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When it comes to technology, many of us have a love-hate relationship with all the gadgets that fill our homes and our lives. That may be why one of the latest interior design trends has mass appeal: a tech-free zone to unplug and unwind.

One potential setup can be a family-friendly formation of armchairs around an ottoman or cocktail table that serves as a quiet space in a great room. This concept could also solve the dilemma of the formal living room or dining room that no longer sees much activity. By switching out straight back chairs for cushier varieties, a more relaxed atmosphere can be enjoyed by all who choose to linger without their laptops.

Even an area with an existing TV can be adapted for this scenario by making an effort or a daily pact to turn it off come suppertime or whenever the opportunity comes along for a conversation to be had among family members.

Though the kitchen often comes with a flurry of activity, the hub of the home can be another spot to encourage some digital downtime. Convince the kids to charge their phones in another room and tell you about their day at school as they tackle their homework or have a snack.

When planning a renovation, consider at least one space that can be a retreat for anyone who’s had a rough day or needs a break from all that buzzing and pinging. For some, a traditional library might be a good fit, while a meditation room may appeal to others.

A master bedroom with a TV, desk or phone chargers can still become a designated place to read in the evening. Some exceptions can be made along the way when you want to play music or have the occasional movie night.

Fill your calm quarters with inspiring visuals like artwork, family photos or travel mementoes. Focusing on these personal objects can encourage some quiet time to sit and think.

Set specific guidelines like mealtime and bedtime for kids to take a break from their tech toys and lead by example by breaking free from your own laptops and phones. On the weekends or whenever you have some downtime, head to your special space with other family members to play a game, do a puzzle or make some crafts.

Establish habits that can be adjusted as needed like dedicating one hour a day to quiet time or face-to-face conversations. Take advantage of outdoor rooms that provide a natural environment for screen-free living with a front porch that offers a peaceful place to pass the time or a back patio filled with lounge furniture.

Taking a break from all that technology might even help you to see your home in a whole new light. Whether you find yourself sitting in a chair that’s been empty for too long or you decide to reinvent an entire room, you may appreciate your personal space more than ever. Most importantly, you’ll have the opportunity to spend time with family members who are typically on their phones. Your experiment just might become a welcome way of life for everyone.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.

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