As a homeowner, you want your house to be safe, efficient, and attractive. One of the best ways to make your home operate well is by integrating “smart” home technologies. Several companies are developing products to help automate your home. Here are some types of smart home features you might choose to integrate into your living spaces.
What are Smart Home Features?
A “smart” home is one that has systems and components that can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet. Components of the home are connected to the internet and can be adjusted, powered on and off, and/or monitored with a smart device. Let’s take a look at a few of the more common smart home options.
You can use smart features in many aspects of your day-to-day life, including lighting your home. Lights are available that can be controlled, programmed, and automated according to your schedule. Smart fixtures are available as are smart bulbs that can be used in any light fixture. Many of these bulbs allow you to adjust the color and tone of the light in your living spaces and you can set schedules and timers to turn the lights on and off automatically.
Smart Entertainment Devices
For home entertainment, you’ll find an assortment of devices that make using the television or listening to the news easier. Smart speakers are available that will play music or search the internet with voice commands. You can also purchase smart televisions that can be operated with a smartphone. Many homes use a central hub to connect and control all the devices. Apps can also be used to manage devices via a computer or phone.
Some Home Appliances Have Smart Features
Smart appliances like ovens, microwaves, air fryers, and even outdoor grills can be controlled via your smart speaker or an app on your phone. You can control them from anywhere in the house, but it isn’t recommended to use cooking appliances when you aren’t home.
Programmable Smart Thermostat
A smart thermostat provides complete automation for your heating and cooling system. Program the thermostat to control the temperature based on when you’re at home or at work. You’ll be able to cool and heat your home more efficiently. Some smart thermostats can actually detect people in the home and adjust the indoor temperature accordingly.
Smart Home Features Include Window Blinds
Your windows can be enhanced using smart home features. In the summer, program your smart blinds to close during the heat of the day. You’ll keep the inside of your home cooler. As a bonus, you’ll save money on the energy bill because it will take less electricity to maintain a comfortable temperature inside the home. During cooler weather, open the blinds during the day. Even if you’re out of the house, you can open the blinds using your smartphone.
Smart Home Surveillance Cameras
Installing smart home surveillance cameras is one way to enhance home security. Some of these cameras are equipped with facial recognition software, two-way communication intercoms, and night vision to better see what’s going on around your property. Smart cameras can be monitored via your computer or mobile device.
The day you finally get the keys to your new home is an exciting time. Whether you bought an old house or one that was newly constructed, there are many benefits to being a homeowner. There is also plenty to learn as you adjust to your new home. To make things easier for you, here is a list of tips for a new homeowner and some important things you should know.
Get a Home Inspection
Before you purchase a home, have it inspected by a professional. A home inspection gives you an overview of the property’s condition. The assessment will identify problems and safety concerns so you’ll know about any needed repairs and replacements. Plan on scheduling regular maintenance inspections to keep your home in the best shape and to stay ahead of small problems before they become significant.
Tips for a New Homeowner: Keep Your Documents Safe
Keep your important documents together in one place so they are easy to find when you need them. This includes things like deeds, receipts for contractors you have hired, copies of utility bills, home warranties, and insurance policies. It’s helpful to know exactly where paperwork is when you need to refer back to a specific document.
Know Your Neighbors
When you are a homeowner, it’s good to get to know your neighbors. Invite the people in your neighborhood over for a cookout or introduce yourself when you see them outside. Good neighbors watch out for one another and keep an eye on your property when you’re away. Get the contact information of neighbors, property managers, and utility companies in case you need assistance or have questions about your new neighborhood.
Start with Small Projects
An important tip for new homeowners is to start small when tackling projects in your new home. Choose simple upgrades that you can easily handle yourself. This will prevent you from getting frustrated and burned out the first time you attempt to improve your property.
Get a Toolbox and Basic Tools
A set of tools comes in handy when you need to complete minor home repairs. Purchase a few basic tools and a toolbox for storage. For starters, you’ll want a hammer, pliers, adjustable wrench, screwdriver, drill, and tape measure.
