Apartment Living BlogApartment Living › Apartment Automation: How to Smarten up Your Flat

Smart technology has evolved beyond the simple timer-regulated thermostats and keypad door-locks of previous decades, into something so much more inventive. And don’t think for a second that only houses can benefit from these upgrades; more and more systems are designed with apartment dwellers in mind, and renters are discovering that they don’t have to be millionaires to enjoy technological innovation. Here are some areas where you can incorporate smart technology in your apartment without breaking the bank. Remember to talk with your apartment manager and double check your rental agreement before making any enhancements or changes.

1. Climate control

Perhaps the oldest form of home automation is the automatic thermostat. Today, it is fairly easy for apartment renters and owners to utilize improved technology to go beyond your standard temperature changes. The Nest Learning Thermostat (now in its 3rd generation) not only fulfills the function of keeping your home a comfortable temperature, but it also learns your habits and automatically adjusts itself to suit your needs. Say you leave the apartment for eight hours a day during the week to go to the office or if you prefer that temperatures be colder at night while you’re sleeping, Nest will learn from the temperature adjustments you make and begin to mimic them at the appropriate times. With built-in Wi-Fi that can be controlled by any device and additional sensors, the 3rd generation you’ll be able to change your temperature from miles away. Although the $249 Amazon price may sound expensive, you’re likely to reduce your monthly heating/cooling bill by up to 20%.

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2. Lighting automation

As anyone knows who’s in the habit of leaving lights on, wasted electricity can be very expensive. By automating home lighting, you can make it easy to activate or deactivate the lights in your apartment with the push of a single button. There are any number of possibilities when considering home lighting automation, but Philips Hue offers starter pack options to help you save. Hue uses smart LED bulbs (which are up to 80% more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs and can last up to 25 times longer), and a simple iOS app that allows you to control the entire system. You can easily turn lights on and off remotely, change their color and intensity, flash to signal incoming email messages, and so much more. Perhaps best of all for apartment inhabitants is the fact that the bulbs screw directly into existing light sockets, for easy installation. You can find the simplest kit for under $35 and additional bulbs prices vary depending on where you look.

3. Smart television

Home is a place where you should be able to relax and unwind, and nothing accomplishes this better than zoning out in front of the television. But, honestly, do we even need cable anymore? With a smart TV you’ll get internet capability and web-based features built directly into the television itself. With a smart TV you can access computer media files, enjoy online services, visit web pages, record videos, and play streamed games. With Netflix and HBO GO, you’ll pretty much set to binge watch your favorites way longer than you should. And with devices like Google Chromecast and Roku, any TV can be a smart! With so many options and brands, it’s easy to find a TV that fits your budget and preferences.

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4. Automated door locks

Home automation for entertainment and comfort is all well and good, but ensure the safety of your property is even more important. The lock on your door is the first line of defense against potential home intrusion, and can be majorly upgraded with home-automation security. The August Smart Lock is an iPhone-controlled deadbolt that can be easily installed onto most single-cylinder deadbolts locks. Now with an improved design and Siri integration, the simple software interface provides a top-notch performance. The lock can also be manually operated with the use of a key, just in case something goes wrong. The system also keeps a complete record of who has been in and out of the house. On Amazon you can find the smart lock for under $200!

5. Home Surveillance

Security goes further than having a safe lock. If you want to know exactly what is happening in and around your home when you’re not around, you have many options in security camera surveillance. Topping the charts for best in home security is a product also made by Nest, the Nest Cam Indoor. It retails for $200, but will provide you with peace of mind in a clear 1080p picture. Also, since many apartments don’t have the capability of installing doorbell cameras, the Canary Flex has your back. This camera functions inside and out, costs the same as the nest, and has two months of battery life. Both of these set ups will allow you to monitor who is coming and going without worrying about what your lease allows to be installed.

Of course if you’re looking for the best centerpiece that will likely play nice with all of your gadgets, the Amazon Echo is the perfect central control point for your smart home devices. With it’s voice-activated smart speaker, Alexa, you’ll be able to find it on Amazon for $179.99. Remember, just because you’re living in an apartment and on a budget, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t also enjoy the home of the future. Affordable smart technology is available today, you just have to take the first step.

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Do you have any other suggestions or tips when it comes to automating an apartment on a budget? Share them in our comments section!


This ForRent.com blog post was updated on April 11th, 2017m by our team to bring more up to date information on the world of renting for our audience.

About :

Amber is the Director of Content Marketing for ForRent.com and has been with the company since April 2007. In her role, Amber strategizes, executes and optimizes a content and social media plans across multiple channels and platforms. This includes blogs, social networks, video sharing sites, and other conversational media. She spends a great deal of time building relationships with consumers, social media influencers, and bloggers to generate awareness of the ForRent.com brands. In her free time, Amber loves running, #hashtags, and DIY projects.


  1. Denise Henry says:
    I need section 8 rental
    • Hi, Denise. Thanks for reaching out. We do not actually refer or place people in apartments. We are a resource for you to look for rental housing that appeals to you and meets your needs, and then through us you can directly reach out to those communities in which you have an interest. We do not filter by which apartment communities are Section 8 and which are not. If you find something that interests, you will have to reach out to see if they accept Section 8. There are phone numbers for all the listings on our website. Best of luck!

    • Tiffany Eberhart says:
      I also need a section 8 rental in the Kitsap County area. I am going to be 50 years old in March 31, My Husband David is 55. Both of us are on Social Security Income, My Husband also receives SSD, Both of us are disabled and don’t have a car, but rely on public transport, walking, Motorized Wheelchair. We have 6 months to find something that We can call Home. We would be truly grateful for any help any waiting lists that we can be put on, We truly appreciate and Are Humbled by any chance you can see in your heart to give us
      • Hi, Tiffany.

        Thanks for reaching out to us at ForRent.com with your question. Here at ForRent.com, we do not filter by apartment communities that do and do not offer Section 8 Housing. We are not an apartment community ourselves. We simply provide advertising. However, we did run a search for you for apartments in Kitsap County. Here are some that have both disability access and public transportation.

        Best of luck,
        The ForRent.com Team

      • Tamara Jones says:
        Hello my name is Tamara Jones and me and my significant other that is Seeking a one bedroom apartment close to Galt California since that is where we were if there’s anything you can help with
  2. Diana Parker says:
    I’M looking for a good apt for a good price
    • Diana, that awesome! Our listings are vast in options and amenities. Take your time researching what we have to offer. Take some time to visit those that you are interested in and make your decision based off what you see and what the properties have to offer. Good Luck with your apartment search!

  3. Some very good tips here! Shared the article!

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