Upgrade Your Home with Tech
Is your home ready for an overhaul? Then now’s the time to add more tech to your renovation plans.
From space-age decorating and timesaving kitchen gadgets to robotic cleaning, there’s a whole world of smart home devices that can be readily incorporated into even the simplest of home makeovers. And adding them now can help to futureproof your home when it comes to the continuing rise of lifestyle tech.
To get you inspired here’s Gear Hungry’s quick guide to the best home improvements to reboot your home and make everyday life just that little bit easier.
1. Plugged in for tech
Can your home ever have enough plug sockets? With the array of tech and gadgets most homes now have, the answer it seems is no! But you can solve the problem of outlet backlog by upgrading your sockets for the 21st century, and USB outlets for USB flash drives and cables are the way to go.
There’s more hardware to USB sockets than your average three-pin socket, so you may not be able to replace every outlet you have, but by being savvy in your USB locations you can make a difference to your gadget home life. The bedroom, living room, home office, and kitchen are the places to upgrade. Go for a mixed socket – standard plug and USB – and get an electrician if rewiring is not your thing.
2. Be hot on heating
Not only can home tech make life easier, but it can also help you to be more energy and money savvy. One simple home upgrade to seriously think about is a smart thermostat, so you can control your home’s heating, even when you’re not there. Using an app on your phone, you can check in remotely to turn the heat up or down so your house is super cool or cozy when you get home. A smart thermostat can provide real-time energy data, and many models such as Nest and Honeywell can also ‘learn’ from your typical usage patterns to auto-adjust your home heating.
For smaller spaces, tech can also turbo heat a room, with one of the newer space heaters on the market. Today’s fans or infrared space heaters are energy efficient and a great way to take the chill off a winter night.
3. Get smart with security
Good locks are key when it comes to home security, and smart has taken up the baton and totally run with it. Basically a keyless lock, smart locks are a quick way to upgrade your home security and for around $150-200you can pick up a quality device that can be installed in a few hours.
With a smart lock, you can unlock your door remotely via your phone and even send visitors temporary ‘keys’ so they can gain access when you are away. And synched with a smart doorbell, you can see who is at the door before you let them in or monitor any unwanted activity on your property. Check out smart locks from August, Yale, and Kiwkset, who have set the standard when it comes to smart home security.
4. Upgrade your TV
It’s not just the size of your TV that matters, it’s what you can do with it that really counts. Making your television the center of your home’s entertainment is an investment upgrade but is one worth doing. Combining your Android TV box with wireless speakers gives your home an almost cinema-like quality hub, with all the streaming and connectivity you need to keep the whole family entertained.
And if at the end of the day, when the off button is clicked, you’d prefer your TV screen to fade into the background well now it can, quite literally with the arrival of the transparent TV. Utilizing LED technology, the dormant screen will disappear and can take on the appearance of its background, so you barely know it’s there.
5. See the light
If you’re after a few tech quick wins then, along with USB plugs, smart lighting is a good way to go. It could be as simple as replacing all your light bulbs with longer lasting, compact fluorescent light bulbs or LEDs. Both are energy efficient and can save on your energy bills each year. But if gadget-fun is also a motivator then check out the latest in smart lightbulb technology.
Smart lightbulbs can be controlled by an app, meaning you can turn them on and off, whether you are in the house or not. Great for when you’re in a rush to make that date, then realize you’ve left the lights on at home. With some smart lightbulbs, you can also dim them and even change their color – perfect for setting the right mood.
6. Be in, when you’re out
Tired of never being in when the delivery man calls or answering the door to people you would rather not see? Or want to be able to check in on your home when you’re away? Then a tech upgrade of your home doorbell will make you very happy. Working in the same way as smart locks, smart doorbells use WIFI connectivity to turn your phone into a security camera and doorbell answer service, all in one.
Smart doorbells come in a range of sizes, from discreet to unmissable, and some can also be hooked into your overall house security system. And the beauty of a smart doorbell is that you can be in, even when you are out so you’ll never miss that caller, delivery man or doorstep lurker ever again.
