Everything You Could Want to Know About Roller Shades

Roller shades have been around since before the United States was even formed, but how much do you really know about them? These shades have been favored for generations for their classically sleek style and variety of fabric options. Their simplicity and ease of installation make them a popular choice for bedrooms, family rooms and offices; and blackout options make them perfect for home theaters or media rooms.

Whether you have had roller shades for years or are just now thinking about investing in some for your windows, this list of facts will get you fully informed about your favorite window treatment.

They first appeared in 17th Century Holland

Many believe that roller shades made their first appearance in 17th century Holland because by the eighteenth century, they were being widely used throughout Holland, France and England. They did not make their way to U.S. until around 1780, four years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

They used to be hand painted

Artist used to hand painted and stencil borders or scenic imagery onto the shade; that at the time were made of thin cloth or paper so that the décor could be seen by the inhabitants and people passing outside. They were mounted to the window frames and hand rolled when the home owners wanted to see out.

The spring roller was patented in 1855

The roller shade as we know it today truly started with the addition of the spring roller. People no longer had to awkwardly roll their shades up and mount them with hooks. A factory began mass producing spring rollers in 1858 and their popularity took off.

They come in four main types

Today roller shades are available in black-out, semi-opaque, sheer and semi-sheer. Blackout shades block 99 percent of outside light and can look flush to your window. Semi-opaque, sheer and semi-sheer shades let in varying levels of light depending on your choice of fabric, vinyl or woven wood.

They can save you money

The thick material that blackout roller shades are made of not only block 99 percent of outside light, they also help absorb the loss of heat and cooling air inside your home. This keeps the temperature in your home more consistent and lessens the amount of work your air conditioner will have to do.

They should be mounted so the fabric rolls back

Roller shades are most commonly mounted so that the standard roll is close to the window glass, with the fabric rolling back. This mounting option creates the most privacy and blocks the most light from seeping through your windows.

They have two types of lift systems

Blindster’s roller shades come standard with a cordless spring roller shade lift system. With this type of system, you just pull the bottom of the shade to release the spring and lower or lift your shade (think 50’s shades) They can also be upgraded with the clutch continuous loop lift cord system, which features a beaded nylon chain loop that you pull to lift and lower the shade.

Cassette valances can cover the lift system

For those that do not like the look of the roller on their windows, a valance can be added to cover the clutch continuous loop lift cord system. Blindster’s cassette valances are not available with the cordless spring roller shade lift system.

There is always a deduction made

When ordering your roller shades, keep in mind the factory will make a deduction to the measurement of the fabric to leave room for mechanisms to move properly.

They can be combined with curtains

Roller shades are so sleek that they pair perfectly with other window treatments like curtains or drapes. You can get the light filtering and privacy you want from your shades, while adding style and making your window appear larger using curtains.

They work perfectly on a door

Covering windows on a door requires a blind that stays as flush as possible. Roller shades are a great option for regular doors because they are easy to mount and they don’t add a lot of bulk.

They are inexpensive

Roller shades allow all the benefits of a more expensive window treatment without have to shell out the cash. You can still have tasteful décor, privacy and light reduction with money left over for your next home project.

Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying Blinds

Whether you’re replacing the blinds and shades in your home or wondering which ones to install on the bare windows in your new home, buying window treatments is an often overlooked aspect of home décor and design. The blinds and shades you install can make a huge difference not only in the appearance of your windows, but also in your home’s overall ambience and lighting.

For some people, buying window treatments is a simple process—they purchase the first type that catches their eye and install them without a second thought, but they never feel truly satisfied with their decisions or the appearance of their windows. For others, purchasing window treatments can be an agonizing decision, and they may feel buyer’s remorse long after completing the process of measuring, ordering, and installing their new blinds or shades.

At Blindster, we want you to feel 100 percent confident when you place your order—and one of the best ways to do that is to take the time to determine exactly what you’re looking for in your new window treatments. Before placing your order with us, take the time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you prefer blinds or shades?

