Looking Back (and Forward!) at the Evolution of Technology in the Home

Reliable Home Improvement has delivered high-quality, innovative designs for consumers over the last 50 years with evolve home technologies in mind. As homes become more hi-tech and connected, we are committed to bringing designs that reflect those trends.

To celebrate these exciting “smart” home technologies, let’s rewind the clock and take a look at the tech that impacted consumers’ homes the most through the past 5 decades.

The 1960s: Showing Off Appliances and Updating the Kitchen

Homeowners in the 1960s were excited about the advancements in their appliances, so much so, that they became a bigger part of their overall home aesthetic. Also, kitchens were high on the priority list for homemakers and technology innovations followed suit.


  • Displaying Home Appliances: During the 1960s, home appliances gained popularity for more than just assisting homemakers with domestic tasks. Most consumers would display the home appliances in their lounge areas as opposed to the kitchen or laundry area.
  • Self-cleaning Oven: General Electric introduced the first self-cleaning oven in 1963, showing a trend to bring more convenience and levity to household tasks.
  • Through-The-Door Refrigerator: At the end of the decade, refrigerators started to emerge with a new feature of through-the-door water and ice dispensers.

The 1960s showed how excited consumers were to show off their technology and the potential it had in alleviating homemaking tasks and creating efficiencies.

1970s: Space Saving Designs and Home Automation

Moving into the 1970s, technology proved that not only  could it fit creatively into designs, but that tech could make the home easier to control. Homeowners now had options around technology.

  • Over-the-Range Microwave: Saving space became a priority for consumers as the first over-the-range microwave ovens landed on the market.
  • VCR Debut: Before there was DVR, the VCR made leaps in allowing consumers to schedule TV around their lives and not vice versa. TV is often the design center point of entertainment in a home and the VCR only led to increased consumption.
  • Appliance Communication: The advent of appliance communication began in the 1970s with X10 and home automation. Controlling lamps, appliances, and even record players became wireless over radio frequencies from a single command console.

Achieving the beginning of home automation gave way to an influx of home solutions in the coming decades.

The 1980s: Saving Energy and Working for Home

Home technology was less niche an more popular in the 1980s. Homeowners embraced as many “smart” solutions for the home as they could in order to keep up with their neighbors.

  • Energy & Time Efficient: Major appliances began to have energy and time saving features. Refrigerators would “beep” if the door was left open, dishwashers had features to remember when to start on their own, and microwaves would report voice messages, to name a few.
  • Computers in Home: As computers became more common and accessible at home, the beginnings of work center or office at home was further developed.
  • “Smart Home”: The National Association of Homebuilders coined the term “Smart Home”. Moving forward, popular culture took hold of tech innovations throughout the home and these features became desirable to consumers in designs and remodels.

Home renovations moving forward now had an eye for technology for many homebuyers. The 1980s sparked a desire to have the next best tech solution as quickly as possible.

The 1990s: Wi-Fi and Independent Living Through Tech

In the 1990s, homeowners began to rely more on technology in the home for daily activities. A home is an investment and homeowners wanted to uses technology to maintain their best and most desired living situation.

  • Wi-Fi: Throughout the 1990s, wireless Internet became faster and more commonplace in households. The ability to connect computers and other devices throughout the home opened up design options that were previously tethered to home wiring.
  • Gerontechnology: In-home assistive technology for the elderly became more popular and allowed for more independent living. Devices could alert family members of an emergency and home were outfitted with assistive mechanisms for mobility. The ability to be autonomous with the assistance of technology blossomed throughout the 90s.
  • Environmentally Friendly Washer: Late in the 1990s “front-loaders” were popular among new homeowners as they saved an estimated 40 percent of energy and 60 percent of water compared to other washing machines.

21st Century: Connected Homes of the Future

Moving into the 21st century, homeowners started personalizing their homes with smart home solutions, from entertainment to security. Having a fully connected home is not only the trend, it’s essential for many homeowner’s lifestyles.

  • Connected Appliances: Today, homeowners are connected to appliances in their homes via their smartphone or tablet. Thermostats, washers and dryers, refrigerators, pet feeders, and so many more home appliances are controlled wirelessly and over the cloud.
  • Security Systems: Home security is often a concern for homeowners and technology has given more control to consumers. Apps on smartphones can allow you to lock your doors from anywhere and monitor activity, whether it be to check on a sleeping baby or find out what lights were left on and when.
  • Voice Assistants: Throughout a house, people can simply talk to a voice assistant to turn on music, start the dishwasher, flip the lights or even communicate the weather for the day. Having a home connected to a central voice assistant gives homeowners much more flexibility and ease in maintaining their household.

Here at Reliable Home Improvement, we have seen a lot of exciting technology influence our designs for homeowners and homebuyers over the last 50 years. The tech isn’t slowing down and we are excited to keep up for the next 50 years.

Contact the professionals at Reliable Home Improvement to see how we can help fit the newest tech trends into your next home projects.

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