7. Be smart with your help
With all your new tech upgrades, you’ll need an efficient way to keep your smart home on track so now’s the time to recruit some extra help. And smart speakers – or virtual assistants – could well prove the invaluable addition to the family.
Whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa or Echo, Sonos, Apple Homepod or Google home (to name the current big players), you can get centralized control of all your smart home gadgets through these voices, Bluetooth or WiFi activated devices. From remotely locking the front door, calling your mom or shopping online to playing your Aerosmith back catalog, smart speakers are here to stay. Get ready to simplify your smart home life.
8. Robo cleaning power
While the thought of robots taking over the world makes us Terminator nervous, robo-tech taking on household chores is one we’d welcome with open arms.
Robotic vacuums are the effortless way to keep your floors clean. The tech behind these little robo wonders is fantastic – programmable, they pre-map your floor and remember the layout to increase efficiency and can even find their way back to their recharging station when they need more juice. And you don’t need to keep the robo tech to the floor either – check out their ‘robo cousins’ the robotic window cleaner to keep those windows sparkly clean. Be inspired by one of the most popular robo cleaners out there, the Roomba and you’ll soon see the rise of the robots in a whole new light.
9. Upgrade your kitchen
The kitchen is where there’s been a cool revolution when it comes to connecting to smart technology. From hi-tech refrigerators that monitor the freshness of your food and touchscreen fronts that reveal what’s inside to smart washing machines and dishwashers which you can operate remotely via your phone, tech has taken labor-saving smart kitchen gadgets to a whole new level.
Yes, you will most likely pay a premium for all this technology, but it does seem that connected cooking and cleaning is here to stay. So, if you are planning a kitchen re-fit then look at making your new kitchen appliances work for you, even if you’re not at home.
10. Happy houseplants
If you’re not so green fingered when it comes to your house or yard plants, then let tech take the strain.
There’s a host of self-watering plant pots out there, from simple reservoir systems to full-on smart technology to ensure your plants are watered when you are away. Apps collect the data from sensors in the soil to water your plants when moisture gets low, while alerts will be sent to your phone when the water supply needs topping up. For outdoor plants, hook up your sprinkler to a water timer for just the right amount of irritation when you are away. Top of our happy plant list is the Parrot Pot, Lechuza and Hozelok.
11. Pet tech!
Another simple way to upgrade your home is with some ‘pet tech’. With our busy lives, it can sometimes be a chore to get back home to feed your cat or dog at the same time every day. It may not seem too much of a big deal but to your loyal pet, it can disturb their whole routine, and no-one wants a disturbed pet at home!
If this sounds like you, then check out the latest in automated pet feeders, which use smart technology to put you in control of feeding time, even if you are running late. These tech-savvy feeding bowls connect to your smartphone and let you deliver automatic meals to keep your furry friend fed on time. You can also program the dispensing rate of the feed, so your pooch doesn’t wolf it down too quickly. A perfect gift for dog lovers.
12. For coffee connoisseurs
In the super modern home, a kettle and a jar of instant coffee just won’t cut it anymore. But if your take-out double espresso is becoming an expensive habit, then stir some home coffee tech into the mix. A new coffee machine is a quick lifestyle upgrade that can bring some home barista action for a seriously smooth brew. And when you add up all those Starbucks take-outs, a new coffee machine toy suddenly sounds like a good deal.
From pod machines to large Italian-style brewers, the latest home coffee machines provide consistent brewing and quality coffee flavor to rival the most artisan of coffee shops without leaving your kitchen. Now that’s a home upgrade worth making.
13. Super cool bedtime
Sleep has gone smart, with a host of gadgets designed to give you the best night’s sleep. Whether it’s a lumpy mattress or overheating keeping you awake, or you struggle to wake up feeling refreshed, there’s a solution to make your slumber time feel space-aged.
We’ve all seen memory foam mattresses, but there’s now mattress covers such as the Eight 10005 that use smart technology to monitor your sleep pattern and adjust the temperature for optimum rest. Then there are temperature control bedsheets that channel NASA space tech to absorb heat that’s released if you get cold. And, for gentle walking, try out mood lamps, white noise machines or alarms to bring you back into the land of the living.
