Dark. Dank. Scary. Haunted? These are just some of the words I use to describe my childhood laundry room. Less of a room, actually, and more of a corner in my unfinished basement. Most of the people I knew had a basement laundry room— taking up real estate on the main floors seemed like a waste for such a utilitarian space.
Lately that home philosophy is being reconsidered, and for good reason. As a busy mom, the laundry is something I interact with on nearly a daily basis— loading, unloading, folding, sorting, or emergency stain removal. There always seems to be a reason to head to the laundry room to take care of something. Hiking up and down two floors of stairs on a regular basis can get old.
When you hear “home technology,” are you thinking “invasive surgery for my house”? Do you worry that the actual smart one in the bargain will be the electrician getting paid handsomely for all that rewiring? Luckily, home technology doesn’t have to burrow behind your drywall.
In fact, many of the products at HGTV Smart Home 2016 require no wiring at all. These devices, ranging from simple to sophisticated, provide plenty of flexibility and specialize in ease-of-use. They install in seconds, you can add on to them as your needs evolve, and you can even take many of them with you when you move. Let’s look at a few ideas for having a smart home without drilling a hole.
As our always-connected lives get more and more chaotic, many of us look to home to provide a getaway from all the noise. And with screens stealing the attention of our family and friends, we’re trying to set up our homes as a place where we can put our devices down and have distraction-free time with our family.
That said, I’m not suggesting that technology should be banished from the home. Far from it! HGTV Smart Home 2016 is teeming with tech that makes life more convenient, safer, and a lot more fun. I’m merely suggesting that, in little ways, we can style our homes to put tech in the background, creating an environment that is more Zen and less zany. Here are some ways you can minimize the technology in your home, without sacrificing fabulous modern amenities.
Browse 9 Tips to Minimize Your Home Tech >>>
If you’re confused about whether home technology would make your home safer, you’re not alone. I mean, your current home has locks on the doors, and maybe an alarm system. So it couldn’t get safer than that, right? The truth is, the latest crop of high-tech home security devices can add even more peace of mind, by offering you the ability to monitor and control your home, even when you’re not at home. Here are some of the ways that home technology can make you safer.
If you leave a regular door unlocked in your house, you’ll never know until it’s too late. If you’re not sure about the status of a smart lock, however, you can see whether it’s locked or not on an app, and lock up remotely.
Here’s a bright idea: lights you can control from a distance, or even program to turn off or on in advance. Smart lights can save you electricity and legwork, especially in the case of a rogue light switch that my 5’3”-tall self could not reach. And yes, you can install some smart lights without calling in an electrician! Here are your options.
Neon is like saxophone solos and flare jeans. It feels retro and new all at the same time. At the HGTV Smart Home 2015, a clean, modern address number made of neon tubing greets you at the door. It’s a nod to Austin’s funky vibe, and a fun juxtaposition to the home’s traditional farmhouse exterior.
Whether you appreciate it’s utilitarian side (you can see it from the street down the long driveway) or it’s artistic flair, there’s something so magical about neon. I mean, really, how does gas inside a tube light up like that? Neon is definitely a trend I’m seeing everywhere lately, inside and outside. Looking to give your home’s decor a jolt? I have a few ideas:
There’s a certain feeling I get when I walk into a house with lots of natural light. Spaces feel expansive, furniture looks better, everything’s… sunny.
Having lots of windows is a good thing, but it causes a couple problems too.
First up, energy-efficiency woes. Floor-to-ceiling beauties like the ones in the foyer at the HGTV Smart Home 2015, let tons of sunlight stream in. Where there’s sunlight there’s heat, however, and by mid-afternoon the house is roasting and the air conditioner is working overtime to compensate.
Luckily the home is outfitted with smart shades, which can all be lowered with a tap of any of the home’s tablets. They are tied to the home’s automation system as well, so they can be programmed to lower at the time of day when the sun does it’s worst, so even if you’re not home, the house lowers the shades for you. Shades like these reflect heat instead of letting it in, making the people inside the home more comfortable, and their wallets happy too.
Dear Carley, I often need to travel for work, and I’m always wondering if things are okay back home. Can technology help me feel less anxious? —Looking for extra eyes
Dear Extra Eyes,
I’m a mom, so naturally, I have eyes in the back of my head and I see all. They give you these extra eyes before you leave the hospital, I think, though all of that is a bit of a blur. All I know is that I know instantly who is responsible for the football-sized mark on the wall, or when anyone is generally up to no good. Sure, call it a super-power. I won’t stop you.
In spite of this clairvoyance, I, too, can’t see what’s going on at the house when I’m not there, which is an unsettling feeling both when your kids are home without you, and when your house is empty. Fortunately technology steps in through a number of ways to help out, essentially acting as your eyes and ears when you’re away.
At HGTV Smart Home 2015 there are a number of ways that technology and home automation can help you feel like you’ve got things under control when you’re away from home. Here are a few:
I’m renovating a dark and dingy room and hoping to brighten it up, but I really don’t know where to start. Are there new products or any insider decorating tricks I could be trying? — Hoping to Lighten Up
Dear Lighten Up,
Fabulous news that you’re renovating and I hope I can shed some light on the matter. If you can stand all my lighting puns, keep reading! There are sooo many fabulous things you can do with light right now, and HGTV Smart Home 2015 is full of inspiration. Here are a few of my favorite ways to make light work for you:
Fantasy. Laundry room. Usually those three words aren’t in the same sentence, as doing the laundry isn’t a part of people’s wildest dreams. But really, isn’t it the most mundane, boring chores that should have a little bit of fantasy injected into them? Wouldn’t it be great if your laundry room made washing clothes a little less loathsome?
When I climbed the stairs for the first time at HGTV Smart Home 2015 in Austin, a bold tile wall and vibrant piece of art draw my eyes up the stairs. Imagine my surprise when I got to the top and discovered it was the laundry room!