So, you got that tiny house. Or that compact one-bedroom apartment for which you endured a frightening co-op board interview. Or you and your partner moved into a studio that is really not meant to accommodate two people. Congrats! You are now Living Small.
There are innumerable ways you could make the most of this: Modular, multi-use furniture is one big way (especially when it doubles as storage); another is to trick out your new tiny abode with home tech.
“Home tech? how’s that going to help?” you say. Well, we’ll tell you. While there’s no shortage of smart home gadgetry out there to help with problems you don’t have (we’re looking at you, smart fridges), there are also a few ways to use smart home products to get the most out of your space. Here are some products we think will help ease you into the tiny living lifestyle.
Smart plugs are your friend
For even the most home tech-averse among us, the allure of the smart plug is hard to deny. Sticking any of these Wi-Fi-enabled plugs into your existing outlets turns the outlet into a smart one that can be controlled with your mobile device via an app associated with the smart plug.
Our historic home-loving columnist is a recent convert—and who wouldn’t be, when on a hot day you can turn your air conditioner on from your phone on the way home from work? You can also, of course, use smart plugs for just about anything—from lamps to fans to whatever else you plug into an outlet. For those of us who live in compact places, this means you can work with what you’ve got: No need to buy new, smarter things for your tiny space.
There are lots of options on the market and, unlike other things in the home tech world, they come at a reasonable price. Belkin and TP-Link each sell popular options you can find on Amazon.
Sony’s Life Space UX short throw projector and LED bulb speaker
Entertaining can be a challenge in a home of any size, but Sony recently released a couple of products that could make that easier for the space starved.
The company’s Life Space UX series includes an ultra-short-throw projector (at a spendy $999.99), which turns any flat surface into a screen. Life Space UX also includes a lightbulb (at just shy of $240) that is both a color-changing illumination source and a Bluetooth speaker. The latter sounds gimmicky, but this editor has seen it in action (at both its unveiling at MoMA Design Store in New York and in a friend’s apartment). It’s actually quite nice, with solid sound quality. If you’re truly starved for space, combining an essential function with a non-essential—but delightful and quality-of-life improving—one is pretty smart.
Consider buying a smart home hub
The Amazon Echo has done a lot to popularize the idea of the home tech hub, a gadget that acts as command central for your Smart Things devices and responds to voice prompts.
Not long after the Echo debuted, gobbling up marketshare, Google entered the fray with the Google Home—and it was soon followed by the Apple HomePod, which purports to have better audio quality when compared to its competitors.
A smart home hub of any kind is going to help you. With voice commands, you can toggle smart lights on and off and listen to music and the latest news. It will serve up weather information and more in a rather compact unit that won’t take up a ton of counter space. For a guide to the what’s what of home tech hubs, read more here.