Your living room should be an oasis of calm and embracing technology can make it even easier for you to sit back and unwind at the end of a busy day.
Your La-Z-Boy sofa or recliner is the perfect focal point for a haven of relaxation but there are now lots of smart devices you can add to your living room which are designed to make life simpler. And you don’t need to be a tech genius to make the most of the smart home technology available on the market.
Here are five smart devices which could change the way you use your living room:
Smart speakers – wireless speakers you can control with your voice – are one of the fastest growing trends with a huge number of devices available to choose from. Depending on which speaker you pick, it will be compatible with a voice-controlled personal assistant like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa or Microsoft’s Cortana or Google Home. In a nutshell, you can tell your speaker what to play and it can access music, podcasts and audiobooks from your streaming apps. But it offers much more than a way to listen to music, you can ask the personal assistant to do pretty much anything from tell you a joke to check the weather. And if you have other compatible smart gadgets, it can operate them too.
If you don’t want to get up off the sofa to change the lighting, you’ll love smart bulbs. They are internet-capable and can be controlled remotely through a voice activated personal assistant or from an app on your smartphone. They are pricier than conventional light bulbs but you can turn them on and off even when you are thousands of miles away, which is perfect if you want it to look like there is someone at home when you are away on holiday. You can also adapt the brightness to suit your mood and some, like the Philips Hue range, allow you to change the colour of your lighting as well.
Smart plugs allow you to control whatever gadget is plugged into it through an app or a smart speaker. This means you can turn it on and off but you can also keep an eye on exactly how much electricity it uses, which is useful if you are trying to cut down on your energy consumption. It also offers a cost-effective way of making something else smart – plug a lamp into it and it will operate in a similar way to a smart bulb.
Televisions are probably the first household gadget that most people will remember being referred to as smart. Most televisions nowadays are considered smart – which means they are connected to the internet – but if you still have a traditional set, you may want to consider an upgrade. Smart TVs allow you to access apps through your television, allowing you to use catch-up and streaming services as well as watch videos on YouTube. Newer and more expensive models often include voice control so you don’t have to worry about losing the remote and some even double up as home hubs, giving you control over your heating and lighting.
Smart thermostats allow you to adjust your heating remotely using the internet so you can control it using your smartphone no matter where you are in the world. A lot of the products available will also give you a detailed breakdown of how much heating you are using to warm your house and some will even learn from your routines and programme themselves to help you save energy. This can be a useful tool if you are trying to work out how to cut down on your heating bill.