When it comes to buying window treatments, this is the first question you should ask yourself, as your entire decision process will be influenced by this answer. Blinds and shades both have obvious pros and cons, and neither option is superior to the other. Ultimately, it comes down to your personal preference for each room in your home.

 

  • What’s your budget?

While the difference between value blinds or shades and high-end models may not seem like much for a single window covering, the cost of replacing all of your existing window treatments or installing them for the first time on bare windows in your new home can make those small differences much larger. As you begin your search for the perfect blinds or shades, it helps to have a budget in mind, whether it’s for just a single room or your entire home.

 

  • Do you prefer inside or outside mounted window coverings?

After you’ve decided which type of window treatment you wish to install, you have a second decision to make before you take your first measurements: whether you prefer inside or outside mounted window coverings. Inside mounts are the most traditional option and allow you to mount your blind or shade flush inside your window frame for a sleek and built-in look. However, if your window frame has minimal depth or if you wish to cover your window frame, an outside mount may be a better option, as it allows to you attach your window covering to your wall, your window frame, or your ceiling.

 

  • Do you have the tools and ability to accurately measure your windows?

Measuring small to medium-sized windows is a snap and requires little more than a tape measure and a small step ladder. However, measuring large windows that span a great distance across a room can be a tough task—especially if you’re trying to do it by yourself. Because providing accurate measurements is so vital when ordering new window treatments from Blindster, it’s important that you have the tools or the help necessary to measure your windows regardless of their size.

 

  • Do you have the tools to install your new window treatments?

In addition to getting accurate measurements of your windows, you also need the ability to install your new window treatments when they arrive. Installing shades and blinds or small to medium-sized windows is a straightforward process that generally doesn’t take more than around one hour per window, but installing window treatments on large windows or windows that aren’t easily accessible can be a much more difficult and time-consuming process. If you don’t have the tools or the ability to install your window treatments, ask for help from your friends, family, or neighbors—or consult a professional who can assist you.

 

  • Where will you install your new window coverings?

The rooms where you install your new window coverings can make a big difference when it comes to deciding which type of blinds or shades to purchase. Bedrooms, game rooms, home theaters, man caves, living rooms, and bathrooms are great places to install shades that enhance privacy and block out outside light, while rooms like kitchens, dining rooms, laundry rooms, and sunrooms are areas where you may prefer to preserve as much natural light as possible. The type of window treatment you install can make a big difference on the lightning and mood in each room in your home, so it can be helpful to buy window treatments on a room-by-room basis.

 

  • Which features are on your wish list?

All blinds and shades are designed to block out light and increase your privacy to varying degrees, but the variety of shades available through Blindster means that you have more options than ever to get the exact features and options that you want. Some of the features offered in modern window treatments include things like cordless operation, top-down/bottom-up operation, blackout and energy efficient materials, eco-friendly materials, child and pet-friendly lift mechanisms, and much more.

 

  • Do you have a favorite color or pattern?

For many of our customers, window treatment features take a backseat to style and design details like color, material, and pattern. We offer a huge assortment of window coverings that vary greatly in those three categories, which means you won’t have any trouble finding the blinds or shades that match or complement your home’s décor and style when navigating our large selection on our website.

 

  • Which optional components do you need?

Some of the items we ship to our customers aren’t included in standard orders and must be selected during the ordering process. These items include things like extension brackets, hold-down brackets, and headrail covers. Extension brackets provide extra clearance for outside mounts and allow your shades or blinds to fully cover your window, hold-down brackets keep your window coverings secure and held in place at all times, and headrail covers provide a decorative look and detail to the top of your window treatments.

Top Benefits of Owning a Dog

The lives of dogs and humans have been intertwined for thousands of years, and the connection between us and our favorite furry friends shows no signs of breaking any time soon. In fact, dogs have found their own niche in just about every country and climate. Whether they’re corralling farm animals in the countryside or enjoying leisurely walks in the world’s busiest cities, dogs assisting and living with people is a common sight throughout the world.

