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How to set up a smart home – the beginners guide

The latest technology really is designed to make life easier, transforming the way we use all our electrical services and putting control at our fingertips.

Home automation is no longer a sci-fi fantasy of the future – it’s here now, and the good news is it’s practical, easy to use and a bit smarter than you might expect.

Creating a fully digital home with smartphone-controlled lights and voice activated thermostats can seem quite overwhelming, especially to those who are less tech-savvy than others.

HOW TO SET UP A SMART HOME

Knowing where to start can be the hardest part but luck is at hand, Matthew Currington, Technical Director at The Lighting Superstore has put together a beginners guide to creating your very own ‘smart home’.

1. MAKE SURE YOUR WI-FI IS UP TO SCRATCH

The first thing you need to make sure is that you have a strong wireless connection, so whatever smart home devices you use aren’t affected by patchy Wi-Fi spots. And with more and more of us working from home, a responsive broadband is a must for all those Zoom calls.

Scandi home

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

See:These are the 10 most popular 'smart' home improvements to make now

2. INVEST IN A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

This is the perfect place to begin as the smart speakers can allow you to control other smart devices with simple voice commands. There are several popular smart speakers available on the market with each having their own benefits. Each speaker listens to your instructions on command and can be set up to operate many features around the home from lighting and thermostats to security cameras. Not only are the devices useful within our four walls but are also helpful for organising personal and family schedules. The speakers’ can create, edit and remind you of events on your calendar, monitor your work commute and audibly run through recipes with you step by step.

set up a smart home

3. SET THE SCENE WITH A SMART LIGHTING SYSTEM

Smart Lighting is not only one of the most affordable smart home devices but they can also be quite easy to set up. Once put in place, you just need to connect them to your smart phone via an app, after that you can control the lights as and when you see fit. They allow you to schedule your lights, arranging them to turn on or off at specific times and make the house look naturally occupied when you’re away. Best of all, most smart bulbs consume less energy than regular light bulbs making them more energy efficient and financially friendly in the long-run.

set up a smart home

(Image credit: Michael Sinclair)

See:The seven undesirable home décor features that put home buyers' off

4. STAY SECURE WITH A VIDEO DOORBELL AND SMART LOCK

If you’re looking to amp up security around your home, smart locks and video doorbells can offer just this. Smart locks reduce the worry of forgetting your key with some models allowing you to operate the lock remotely through an app. Once you install a smart lock, you can feel even more secure with a smart video doorbell. These devices allow you to see who is at your door and talk to them in real-time, even if you’re not at home. They work like a traditional doorbell, but also alert homeowners on their phone via an app where video surveillance and recordings can be found.

set up a smart home

5. KEEP WARM (OR COOL) WITH TEMPERATURE CONTROL

Smart thermostats devices are not only useful but could help to save some money in the long run, with some saving an average of 31% on your heating costs. Easy to operate, the device establishes a schedule for the home’s temperature according to when you and your family will need it. The product can tell you how much energy you’re using and how much money this costs you, so it is easy to keep an eye on the output of your home. On top of your cost monitoring, the product detects when you and your family are home, so if you forget to turn off the heating, have no fear, your smart thermostat has your back.

set up a smart home

See:Lighting trends 2020 –to illuminate your space throughout the year

6. INSTALL SMART PLUGS

Setting up a smart home on a budget is easily done and all you need are smart plugs. They can turn your regular appliances into smart devices without completely re-wiring your home or buying brand new appliances. This is a far less expensive way of starting the transition to the new age of living. You can then also connect your smart plug to your smart speaker, so you can control your appliances with voice commands.