Essential Gadgets for the Modern Living Room

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By Alexander George / Published by Dwell
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Don’t overthink the process of creating ambiance in your living space: Today’s gadgets make kicking back a breeze.

Today's gadgets successfully streamline modern entertaining.


Wi-Fi Plant Sensor Indoor by Koubachi, $99

Who says recreation has to be noisy? Watch plants grow like magic while monitoring statistics on the dirt’s water content, temperature, and light exposure. If you’re especially prone to botanicide, the sensor can be set to remind you to water the plants, too.

Alarm by Scout, from $130

Start with a Scout wi-fi base station and add motion sensors, disarming panels, and open-close sensors, as needed. Set the software to respond to, say, the front door opening, with a text to you or a call to the police. The hardware and software can integrate with third-party lock and video devices, too.

RadioRA 2 by Lutron, $1,150–$1,490

Replace your light switches with these dimmers, and control your home’s lighting entirely from your iPad. Adjust the brightness according to presets, like bright lights for waking up or softer glows for falling asleep.

Play:3 by Sonos, $299

Most wireless speakers communicate in a format that compresses your music into a barely acceptable fuzz. Sonos, with its one-step setup, streams tunes from any device to its speakers with sonic clarity. Once you buy the connecting bridge, keep adding speakers to fill your halls with more and more tunes.

Qube by Matrix Audio, $40

This 1.5-inch cube packs three watts of sound power. Get a few and line the house with them.

MMF-11.1 by Music Hall, $4,500

Compare the aural quality of a record to iTunes or Spotify, and let the fullness of sound win you over. Opposing magnets in the feet of the turntable virtually isolate it from its environment, dramatically improving the sound.