But what makes dogs so popular? All dog owners have different answers to this question, but one fact remains the same regardless of their individual answers: Owning a dog has been scientifically proven to help improve people’s lives in several different ways. So whether you already have a dog of your own, or you’re trying to convince your loved ones that it’s time to open your home up to a new furry friend, check out Blindster’s list of the top benefits for owning a dog:

You’ll get more exercise and fresh air

All dog owners know that their pets need frequent bathroom breaks and walks to burn off energy—especially young dogs. And while the idea of walking a dog multiple times per day may seem unappealing for someone who doesn’t own one, it quickly becomes an enjoyable routine for both man and beast. It also has a major benefit for dog owners—exercise. With so many occupations involving little to no physical activity during the day, having a dog gives you the perfect motivation to get outside and get moving.

You can bond with other dog owners

For many people, dogs are like children—they take them everywhere they go, they talk about them with complete strangers, and they lavish them with gifts and attention. Combine that with the fact that dogs are naturally social animals who relish seeing and meeting other dogs means that you’ll undoubtedly have no shortage of opportunities for meeting other dog owners. Whether you’re out for a daily walk or at the local dog park, owning a dog gives you immediate common ground with strangers and is the perfect opening for new friendships and relationships.

You can de-stress at work by bringing your dog to the office

Many dog owners associate their pets with feelings of relaxation and happiness, and many companies are recognizing that fact and allowing dogs in the workplace. Bringing your dog to work not only makes it much easier to care for during the day, but it can also significantly reduce your stress levels and make you feel more at ease in the office. And as the tip above shows, it’s also a perfect way to sneak in a little networking on the side, as bringing Scruffy to the office is an excellent conversation starter and icebreaker with your coworkers.

You can improve your home’s security and safety

Modern alarm systems can run the gamut from ones that produce ear-splitting noises to ones that alert police at a moment’s notice, but one ancient home security system is still known to strike fear into would-be burglars’ hearts: an angry and barking dog. Dogs are highly territorial animals who feel a deep sense of attachment and loyalty to their homes and their families, and if anything threatens those two objects of their affections, there will be consequences. Obviously, certain dog breeds are better for home security than others, and it’s unlikely that a Chihuahua will be an effective guard dog. But medium to large breeds create an intimidation factor that can make bad guys think twice before targeting your home.

You can teach your children important life lessons

Most dog breeds get along quite well with children, and some show incredible patience and restraint around even toddlers and infants. But as your child gets older, having a dog in the house can teach him or her important lessons about setting and enforcing rules, caring for another person or animal, and how to act around other people’s pets. In addition to these important lessons, having a dog in your home when your children are young can improve their immune systems and make them less likely to develop allergies.

You can reduce your risk of depression and anxiety

Dog owners are generally happier than non-dog owners. Studies have shown that dog owners are less likely to be depressed or suffer from anxiety than people who don’t have dogs. Whether it’s due to the frequent exercise and sunlight exposure that comes with owning a dog or simply the job of seeing your dog’s excitement when you walk in the door after work, it’s hard to be down in the dumps with a canine best friend at your side.

You can help take care of your elderly loved ones

In addition to being great with children, many dog breeds are also therapeutic for elderly people—especially those who are suffering from psychological conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. If you live with an elderly relative or parent, having a dog in your home can help reduce symptoms of the disease, including anxiousness and outbursts.

You can have a companion for outdoor activities

Want to go hiking but no one else in your family is interested? In the mood for a Sunday afternoon drive but everyone else is napping? When you’re a dog owner, you’ll always have one very willing and excitable companion for car rides or trips into the great outdoors. Dogs can be trained to enjoy just about anything outside, whether it’s relaxing in a canoe or kayak as you paddle down the river or scouting the trail up ahead as you hike, jog, or run.

You can get alerts in the middle of the night

Dogs aren’t just helpful when you’re away from home—they’re also extremely attentive and perceptive while you’re fast asleep. Owning a dog means you’ll be far less likely to risk injuries in a house fire or severe damage in a flood due to a broken pipe. And while the sound of your dog barking late at night may seem like a nuisance at first, it just may be a warning sign that could save your life or your home.

