How to Plan for a Smart Home

How to plan for a Smart Home

Are you thinking about starting up a smart home? Great! But don’t jump directly in without a plan. That’s how you end up making common smart home beginner mistakes. Instead, before buying anything, you should ask yourself a few common-sense questions.

What Changes Can You Make to Your Home?

Creating a smart home involves varying levels of installing new tech. Some gadgets, like smart plugs and voice assistant speakers, are as simple as plugging the device into an outlet. Others entail making a physical change to your home, like changing the locks or doorbells.

But depending on your home situation, you may not be able to make those changes. If you rent, for instance, you may not be allowed to change the locks without permission. In some cases, the answer might always be no.

In other instances, installing tech may call for a particular expertise. Are you comfortable with electrical work? What about working with the plumbing of your home? If you aren’t, that limits you from installing devices that are wired directly into your home or connected to your pipes.  You may want to engage a professional to do it for you.

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

Once you know what kind of changes you can make, it’s time to ask yourself what you want to accomplish. These days, manufacturers seem willing to slap a radio on nearly anything just to call it smart and sell it to you. For that reason alone, there are all kinds of smart home devices you should avoid.

But to figure out which ones are right for you, you should have a good idea of what you want your smart home to do for you. If your chief concern is cutting back on power usage, then smart bulbs, plugs, and a thermostat is your starting point.

On the other hand, if security is your goal, you’ll want to invest in smart locks, video doorbells, and other cameras. Smart home technology can meet a variety of needs and desires, and in most cases, they even solve more than one problem. But start simple. Pick one goal to accomplish and go after that first. Then expand.

How Much Do You Want to Spend?

Lighting Automation


Once you’ve decided on what you want to accomplish, budgeting for it is a key decision input you need to make. An average budget for a basic smart home package could range from $2500-$3500, but depending on your needs and the size of your home this could go higher/lower. If your wish list is exhaustive, you can also plan to do this in stages – but you need to make sure you install an ecosystem of devices that is modular and scalable which means standardization among brands and technology standards.

What Voice Assistant Should You Get?

Voice Assistants

Although automation is a smart home’s real superpower, the truth is most average people control their smart home with a voice assistant. If you’re willing to let the cloud into your home, Alexa or Google Assistant may be the most intuitive and powerful component among your smart devices.

But they aren’t the same. Amazon Echo devices come in a wider variety of form factors, for instance, while Google is better at natural speech and web searches. Most smart home automation devices support Alexa and Google Assistant which are the de facto standards.

But if you have an iPhone, you want to make sure that in addition to Alexa/Google Assistant your home automation devices can be controlled by Siri, so you may want to choose smart automation devices that are HomeKit compatible.

Do you Family and Guests Visiting Often?

Lighting Automation

Do you live alone? If not (and to some extent, even if you do), other people will interact with your smart home. If the family, friends, or roommates who live with you hate your smart home and are unwilling to use it, you’ll find it harder to use yourself.

That’s true when guests come over as well. If you don’t prepare them for a smart home reality, they may feel uncomfortable in it and become unwilling to come over in the future. You can mitigate these issues with a few steps to make your smart home easier to use for friends and family. But it all starts with a conversation about the benefits of a smart home.

Don’t make the mistake of diving right into the first smart gadget that catches your fancy. Proper planning for your smart home will prevent the need to undo mistakes and rebuy gadgets in the future. And you’ll enjoy your smart home more for it.