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Cool Gadgets for Your New Home

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for Direct from the Designers™

Outfitting your home with the latest and greatest in technology can seem like a never-ending task. Just as you get your mind around one product, another advancement comes along! If you’re looking to incorporate something cool, convenient, or strictly practical into your home, here are some fresh ideas that will upgrade your life and won’t go out of style.

Baldwin Evolved Boulder Full Knob Handleset

Baldwin Evolved™ offers 24 different handlesets in all styles, and you can choose from 18 finishes to give your home the perfect look. This Evolved Boulder Full Knob Handleset has a completely classic appearance, too—we love that it doesn’t look like the typical smart lock!

For Better Security

Smart locks have been all the rage for the last few years, and they manage to add flexibility and greater control at the same time. With Bluetooth®, Wi-Fi®, or a key fob, you have the power to gain entry with your smartphone or allow somebody in remotely, and you can track and control access to your home through an app. Simply put, a smart lock makes it possible to schedule allowable times for the dog walker or babysitter to enter, and it will let you know when they came. This is an attractive option for busy households concerned with who comes in when, because it limits access in ways a physical key can’t, but an old-fashioned key does still work for the traditionalist in the family.

The front door is front and center on your home, so you’ll want to invest in a handleset that complements your style. Unfortunately, many smart locks don’t give you any options, and they aren’t especially aesthetically pleasing on their own. Some have keypads and screens that look awkward depending on the architecture, so we recommend checking out smart locks that don’t look like smart locks; put your trust in a tried and true design that conceals its modern capabilities and you get the best of both worlds!

SnapPower SafeLight

The SnapPower SafeLight pulls double-duty—it has LED bulbs that automatically turn on in low light conditions and sliding outlet covers to help prevent electrical shocks. Keep your outlets safe and free for use, and adjust the brightness setting as necessary!

For Improved Safety

One of the best things you can do to make your home safer is light it up when it’s dark. You should be able to navigate between rooms without tripping at night, and one of the best, low-cost measures you can take to prevent break-ins is to shine a light on intruders. That could disturb your beauty sleep, though, and it will definitely show up on your electricity bill. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to get around these problems nowadays.

When it comes to nighttime lighting to guide your way, it can be as easy as swapping out your outlet cover plates. Find some that draw a minute amount of power to automatically brighten LED bulbs when light levels drop and you’ll never have to flip a switch to get around in the dark again, and you’ll always keep both sockets open for plugs. For the exterior, motion-activated floodlights are the best bet, and they won’t contribute to your utilities if you opt for solar powered. Some have backup batteries if you don’t think your location is sunny enough, but better models can make the most of overcast days and hold a charge enough for a few hours of continuous illumination. You definitely need to compare to find features that work for your home.

Aurora from Nanoleaf

Looking for lighting design you can get creative with? The Aurora from Nanoleaf lets you put together your own shapes and bring them to life with a light show. The photos are beautiful, but you need to see a video for the full effect!

For Fun and Ambiance

Chances are you already have plenty of gadgets around the house—anything from smart devices to a virtual personal assistant—but not many of them actually use the house itself to help make a statement. If you don’t understand what that means, consider doing something cool with your walls or ceilings with a newfangled product that can make your home feel very chic, modern, and utterly personalized.

What’s out there is always changing, but there’s already sure to be something that grabs your interest. Between digital picture frames for showcasing multiple photos or playing a window view where you don’t have one, light panels that set the mood in whatever color and pattern you like, and projectors that let you turn a blank canvas into a home movie theater, you’ll find a great accent or functional feature to love. Maybe your light bulbs could do more for you, like adjust based voice commands or even play music? These things really exist, and you can find them online and in stores!

Sunflare Solar Cells

Super lightweight and thin, Sunflare® solar cells will change what you think of harnessing your own green energy. They’re manufactured under exacting conditions for minimal environmental impact and can be applied to practically anything, making your solar powered dream no big deal.

For Household Self-Sufficiency

At the end of the day, the house of the future seems like it would cost a lot in energy usage, but the fact is it doesn’t have to. Not only are the newest products equipped to do more with less than their earlier counterparts, but it’s also easier than ever before to generate your own electricity and cut out the middleman. Solar power is clean and efficient, and recent developments have made it lightweight, flexible, and affordable enough to power almost any project.

Solar cells of the past were bulky and heavy, but as with all technological hardware, they have slimmed down with time so rooftop load bearing is no longer a concern. Not only that, but they are actually better at turning the sun’s rays into usable electricity. Outfit your roof no matter its pitch or curve and you’ll reap the benefits of this natural resource, greatly reduce your carbon footprint, and help make the planet healthier for all of us and the future!

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