Learning to Budget is One of the Best Tips for a New Homeowner
Make a monthly budget. Include your mortgage payment and any other costs related to homeownership, such as utility bills and maintenance expenses. Keep track of what you spend on groceries, medical bills, and car payments. Set money aside for emergencies. This will help prepare you for unexpected expenses in the months and years ahead.
Your home is a major investment. These tips will help you navigate the world of homeownership and you’ll be more prepared for the responsibilities you’ll face.
An open floor plan is a popular selling point for homes. Some homeowners even go far so as to take out walls before putting their house on the market. If you’re shopping for a new home or thinking of renovating your current one, here are the pros and cons of this type of layout.
Downsides of an Open Floor Plan
An open floor plan with fewer rooms and walls leaves fewer places to store your belongings. When the kids leave toys in the living room, they will be visible from the kitchen. Likewise, if there are dirty dishes on the kitchen counter, they will be noticeable from the dining area.
Less Privacy in an Open Floor Plan Home
More and more people are working from home and the lack of walls also means a lack of privacy. If you need peace and quiet to focus and feel productive, this type of home design may not be right for you. There are fewer barriers to block sound and more opportunities for distraction.
No Sound Buffering
If you’re accustomed to having walls, you might not realize the amount of sound buffering they offer. In a home with open areas, sound travels easily, especially if the house also has high ceilings. Curtain, rugs, plush furnishings, and throw pillows will help to dampen sound, but you’ll notice it is noisier in a home with fewer divisions between rooms.
Enjoy the Advantages of an Open Floor Plan
Better for Entertaining
A home with an open floor plan offers more space for entertaining guests. This type of design is more conducive to gathering with friends and family. When there aren’t walls dividing the living areas, you’ll find it’s easier to key an eye on guests and make sure everyone is having a good time.
Easier to Watch the Kids
Open living areas make it easier to socialize with friends and family and they offer better visibility for keeping an eye on children. You can prepare dinner in the kitchen and still have a clear line of sight to where the kids are playing in the dining room.
Living Spaces Feel Larger
The lack of walls makes even minimal square footage seem larger. Especially when combined with high ceilings, an open floor plan helps a home feel more spacious.
More Natural Light
Open spaces are brighter. Without walls in the main living areas, there’s nothing to block the light from either end of the house. During the day, sunlight through windows and skylights is usually enough to illuminate the entire area.
With the weather warming up, you and your family will be spending more time outside. Make your patio a comfortable place to hang out and relax. Here are some tips to help you upgrade your outdoor living spaces.
Upgrade Outdoor Living Spaces with Furniture
If the backyard deck is bare, adding furniture is an easy improvement. You’ll find a wide range of seating options in a variety of materials for your outdoor spaces. Wrought-iron tables and chairs are attractive and sturdy. Because they are heavy, strong winds won’t affect them. Wrought iron has the downside of being vulnerable to rust if not well-maintained. When shopping for patio furniture, there are also synthetic wicker, wooden, plastic, and aluminum options. Choose a style that is comfortable and complements your outdoor decor.
Incorporate the Elements into Your Outdoor Spaces
A water fountain, fire pit, or outdoor fireplace are all great features for your patio. The sound of falling water is calming and fires are relaxing and inviting. The addition of a fire pit adds warmth to your outdoor space and makes the area feel welcoming any time of year.
Create Shade for Your Backyard Deck
If your deck, porch, or patio gets several hours of sunlight, the area can become uncomfortably warm. Provide shady areas for your guests to relax. Options for shade include structures like a gazebo, large trellis, or pergola. You might also install a retractable awning, shade sail, or a patio umbrella. Planting fast-growing trees on one side of the deck is another way to block some of the sunlight from the area.
Upgrade a Deck With a Privacy Fence
Create an element of privacy for your outdoor living space. Your patio can feel like a private oasis when you add walls, shrubs, or curtains. You can install a rock wall around the patio to create a hidden courtyard. Other options include lattice with vining plants, up-cycling old shutters to create a barrier, and hanging canvas curtains to provide privacy and shade.
