As technology evolves, more and more homeowners are using smart home technology to control systems and appliances in their homes – thermostats, refrigerators, dishwashers, lighting, sound systems and more. These systems and appliances can be controlled by your smartphone, but many can now be controlled by voice-controlled devices like Amazon Echo or Google Home.
If you’re considering smart home devices, here are some tips to help you get started:
- Manage your smart home devices on a secure home WiFi network.
- Start small to see if smart home technology fits your lifestyle. For example, try LED light bulbs that you can dim or turn on and off with your smartphone, or buy a smart plug to turn lamps on with a timer.
- Smart lights, which are all LEDs, use a lot less electricity than other light bulbs.
- Voice controlled devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home let you use voice commands to order a pizza, play music, shop online, or tell you the news or weather.
- Security cameras like those by Nest and video doorbells like those by Ring are a great way to monitor your home from your smartphone, tablet or laptop. You can mount them outside your front door to see who is coming and going. Some also offer monitoring services and cloud-based video storage.
- Smart locks are also growing in popularity. You can lock and unlock your front door using your smartphone, and you can grant temporary access to guests like a pet sitter or babysitter.
- Smart home hubs can control multiple smart home devices, so they communicate with each other. Companies like Samsung create hubs, but Amazon Echo can also act as a hub.
- Want to save on your energy bill? A smart thermostat can help. You can automatically set the temperature of your home with your phone, and adjust it as needed. You can even turn on the heat remotely if there’s a sudden weather change, so you don’t have to go home to a cold house.
- You can now get a smoke detector to let you know if there is smoke or fire in your home, no matter where you are.
- If you enjoy technology, universal remotes are a cool way to control your TV, stereo, DVD player, cable box and more, all from one device.
There are so many smart home products on the market, and we don’t want to recommend any specific products here, but there are review sites like The Wirecutter and Tom’s Guide that will give you their recommendations. Also, before you buy anything, check buyer reviews on Amazon to see if customers are pleased with their purchases. Good luck!
So you bought a new house, but you don’t know how to make it welcoming and inviting to new guests. Here are some handy tips and tricks to make your new house a home.
- Bring in lots of light. Homes full of light are more welcoming than dimly lit homes. Add decorative lamps and recessed lighting and open curtains and blinds to create a lighter, brighter, more inviting space. Replace incandescent lights with natural light bulbs.
- Add some personalization. Your home should reflect who you are. Display collections, hang up favorite paintings and artwork, and set out the prized possessions and mementos that bring meaning to your family.
- Be inspired by the changing seasons of the Pacific Northwest. Bring in colors from the seasons when you decorate. It will help make your home less drab and invite people to make themselves comfortable. Simple changes like replacing pillow covers, linens and rugs can make a big difference – even on a budget!
- Pay attention to detail. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most. If you have access to fresh flowers, use those to decorate a space. Even a small, natural scent from these will create ambiance. No flowers? Add plants for a touch of life throughout your home. Change switch plates, upgrade hardware in the kitchen and bath, paint the front door or mailbox. All of these little touches add up to a more welcome home.
- Make your home look lived-in but not cluttered. Keep coffee table books or recent magazines handy for guests to look through. Add throw pillows and blankets for easy access and use, and put fresh towels and soaps on the vanities in your bathrooms.
- Make old furniture new again. Refinish flea market finds with a fresh coat of paint, stencil an old trunk, or recover old dining room chairs.
- Mix and match. Skip the matchy-matchy decor that used to be popular. Mix and match complementary colors and patterns to create a unique look that feels like home to you.
For professional decorating advice, ask your Kent Realtor for local referrals. Good luck and enjoy your new home!
Whether you are staging your home for sale or are just ready for a fresh, new look, we’ve got nine easy, affordable decorating ideas for you to try.
- Give your front door a new look. Consider repainting it a bold color or update the hardware with something fresh and fun like satin brass locks, knobs and hinges.
- Clean up the clutter. Consider adding a dresser or other useful, but attractive piece of furniture in a hallway or entryway to store frequently used items like spare keys, dog leashes and umbrellas.
- Rethink interior shelving. Shelves are, of course, great for displaying books, photos and other collections, but they can add beauty to your home too. Give a boring, staid room a splash of color by repainting a bookcase.
- Cozy up any room with dark colors (e.g., paint, furniture, wall and floor coverings, etc.) and subtle lighting.
- No more matchy matchy. Once upon a time, matching furniture was all the rage, but not anymore. Pairing a wooden table with plastic chairs, or glass table tops with wooden chairs is a fun way to bring the unexpected into your home – while also reusing and recycling well-loved materials. The same is true for rugs, pillows and other fabrics throughout your home. Mix it up a bit for a fresh look.
- Update your lampshades. Changing out lampshades or trying different shades with different lamps is an easy and affordable way to give your home a new look. Look past the off-white pleated shades and stark white barrel shades and go for something dramatic – maybe a colored shade or a neutral tan or gray.
- Paint something unexpected like the inside of a wooden curio or buffet, the back panel of a bookcase, a wooden staircase, or a kitchen table.
- Create an intimate space by cordoning it off with curtains or another type of visual separation.
- Change light fixtures to give your home a new look. Focus on one bold piece like a chandelier in your entryway or dining room, or redo all of the fixtures in your kitchen or bathrooms.
Need inspiration or ideas? We love combing through design magazines, but Pinterest and Instagram are great options as well. You can also ask your Realtor® who has probably staged a home or two along the way!
Sources: Sunset: 8 Ways to Refresh Your Home’s Style & My Home Ideas: Style Updates You Can Do Today