Renting your home means you’re somewhat limited in what you’re able to modify. Any permanent changes would need to be run by the landlord, and although they’re likely to say yes if you’re increasing the value of the property, do you really want to invest in things you can’t take with you when you move? Luckily, you can upgrade your home to a Smart Home even if you rent, with most of the gadgets being ones that you can take with you when you leave.
One of the most versatile pieces of equipment you’ll probably want to get is a smart speaker. There are multiple companies who make these, but Google Nest or Amazon Echo devices are among the most popular. Under fifty bucks, these fancy speakers talk back to you. There’s almost no end to what you can do with them, from ordering groceries to calling an Uber, to controlling your Spotify, to even just asking them questions when you need to know something quickly and can’t be bothered to Google it. Sometimes they don’t quite get it right so you might have to occasionally cut them some slack - ‘Sorry, I don’t know that one’ may become one of your least favorite phrases. These smart speakers are available in a variety of colors and styles, so they’ll fit in with whatever decor you have.
Some of the newer generations of smart speakers also come with screens. This makes them perfect for helping you out in the kitchen by showing you recipes when cooking, or pairing with a smart doorbell to be able to see who’s there without needing to move. They work with almost any other piece of smart tech and their sleek designs mean they won’t look out of place in your apartment.
Smart plugs are an inexpensive and easy way to upgrade your existing appliances. They plug directly into the existing outlets in your home and enable you to manage any appliance or devices. For example, you may not want your electric blanket on all night, but it might be nice to wake up to a cosy bed. Program the smart plug to come on a little while before you wake up in the morning and you’ll never have to get up frozen again. If you always forget to turn the flat iron off you can make sure it’s turned off whenever you need the reassurance. Same goes for anything else you need peace of mind. If it’s plugged in, you can smart plug it.
If you’ve ever been too lazy to get out of bed to turn out the lights, smart bulbs are the way forward! Not only can they be activated by an app or your voice (when paired with a smart assistant), they can even connect to things like smoke alarms or doorbells to add an extra layer or alert. Coming in a variety of different color options, you can set the ambience of your home to however you’d like, at all times.
Some products require a ‘bridge’ to get them working to their full capacity, but it’s definitely well worth it. Philips Hue, for example, when connected to their bridge, allows you to use simple voice commands to control multiple lights in a room or just a single lamp. You can set them to turn on at a certain time, to coincide with your morning alarm to try to ensure you never accidentally oversleep again. They have a wide range of bulbs and lamps to choose from, and even have funky lighstrips for adding a touch of class around desks or behind televisions.
Something that you may not have considered, is getting your own garden. Most apartments don’t come with their own gardens, and if you don’t have a balcony you’re limited to where and what you can grow. However, with a smart garden like Click and Grow, your options are almost limitless. Inspired by NASA technology, Smart Soil creates the perfect environment for your plants to thrive. The Smart Garden 3 is an innovative indoor garden that cares for itself and grows fresh, flavourful herbs, fruits and vegetables for you, allowing you to experience all the benefits of having your own garden, no matter where you live. All you have to do is water, and the Click and Grow system will do the rest.
Although these don’t always connect to any Alexa or Google devices, smart scales are still an interesting way to help monitor your health. With it being January, a lot of people are probably going to get started on a healthy eating and exercise regime. Smart scales mean you don’t need to worry about writing down your weight every day to keep track. Simply hop on and the scales will do the rest. With dedicated apps you can track weight trends as well as a variety of other measurements. For example, Withings Body+ can also track your body fat percentage, water composition and heart rate.
Smart cameras connect to your phone and other devices allowing you to view video of your home no matter where you are. Think of them like a long distance baby monitor. Whether you’re using it as a baby monitor, a puppy camera or just to keep an eye on your home whenever you’re not there, smart cameras can add an extra layer of security to your apartment.
Build Your Dream Smart Home
Even if you’re renting you can still upgrade your apartment with a few strategically chosen bits of tech. You might not be able to get them all, but keep an eye out for sales and pick up pieces as you see them on offer to make your home sleek and feel like your own. After all, we live in the future - you might as well take advantage!