January can be a miserable month, can't it? Christmas decorations have come down, weather still isn't as warm as it should be and no one really ever wants to do anything, do they?
Which is why it's the perfect month to perk yourself up by sprucing up your smart home tech. There a few new pieces on the market that, when used right, make your decor more cheerful, life less depressing and will help you beat your January blues. Here's what you need to do.
1. Set the mood with smart lights
In winter, when daylight hours are in short supply, smart lights really come into their own. The best smart light bulbs can not only be controlled via your phone or voice, saving you the effort of getting up to turn them on when you’ve just gotten comfortable, but can change colors to fit the mood — just the thing to perk you up in the low-light months.
If you’ve already fitted your light fittings with smart bulbs, you needn’t stop there. The likes of Nanoleaf let you create a stylish light array on your wall — and you can even have the lights respond to music or touch.
Price: $15.99 for two
These bulbs can do 16 million colors, meaning you can create the rosiest hue or the warmest shade to pep you up. So much choice!
2. Make your blinds or curtains smart
All the same, you can’t beat a bit of natural light for chasing away the winter blues. To fully take advantage of those precious few daylight hours, have you considered smart blinds or smart curtains?
There are no shortage of smart blinds available on Amazon. They come with a motor, letting you open and close the blinds via an app or with your voice. For your existing curtains, something like SwitchBot is just the ticket: simply attach it to your curtains and it will open and close them on your behalf.
This may seem a little lazy, but it also has useful security connotations. With an automated system, you can make it appear like someone’s at home, even when you’re on a two-week vacation.
3. Get the party started with a quality smart speaker
A smart speaker technically isn’t essential for a smart home — but you’re missing out if you don’t have one, as voice controls are far simpler than scrambling for an app every time you want to do something.
But not all smart speakers are created equal, and if you’re a big music listener, then it’s worth splashing out for models with the best sound quality.
For Apple households, that’s the HomePod 2, but if you’re into Alexa then you have a bit more choice. There’s the Echo Studio (combined with an Echo Sub if you really want to go all in), of course, but the Sonos Era 300 is the audiophile’s choice.
Missing from this equation is Google Assistant, sadly. The Google Home Max has been discontinued, and the company’s voice assistant is no longer supported by Sonos due to changes in Google’s requirements for third parties. Your best bet here might be the older Sonos One — or hunting down a Home Max on the second-hand market.
4. Clean up with a robot vacuum
Nothing really wears you down in January like the relentless daily grind of chores.
Robot vacuums aren’t a perfect solution (you’ll want a regular vacuum for spot cleaning, and doubly so if you have a staircase) but they’re pretty effective at keeping dust under control on a day-to-day basis. And white rugs, like in this living room above, looking a bit more....energized.
The best robot vacuums are especially recommended for households with pets and hard floors. Keeping that molting under control can certainly make the winter months feel a little less challenging. The iRobot Roomba j7+ is our favorite model.
5. Get cozy with temperature-controlled bedding
Finding the right temperature is important to getting a good night’s sleep — and that’s especially difficult to manage in winter.
BedJet could be the answer you’ve been looking for. It’s a unit that sits under your bed and blasts hot or cold air under your sheets, getting you to the ideal temperature via a smartphone app or bundled remote control.
Better still, if you’re in a couple with vastly different temperature requirements, BedJet sells a bundle with two units and a separating sheet. That way you and your partner can sleep in entirely different climates for an argument-free and invigorating night’s sleep.
Make Your Home A Smart One With These Buys
Be The First To Know
The Livingetc newsletter is your shortcut to the now and the next in home design. Subscribe today to receive a stunning free 200-page book of the best homes from around the world.
Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. He often writes for T3 and Tom's Guide. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.
'How Easy Is That?!' This $30 Hack Turns The Bits You Need In Your Kitchen Into Designer-Worthy Decor
You need just two things to replicate this chic home hack, and I know you're going to love it. Gorgeous, easy, and so practical!
By Brigid Kennedy Published
The 12 Best Small Table Lamps Pack a Big Decor Punch — And Our Style Editor Wants Them All
Listen — the best small table lamps can be just as potent and powerful as a big one. And Style Editor Brigid has the download on the chicest, most stylish options to buy now
By Brigid Kennedy Published