Many people ask me:
“How do I build a smart home?”
But the thing is…
There’s no one-size-fits-all equation for turning your home smart.
See, you can start this setup in a variety of ways.
And what you need to follow relies solely on your preferences.
Continue reading to find out:
- 17 easy ways to make your home smart.
- The better alternative to installing smart cameras.
- How you can build a secure and energy-efficient smart home.
- And this is just the beginning…
How to make your home smart? 17 easy ways
#1: Upgrade your lights
Upgrading to smart bulbs is usually the first step in turning your home smart.
After all, these devices are highly affordable.
And their setup process won’t take more than a couple of minutes.
“Is this upgrade worth it?”
Absolutely. Because there are…
3 smart light features regular models don’t have:
Smart lights are connected to a mobile app.
So, even if you’re away from home, you can easily:
- Turn your lights ON/OFF.
- Check the power status of your device.
There’s no need to hit the switch with smart lights.
Because through voice commands, you can quickly:
- Turn them ON/OFF.
- Adjust their brightness.
- Choose a different light color.
Schedule your lights
Just input when you want your bulbs to turn ON or OFF.
And your smart lights will follow the schedule.
Further reading: 5 Ways To Make Alexa Turn Off Lights After a Certain Time
#2: Grab a smart AI speaker
Smart speakers are the vessels of genius AIs like Alexa.
And they allow your voice assistants to quickly:
- Respond to your commands.
- Remind you of your daily tasks.
- Read out messages or notifications from your mobile devices.
“Can I still use voice commands to control my smart home without a smart speaker?”
Yes, you can.
After all, many smart devices already have built-in voice assistants.
However, I still recommend getting a smart AI speaker.
Because this device still has many features to offer.
For example, with Amazon’s 4th Gen Echo…
You can also play synchronized music throughout various rooms.
#3: Automate your dumb appliances
Some people think that to create a smart home…
You have to spend thousands on replacing all your appliances with smart models.
But this is entirely far from the truth.
See, you can automate dumb devices and turn them smart without breaking the bank.
And we all have smart plugs to thank for that.
For less than $20 a piece…
Smart plugs can immensely upgrade your home by:
- Reducing your appliances’ phantom load.
- Letting you turn your devices ON/OFF through an app.
- Measuring how much electricity your appliances consume.
So, getting a smart plug is 1 of the best starting points when building a smart home.
Recommended reading: 9 Ways Smart Plugs Can Save Energy & Cut Expenses
#4: Turn your TV smart
If you want your house to be a bit more entertaining…
Don’t shy away from turning your TV smart.
Because with smart TVs, you can easily:
- Play online games.
- Stream thousands of shows and movies.
- Control other smart gadgets through your big screen.
Now, fret not.
You don’t need to spend half a grand to incorporate a smart LED screen into your house setup.
Because if you’re on a budget…
#5: Get comfy with smart thermostats
Smart homes should be comfortable.
And there’s no easier way to achieve comfort than to use smart thermostats.
After all, this device allows you to set your house to the exact temperature you want. Even if you’re away from home.
And as a bonus, it also reduces your energy expenses.
Well, the exact energy-saving mechanisms of each smart thermostat differ.
But to give you an example…
A Nest thermostat uses other smart devices in your house to monitor whether you’re home.
And if you’re not…
It activates its power-saving mode. Which makes your thermostat use a more energy-efficient temperature.
Interesting fact: Nest thermostats also send suggestions on maximizing your energy savings.
You might also want to know: 7 Ways Smart Homes Can Save Money (Updated)
#6: Add a smart refrigerator to your kitchen
Smart refrigerators aren’t just for preventing your food from spoiling.
Because with their built-in screens, these devices can also be your:
- Meal planner.
- Digital recipe book.
- Entertainment gadget.
- Personal grocery shopper.
Plus, you can also use smart fridges to control/monitor other smart devices on this list.
Want to check what’s in your fridge away from home?
Not a problem.
Smart refrigerators allow you to see which food items you have left remotely. Because many of them have built-in cameras that connect directly to your phone.
And while we’re talking about a device related to food, you should also…
#7: Consider using smart cooking appliances
If you want to make prepping meals much easier…
Consider including smart cooking appliances in your kitchen.
Because although they can’t independently cook yet…
They definitely make the process faster and better.
Let’s use smart ovens as an example.
See, not only does this device allow you to change your cooking temperature remotely…
It also learns about your cooking patterns over time.
So, after using it regularly…
It’ll offer you instant access to the temperature/settings you use the most.
Not much of a cook?
Smart ovens can also be your personal cooking teacher.
See, some models, like those from Whirlpool, show you how to…
Cook frozen goods just by scanning a barcode as shown in this video:
Want to step up your smart kitchen even more?
Then, I highly recommend…
#8: Switching to automatic faucets
Here’s the reason why I love this device:
It’s voice-activated, just like other smart gadgets.
And no, this feature isn’t just for turning your faucet ON/OFF.
Because you can actually command this device to pour metered amounts of water.
For example, just say:
“Alexa, ask [faucet name] to pour 1 cup.”
And your smart faucet will immediately do so.
Have containers you regularly fill?
Then, you can set custom commands for them too.
Just use your faucet’s app to input how much water your container holds.
So, next time, you can just say something like:
“Alexa, ask [faucet] to fill my large cooking pot.”
#9: Try out electric blinds
You just woke up, and by simply saying:
“Alexa, open the shades.”
