3 Easy Ways to Futurize Your Home
There's a lot of talk about modernizing, minimalism, and cleaning...here's how to bring your home into the future. Flying cars and hoverboards sold separately, of course.
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Are you dreaming of a shiny new kitchen or bathroom? Be honest...maybe replacing your flooring or repainting...or maybe adding an extension? They’re all highly desirable ways to improve your home, but does future proofing figure in your thinking?
Why is it important to futurize your house?
Not only is it immensely fulfilling to have a new technology in your house, it can also make your day to day life a heck of a lot easier. On top of that, it can also lower your utility bills in a MAJOR way.
I’m not suggesting you throw a bunch of unnecessary gadgets into your home, because that is expensive as heck (and often equally unnecessary). However, a chosen few tried-and-true technological improvements can actually make a major difference.
Here are my top 3 suggestions on the “home of the future” front. I’ve implemented all of these in our house and am a complete fanatic about all of them.
#1: Make Your Home SMARTer
Technology is changing every aspect of our lives - there’s no getting away from it. And even if you're not technologically minded, it still affects you.
I have three SMART technologies currently at work in our home and (I must admit) I still giggle like a little girl every time I use one of them.
My Robotic Cleaning Army
We have been incredibly lucky and have been given two of these majestic, incredible, king-of-the-jungle beastmonsters which I quite literally couldn’t recommend more enthusiastically. (Two different, very good friends had apparently had enough of me grinching about all the dog hair, dust bunny tumbleweed in our house and decided to take matters into their own hands. They’re definitely pricey, but they’ve lived and worked for years and are still going strong.)
We have a two-story house, so each of our little vacuuming robots (respectively named Dobby and Kreature) starts work at exactly 8am each day and vacuums a floor of our house.
(Yes, I’m a Harry Potter nerd. Yes, my husband knew this when he married me. Yes, I do occasionally imagine Kreature muttering under his breath about the filthy mutts shedding all over his poor mistress’ house as he vacuums. No, I do not think this is normal.)
They connect to a base over bluetooth and actually map out the floorplan of your house and remember it from time to time. They also connect to an app, so I can control them from my phone...which is way more power than I should probably be entrusted with. *evil cackles here*
However, even if you don’t want to spring for the big buck versions, there are plenty of more reasonably priced vacuuming robots out there. I’ve heard that this one is awesome for pet hair. It doesn’t connect to an app, but it’s almost a quarter of the cost of some of the other models out there.
If you’re looking for something name brand but not as expensive, this guy connects to an app and has all of the functionality you should ever need.
My Personal Robot Assistant
Addiction, thy name is Alexa.
I used to judge these commercials so hard when they came on TV...until I got this guy as a present.
To say I ate a little crow would be a massive understatement.
I ate enough crow that (had they been literal crows) it would probably have caused a measurable shift in the now-crow-deficient ecosystem.
I love them. It was under a week from getting our first one as a gift to buying our second one for another room of our house. We’re now up to a total of 5 Alexa-bearing devices in our house, but (to be fair) one was our teenage daughter’s requested Christmas present and one was an extra boon in an incredibly fortuitous buy one get one free deal. Either way, our house is now fully Alexa-ed.
We use them to control our lights, record our grocery list, watch Hulu, listen to Spotify (and lately Apple music), and occasionally to tell me Harry Potter jokes. (Again, I’m a huge nerd, but Alexa accomodates.)
We’re still figuring out all the different tricks these guys can do, but I’m completely sold so far.
Speaking of things that can be voice controlled by Alexa, you’ve probably already heard of Hue lighting.
These adhesive light strips are more fun (and more functional) than I can possibly tell you. They hook up to an app, but can also be voice controlled by Alexa.
You can install them in literally 10 minutes with the surprisingly-durable adhesive. (I had to reinforce a couple of mine with small nails after they’d been up for 2+ years, but still impressive.) I highly recommend out-of-sight locations like below a counter lip, the inside top rim of a closet, or behind furniture. They are strong enough to give out a solid amount of ambient lighting (regardless of what color you pick), but the effect is way cooler when you can’t quite see what’s causing it.
You set it up with the app and can create preset “moods” for each room, even coordinating the strips with other Hue products (like these equally-functioning but generically sized lightbulbs).
#2: Make it Energy-Efficient and Eco-Friendly
Another great idea is to replace any outdated appliances at home with new, energy-efficient models. These can prove really cost effective in the long term - as well as being great news for the environment.
Replace old toilets with new low-flow models, and any single pane windows with double - straightaway. These are mandatory in new homes too, so it’s a great move in terms of your home's saleability. Perhaps add newer insulation options, which are less toxic - and more effective in sealing those holes!
We’re all very aware of the need to reduce our carbon footprint nowadays, aren't we? And that’s as important to think about as anywhere at home.
So try to use recycled and reclaimed materials wherever you can - when remodeling your home. And low VOC paints which are less toxic and odourless are a great choice.
Consider installing solar panels - this is a great futureproofing idea as homes move increasingly in that direction. It will instill confidence in any prospective buyers - as well as save valuable money on energy bills.
#3: Think About Structural Improvements
Unfortunately, future-proofing homes isn’t just about making it feel more like your middle-school-self thought the new millennium would look like.
It’s also about doing things to plan for future considerations for your family. This can be stuff like planning to accommodate the requirements of senior occupants (which is apparently a really hot trend at the moment...granny flat designs are actually a thing), planning enough rooms for kids that may not exist yet, or other considerations for your future family.
Whatever the case, planning for the future in general, as well as your future plans specifically, can save you a huge amount of work and hassle down the road.
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About the Author
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Liz (or Dr. Mommy, as her toddler started calling her after learning what a PhD was) is the happily sleep-deprived mom of a baby boy (and professional raccoon noise impersonator), a sparkle-clad toddlernado, a teenage stepdaughter, the canine embodiments of Pinky and The Brain, and a rabbit of unusual size. During nights and naptimes, she uses her PhD in business psychology as an author, speaker, and consultant. She also serves as an executive and principal for three companies, two of which she co-founded with her very patient (and equally exhausted) husband.
My Motto: All I can control is how hard I work.
Motto: All I can control is how hard I work.
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