Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.See More
Serving as home office, playroom, and occasional guest quarters, this bonus room is the hardest-working space in the house.
-- Wrapping two walls of a formerly hodgepodge den with home-center cabinets yields lots of function.
-- Parents use upper cabinets, while kids' items fill lower ones. That way kids can reach toys and games as well as put them away when it's time to clean up.
Here's a tip: Listing and measuring items to store before you begin shopping helps determine cabinet type as well as placement.
-- A TV, DVD player, and loads of movies fill the upper portion of this corner cabinet for easy viewing anywhere in the room.
-- Pullout trays make movie selection and viewing a snap.
Here's a tip: Increasing the depth of some wall cabinets from the standard 12 inches to 15 inches increases their functionality by a dramatic margin.
-- One of two desk areas (the other is for adults), this pint-size version gives little ones their own space to create art, crafts, and inevitable messes.
-- This kid-friendly area is outfitted with a roll of art paper and other scrubbable surfaces.
-- The quartz-surfacing countertop is durable, stain-resistant, and easy to clean.
Here's a tip: As kids grow, the desk can be raised to standard height by installing cabinet feet under the vertical spice drawers and removing the lowest row of upper drawers.
-- To the left of the media storage cabinet, wide pocket doors open to the adjoining family room.
-- This enables the homeowners to meld the two living spaces or separate them and create a noise barrier when needed.
Here's a tip: Pocket doors slide back into the wall, which means you don't have to set aside precious floor space for a swinging door.
-- Ample desk drawers and a smartly configured wall cabinet transform a small niche into a storage-savvy corner office for adults.
-- Outfitting cabinet interiors with carefully chosen drawer organizers and storage bins makes them work even smarter.
Here's a tip: Position the wall cabinet so that books and supplies are easy to reach.
-- Open cubbies and spice drawers (aka apothecary drawers) corral office supplies.
-- Labeled pulls make identifying drawer contents easy.
-- A crafts-supply tote keeps small office supplies organized and portable.
-- When not needed, the tote tucks back into the storage niche above the desk.
-- A niche tucked between the corner desk and media-storage cabinet offers a cozy seating area without taking up additional floor space.
-- Beneath the upholstered window seat, quiet-close drawers (which keep little fingers safe) store extra blankets.
-- Opposite the window seat, wall-mount clipboards above a sleeper sofa enable easy rotation of a kid's latest masterpiece or more traditional prints.
-- A four-piece circular table can be converted at will to suit overnight guests or playdate guests.
-- Flexible furnishings -- notably a sleeper sofa and a four-piece repositionable table -- make this area fun for kids and comfy for guests.
-- Clear out some gear, pull the queen-size bed from the sofa, and this space becomes the ultimate sleeping zone.
-- The play table can be pulled apart and repositioned as both a night table and suitcase stand.
-- The kids' desk also does double-duty. Easy-to-add amenities, such as a single-cup coffeemaker and local road map, help guests feel instantly at home.
Resources: Cabinets, Thomasville; cabinet pulls, Van Dyke's Restorers; countertops: Silestone