How To Make Your Apartment Smarter: Renter Friendly Smart Home Solutions
In this new digital age, just about everything is driven my technology — there isn’t anything you can’t do online nowadays! So it’s no surprise that there’s been a growing interest in smart homes — which, in lamens terms, is automation for different areas of your home for everything from lighting to climate control to your appliances.
Depending which generation you’re from, you probably remember watching The Jetsons and thinking, “wow, I’d love a robot vacuum” or “omg, why can’t I have my own Rosie”. Fast forward however many decades since that show was popular and we have devices like iRobot, Google Home, and Alexa that bring us pretty damn close to living like The Jetsons!
But here’s the thing — you almost never see this conversations about home automation in an apartment. Sometimes, yes, but more often than not, it’s someone’s super lavish, super large house.
Last year, my husband convinced my to get a Google Home Mini, and while we’d already been a pretty tech-savvy household, bringing in that small device completely changed how I viewed the smart home.
In my businesses, I have come to greatly appreciate the power of automation. So as a nerd married to a tech junkie, it was pretty easy for us to realize how we could totally make our apartment “smarter” without any hard wiring or professional installation.
From voice activation to everyday appliances to cloud based integrations, here are a few ways you can make your apartment smarter.
When we moved out west, one of the very first things I made sure we invested in was a security system — we were in a new state, a new neighborhood, and I was home alone with a toddler very, very often so I didn’t want to take any chances.
Having never had a security system before (thank you high rise luxury living) I knew I wanted something that was easy to install, didn’t require a contract, and could be accessed remotely from our phones.
In addition to a security system, we’ve since invested in security cameras to monitor our daughter & just the house in general, and lemme tell ya — the peace of mind is priceless!
I have an Apple iPhone. My husband has a Samsung Android (I’m going to guess it’s a note something or the other). For these reaspns, our smart ecosystem is a sort of hybrid of Apple & Google products, with our Google Home Mini leading the charge, alongside our Apple computers & TV devices.
We do have Amazon Fire TV products (did I mention that we’re low key tech junkies?) but we almost never use Alexa, not for any other reason than we don’t need to.
But no matter which device you choose to be your “hub” of commands, what it comes down to is this devices ability to seamlessly let you (literally) talk to your other devices and programs.
Around the house
From trash cans to vacuums, tables to speakers, and even microwaves, there are so many everyday applications for “smart” devices around the house. Even when it comes to ordering groceries, you can set that up on an automation with quite literally a touch of a button — Dash Buttons from Amazon.
Ever since we lived in NYC, I would keep different dash buttons in different areas to remind us of necessary purchases — a Gain Button on the washing machine, a Charmin Button in the bathroom cabinet, Keurig & Cheez-It Buttons inside the pantry… well, you get the point.
From telling your trash to open, to telling your microwave to heat up a cup of coffee, to have your table charge your phone, you can get pretty damn close to being a Jetson yourself!
Depending on your household, you’re probably going to find yourself needing to make devices work together that don’t do so natively — like my iPhone & a Google Home mini. In this case, there’s a Google Home Assitant app, but when it’s not as simple as that, you can create a cloud-based hub for your new smart home ecosystem with IFTTT.
IFTTT is a free ap that allows you to create different “recipes” for connecting apps & devices that would otherwise never communicate — saying to my Google Home mini “ok Google, remind me to call the library” will add a reminder to my native iPhone reminders app to call the library!
While a small task, imagine creating dozens of these simple custom automations — imagine the time & effort you’ll save, and just how high tech you’ll feel!
What’s best about every single one of these smart home solutions is that so long as you already have some wi-fi and a smart phone, you’re already half way there — so hella renter friendly, because it’s just an extension of what you’re probably already doing.
And if you were to decide to buy a home, every single one of these devices, applications, and integrations can move right along with you & you’re already pre set up for smart home success!