Home Décor Ideas to Increase Your Productivity and Creativity

You’re trying to catch up on emails, but you just can’t find the right words. Meanwhile, your spouse is struggling to finish a book and your kids are having trouble concentrating on their homework. Almost everyone experiences occasional difficulties with creativity and productivity at home, but when it starts affecting everyone in your family, it may be time to reconsider your home décor and the mood and ambience your home creates.

Certain home designs help create environments that promote feelings of peacefulness, tranquility, and even ambition. On the flip side, there are many design choices that are common in modern homes that have the opposite effect, creating feelings of tension, restlessness, and even anxiety.

To make your home a more productive and creative space for your entire family, check out Blindster’s décor and design tips below:

Eliminate clutter

Ever finished cleaning a room in your home and felt like it was still messy? If so, you probably have too much clutter. Clutter can range from too many decorative items, such as picture frames and knick-knacks on display, to too much furniture in a space that’s too small to comfortably fit everything.

 

While it’s not necessary to make your home look as minimalist as a museum, it is worthwhile to cut down on both unnecessary decorations and furniture. Eliminating items one by one in your home not only makes it much easier to clean, but it also reduces the potential for distractions. In addition, your remaining décor will be more of a focal point in the room, which can change both its overall mood and appearance.

 

Paint the walls

Whether you’re already a bit of a minimalist or you prefer to keep your décor in sight at all times, there’s another option that can have a big effect on your creativity and productivity: paint your walls a color that inspires and energizes you. White, beige, taupe, and tan walls are fine for apartments or guest bedrooms, but in many homes they can seem boring and uninspired. Instead, choose colors that have an impact on your mood and your productivity.

 

If you work best when feeling energized, go for bold colors, like red, purple, and yellow. But if you prefer a calm and serene environment when putting your nose to the grindstone, consider calming colors, like blue, grey, and green. You can even get creative and paint accent walls or stripes and other patterns if contrasts aid your ability to concentrate and get your creative juices flowing.

 

Control your lighting

The lighting in your home plays a big role in your ability to get work done. Bad lighting can either put you to sleep, strain your eyes, or even give you a headache after long periods of concentration. Thankfully, controlling the lighting in every room in your home is easy. If you work best with natural lighting, consider installing a sheer shade to protect your privacy while allowing as much outdoor lighting inside as possible. Another option is to install a top-down/bottom-up shade to increase your control over both your lighting and privacy. These shades are among the most versatile that Blindster offers and can be opened from the bottom for a clear view to the outside during the day, or closed at the bottom and opened at the top for natural sunlight while maintaining your privacy while you study or work.

 

If you prefer to work under artificial light, blackout shades may be your best option. These shades are highly effective at blocking out virtually all outside light, giving you the ultimate control over the lighting in your room.

 

Make your work space comfortable

It’s hard to be creative or productive if you’re fidgeting every 10 minutes to find a comfortable sitting position. That’s why it’s important to make your work area as comfortable as possible. If you use a desk, start by making sure it’s at a proper height for your body type. Desk that are too high or too low can cause serious back and neck pain after extended periods of use.

 

The same goes for your chair—if it isn’t comfortable, replace it. Standing desks are another popular option for anyone who feels discomfort after sitting for long periods of time, as many people feel more energized, creative, and productive when they’re on their feet.

 

Next, check the height and orientation of your laptop or monitor. If you find yourself looking down at the screen, elevate it with books or a dedicated stand until its center is level with your eyes.

 

Finally, make sure your desk is free from clutter and that only the essentials are within arm’s reach—your keyboard, your notes, and your books.

 

Bring fresh air and life into your home with plants

A small arrangement of plants near your workspace can not only boost your creativity, but it can also help establish your daily work routine. Make it a habit to work for at least one hour every day immediately after you water your plants. By tying these two events together, you’ll be far less likely to procrastinate or get distracted before you’ve completed your work for the day.