Your window blinds automatically roll up. Letting the natural lighting slowly enter your bedroom.
Does this scenario sound tempting?
Then, make your home smarter with the help of electric blinds.
With this device…
You can use a mobile app to control your blinds.
And, of course, use voice assistants for hands-free control.
My favorite feature?
Electric blinds automatically roll down when it’s nighttime.
So, you can automatically protect your house’s privacy.
#10: Make robots do the cleaning
Here’s another device that can make your home much smarter:
Robot cleaning machines.
These gadgets allow you to shorten your time doing chores.
Plus, some of them lower your electricity consumption. Because they’re more energy-efficient than their regular counterparts.
You’ll be hitting 2 birds with 1 stone.
Wanna know which ones will benefit you the most?
Here are the…
2 best cleaning smart devices for your home:
This one’s hands-down my personal favorite on this list.
Because robovacs let you:
- Schedule vacuum sessions whenever you want.
- Choose the specific rooms/zone your robot should vacuum.
Note: Robovacs have a slight downside. And that’s they often get stuck under furniture. But don’t worry. I know several ways to prevent this from happening.
Mopping the floor isn’t the easiest chore to do.
But with smart mops, it can be.
These small robots have built-in water tanks and rotating mop heads.
All you have to do is press their Clean button, and they’ll start mopping for you.
#11: Upgrade to smart locks
If you want to guarantee your house’s safety…
Then, definitely add a smart lock to your house.
See, unlike the regular models, smart locks:
- Allow you to unlock/lock your door remotely.
- Automatically shut OFF after a certain period.
- Send you notifications whenever your door unlocks.
- Record which user unlocked/locked the door during a specified time.
On top of that, while regular locks only use a physical key…
Smart models usually allow you to use several unlocking methods.
For example, this smart lock from Eagletop lets you lock/unlock your door through:
- IC card.
- Mechanical key.
- Mobile application.
- Anti-peep password.
So, you can use whichever one’s most comfortable for you.
#12: Get smart doorbells
You can skip walking towards the front door whenever someone’s outside your house.
Because with smart doorbells’ built-in camera…
You can remotely monitor who’s at the door anytime you want.
And not just that…
Many models also have a 2-way audio feature.
So, you can chat with visitors whether you’re home or away.
#13: Equip your house with a smart home security system
Some will suggest getting smart cameras for your home.
But I have a better recommendation.
And that’s to equip your house with a smart home security system.
Which is usually a complete device package that includes:
- Smart cameras.
- Motion detectors.
- An alarm system.
- Contact sensors for windows/doors.
Now, you may think:
“Why can’t I just buy these smart devices separately?”
Well, with smart home systems…
You’re not just getting the physical security gadgets.
You’ll also protect your home with a professional monitoring service.
It’s when smart monitoring companies also get alerted when your smart alarm goes OFF.
So, they can call emergency dispatch teams for you if you’re in danger.
Now, most companies only offer this service if you have their full home security setup.
So, instead of buying smart cameras or contact sensors individually…
You should equip your house with a smart home security system to make it safer.
Note: Smart monitoring companies usually require you to pay a monthly/annual fee.
Further reading: Are Smart Homes Safe? 7 Things You Should Know
#14: Use an energy monitor
Want an energy-efficient smart home?
Then, try including an energy monitor in your house setup.
See, this works similarly to smart plugs.
But instead of monitoring 1 device at a time…
An energy monitor tracks the electricity consumption of all your appliances.
Take this model from Sense, for example.
All you have to do is connect this device to your house’s electrical panel.
And its mobile app will allow you to:
- Identify any gadgets that are wasting electricity.
- Know which of your devices are ON in real-time.
- Track how much power you use over a timespan.
- See which of your appliances uses the most energy.
So, you can easily control how energy-efficient you want your smart home to be.
Warning: Only certified electricians should install energy monitors. You’ll risk electrocuting yourself. Or you could cause a housefire if you do this process without experience.
Editor’s pick: Do Smart Homes Use More Electricity? 5 Surprising Facts
#15: Consider getting a smart sprinkler
You don’t have to limit your smart devices inside closed-off walls.
Because you can also turn the sprinkler for your lawn smart.
See, like smart faucets…
Smart sprinklers can be controlled through voice commands.
Plus, you can also schedule when you want this device to turn ON.
The best part?
Some sprinklers monitor your local weather.
So, when heavy rainfall or storm approaches…
They’ll automatically skip your scheduled watering sessions to save you money.
#16: Add smart smoke detectors
Regular smoke detectors only alert you of danger when you’re home.
But smart models have mobile applications.
So, you’ll know if there’s smoke detected in your house even if you’re away.
Smart smoke detectors also give you a heads-up when a small amount of smoke is detected.
For example, if you’ve accidentally overcooked a meal…
Your smart detector will notify you that it’s detecting more smoke than usual.
From here, you can simply dismiss the alert if you’ve got everything under control.
Or, of course, take action if you don’t know the source of the smoke detected.
#17: Don’t forget the hub
This device isn’t a requirement to start a smart home.
But trust me. It’s a must-have if you prioritize convenience.
See, smart devices can’t always communicate with each other.
Especially if they’re from different brands.
So, a smart hub acts as the bridge/translator between your gadgets.
And it’s what allows your devices to work together for Automation like Alexa routines.
“Can you recommend any smart hub?”
I sure can. You should consider getting this Aeotec (SmartThings) Hub.
Because out of all smart home system hubs…
It’s compatible with most smart devices.