Every year more and more people are making the decision to rent instead of buy a home. While some renters do have aspirations of one day owning a home, right now more US households are renting more than at any point in the last fifty years. As renters begin to focus on more eco-friendly practices, there’s also growing desire for rental homes to have the fixtures and conveniences of smart homes. That being said, once you find the rental of your dreams, what does it take to turn it into a smart home or smart apartment?

What’s a smart home?

A smart home is a house or apartment which has been outfitted with an array of “smart” devices that control various comfort and security features, via mobile phone or voice control. There are several common characteristics of a smart home:

  1. Smart Amenities - such as smart lights, smart doorbells, or window coverings.

  2. Connectivity - Wi-Fi enabled buildings that connect smart home devices to building systems so that the building, residents, and management are all connected.

  3. Community Management - overarching systems for helping property managers do more for their residents such as maintaining sprinkler systems, security cameras, or other devices to enhance the property.

Graphic of what is a smart home: "1. Smart amenities - Such as smart lights, smart doorbells, or window coverings", "2. Connectivity - Wi-Fi emabled buildings that connect smart home devices to building systems", "3. Community management - Systems for property management of security cameras, sprinklers and other devices"

Benefits of a smart apartment or home:

Smart home technology can transform your living experience by creating benefits automating settings around your home, such as:

  • Smart door locks which can open for authorized users with only their mobile device.

  • Video doorbells which you can communicate with by phone from anywhere in the world and are especially helpful in larger multifamily buildings.

  • Smart thermostats that update programming based on weather forecasts. 

There are myriad smart home products many of which have the added benefit of making buildings more energy efficient in addition to simply being more comfortable.

So how do I turn my space into a smart apartment or home?

There is no one way to transform a space into a smart home with more options than ever available on Amazon. While many are easy upgrades, keep in mind that some (rewiring light switches or changing locks for instance) may need to be handled by your property manager. However, many are cosmetic upgrades which you can get started on today! Here’s a rundown of some of the options:

  • Smart home hubs
  • Smart plugs
    • A quick option that does not create any permanent changes, a smart plug gives any device plugged into it the power to be controlled over Wi-Fi. 

  • Smart locks
    • Smart Locks allow you the peace of mind to be sure that your home is always secure by giving you the ability to lock and unlock your doors with your mobile device.

  • Smart lighting 
    • From hassle-free smart bulbs to fully installed light panel kits, you can connect your lighting to your smartphone and utilize a voice assistant to control it, or set up pre-programmed times for lights to turn on and off. You can even base them off the exact time of sunrise or sunset in your geographic location.

  • Security cameras
    • Are packages mysteriously disappearing from your porch? Manage video feeds around your space, and create customized alerts or use speaker functions to respond to guests that arrive at your door. 

  • Entertainment system
    • One of the easiest and most popular ways to elevate your space is to sweeten up an entertainment system with the wide array of smart speakers and smart displays that are on the market. Get picture perfect visuals with adaptive surround sound that follows you throughout your house.

Image of using a phone for your smart lock on your door

In the end it comes down to your needs and what will make you most comfortable, but it doesn’t require a big budget to upgrade your home. Consider picking out an affordable starter kit to get you going. And remember, the money that Rhino saves you on your security deposit can be used to upgrade your home into a smart home!

a headshot image featuring kt heins-nagamoto
KT Heins-Nagamoto

KT Heins-Nagamoto is a senior brand writer at Rhino. They advocate for security deposit alternatives and renter rights in everything they write.