It’s easy to fall into a rental rut and assume you can’t make improvements to your apartment. While you likely can’t redo your kitchen or install a home theater, you can smarten up your living space with home automation features that require minimal space and setup and can easily travel with you the next time you move. Here are our recommendations for which smart home tech you should—and shouldn’t—use in each area of your apartment.
Skip the Smart Stove
As wonderful as it would be to have a Wi-Fi connected range so you can monitor your cooking, adjust the temperature, and turn your oven on or off remotely—it’s not realistic for most apartments. Save the major appliances that require extensive installation for your future forever home.
Get a Smart Frying Pan
Even the smallest of kitchens can accommodate a smart frying pan, like the Pantelligent. This award-winning pan has a temperature sensor inside that connects with an app to guide you through the cooking process from the first fry to the final garnish. Plug it in when using it and store it in a cabinet when you want to keep it out of the way. You can cook smarter without taking up too much space in your kitchen.
Skip the Home Theater
The ultimate home luxury is a living room wall dedicated to entertainment, from an oversized 4K smart TV to a Wi-Fi connected surround sound system. While impressive, you’ll lose significant space and make your living room look smaller and more crowded. Stick to your current TV and smaller speakers.
Get a Smart Control System
One small device can make your living experience more comfortable and tech savvy. Invest in a sleek and portable smart home controller, like the Vivint Lamp Module, so you can manage and control all of your smart devices including lamps, microwaves, coffee makers, and more. While relaxing on the couch, you can turn down the lights, turn up your speaker volume, and turn on the microwave to pop a bag of popcorn for movie night.
Skip the Remote-Controlled Shades
A good night’s sleep is essential and smart shades can help you sleep more restfully. As convenient as it is to schedule and control your window shades remotely through an app, the luxury comes with a price. Shades must be custom-made to fit your window’s exact dimensions. If you move, you’ll have to purchase new shades to fit the windows in your new home.
Get a Smart Alarm Clock
An alternative to smart shades that’s easier to install and move is a smart alarm clock that works to wake you up slowly through sunrise simulation. The Philips Wake-Up Light offers five natural alarm sounds and twenty levels of light intensity to help you wake up less stressfully and improve your morning energy. According to a study from Philips, 92% of users say the alarm makes it easier to get out of bed in the morning.
Skip the Smart Lock
As convenient as smart locks are, most apartment buildings will not allow you to remove and install a new front door lock, either because it won’t match the neighboring doors or the landlord worries it’ll be harder to access in an emergency. Even if your landlord approves, you’ll have to remove the smart lock and reinstall the old one when it comes time to move, which may make this gadget more of a hassle than it’s worth.
Get a DIY Security System
If you want to boost the security of your apartment, consider a DIY security system, such as the Scout Alarm, instead of a smart lock. Unlike many home security companies, Scout doesn’t require any contracts, hardwiring, or keypads. Slap a few motion sensors around your apartment, connect with the hub, sync to the app, and you’re in business. Monitor the status of your alarms remotely and in real time. Thanks to its tool-free setup, you can install and uninstall in a matter of minutes.
No house? No problem. You can still use home automation gadgets. One of the best things about smart technology is the range of features, commitment level, and price. Even if you’re not yet in your forever home, you can enhance the comfort and convenience of apartment living with a few easy-to-install, renter-friendly devices.