14. Create your own home cinema
If you’re a movie buff or are simply pressed for space, then get the corn popping and upgrade your home with a streaming projector and use against a white wall. These cool devices can bring the best of the silver screen straight into your home, making an impact on the movie or big game night without the need for bulky equipment or a large screen.
And they don’t have to cost more than the average wide-screen TV. A decent mid-price wireless or mini projector can produce a 150-inch image without losing quality, easily enough for that big screen experience. And discretely wall mounted, once the film credits have rolled, no-one would know you’ve brought Hollywood to the living room. Except, perhaps for the popcorn.
15. Take the hassle out of gardening
Who hasn’t idly dreamt of drinking an ice-cold beer on the porch while the lawn magically cuts itself? Well, we can’t quite wizard up such magic, but can recommend another home upgrade that’s as near as damn.
Once the stuff of futuristic movies, just like the robotic vacuum, the robot lawn mower has gone mainstream. The best of the robotic lawn mowers are tough little dudes, with the blades and traction to tackle the lumpiest of garden terrains. Once set up, they map and cut your green giving you a perfect lawn that’s the envy of the neighborhood, without the hard work.
16. Techno cooking
Smart devices are making their way on to the kitchen counter too. Just when you thought those kitchen classics couldn’t be improved, it’s time to cook up a home tech storm.
There’s a host of app-enabled cooking gadgets to choose from and even if you’re not a whizz in the kitchen. Smart kettles for precision boiling, smart mug (app linked no less) to make sure your brew is at your perfect temperature, meat thermometers linked to your phone, app-enabled slow cookers, prep pads synched to your phone to check the nutritional value of the food you are preparing….it’s all shaping up to be a brave new foodie world!
17. Upgrade your home office
Your home office is prime for a tech upgrade and it doesn’t take much to bring it into the modern age. If you’ve already updated your sockets for USB and are totally set for your core computer and electrical gadgets, don’t assume you’re done. Technical design can also be used to pimp up your working space too.
With the average adult spending up to 12 hours a day on their butt, you need to make sure your home office is not harming your health. One way is with the latest standing desks, designed to help you beat the seated slump at your laptop or gaming station. There are many benefits of standing desks. They are great for keeping your posture in top form and stop you sitting in one position for long periods of time. To really future-health proof your home office, check out the latest high spec ergonomic office chairs to keep you comfortable and sitting sweet.
18. Remote power
Constantly losing the TV remote, only to reach down the back of the sofa to bring out three others that you’re not really sure what they are for? Or is the coffee table now a sea of remotes for all the gadgets and tech you have in your home? If only life was simple and you had one remote for all occasions? Now you can…well almost, with the universal remote.
Make your life easier with this gadget’s gadget that can be programmed to work with more than one device, by imitating the signals they produce. A universal remote is an answer if you feel your AV life needs streamlining, although the quality of the product depends on what you are prepared to spend.
19. ‘Up-gadget’ your furniture
If, with all this talk of technology, you’re getting a bit nostalgic for old-school renovation, then don’t worry, we have the perfect low-tech solution. This is the chance to get out the toolbox and look at ways to ‘gadget-upgrade’ your furniture, so you can be storage savvy when it comes to all that home tech. Inspired? Here are a few ideas for reducing gadget clutter around your home:
- Use a binder clip to wrap up earphones and attach to your desk
- Create a boxed charging station to store all your cables in one place
- Add a sliding top to aside table to store away all your remotes
- Mount a tablet on your kitchen wall for easy access as you cook.
20. Home décor the tech way
And finally, if it really is just a DIY touch up you’re planning for your home, there’s no need to totally shun the tech. There are many products out there that use some top technology to help you spruce up your living space.
Check out your smartphone for apps that can help you to color match paint, consider switching your bathroom tiles for new tiles that are coated in antimicrobial metals that kill bacteria and prevent mildew or splurge on a digital power shower and make that cold blast when the kitchen tap is turned on a thing of the past. These are just a few of the many ways that tech is shaking up your home decoration and renovation plans. Smart.