 

Go for the corporate look

This tip isn’t for everyone, as many people prefer to leave the office environment at work. But just like dressing for work even when you’re working from home can help boost productivity, so can emulating the look and feel of the office at your own desk. Creating a space that is strictly for work and productivity and furnishing it with file cabinets, calendars, and various office supplies is not only practical, it also helps your mind to subconsciously associate that area with work instead of play—and that means fewer distractions.

 

Add a personal touch to remind yourself of your goals

Whether you’re studying for a class, working from home, or just trying to live out your dreams during your spare time, there comes a point for almost everyone where it’s tough to find motivation to keep going. During those times, it’s helpful to have a few small reminders of why you’re working so hard in the first place near your workspace. Whether it’s an influential quote, a picture of your children, or the written form of a goal you want to achieve, these daily reminders can keep you going when your creativity and productivity hit the wall.

Back to School Tips for Your Family

With summer drawing to a close, schools across the country are either already back in session or preparing for the first day of a new academic year. And while back to school time can be hectic for your family, it also represents a perfect opportunity for a new start for both you and your children to break old habits and become more effective and efficient in your daily lives.

To help your children and yourself get off on the right foot for the 2015-2016 school year, check out some of Blindster’s back to schools tips below:

  • Streamline your morning routine.

If you’re like most parents, the hours between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. are the most stressful out of your entire day. In fact, these hours can set the tone for the rest of the day—and if they’re unpleasant, that experience can carry over into your work day and even into your evenings at home when you’re supposed to be relaxing.

 

To make your mornings as easygoing and enjoyable as possible, work with your family to establish a routine from Monday to Friday. Start off by taking away some of the morning stress by getting as much done in the evenings as possible. That means picking out and ironing clothes for the next day, packing backpacks, gym bags, sports equipment, and briefcases, and making sure the car is fueled up and ready to go.

 

During the morning hours, try to stick to a routine—wake up at the same time every morning, have breakfast at the same time, and try to leave the house at the same time. The more predictable your mornings become, the fewer opportunities there are for things to go wrong and the less frazzled you and your kids will be the rest of the day.

 

  • Create the ideal study spaces for your kids.

Having a dedicated time and space to complete homework and study is important for kids, regardless of their age or grade. In fact, having a dedicated study space is more important than ever in 2015, as more and more kids are bombarded with distracting technology every day—including on the devices they use to study.

 

Whether your child’s study room is his or her bedroom, the dining room, or anywhere else in your home, it needs three things to be truly effective: light control, noise control and a lack of distractions.

 

Blackout shades are the perfect solution to block out sunlight and glare from any room in your home—including your child’s study room. Many shades are also highly effective at reducing outside noise, but you can also purchase a white noise machine or noise-canceling headphones to further reduce outside noises. Removing distractions can be a tall order for many families—especially when homework must be completed using a computer—but setting limits on smartphones, tablets, and social media during designated study or homework hours can be a big help.

 

  • Consider carpooling to work or school.

Commuting is a big investment of both time and money—especially if you drive your kids to school before heading to work. Carpooling is an effective way of cutting down on both the stress of commuting on a daily basis and the hectic task of making sure your kids get to school on time and you get to work on time.

 

If any of your coworkers live near you, consider asking them to carpool on certain days every month. You can also ask the parents of your children’s classmates to do the same. Although carpooling isn’t always feasible for families, it can relieve stress and even save money in the long run when it’s an available option for you and your children.

 

  • Schedule family activities during the week.

Many families get caught up in the cycle of living for the weekend. Monday through Friday goes by in a flash, filled by work, school, sports, club meetings, grocery shopping, and other errands or extracurricular activities. Having such a jam-packed schedule can make it hard to find any time to relax, unwind, and enjoy your family’s company until the weekend arrives.

 

That’s why it’s important to schedule a specific time during the week when your entire family is able to come together without any distractions or obligations. Whether you go out for pizza, go see a movie, or just stay in and play games, family nights are essential to help break up the monotony of the week and give everyone something to look forward to.

