We are thrilled to have our first-ever guest author today! Jonathan DeNeal is a Central Illinois native who loves all things audio-visual and home technology-related. He owns and operates Picture Perfect Technologies here in Champaign and has been a great resource and friend to us over the years. When this topic came up for our 12 Days of Christmas series, we knew who needed to write it. We’re so glad he agreed.
So, on the ninth day of Christmas, we give you: Nine “Smart” Home Technology Options, Eight Pieces in Which to Invest, Seven Interior Design Blogs to Read, Six Festive Cocktails, Five Holiday Wishes, Four Tips for a Successful Renovation, Three Blogs Not to Miss, Two New Traditions, and One Room to Refresh.
There are a lot of great smart home devices on the market. Here are our nine favorite categories:
Make sure you know when someone has been at your door whether they push the doorbell or not. We love these even for times when you are home but maybe in an area of your house where you cannot hear the doorbell like the basement or backyard. Pick a DIY version like the Ring or Nest or select one that ties into a full home automation system like the Control4 Chime.
Smart Door Lock
This is an easy option to give temporary access to your home so your kids can let themselves in their home without the worry of a lost key. They will just need their phone, which we all know they will never lose. Haha. Tied in with the video doorbell, you get the confirmation before you open the door. Yale Assure lock is a great option with multiple styles and finishes.
Newer garage doors have this option already built-in, but if you have an older door opener and are not ready to replace it, look at the Aladdin Connect. It is an easy add option to make nearly any garage door “smart.”
We are lighting control fanatics. Being able to control the lights in your home helps save energy while setting the mood. Make sure the lights you want on are on and the lights that are off stay off. We like smart dimmers better than smart bulbs because smart dimmers often end up costing less and tie in much more easily to a home automation system. So, swap your switches for dimmers and take control of your lighting. We recommend Lutron and Control4.
We prefer traditional connected programable thermostats rather than learning thermostats. The ones from Lutron can monitor when you’re home or away and set your thermostat in its respective mode based on your location. The key is to make sure everyone in your home has this feature turned on so that the house doesn’t put itself in “away” mode when the main user leaves home but everyone else is still there.
There are lots of options and sometimes it’s easier to use the built-in apps on your smart TV, but if you’re an Apple user, put an AppleTV on every TV in your home so that you get the same user experience in every room, regardless of what brand TV you own.
Get the information you want at the start of your day directly in the glass of your mirror. Smart mirrors come in standard and custom sizes and can include lighting options for your bathroom as well. We love the smart mirrors from Seura.
Finally, make sure your family is safe. Install an outdoor camera to cover your driveway and any entrances into your home, and definitely make sure you have a camera on your swimming pool. Like the video doorbells, a wireless Ring or Nest camera is a great option, or have a hardwired traditional camera system installed for maximum reliability.
There are lots of “smart” options for your home and selecting from them can be a hassle. If you have questions about the perfect gift for someone else or yourself, please reach out and we would be happy to advise.