Having a “smart” home is about more than just buying cool tech, it’s about managing your energy consumption, keeping your family safe and staying connected from anywhere. Whether you want to improve your personal living space or ensure your home offers extra value when you decide to sell, smart home upgrades can bring a lot to the table. If you’re considering upgrading your home, think about shifting your budget away from high end finishes and into smart home features that will make your life easier and give your space a lot more functionality.

Smart Lighting Upgrades

A common starter device for home automation “newbies,” smart lighting is a simple, effective and highly versatile upgrade. Smart LED bulbs will not only help you save money, they’re also great for home security purposes because they can be turned on or off from anywhere. While some smart lights can activate based on motion sensors, others can be scheduled to turn on/off at different times of the day or night. This simple addition will help you minimize your energy consumption and help protect your home from potential break-ins by making it look occupied, even when no one is home.

Smart Outlet Installation

Of all the smart home upgrades you can invest in, smart home outlets are definitely one of the most versatile. Essentially these outlets can be plugged into your current home outlets and anything you plug into them, instantly becomes a smart device that you can control remotely.

Whether it’s turning your favourite lamps on remotely when you’re away on vacation or switching on your fan to cool off your space before you get home from work, there are a lot of ways you can use this simple tech upgrade to your advantage in any room of your home. If you’re looking for hands-free convenience so you don’t have to tote your phone around, you may even want to consider outlets that can be controlled via voice through your Google Home or Amazon Alexa.

Smart Thermostat

If you could stand to cut back your energy bills, a smart thermostat is a great place to start when it comes to upgrading your home with more smart tech. Not only can you control your heating/cooling remotely from your device, but you’ll also get access to real-time energy consumption data so you can work toward making small adjustments that can save you big bucks on your energy bills. Smart thermostats allow you to create timed schedules for heat/air to run and some may even be intuitive enough to learn your schedules over time and adjust accordingly.

Remember that if you’re concerned about energy consumption, the first step you should take is ensuring that your home is sealed off properly to prevent any heat loss before you invest in managing your energy consumption with a smart thermostat.

Smart Video Doorbell

Video doorbells add an extra layer of home security and are very easy to install and use. They give homeowners the ability to stay connected to their homes from a distance and keep an eye on who visits, even when no one is there. If you’re the type who does a lot of online shopping, video doorbells can help you speak directly to couriers and provide directions to hide a package, even when you’re nowhere near home.

Smart Locks

Often, homeowners may be wary of adding a smart lock to their doors for fear of vulnerability and potential hacking opportunities which could leave their valuables exposed. The reality is that they’re designed to be secure from hackers and if you opt for one that’s a deadbolt style, you’ll not only get the peace of mind that your door is secured, you’ll also get the convenience of fingerprint or touchpad access.

No more fumbling for your keys while juggling bags or children, no more worrying about losing your keys in general and no more worrying about whether you locked the door before you left home, as these smart locks allow you to lock/unlock remotely.

It’s also worth noting that most smart locks still come with a key so if you’re looking to add on more functionality but are living with older residents or anyone who may be resistant to the upgrade, you can take comfort in knowing they can still use a key if they choose.

Smart Bathroom

While the thought of a smart toilet is enough to make anyone shudder, they can actually help you save money on your hydro bills by conserving water without compromising flush power. The toilet comes equipped with a heated seat and deodorizer, the lid opens/closes automatically and if that weren’t enough, there’s also a robust built-in cleaning function.

Smart Blind Shades

Another great way to save money on your energy bills, smart shades are a practical and functional home upgrade that can help you make an impact on a modest budget. Some kits will allow you to control your current blinds through Alexa or Google Home, and some even boast solar power connectivity allowing you to run them on natural energy.

You can control your blinds remotely from your device to help give the appearance that someone is home when they aren’t. You can also create schedules for the smart shades so they open and close at specific times every day; talk about the perfect wakeup call or reminder to get tucked in at night!

Smart Kitchen Appliances

When it comes to smart home appliances, there are a ton of options you can consider based on the appliances you use most or the functionality you’re seeking. You can go big with a smart convection oven/fryer or keep it small with a smart scale or smart tea/coffee maker.

Smart home appliances are proven to provide the highest return on investment so whether you’re buying them for yourself, or considering the value they may add to your home when it hurts the market, consider that you can expect an ROI of at least 11% more than what you’d get with standard appliances. [MFE’s Concept Community Survey]

Add A Smart Hub

While a smart hub on its own can be a great addition to your home, it becomes even more useful as you invest in more smart technology. These devices let you connect and control your smart technology all in one place instead of being forced to navigate through different custom apps for each device. Once you’ve decided to begin the journey toward making your home smarter, a smart hub is a great investment to help you keep things more streamlined and accessible for everyone in the home.

Home automation is here to stay, and many Canadians have already started bringing their homes into the future with the latest in smart home technology. Whether you’re ready to dive in or aren’t sure where to start, focus on the core basics and build on that as you continue to invest. So next time you find yourself thinking about giving your home an upgrade, consider what you want from your space and how smart home technology devices can help you achieve it.