5 Ways to Make Your Home Smarter

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By Diana Budds / Published by Dwell
Interior designer Wendy Raizin shares her top tips for raising your home’s intelligence quotient.

When it comes to smart tech systems and automation, today’s home can provide more intel and convenience than ever before. Monitor it from 1,000 miles away? Check. Raise and lower blinds without getting out of bed? Naturally. Create wireless surround sound controlled from a phone? Your ears won’t know what hit ’em. 

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“First, determine a technology budget, then pick the most important features to have,” Raizin advises. “Many want a fully integrated, ultra-high-tech home, but the cost for that can be in the six-figures.”

"Tech products come in a huge range of options, from very elaborate systems to simple additions one could purchase at Lowe’s, Home Depot, or the Apple Store for under $500," says Wendy Raizin, a Florida-based interior designer whose clients request the latest gear for their homes. 

5 Ways to Make Your Home Smarter - Photo 2 of 6 - "Smartphone-operated door locks from companies like August and Kwikset are great," Raizin says. "No more leaving a spare key under the mat, and if your hands are full, the device recognizes your phone and unlocks the door for you."

"Smartphone-operated door locks from companies like August and Kwikset are great," Raizin says. "No more leaving a spare key under the mat, and if your hands are full, the device recognizes your phone and unlocks the door for you."

"First, determine a technology budget, then pick the most important features to have," she advises. "Many want a fully integrated, ultra-high-tech home, but the cost for that can be in the six-figures." Be aware that some items also require an audiovisual expert or engineer to install. 

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“The entry fee for the Lowe’s Iris home technology management system is under $200 for a starter kit, and it’s easy to add to it. Iris allows security system management, door locking, and light on-off control all from a mobile device.”

If you’d rather spend your hard-earned greenbacks on gadgets rather than tech support, Raizin shares seven of her favorite products and systems that can be set up in mere minutes or over a weekend.

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“Dropcam, now owned by Nest, is a video monitoring and security camera system. It can send alerts and records to the cloud, allowing you to view footage remotely."

 
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“A Sonos home audio setup can be as simple or elaborate as the user chooses. A separate box controls up to 32 different sound zones within the home. They can play different music, or sections can be grouped together when necessary.”

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“If the kitchen is where most time is spent, consider a smart appliance, like Samsung’s refrigerators with Wi-Fi. For a smaller commitment, a smart thermometer, like Williams-Sonoma’s, can monitor cooking progress and send alerts directly to a smartphone."