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In smart home renovations, security and entertainment systems lead the way

A new home trends study reveals what homeowners are spending on and how much

Ready or not, smart tech is steadily streaming into our homes. According to a new study of 1,000 renovating homeowners, conducted by online home improvement platform Houzz in collaboration with industry organization CEDIA, nearly half (that’s 45 percent) are incorporating "smart" systems or devices that can be controlled via a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The most popular product category? Security and safety.

As the report details, 25 percent of those adding smart products are installing safety-oriented devices like alarms, detectors, and cameras. The next most in-demand categories are entertainment products like smart TVs and speakers (18 percent), and climate control (14 percent.) The single most popular feature is the smart thermostat, installed by 12 percent of all surveyed homeowners making high-tech upgrades.

Now, for the still majority of homeowners who opted out of smart upgrades, the top reason was "just not interested"—we’ve certainly heard from skeptic Curbed readers before. The second biggest reason? "Too expensive/pricey." Fair enough.

According to the survey, not only do the folks getting smart security upgrades outspend those getting non-smart options (for example, 35 percent of the "smart" group spent under-$501, compared to 51 percent of the "non-smart" group), but they also tend to exceed their budgets for upgrades under $1,500, which is the expense range for nearly three-fourths of the responders.

For smart entertainment upgrades, the costs show greater variability, with 62 percent spending in the $501-2,500 range, 14 percent in the under-$500 range, and a whole 21 percent ponying up $5,001 or more (even though only 5 percent of folks initially budgeted so!) Smart climate control costs are also more spread out, and somewhat evenly among the cost ranges of under-$500, $501-1,500, $2,500-5,000, and $5,001 or more.

The downside of such cost variability is navigating the marketplace and picking the most suitable option for your home in the first place. In fact, the top two challenges for homeowners adding smart features are "educating self about options" and "finding the right products/technology."

Well, we hear ya! Stay tuned for more home tech coverage with practical product reviews and takeaways on Curbed. And in the meantime, don't miss these tips and tricks for turning your home into a smart home, and feel free to discuss any and all questions, comments, concerns about home tech in the comments below.