Add Color to Upgrade Your Outdoor Living Spaces
Personalize your porch or patio with texture and color. Use an outdoor rug to designate a sitting area. Install planter boxes to grow brightly colored flowers or herbs for the kitchen. Grow ivy on the pergola. Add throw pillows to your patio furniture for color and comfort.
Install Outdoor Lighting
Enjoy your patio even after sunset when you add lighting. The types of lights you choose will depend on your aesthetic. String lights are popular to make an area more festive. If you enjoy dining outdoors, candles set a relaxing mood. You can install recessed lighting into the deck stairs and deck-post lighting to illuminate the perimeter of the backyard deck. Solar-powered stake lights are ideal for lighting the walkway to the front porch or pool. Citronella-burning torches provide light for the backyard and help to keep mosquitoes away.
With our busy lives, it’s helpful to have a place to relax and unwind. These simple upgrades to your patio will allow you to create a warm and inviting outdoor space.
Are your bathrooms dated and out-of-style? Remodeling the bathrooms in your home increases comfort and improves the house’s value. You don’t need to search for contractors to make improvements to the bathroom. Here are 4 ideas for DIY bathroom remodeling.
Refurbish What You Have for DIY Bathroom Remodeling
Depending on the current state of the bathroom, it might not need to have everything replaced. Some components of the bathroom may be able to be refurbished instead of removed. Cabinets, countertops, tubs, and sinks can all be refinished to look brand new. You’ll save a lot of money on new fixtures and labor costs by refinishing these components.
Simplicity is Key
Some of the best bathroom designs are clean and simple. If there is nothing wrong with the layout of the bathroom currently, keep everything in the same place to make the project easier. If you keep the toilet, sink, vanity, and shower all the same place, you won’t have to worry about laying new plumbing and cutting new holes in walls. When replacing these items, find replacements that are the same dimensions as the previous ones.
Tiling can be a tricky DIY project. If you decide to take it on, stick with tiles that are a uniform shape and size. Tiles that are all one color are also easier to work with instead of trying to stick to a pattern. If you have extra tiles at the end of the project, hang on to them in case you ever need to replace a cracked one.
DIY Bathroom Remodeling With Paint
If you want to change your bathroom but aren’t very experienced in home remodeling, start with painting the room. A new coat of paint will have a big impact while not requiring a lot of time and skill. Be sure to tape around all the fixtures in the bathroom for clean results. After the paint has dried, add a few floating shelves to the walls to hold plants and candles.
Whenever making DIY improvements around the house, use safety precautions and wear protective gear. If you are painting or working with chemicals, open the windows to provide adequate ventilation.
A cluttered home causes stress and chaos. One of the best projects you can take on to help your home’s aesthetic and functionality is decluttering the home. Break this task down into four steps to make it more manageable.
Choose Where to Start When Decluttering the Home
You can’t expect yourself to declutter the whole house in one day. This unrealistic goal will only overwhelm and frustrate you. Focus on one area at a time. Choose a room and then hone in on a section of the room. Dive right into the most cluttered areas. At the beginning of the project, you’ll have more energy annd motivation by completing the worst parts first.
Empty the Area
Clear out the area first. When you have a blank slate, it’s less tempting to keep using a storage system that simply wasn’t working. Emptying the space also gives you a chance to deep clean an area that doesn’t get cleaned very often. Clean the walls, shelves, and floor before continuing with your project.
At this stage of the process, you have an empty space with all the items removed and collected on the floor, table, or bed. Sort the items into categories that you’ll either be keeping or getting rid of.
For items that you are keeping, separate them according to whether they belong in this space or somewhere else in the home. For discards, decide if they are trash or worth donating. Take the trash out right away and place donation bins in the car so they won’t end up redistributed back into your house.
Reorganization After Decluttering the Home
Now you are left with useful items that you’ve decided to keep. Find a new way to organize them that makes sense. Things that are used daily, like your favorite coat, should be kept within easy reach. Items used less frequently, like fancy dress shoes, can be tucked away to free up premium space. Keep less-used items on a high shelf or in the back of the closet because you might only wear them a few times a year.