 

  • Stay in regular contact with your children’s teachers.

Although many schools schedule parent-teacher conferences and send home report cards, it’s important for parents to stay as connected as possible with their children’s teachers—especially if any problems arise. Pay close attention to your children’s grades, and if you notice that they are struggling with particular concepts or subjects, ask their teachers for help with improving their understanding of the material. For many children, a few hours of individualized instruction, whether it’s with their teacher or a private tutor, can make all the difference in the world when it comes to grasping new and difficult concepts in class.

 

  • Take a trip to get school supplies and home supplies.

School supply trips are essential every year. Items like folders, binders, pencils, pens, calculators, rulers, and paper are all must-have items for children in nearly every grade. But while you’re out shopping for your child, you can also use that time to shop for your home—including the items you’ll need around the house during the school year.

 

Stock up on things like paper towels, napkins for packed lunches, stamps for mailing bills and letters, light bulbs, a new and fully stocked first-aid kit, and other assorted items that you know you’ll need over the next six to 12 months. Not only will your child be prepared for the school year ahead, but your entire family will be prepared for the year ahead at home as well.

 

  • Schedule a practice run before the first day of school.

No matter how much preparation you do during the days leading up to it, the first day of school is almost always stressful for kids—especially if they’re attending a new school or are making a big move, such as going from middle school to high school.

 

To help ease the transition, schedule a quick practice run a few days before school begins. Driving to school will help you be more familiar with the best route to take, and it will also help your children be more mentally prepared for the first day. You can also help your children learn where you or the bus will drop them off in the mornings and where they should stand after school in order to be picked up.

How Cellular Shades are Made

DIY “Patchwork” Apron (no pattern)

I hate letting pretty fabrics go to waste. We have so many fabric options for shades that are constantly being replaced with new styles or trends, leaving tons of perfectly good scraps in the trash. For this week’s DIY project, I saved the fabric from the landfill by upcycling them into a pretty and functional apron!

Supplies:

  • Fabric scraps (cut into 3-inch squares or rectangles)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing Machine
  • Solid colored lining fabric
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Scissors (jagged edge)

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Begin by gathering together scraps along the same color scheme (I chose blue) and a few (12-15) scraps of white fabric to be used as a trim and tie. Sewed together the white strips (wrong sides together) until you have a length of fabric that you can comfortably tie in a bow behind yourself.

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Because of how thin I wanted the trim to be, sewing the wrong sides together and then flipping it ride-side out seemed like a huge time sucker (it was, I tried). So make things a little easier on yourself, fold each long side of the fabric and iron it down, so you can easily sew a hem. Then set aside the trim.

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Organize a pile of blue themed scraps, making sure to alternate patterns. Sew the blue scraps together (wrong sides facing each other) until it’s long enough to cover the front of your body. It took about 6-7 squares for mine. Make about 6-8 patchwork strips (depending on how long you want it) and then sew the long-sides together to create a sort-of patchwork square. Cut the uneven edges away and round out the bottom corners.

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Then pin the top of the wrong side of the square to the wrong side of the white trim/tie so that the tying fabric is even on both sides. Sew the two together. Before adding the lining fabric, iron down each seam and cut away any excess.

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Pin the lining around the edge of the patchwork square wrong side up. Cut out the lining, using your square as a pattern.

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Leave the pins in and sew them together, leaving three inches un-sewn for turning.

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Turn your apron ride-side out and close your seam. Iron out any wrinkles or bubbles. Tie your apron behind your back and get ready to bake!

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Essential Gadgets for Modernizing Your Home

Consumer technology has come a long way in the past two decades. In 1995, it wasn’t uncommon for homes to have just a single television set, a corded landline phone, and no computers. But in 2015, the functions of televisions, phones, and computers are quickly blending together into all-in-one smartphones and tablets.

