Must Have Smart Home Items to Make Your Life Easier

August 10, 2023


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Life is complicated, right? Adding smart home features to our homes can simplify our lives and improve our quality of life by saving us valuable time.

The right smart home features can make our lives more comfortable and convenient, create safety and peace of mind, and increase our overall feelings of wellbeing.

Using a smart system isn’t limited to asking Alexa to tell you the weather or play a song that’s been stuck in your head — now, you can use smart devices to turn the lights off in the living room while you’re watching a movie, notify someone to leave that Amazon package on the doorstep, or even vacuum your floors.

We’ve rounded up our favorite smart home devices (with links!) that we use to better our everyday lives.

Automated Lights

Upgrading your home’s light switches is a great way to add convenience and efficiency. They allow to set up schedules for your lights, and you can control them from your phone. If you get really advanced, you could go as far as eliminating light switches all together to create a house where nothing but a single elegant switch or keypad is left in each room. Those control systems will help create what’s know as scenes. Scenes eliminate the need for the large multi-switch boxes in every room and can add built-in timers or dimming capabilities to any fixture in the house.


Lutron Caseta Smart Lighting
Lutron Pico Smart Lighting
Leviton Decora Wi-Fi Smart Rocker

Video Doorbell

Alma Homes Must Have Smart Home Items to Make Your Life Easier

Smart video doorbells allow you use your smartphone to see, hear, and speak to visitors at your door from anywhere. Video doorbells are equipped with high-definition cameras and two-way audio so you can see and speak to visitors before letting them in. Smart video doorbells also have motion detection capabilities and the ability to send alerts and store recorded footage. 

They’re perfect for busy homeowners who want to stay connected to their homes while away, or for those who want an extra layer of security in their day-to-day lives.


Ring Video Doorbell
Blink Video Doorbell
Google Nest Video Doorbell

Smart Thermostat

Alma Homes Must Have Smart Home Items to Make Your Life Easier

A smart thermostat is a modern solution designed to give homeowners easy and precise control over their home’s temperature at any given time of day. In addition to that, you can control your thermostat from virtually anywhere. Convenient, right? They are great for remote access when you want to change your home’s temperature when you are away or on vacation (or lazily tucked in bed and not wanting to get up). Certain thermostats can also adjust your schedule automatically as they learn your routine and what you like during the day. They are also efficient — they can help reduce runtime by maximizing the systems’ different zones and dramatically helping the house’s overall comfort level when it comes to temperatures. 


Google Nest Thermostat
Google Nest Thermostat Option 2
EcoBee 3 Thermostat

Mesh Network or Wi-Fi System

No one likes watching the spinning circle while waiting for Netflix to load. That’s why these are a must needed tool in new homes. As Wi-Fi capabilities grow in everyday essentials, having a strong Wi-Fi network that’s capable of being everywhere in your house is a lifesaver. A mesh network broadcasts your wifi from multiple locations throughout your home, insuring every square inch has access to strong wifi. Not only do they create a stronger signal strength through this method, but they also help manage how many devices and clients are on each Wi-Fi broadcasting or mesh device.


Google Wi-Fi Mesh Routers
Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro

Smart Lock

Alma Homes Must Have Smart Home Items to Make Your Life Easier

It’s time to upgrade your deadbolt! Smart locks are essential for busy households. The entire idea of a smart lock is to add convenience to your life, and features like remote access are KEY. Forgot to lock the door when you left for vacation this morning? No big deal — you can lock it from your phone while boarding your flight. Even if locking your door completely slips your mind, a connected lock will alert you when your door is left open or unlocked. 


Next x Yale Lock
Wyze Lock Bolt
Emtek Motorized Deadbolt
Yale Assure Lock 2
Schlage Encode

Smart Garage Door Openers

Wi-Fi garage door openers may not be a necessary purchase for your home, but they sure do make life easier. And hey, we’re all about convenience! While normal openers save you the hassle of getting out of your car to open your garage by hand, Wi-Fi openers allow you to open and close your garage from anywhere using your smartphone. Similar to smart locks, Wi-Fi garage door openers provide safety and convenience. They allow you to check whether you remembered to shut the door from anywhere you may be.


Liftmaster MyQ
Genie Signature Series
Chamberlain Smart Quiet Opener

Automated Blinds

#bloomgintonbuild by Alma Homes

Any type of window treatment helps the home’s efficiency and privacy, but what traditional window treatments lack is convenience. Automated window treatments are great for having them close and open automatically while you are away at work are another great tip for saving energy. By the time the family gets home, you won’t even know how efficient they were for the day. 


Roller Shades
Roman Shades
Woven Wood Shades

Wifi Speakers

While there are so many after market wifi speakers, if you have the budget to include in ceiling speakers (like you see in the bar of #thelakeloft or the screen porch of the #bloomingtonbuild below), we highly recommend it. We love using the Sonos system because not only can they be hardwired for added convenience, but they can be zoned, controlled via your phone, they are compatible with Apple HomeKit AND they are compatible with their portable units like these.

Motorized Screens

#bloomingtonbuild by Alma Homes

Outdoor screens can be installed to block the sun (and keep out bugs!) on a patio or deck. They’re a must have for outdoor entertaining, and being motorized makes them so easy to use. They’re wonderful if you want to have your space open sometimes, while other times have it screened in.

Smart Smoke Detectors

Smoke alarms play a crucial safety role in your home. Their purpose is to warn you of danger, but they can’t do that if you’re not home to hear them, right? Wrong! Wi-Fi smart smoke detectors will warn you of smoke and/or carbon monoxide via your smartphone wherever you are.  


Google Nest Protect
Kidde Smart Smoke

Home Cameras

Alma Homes Must Have Smart Home Items to Make Your Life Easier

A home security camera system is an excellent tool for home protection, and it can work both as a deterrent and a recovery tool. We love having cameras because they provide added peace of mind whether we’re home or away.


Google Nest Wired
Google Nest Indoor/Outdoor
Ring Spotlight Cam Pro
Ring with Ethernet
Blink Mini

Your smart home devices provide convenience, but they can also handle more serious tasks, like acting as your home security. In other words, they aren’t just for fun anymore — they really can provide safety and convenience. Do you use smart home items in your home?

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leave a comment 

  1. Rebecca Chan says:

    We are currently remodeling our home and this article gave me a lot of great things to think about. A lot of these things make sense but I wouldn’t have thought of them on my own! We are having cabinet refacing done this week to get started and then hopefully we can start with automated blinds and the other things you mentioned. Thank you for this inspiration.

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