Ready to Create the Smart Home of your Dreams?
The "Kitchen of Tomorrow," as promoted to 1950s housewives on film reels sponsored by GM, is all but here. The home automation touted in Epcot's House of Innoventions is no longer just an advertisement for Whirlpool.
The Smart Home is here, and you can have it.
Here are 10 ways you can make your home a smart home today.
1. Turn on the Lights
Let someone or something else get the lights for you. Light switches and light bulbs have leveled up.
There are timed lighting systems that will set your home's ambiance automatically. Or you can control your lights by voice with smart bulbs that interact with smart speakers.
There are light bulbs that can change their color temperature, depending on your preference. From bright white to warm light, you can find your ideal combination of Lumens and Kelvins.
Other bulbs for outside have sensors that turn the lights on at dusk and turn them off during the day. This is a game changer for the Clark Griswolds among us still plugging their Christmas lights in manually.
If you're looking for a gentle introduction to smart home technology, it doesn't get easier than changing out your light bulbs.
2. Switch Your Switches
If you're ready to start hard wiring intelligence into your home, switch out your switches. Smart switches allow you to control all the lighting in your home no matter where you are in the world.
You can use your smartphone to turn the lights on when you're on vacation. Or you can dim them for mood lighting via remote.
Get smart plugs for more lighting control. Plug floor and table lamps into smart outlets for ease of access.
Smart plugs also allow you to automate your morning routine. Set kitchen plugs to a timer to have your coffee, your toast, and some Mozart waiting for you when you wake up.
3. Get Assistance
If you're setting up an entire smart system, you'll need some assistance. For now, you have three choices: Amazon's Alexa, Google's smart home devices, or Apple's Siri.
Your assistant will double as a speaker for broadcasting music throughout your home. Get a handful of Echos or Google Home Minis and you'll have intercom capabilities. You can check in on your kid's room or have true surround sound with the same song playing on each device.
You can play games with your assistant or ask it to tell you jokes. Set timers and daily reminders. Ask for a recipe, and Google will walk you through dinner.
Light switches and smart plugs work in tandem with assistants allowing you to control your whole house by voice command.
4. Climate Control
A smart thermostat gives you complete climate control.
Smart thermostats can respond to ambient temperature and energy algorithms. They'll generate energy reports to help you maximize efficiency and reduce waste.
You can set a specific heating or cooling schedule. Or leave it to the thermostat. Some devices can even determine whether or not you're home and respond accordingly.
5. Feel Secure
There's nothing smarter than keeping your home secure.
Today's security cameras stream right to your phone. Monitor package delivery or have photographic evidence of tampering or theft. You'll even get infrared footage at night.
Install a smart doorbell with an integrated camera. This motion detecting device sends an alert to your home when sensors are activated. You can choose to listen in or interact with visitors, even when you're away from home.
6. Lock Down
Keep your house on lock down or open it up remotely with a smart lock.
You can use your phone to control smart locks, either with an app or via Bluetooth. Some locks allow you to set up expiring codes for temporary access. And some models work with an interior camera to start recording after a door is unlocked as an added security measure.
7. Clean Up
If innovations are about making life easier, then automated cleaning is really how to make your house a smart house.
Robotic vacuums are now voice activated and dock themselves after a job well down. Washing machines have remote start, pause, and refresh and will send reminders to your phone.
Even the trash is smarter than it ever was. Smart trash cans let you know when it's trash day and have a baseboard vacuum for sweeping crumbs into. The can itself then automatically deposits swept crumbs into the trash bag.
8. Better Detection
As important as home security is home detection. Smart detectors let you know what's going on inside your house.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors will send alerts to your phone. They broadcast together throughout your entire home at the first sign of danger. You can even install a smart battery that notifies you when it's time to replace it.
There are water leak detectors, some with water pressure mapping technology and automatic shut off. They'll offer to put in a call to your plumber if something goes wrong.
9. Smart Cooks in the Kitchen
Too many cooks in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster unless they're smart cooking devices.
The smart grill lets you know when it's hot enough to put the food in and when it's cooked enough to take the food out. Smart ovens have preset programming and voice recognition. Apps and devices offer interactive recipes.
The smart fridge is the darling of the true kitchen of the future. It keeps track of expiration dates, grocery lists, and can tell you your schedule and the weather. Smart cooling technology reduces freezer burn and keeps your perishables from perishing prematurely.
10. Hubba Hub
Once you fill your house with smart devices, you'll want a hub to streamline your access to them all. Google Home and Alexa can both function as hubs, but they come with certain proprietary restrictions. There are also third-party hubs without brand loyalty that work to turn your cell phone into your home's universal remote.
Even Small Changes Will Make Your Home a Smart Home
Smart home technology is fun and offers remote conveniences. You can start to make your home a smart home by changing out some light bulbs or you can give in to your love of futurism and automate nearly everything.