Of course, those items are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the technological revolution that has occurred in people’s living rooms during the past 20 years. “Smart homes” previously existed only in the realm of science fiction (shout out to Disney Channel’s Smart House), but recent advances in consumer tech, combined with ubiquitous home networking, have made such homes a reality for many homeowners.

While having a home that anticipates your every move and accommodates your every whim may be a few decades off, converting your home into a high-tech wonderland is cheaper and easier than ever.

Check out Blindster’s list of the essential gadgets that will tomorrow-proof your home and make you feel like you’re truly living in the future:

  • Dual-band wireless router

Wireless networks have been commonplace in homes for more than a decade, but only in recent years have they started bursting at the seams due to ever-increasing amounts of data being transmitted. It wasn’t that long ago when wireless networks were primarily used to connect laptops and desktops to the Internet, but now they connect everything from televisions and Blu-ray players to cable boxes and smartphones.

 

Needless to say, all of those extra devices put a significant strain on most wireless networks. Dual-band wireless routers are designed to double the amount of bandwidth and range on a home wireless network, meaning they can handle a significant larger amount of gadgets all connected at the same time. Such robust routers are a must-have item for families with multiple internet-capable devices, and they also serve as the central hub for every other “smart” device in the home.

 

  • Smart thermostat

Smart thermostats are one of those gadgets that most homeowners never realized they need— until they get one in their home.

 

In addition to being programmable, smart thermostats can be controlled remotely via your smartphone or computer, can automatically adjust themselves based on indoor humidity, can adjust the temperature in your home based on your daily, weekly, or monthly schedule, and can provide you with detailed information regarding your home’s average temperature and energy usage, making them ideal for both techies and homeowners who want to be more eco-friendly.

 

  • Smart door locks

Ever wished you could operate your front door lock remotely the same way you lock and unlock your car door? If you’ve ever carried an arm load of groceries to the front door and had to fuss with your keys just to get inside, the answer is almost certainly yes. I mean who actually wants to make two trips?

 

In addition to providing keyless entry, smart door locks can also be operated via fingerprints, smartphones, smartwatches and voice recognition. Many models also have 24/7 tech support, which means a quick phone call is the difference between being locked out of your home for hours and being safely indoors within minutes.

 

And if you’re less than trusting of high-tech locks, you can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that these locks use proprietary wireless technology, making them far more secure than other wireless devices. Finally, should your home experience a power outage, smart locks can still be operated the old fashion way—with a standard key and deadbolt.

 

  • Battery backup systems

Having a home full of high-tech gadgets won’t do you much good if you experience a power outage. Because more and more devices have internal memory and storage, including DVRs, routers, modems, and even smart thermostats, losing power even briefly can cause a major headache, as you may have to spend hours reconfiguring lost settings, reentering passwords, and dealing with tech support.

 

To save yourself some hassle, consider purchasing a battery backup system and plug all of your most important gadgets into it, including all of your home networking items and any home office equipment. Battery backup systems provide a wide range of emergency power, which can range from 15 minutes to several hours depending on the cost and size of the device. Even in a worst case scenario where you lose power for several hours, having a battery backup system gives you enough time to save your data and properly shut down your devices to avoid potential damage.

 

  • Smart washer and dryer

Since their introduction to the consumer market many decades ago, electronic washers and dryers saw little innovation over the ensuing years. But in recent years, these devices have become the beneficiaries of the tech revolution that’s changing virtually every electronic item in modern homes.

 

Smart washers and dryers have one major benefit over traditional washers and dryers—they can send alerts to your smartphone, tablet, or email when your clothes are clean and dry. If you live in a multi-story home and your laundry room is on another level or in the basement, it may be difficult to hear a standard buzzer or alarm when your clothes are ready. But a digital alert means you’ll not only know when your laundry is ready to be moved over or collected, you’ll also get a reminder.

 

In addition to their internet connectivity, smart washers and dryers are often highly energy efficient and boast features like storage areas for detergent and fabric softener, advanced controls to prevent clothes from shrinking or fading, and improved cleaning/faster drying capabilities.