What is a Smart Home?

At the most basic level, a smart home is equipped with electronic devices that can be controlled remotely. A true smart home uses WiFi, Bluetooth, or similar technology to control many of the utilities and appliances in your home (like lighting, entertainment, and HVAC) remotely from mobile devices and sometimes from a hub in your home.

How to Build a Smart Home

A smart home doesn’t have to be fully automated—you can pick and choose from hundreds of upgrades and products from countless manufacturers. This allows you to use technology selectively so your home better accommodates the way you live, rather than implementing automations that do not make your life easier.

Smart Home Technology Hub

If you’re planning on using many smart home upgrades, you may want to consider a hub. This is the ‘brain’ of your home and smart devices. A good hub will allow you to control all of your smart tech from one location. Popular hubs include SmartThings Hub, Amazon Smart Home, and Hubitat Elevation.


We offer multiple packages that you can add to your dream home in order to make your space as convenient and safe as possible. From lighting to garage remotes, we encourage all of our customers to add this technology to add value to their builds.


Smart homes are becoming more and more popular, so check out 20 smart home automation ideas to bring your home to the 21st century.


One of the most popular ways to use Smart Home technology is to optimize heating and cooling. Imagine monitoring and controlling your home’s temperature, humidity, and airflow through your mobile device anywhere and at any time. Many of these upgrades claim to greatly improve a home’s energy efficiency—some utility services even offer incentives for homeowners to install these products.

1. Smart Thermostats

nest smart thermostat

Smart thermostats have become very popular due to the ease of use and impressive customization features, like this one from nest. The nest thermostat actually learns from adjustments that you make to your home’s temperature over time, and will start making these adjustments on its own. So if you tend to like it warmer during the day and cooler at night, your thermostat will learn this and adjust the temperature automatically during these times of day. It also turns down automatically when you’ve left the house.

Another popular option from ecobee can be used with multiple remote sensors so you can customize the temperature of individual rooms or spaces, which can be especially helpful for two-story homes.

2. Smart Vents

Smart vents work much like the thermometers described above, sensing the temperature in different parts of the home and adjusting to keep individual rooms at the right temperature. Some models, like this one from Keen Home, can even integrate with smart thermostats like nest.

3. Smart Ceiling Fans

haiku smart fan

Haiku ceiling fans were the first smart fans developed. It turns on when it detects people in the room, and turns off when they leave. It also automatically adjusts to keep the space at the right temperature. If you don’t like the look of the Haiku, Insteon sells modules that you can use with almost any fixture of your choice so you can remotely control and schedule your ceiling fan’s speed and light.

4. Whole Home Humidifier

Whole home humidifiers are great for houses in areas with extremely dry weather or for families who are sensitive to dry air. There are a few smart humidifier systems on the market, including some that attach directly to the water supply so they never have to be refilled, and some are WiFi enabled and can be monitored and controlled through your mobile device.

Smart Kitchens

Kitchens serve as a hub for families and friends to come together. Smart kitchen technologies can help with staying connected and taking away the stresses of cooking.

5. Smart Refrigerators

samsung family hub fridge

Smart refrigerators have become increasingly popular over the years. One model, the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator, has a huge touchscreen built into one of its doors where you can order groceries online. It can also send a photo to your smartphone of the inside of your fridge while you’re shopping.

6. Smart Dishwashers

Another smart appliance making an appearance on the market is the dishwasher. This dishwasher from LG Electronics uses Smart Access and Smart Adapt so you can monitor your dishwasher remotely and download new cycles. You can also troubleshoot issues, and using ThinQ Care, you can understand the dishwasher’s needs and avoid potential problems before they occur.

7. Smart Intercoms

For families who tend to be spread out around the house, there are smart home intercoms to stay connected with each other. One such product, Wuloo, is a one-way wireless intercom system that offers multiple channels and functions to fit your needs.

Smart Security and Safety

Being safe in your home is important. Smart security systems allow you to customize and monitor security systems to check on your home.

