In today’s day and age of technology, every must-have product seems to either have the word ‘smart’ or the letter ‘i’ preceding it.
From smart bulbs to iPhones, the world has become saturated with gadgets capable of not only being a lot of fun to have and play with but also improving our lives in the process.
It’s no wonder then that the rise of the ‘smart home’ has come about so quickly, with thousands of people now choosing to utilise the best of the current technology within their own homes.
If this is something you’re thinking about doing as well, before you jump straight in and invest in the first smart products you come across, it’s important to have a vague plan in advance.
To support you with this, we have compiled a quick room-by-room guide to help you identify the best smart technology to spend your money on.
Before We Start…
One thing to bear in mind when it comes to designing a smart home is the artificial intelligence-based (AI) virtual assistant you choose to use, as they ideally need to be the same.
You can’t, for example, control an Amazon Echo smart speaker using Siri or an Apple HomeKit smart hub with Alexa. You need to decide which virtual assistant you’d like to use around your home and purchase the smart speaker devices affiliated with that AI.
That way, your smart home will be a lot more seamlessly interconnected as a result.
OK, let’s get started with the first room you’ll likely see when you first walk in the house: the hallway.
While this room may typically be a storage spot for shoes, umbrellas, hats, keys and letters, it can offer a whole lot more. By investing in a smart thermostat, for example, this small addition could revolutionise your entire home and save you a lot of money in the process.
These thermostats are typically wall-mounted and, unless you’re an electrical whizz yourself, will need to be installed by an engineer. They work in the same way as a traditional thermostat – allowing you to control the heating schedule and temperature of your home – but they also come with a number of added benefits.
Say, for instance, you’re travelling abroad somewhere when you suddenly panic that you’ve left your boiler on. With a smart thermostat, thanks to its Wi-fi connectivity, you can quickly check using your phone and turn it off if it is on.
Plus, since they’re such small units and come available in a range of colours, they will fit seamlessly into your home’s interior design.
While you may think of a bathroom as a place to simply wash or bathe, there are now several ways to make it almost entirely touch-free and offer a whole lot more using technology.
If you love a good sing-song in the shower, for example, voice-activated mirrors are now available to use with Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant or whichever AI-based system you’ve decided to use. This, in turn, will allow you to use it in the same way as your smart hub – playing your music, telling you news, reading your diary – all while you get ready for the day ahead.
What’s more, you can even now get Bluetooth-activated toilet seats – yes, really. As you can probably imagine, these will not only play music while you pee but, some models even feature heating systems, so they’ll also keep your buns nice and toasty while you do your business.
Last but not least, smart showerheads can also help take your bathroom that extra level. These devices again utilise voice-controlled virtual assistants to control the temperature, ambience, temperature and climate of your shower, while keeping you up to date with any notifications or missed calls.
OK, moving into the living room, let’s start by discussing the device that everyone seems to have nowadays: a smart hub/speaker system. Solely created to make your life a whole lot easier, these devices have revolutionised the 21st century, enabling users to access the internet with only their voice.
Housing an AI-based virtual assistant, smart hubs are voice-activated speaker systems which can tell you a whole host of information – from the weather to your calendar entries – without you even needing to move a muscle.
While they can technically be placed anywhere around the home, thanks to their ability to play music, control the lighting and work the TV (more on that later), we think they’re best placed in the living room area. Their sleek, modern look also ensures they’ll blend effortlessly into your home’s interior design.
While on the topic of your home’s design, smart lighting can make even the drabbest room look incredible. Smart light bulbs, for example, enable you to not only control the lighting from your phone, laptop or voice-activated smart hub, but they also allow you to set them to whichever colour you like.
Going one step further, by syncing them up to a Philips Ambilight TV, the lights can then use the colours from your TV to offer a truly unique, cinematic experience, almost creating a Northern Lights-style ambience in your very own living room.
If you’re not keen on this light experience yourself though, that’s no problem. Smart TVs are now available which can again be connected up to your smart hub/speaker system. This, in turn, will enable you to control the TV using your smartphone or via voice-activation, helping you find channels and TV shows with ease.
Moving into the final room on our list, the bedroom is an area of the home where you’ll want to kick back, relax and settle down.
As such, certain technologies we’ve mentioned here already, such as smart lighting or a smart TV, could be a great option to think about introducing into your bedroom. But, why stop there?
Devices like Withings’ sleep tracking pad or a smart roller blind can not only ensure you get a really good night’s sleep but also bring your bedroom into the technological age. Similarly, smart table lamps can recreate the feeling of a sunset and sunrise, helping to reset your internal body clock.
When it comes to charging your phone, don’t just settle for the standard plug-in charger – invest in a smart bedside table instead.
While these pieces of furniture may look sleek and fairly ordinary at first glance, in reality, they’re anything but, housing a wireless charger for you to charge your phone with ease and a Bluetooth speaker for you to listen to your favourite songs, podcast or audiobook before drifting off to sleep.
So, there you have it – a quick summary of the best technology to invest in when trying to design your very own smart home.
The key first thing to invest in is a smart hub/speaker system, as the rest of your smart devices will work off the back of that. Then, once you’ve got that set-up in place, the choice is really up to you.
Whether you’d prefer to invest in one or two smart gadgets or go all out and make every device you own inter-connected, there is a whole host of smart technology out there to suit your needs – whatever they may be.
Author Bio: Kelly Edwards has always had an innate passion for design, construction, and art. Since graduating many moons ago, Kelly is now in the process of writing her first book around interior design for newcomers – watch this space! Feel free to check out Kelly’s style over on Pinterest: @KellyEdwardsInterior.