train before the film comes out, but every time you nestle down to read it your WhatsApp tings, or you just end up on your laptop reading a listicle entitled '10 things only people who LOVE kale will understand'.
This is why you need a reading nook, a cosy space where you can get away from everything. Opt for a comfy window seat or chaise lounge, and put down lots of cushions and blankets so you can drift away with a good book and a cup of tea without distraction.
Arrange furniture to promote conversation
This may seem blazingly obvious, but many of us are so used to arranging rooms to face the television, that even in spaces without one it’s somewhat ingrained into our psyche to position all of the furniture in one direction. Tech-free seating works best in a circular or square shape to allow you to make easy eye contact with anyone in the room, no matter where they are sat. Remember however, you can break this up for example places some chairs into small corners of the room away from the main seating area.
Leave space for activities
Of course you want your tech-free area to comfy so filling it with armchairs, sofas and whatever else is a necessity, you’re also going to want some space to do things. For example when you’ve all had one too many glasses of wine and decide that 2am game of charades is a good idea. So leaving space for activities is important, this can be an area you could meditate, practice yoga or exercise in peace. If you lack the space, then consider things such as punching a lighter coffee table that could be easily pushed to the side when the moment takes you to do something slightly more energetic.
It’s all about the lighting
As with any room lighting should be a chief consideration when planning the space. For overhead lighting opt for an extractive pendent or recessed set of lights, and choose to use modern LED lightbulbs, unlike the conventional fluorescent lightbulbs, LED light’s come in a range of ‘light colours’ allowing you to pick a hue of lighting that is warmer than the somewhat clinical white light given off by regular bulbs. Another choice is to op for retro-looking Edison bulbs for some seriously cool lighting.
Don’t forget about ambient lighting as well as this is vital in achieving that relaxed cosy atmosphere you want on a dim Sunday afternoon in January after a big lunch, this can come from a range of sources such as wall mounted lights, floor lamps and even candles.
Add a fireplace
If you’ve always wanted to install or reinstate a fireplace in your home, then the tech-free room should be the number one contender. In a room with a television or computer you won’t be able to focus on the primitive joy of simply sitting by the fire watch the sparks shoot up the chimney while listening to the meditative crackle.
We know we said no technology, but if you can get away with electric lights then we think you can get away with a HiFi and a few speakers, no iDock though as that brings with it unnecessary temptations. This way you can lay back on the sofa and simply enjoy listening to your favourite albums on repeat unbothered by the outside world.
Even better than a modern Stereo system would be an old school vinyl player, and if there is a virtuoso in your midst or you’re a complete purist then go for a good old fashioned piano.