8. Smart Door Locks

August Smart Lock

One of the most obvious ways to apply smart technology to home security is with upgraded door locks. August has the market all but cornered with its extremely popular Smart Lock. Through a phone app, you can lock and unlock your door, create virtual keys for guests, and keep track of who has entered and exited your home.

9. Smart Indoor Cameras

If you are away from home frequently, a smart camera system can help alleviate stress related to home security. There are endless camera systems available that connect to your mobile device and include features such as motion sensors, facial recognition technology, real-time video monitoring, and notification systems.

10. Smart Video Door Bells

Ring video door bell

A modern day take on the peephole, video doorbells allow you to see who is at your door, even if you aren’t on the other side. One popular model by Ring allows you to not only see but hear and speak to the visitor at the door from your smartphone. It also comes with optional upgrades such as night vision and the choice to adjust the chime to fit your needs.

11. Smart Water Leak and Mold Sensors

Oftentimes, homeowners don’t notice water leaks until they have caused serious damage. Systems like this one from D-Link connect to your home WiFi to detect leaks. This model utilizes a multi-alarm system, including voice, alarm, and text to notify you immediately.

12. Smart Smoke Detectors

Another concern for every homeowner is preventing and responding quickly to fire. Many smoke detection systems now contain the technology to pair to WiFi and alert your phone when batteries are low or when the alarm is activated. The Google Nest Protect Smoke Alarm detects smoke and carbon monoxide, while also monitoring overall home air quality. This system can be enabled to use Bluetooth and WiFi alerts, and if it’s just from burning food, you can easily silence the smoke alarm from your phone.

13. Smart Garage Door Openers

myq garage door opener

Similar to many smart locks designed for your front door, the MyQ garage door opener allows you to monitor the status of your garage door, open and close it, and receive alerts on your phone from anywhere. MyQ also offers smart gate openers too to add even more protection.

Smart Floors and Finishes

14. Smart Air Purifying Hardwood Floors

Lauzen Pure Genius flooring is activated by light and uses air circulation to remove VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air in your home. Lauzen claims that the flooring even minimizes odors and reduces symptoms of respiratory problems.

15. Smart Robotic Vacuums

robotic vacuum

Robotic vacuums are not new—iRobot first offered the Roomba in 2002 and has sold millions of units since. Newer models have impressive features including learning functions that enable them to memorize obstacles and drop-offs in frequently cleaned spaces so it can clean more quickly and efficiently. What makes these new vacuums truly smart, however, is the ability to start, schedule, and even steer the vacuums from your smartphone using apps.

16. Smart Self-Cleaning Tile

New coating technology has enabled the production of a ceramic tile that is self-cleaning, air purifying, and anti-microbial to prevent mildew and mold.

Smart Bathrooms

17. Smart Showers

Start or end your day with a personalized shower experience through the Moen Smart Shower. You can control your shower with a preset through Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant, or even control it with your voice. It offers start and pause options, temperature control, device notifications, and more.

18. Smart Baths

If you or a family member looks forward to unwinding in a long bath, you may like the idea of having a smart tub like the VibrAcoustic model from Kohler. This tub uses transducers that vibrate the water with sound waves from music that is streaming via Bluetooth from any of your devices. You can also use one of the tub’s six custom compositions created by sound therapists specifically for relaxation.

Smart Lighting

19. Smart Sockets

There are a few ways to turn ordinary home lighting into ‘smart lighting’. One way is through the sockets. Amazon offers a line of smart plugs that allow you to control your home lighting through a smartphone app. You can schedule when your lights are on or off, set light levels, and check your home lighting status while you are away. You can also set up schedules through the Alexa app so the lights can turn on and off at specific times.

20. Smart Light Bulbs

avea smart bulb

Smart light bulbs might seem silly seeing as these will need to be replaced from time to time, but many of these last for impressive lengths—like 30,000 hours. Many of these bulbs, like the Sengled bulbs, use different colors to set different moods throughout the day and allow users to dim the lights.

Get Started on a Custom Home with Madison Homebuilders

Smart homes aren’t for everyone, but there is likely something on this list that can make your life easier, and maybe a little more fun! Madison Homebuilders is here to help you build your dream custom home. Download our home plan guide and get started today!