Smart home essentials for smart apartments

Helping your apartment achieve a higher IQ.

You’re very proud of your apartment. It was a total score. You furnished, decorated, and futzed with it until it felt like home. But let’s take a look at its IQ. How intelligent is your home? Let’s enroll your pad in higher learning to increase efficiency, ease, and ecological impact. By supporting your home with smart tech and modern, customizable renters insurance (basically smart renters insurance, such as Toggle®), you can turn your apartment into a real smarty-pants. It’s not expensive or difficult. Let class begin.

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What exactly is a “smart home”?

Smart devices have done for the home what the remote did for the TV. Using your smartphone or other connected devices, you can adjust and monitor your abode from afar. Free yourself from second-guessing if you locked the front door, adjusted the thermostat, or turned off the lights. Since it’s smart, you can check it remotely. 

You may want to ask your home what it learned during the day. If it could speak (and someday soon it probably will), it would tell you it was hibernating to cut energy consumption, which is smarter for the environment and your wallet. Let’s move to other home automation for apartments.

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Let a smart thermostat think for you.

Controlling the temperature from almost anywhere wirelessly? That’s so hot. Or cool. Or just right. Up to you. Smart thermostats are designed to monitor your apartment’s ambient temperature and quickly send signals to your HVAC system to adjust accordingly much more granularly than traditional, dum…, less-intelligent thermostats.

Waiting for your apartment to warm up when you get back home after a long day in subzero temperatures? Nope. Not anymore. Use your phone to tell your smart thermostat to start cranking the heat up while on the bus back. Smart thermostats can also learn your schedule, automatically adjust the temperature based on the time of day, and turn themselves down when they sense you aren’t home. This is how they show they miss you, in a sort of digital sense. Heating and cooling does account for 55% of the energy we use in our homes, so let’s be smart about it. (source:

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A light bulb just went off in your apartment’s head. It’s got a great idea.

Move over, ’90s-style “clap-on, clap-off” lights. Smart lighting is here. You’re probably familiar with the more energy-efficient LED bulbs that eco-minded landlords provide because they last almost 25 times longer than incandescent light bulbs (source:

Smart LED bulbs are the more tricked-out version of standard LED. Let’s say you have a dinner party coming up. Rushing home from work to get your red sauce going, throwing together a few charcuterie boards, and then having to run around to dim every single light individually? Not ideal. Dim every light simultaneously from your phone. Cool party trick: wait until your guests arrive and dim with a sudden, sneaky tap of your thumb. Everyone and everything looks hotter under dimmed lights. Fact.

When the dinner party turns to dance party, set them to color-changing party mode. You can think outside of the bulb because smart lighting also comes in other forms, like lighting strips, wall panels, and hanging pendant lights. Use smart outdoor lighting with motion sensors to scare away intruders or stray raccoons. Better lighting control means less energy consumption, a.k.a. more cash left for you.

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Doorbell cameras and pints of ice cream.

Bedtime is a time for reflection on your day, locking all your doors with one push of a button, and eating an entire pint of ice cream. Smart locks are cool because they’re motorized with built-in connectivity so you can control them from almost anywhere.

DIY smart security systems are great renter friendly upgrades. They have features like sending you alerts when unusual activity occurs, which includes stuff like your dog walking around on its hind legs while you’re away at work. And may help catch intruders. Watch your apartment like a hawk from anywhere.

You can purchase a single smart security camera if you only want to monitor a specific area and/or dog. Speaking of dogs, if you have a pet that likes to do funny, weird things while you’re away, Toggle On℠ Pet Parent®. It’s pet liability insurance with added benefits.

Smart doorbell cameras can also be easy to install and uninstall. They alert you when people are at your front door, and some you can speak through. This way, you’ll never miss a crucial Girl Scout Cookie order again. The battery-powered ones are the most renter friendly door cameras because no wiring is required.

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Smart hubs for a genius-level apartment.

Smart home hubs are the cherry on top of your smart home setup. The command center. The ultimate centralized brain that controls all your other smart devices. Possibly one of the most popular smart home essentials for living. Use your voice to control things like lights, locks, and thermostats. Since the voice inside of them is just AI, boss it around without feeling bad. Ask it some of the most serious questions philosophers have been pondering for decades, like how long to cook a soft-boiled egg. Or the weather.

All well-rounded intellects have some sort of musical ability. If you’d like to dabble in learning an instrument yourself, it’s proven that musicians show higher general intelligence (source: PubMed Central). Or you can let your smart hub do the jamming for you. Most smart hubs have built-in speakers with impressive sound quality. Sign your smart hub into your preferred music streaming service and start requesting.

To amp it up (literally), you can get individual smart speakers and subwoofers that pair with your smart hub and place them around your apartment for better acoustics. Pair them with your smart TV for some surround sound action.

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Smart furniture exists. Yeah, let that sit in.

Back to your dinner party, where the heck are your guests going to charge their phones? Crowd around taking turns with a single cord? Ha! No. MagSafe-compatible side tables charge your phone every time you set it down. There are also pieces of furniture available that come with built-in Bluetooth speakers. Imagine the level of bass you would feel if they were built into the chair you’re sitting on. Bluetooth speaker side tables, smart lamps, desks, and smart mirrors are cool futuristic additions to any smart apartment.

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Extra credit: smart plugs.

Help finish off your apartment’s education with smart plugs. They make non-smart electronics in your apartment magically turn into smart electronics. You can use a smart plug or an entire smart power strip to control and automate nearly any device. Leave no lamp left on.

You can drop your electronics into standby and get energy usage alerts from an app, in case you forget to turn them off, so you can get an A+ on your electricity usage. Make all of your cool apartment gadgets smart.

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Ready for your apartment to graduate as a smart home?

At Toggle, we practically have PhDs in customization. When you get to customizing your apartment insurance, we’re here to help. Then you can take those customizing skills of yours and start making these home tweaks to your apartment. You’ll be proud of how smart it can get.

You may even cry a little bit once you see all it can accomplish. Or you may just lie on the couch for too long because you can control almost everything from an app and by voice, because rest and convenience are nice.

Since you’re about to invest in some smart tech, brush up on your tech coverage by reading our other actually useful insurance blog, Sassy dolphins: a case for tech coverage. Everyone adulting should read it.

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The information included in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not intended as professional or expert advice. It is based on research and the collective experiences of the Toggle Team and has not been verified by any academic institutions, government organizations, or world-renowned scholars, but it does make a lot of sense and we do hope you find it useful.  We encourage you to use your own good judgment about what’s appropriate for you. 

Links to third-party websites are provided for your convenience only. Toggle has not independently verified any of the information provided therein and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of such information or any content.

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