Everyone should consider putting together a Smart Home. Integrating Wi-Fi connected products into our homes opens up a world of possibilities. Not only can smart home products save us money, they make our lives more convenient and secure. A smart home is a smart choice. Let’s look at some of the ways you can make a smart home.

Smart speakers and displays to build a smart home

You may ask yourself what makes a home smart? At the very core is a Smart Speaker or a Smart Display. This brings voice assistance into your home. The brand you pick determines your smart home ecosystem. Google, Amazon, and Apple each have their own respective voice assistant. To activate the voice assistant, you have to say it’s wakeup word like “Hey Google, Alexa, or Siri”. You can ask it questions, like the weather forecast, play music, or turn on smart devices like lights.

A good tip is to place smart speakers or smart displays in different rooms in your home. That way, you can activate anywhere in your home. I always recommend the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. The trick is to group smart speakers together for multi-room audio. This is what I did. Every morning I listen to my favourite podcast in the shower. Then I get changed in my bedroom with the same podcast playing on my bedside smart display. Then I move into my kitchen and the podcast is playing on my kitchen smart display. 

Smart thermostat in a smart home

Smart thermostat to save on energy costs

The next smart gadget I recommend is a Smart Thermostat. With the cost of living rising, smart thermostats can help families save on their heating bills. The great thing is you don’t have to compromise comfort to save on energy costs. Smart thermostats have learning capabilities to understand your daily habits. From there, they adjust the temperature based on your occupancy, the time of day, and even the weather. The net effect is reducing energy usage to save on heating bills.

To get started with smart thermostats, first determine your heating system. Most homes have central heating with a main thermostat. However some homes may have electric baseboard heating. In this instance, every room has a thermostat. Thankfully, there are smart thermostats for both types of heating systems. Google Nest and Honeywell are popular central heating brands while Mysa is worth considering for electrical baseboard heating.  

Smart lights for multi-colour lighting in a smart home

The next smart home product I recommend people get are Smart Lights. These look like traditional light bulbs, but come with a host of smart features. With smart lights, turn lights on and off with your voice. You can also set light schedules in an app. This brings new ways to turn lights on and off. Second, smart lights provide multi-colour lighting options. This is a great way to set a mood inside your home. Have all the lights turn blue or purple on movie nights. I recommend playing around with different light colour combinations to get cool lighting effects indoors. 

There are several different types of smart lights for indoor and outdoor lighting. Personally, I’m a big fan of LED Strip Lights. They are flexible strips of small LED lights with an adhesive backing. I installed them under desks, over kitchen countertops, and behind TVs. The trick is to have the light bounce off a white wall. I built a man cave and had the light running above the crown moulding around the top of the walls. The light reflects off the ceiling and does a great job lighting up the room. Plus, I can change the light colour anytime. I use white during the day, and purple at night. 

Smart lock in a smart home

Smart locks for keyless entry

Smart Locks are one of my favourite smart home products. They offer a secure way to enter and exit your home without keys. Plus, locks can be controlled remotely through a smartphone. I like them because you can create temporary access codes. This is the perfect solution for short-term rental suits which I have in my home. I create a temporary pincode and then delete it after a guest has checked out. Plus I can see an activity log of when the guest enters and exits the suite. It’s also great for allowing access to cleaners and contractors into your home. 

Smart security cameras in a smart home

Smart security cameras for peace of mind

If you’re looking for peace of mind, consider getting Smart Security Cameras. These cameras connect to your Wi-Fi network and feature motion detection. If the camera detects motion, you will get a push notification and the footage will be recorded to the cloud. You can also remotely watch the camera footage in real-time. 

There are a wide range of smart security cameras including wireless cameras, wired cameras, and even indoor security cameras. Recently I had a mouse in my house. I used an indoor security camera to figure out how it was getting into my kitchen. Outdoors, I use smart security cameras to monitor my property. I put up signs everywhere to let people know they are being monitored. This acts as a great deterrent to would-be thieves. Plus, if something does happen, I will have video evidence that I can share with the police. 

Smart home

Anyone can make a smart home

If you have a smartphone, you can have a smart home. Setting one up is easy, making it perfect for DIYers like myself. Remember, it all starts with a smart speaker or smart display. This acts as the bedrock for your smart home. As a standalone device, smart speakers offer many benefits but it also provides voice control for all your other smart devices like smart lights. Installing smart thermostats helps you save money on your heating costs without compromising on comfort. Finally smart locks and smart security cameras offer convenience and peace of mind to keep your home secure. 

If you’re new to smart homes, read this buying guide. It tells you everything you need to know to get started. Now’s the time for you to build the Smart Home of your dreams.

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.