This post comes to us via the Control4 blog, from Emily Long, a freelance writer based in Salt Lake City, Utah. She writes about tech trends and personal finance with the occasional dive into health and wellness.
A renovation is the perfect time to customize your living space and take advantage of the latest in smart home tech. The smart home market is on the rise, and many companies are starting to offer products that integrate seamlessly into the design of a house. For those brave enough to jump into the deep end, the potential benefits from whole-home automation are nearly limitless. Larger upgrades often involve extensive custom design work, including hardwiring, so it’s best to upgrade when you’re already renovating to cut down on cost.
Smart home integration is a strong investment. According to a survey conducted by Houzz, smart tech has become more of a priority for renovating homeowners—28% say that it’s at the top of their lists. And in the luxury home market, these features are now expected. Smart home technology can set your home apart from other options on the housing market, and potentially increase the value of your property’s value.
Take advantage of your next overhaul and consider incorporating these six smart home renovations into your living space.
1. USB OUTLETS
If you tear out the backsplash in your kitchen, chances are you’ll need to rewire a few outlets. A home renovation gives you the opportunity to upgrade your home’s electrical system for your tech-friendly lifestyle. Outlets with built-in USB ports allow easy smartphone and tablet charging without the need for an unsightly power brick, freeing up the outlets themselves for appliances and lighting. Look for a USB outlet that offers 4.8 amp charging for larger devices, and make sure it meets the highest standards for safety.
2. HOME AUTOMATION SYSTEM
If you’re planning to install a number of smart home products during your home renovation project, a smart home system can help you automate the function of each device. A smart home system offers compatibility with a range of individual devices across several standards, and it may integrate directly with your digital voice control assistant. The Amazon Echo is the most popular voice-controlled smart device offered today and is compatible with whole-home automation systems like Control4. Once you’ve chosen a smart home automation system, be sure to select smart devices that “play nicely” with it to further the benefits in your home.
3. BUILT-IN SPEAKERS
Speakers and audio equipment can take up a lot of space, and unsightly wires can really break up the aesthetic feel of a minimalist living room. Luckily, several companies offer custom speaker systems that integrate directly into your home’s construction. Triad Audio, for example, produces systems that mount directly into your home’s walls, ceiling, cabinetry, and even your patio. And they can be custom-matched to the painting on your walls or to various wood veneers.
4. MOTION SENSORS AND SMART SECURITY OPTIONS
While it’s still very possible to do in a home that does not require repairs or updates, automating your home security can be much easier to do during a renovation. Adding sensors that detect motion, door or window access, broken glass, smoke or carbon monoxide, and flooding are individual components that can be integrated into an automation system and customized to the unique layout of your home. When you tie an alarm panel into a home automation system, you can even receive alerts on our mobile device if any door or window has been accessed, or every light in the house can turn on instantly or flash repeatedly to alert neighbors of a potential break-in.
5. HOME SECURITY CAMERAS
Doorbell cameras, perimeter cameras, and interior cameras can be accessed and monitored by the phone in your pocket while you’re away at work or vacation. Discreetly camouflaging security cameras into the design of your home’s entryway and most frequented areas can help you protect your home and the things inside without making friends or family feel uncomfortable. Doorbell cameras are low-profile and minimally invasive, and you can easily install one during a refresh of your doorway. The faceplate can be customized to match your home, and most units come hardwired so you don’t need to replace any batteries. Should you decide to add one after the fact, there are many wireless options, as well.
6. SMART THERMOSTATS
A smart thermostat is a nice upgrade for your heating and cooling system, but these devices can potentially improve your home’s efficiency much more if you install a few extra temperature sensors. During your home renovation, you can hardwire sensors directly into your smart thermostat, allowing it to automatically regulate the temperature in each room. The Ecobee thermostat has sensor capabilities that also incorporate Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, for convenient voice activation and access to Alexa’s huge portfolio of helpful skills. And a thermostat, like the one Control4 jointly developed with Aprilaire, provides voice control through Alexa as well as additional control capability of humidity, dual fuel, forced air, and geothermal.
Whether you’re hiring a contractor or renovating your home yourself, the opportunity to update your home’s technology shouldn’t be missed. You’ll save on installation time, and the potential increase in your home’s value may offset many of the costs associated with these technologies. Your smart home can make everyday tasks and activities more pleasant and convenient, all while keeping your family safer and more secure. It’s a win-win for home renovators.