This Plug Doesn't Need WiFi to Be Smart

LivingPlug makes ugly wall outlets vanish, while also adding functionality.

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There's a curious conspiracy afoot in the world of home design. Pick up any of the glossy magazines and you'll notice a notice a distinct lack of wall outlets.

The Nelson lamps, Beogram turntables, and Nespresso coffemaker are all there, but they're not plugged into anything. It turns out that wall outlets are the first thing to go when magazine editors fire up Photoshop.

You might not have noticed their absence, but Charley Curran and Sam Leichman did. They're the co-creators of LivingPlug, a new wall plug that can hide cords and even hide itself.

The LivingPlug "inlet" (don't call it an outlet!) features three grounded outlets on its base, plus a USB outlet on top. There's also a button that cuts power to all devices that are plugged in, to avoid vampire power draw.

It sounds like a lot, but the entire effect is minimalist. That's the genius of the LivingPlug: Look at it, and you'll either see a blank white space, or a custom, user-attached faceplate. You can even wallpaper over it, or get a plate that matches your paint color.

The guys even made a website dedicated to the least attractive wall outlets they've found. It's designed to shame you into buying a prettier plug, and we'll admit it made us self-conscious about the nasty holes in our walls.

The product made its name on Kickstarter, and now it's available for sale from LivingPlug's site. The inlet costs $25, while most faceplates cost an additional $25 each. There are more than 600 plates to choose from, in addition to custom finishes.

Installation requires no particular expertise: You can just plug it into an existing outlet, and you can even screw it into an outlet faceplate for a more permanent solution.

There's no WiFi connectivity, but we didn't expect any for a mere $25. While we might want a WiFi-capable plug like a WeMo controlling a bedroom lamp, the LivingPlug will do the trick for plugging in a stereo, television, and phone charger.

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Belkin WeMo Switch (Wi-Fi Enabled)

Buy now for $41.87 at Amazon

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