How to smarten up a dumb dorm room

Newer dorm rooms may come equipped with all the bells and whistles, but some older dorm rooms still exist, living in both the past and present. If you happen to sleep in an ancient living space, here are a few wonderful gadgets to help spruce up that fortress of yours.

Ensure you look into the residence hall policy book about smart gadgets before starting this endeavor. Also, we are not getting paid to advertise these products.

COLOR CHANGING LIGHT BULB

It’s amazing how much light can alter our mood. The arrival of smart light bulbs has helped folks create amazing ambient light settings, which are great for a multitude of things – from watching movies to having dinner. The same concept can be applied to dorm rooms. There are quite a few models of smart light bulbs on the market to choose from, but our favorite is from Lifx Mini.

Lifx Mini does not require a hub, so it connects to your room’s wifi. It shines bright and the colors pop. Plus, it has an intuitive user-interface and features four color cycles, wake up fades, and (best of all) it costs under $40. No more using the standard desk lamp!

SMART PLUG

If you are looking to broaden your horizons and turn almost everything that requires a plug into something “smart,” then look no further – meet smart plugs. The one we recommend is the WeMo Mini smart plug. It doesn’t require a hub, so it connects directly to your room’s WiFi and it has great automation features, so you can program it to turn certain appliances on or off. So, let’s say you’re the type of person that must  have the TV turned on (no sound) to sleep – you can program on and off cycles based on time input.

Additionally, you can turn anything that requires a plug into a “smart” appliance. This means that you can get immensely creative with it. Our favorite “scene” that we have set up is the morning scene. With this, our coffee maker, lights and blinds all automatically turn on, simultaneously, at sunrise. It’s real neat.

SMART SPEAKERS

Smart speakers like Google Home or Amazon Echo Dot are what we call the trojan horses to getting into turning a house or room into a smart living space. What’s awesome  about these speakers (specifically Google Home and Amazon Echo Dot) is how incredibly affordably they are. Both speakers mentioned are available for under $30.

These speakers have their respective assistance built right in. So, you can request to play a certain song or playlist, check the weather, set timers or alarms, set up reminders or events, and even have other smart devices such as the light bulb or plug get connected directly, so you can program voice commands to those devices too.

Do not be intimidated about the process. The best way to get started is to focus on what you want. For us, we wanted to get the morning started off right, so we set up a morning scene. This way, by the time we’re done getting ready, coffee is all set to go. Best wishes! 

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