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

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 this holiday season, or if you’ve got tech gifts on your holiday shopping lists for loved ones and family, 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.

VTech’s LS6245 lets you receive both landline and cellular calls. Photo Credit: VTech
VTech’s LS6245 lets you receive both landline and cellular calls. Photo Credit: VTech

Sleek new home phones, like VTech’s LS6245, 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.

With the ability to make and receive cellular calls on the LS6245 handset or take landline calls with a wireless headset, this phone system helps eliminate problems typically associated with using a cell at home — dropped calls, poor call quality and limited range. The practical VTech LS6245 is available at

WiFi tech
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.”