Creating a Smart Living Room
If you’re making a smart home, the living room is one of the easiest to turn into a smart room (perhaps only beaten by a smart kitchen). And, as you probably spend a lot of your free time there, you’ll get a good return from your smart device investments. Let’s look at getting started.
What to expect from smart home devices
The word “smart” gets thrown around a lot—but it isn’t some universal standard. Things like smart speakers have voice control and can network together, while others, like so-called smart TVs, just have built-in apps for streaming programming—that’s not so much “smart” as “internet connected.”
For the dream smart living room, only the smartest smart devices qualify. Just needing batteries isn’t enough to make this list. You’ll want features like voice controls, automation and scheduling. And, of course, they’ve got to play nice with other smart home devices so you can link everything together.
What kind of things can you get for a smart living room?
Chances are, whatever you have in your living room, a smart version is available. Check out these favorite devices to get started:
(Actually) smart TVs
The TV isn’t just the physical center of your living room, but the emotional center, too. Upgrading to a great smart TV can make a lot of sense.
The best smart TVs, like this LG CX 65” OLED model, are basically entertainment computers. Through webOS and ThinQ AI, it has apps for all the major streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Apple TV+. It supports Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and its own built-in voice controls, so you can select what to watch or control your other devices without even touching the smart remote. Plus, it’s an epic-looking 4K HDR TV.
Smart speakers and sound bars
Voice-controlled smart speakers—like the Amazon Echo and Google Home—are an important part of most smart rooms, but perhaps not the living room. While they’re perfect for the kitchen, they don’t really have the sound quality to rock your main room if you listen to a lot of music and for great sound when watching TV. For that, you want a smart soundbar.
Sonos Arc – This is a smart speaker with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant built in, and the sound is incredible. It also hooks up to your smart TV for a better viewing experience, and you can connect together other Sonos speakers for a full surround-sound setup.
And, of course, you’ll still get all that great smart speaker functionality: You can turn your lights off, stream your favorite podcasts and control your whole home with voice commands.
Smart lights are one of the simplest ways to smarten up your living room. It’s hard to argue with voice-controlled mood lighting or lamps that dim with the sunset.
Philips Hue – This line is one of the best ways to get started. There’s a range of bulbs, smart light switches and other fixtures, so you can configure your living room however you like it.
Best of all, with the Hue Sync Box, you can set things up so all your lights reflect what you’re watching on TV. It adds an extra dimension to any action movie when your living room glows orange with every explosion.
All the smart lights in the world won’t do much if your blinds are open, but who wants to get up off the sofa to close them? With smart blinds, you don’t have to.
Ikea Fyrtur – These blinds are motorized so you can open or close them with voice commands or an app, or even automate them to come down on a schedule.
You can also combine them with your smart lights and smart TV through Alexa, so that with a single voice command your living room turns into a proper home theater. Just add popcorn.
If you already have blinds, there are kits you can use to turn your regular window shades into smart shades.
Even living room furniture isn’t immune to the smart treatment.
Miliboo Smart Sofa – Introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2019, this supersofa will, apparently, support Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, have built-in speakers and wireless charging for your smartphone, mood lighting underneath and even vibrate to give you a 4D movie experience. Even though it’s yet to launch, it’s just too good not to think about!
Sobro Coffee Table – With built-in charging ports, speakers, LED lights and even a refrigerator to keep your beverages of choice close and cool, you can control your whole put-up-your-feet experience.
Smart picture frames
A living room is nothing without a few pictures on the walls, but why stick with the same ones?
Nixplay Smart Photo Frame – With this digital picture frame, you can display a constantly changing album of your favorite images. It even works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, so you can change the decor with your voice.
Smart climate control
You want your living room to be comfortable, and that’s where smart climate control devices come in.
Nest Learning Thermostat – This smart thermostat takes the hassle out of creating an HVAC schedule. It learns how you like your living room and adjusts the heat or air conditioning accordingly. Plus, you can control it from anywhere with the app.
Haiku Smart Ceiling Fan – To keep cool, you can’t go wrong with this fan that also integrates air-cleaning technology. Like all the best smart devices, you can control all the functions with voice commands through either Alexa or Google Assistant.
Atomi Smart Aroma Diffuser – If it’s an aromatic living room you’re after, consider this smart diffuser. Add your favorite essential oil and you can have it released on a schedule controlled by with the app, or even with voice commands.
Smart plugs and outlets
Not every device in your living room will connect to your smart home network. If you have something like a humidifier, a favorite old school stereo or other device you want to be able to set to a schedule, or turn on and off with your voice assistant, you can use a smart plug (or even install smart wall outlets). They’re a great way to smarten up older living room devices.
Getting started getting smart
There are two great places to start smartening up your living room: the home entertainment setup or the ambiance.
For the home entertainment route, look at upgrading your TV and sound system first, then you can add smart lights, a Hue Sync, smart blinds and the like later.
If you go for the ambiance, get all the Hue bulbs you need and a good smart speaker to control them. Smart blinds and a smart thermostat will also go a long way. Then, later on, you can turn your attention to a smarter TV and better sound system.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change.