Technology. The broad topic encompasses everything from self-driving cars to measuring your pulse. Advancements are rapid and consumers benefit greatly from the technology sector's efforts.

When we talk about technology in the home, a bevy of images comes to mind: Smart appliances that shut off after so many minutes without use, programmable thermostats, solar cells, all provide new ways of living with technology.

These days technology blends form with function in all areas of your home, even the outside. We've put together a list of our favorite technological advances that relate to where we live.

Let's start in the kitchen. Counter space quickly evaporates when devices find their way to electrical outlets. A solution to this clutter is alternative counter outlets. Power strips mounted under cabinets, and wired into existing kitchen wiring or plugged into an outlet, save counter space while providing power to devices. You can hook your phone up to an outlet while it rests in an attachable cradle, suspended from the main power strip. Listen to music, read recipes, or stream your favorite culinary inspiration without taking up counter space.

Next we have the living room. Wallpaper has some serious competition these days with photo murals. With the advancement in digital photo technology, interior design lovers can take a favorite photo and turn it into a massive wall covering.

Technology extends to the bathroom. Warm bath towels are divine, but most come with the compromise of the unsightly towel warmer, until now. Recent innovations in towel warmers (like wall-mounted sculpture versions) add style to warming up your terry cloth.

The fireplace in the 21st century. Speaking of staying warm, sitting by the fireplace can be accomplished with or without a chimney. Bioethanol fireplaces burn cleanly with no ash or smoke so that they can be used anywhere, inside or outdoors. Similar to a hand-held lighter, they are self-contained and even portable.

Sunny accessories are next. Harnessing energy from the sun has never been easier. Advancements in solar cell technology allow sun-loving people to take natural light and turn it into electricity.

Solar shingles. Building-integrated photovoltaics combine roofing materials with solar cells, turning your roof into a solar panel without the traditional look of solar panels. Gone are the days of huge slabs of wires on top of your house. Solar shingles work for new or existing roofs; they install over roof sheathing, are wired together, then connected to your home's electrical system.

Photovoltaic glass.  Solar cells, which act as electric semiconductors, are sandwiched between layers of conventional glass to create electricity. What looks like standard glass could double as a power source in homes with this feature.

Think about a photovoltaic skylight, the opening in the roof allows for natural light while generating electricity at the same time. Recently in Spain, an entire garden wall was constructed from photovoltaic glass. The wall serves as a privacy feature as well as a large solar cell for the home.