Bathroom technology on a small budget
Continuing on with our quick fix to a small apartment bathroom, you can read the first post in this series here. These days, you really can’t get away from technology and for me, the bathroom is no different. I come up with some of my best ideas while in the shower, and it often allows me time to reflect and plan my day.
All of this doesn’t need to break the bank, and is modular enough where you can do it over time.
Adding Power is going to be the biggest challenge when figuring out your needs. Most bathrooms usually only have a single GFI or Ground Fault plug. I’ve expanded on mine by adding an EZO grounded outlet plug that includes 2 USB port chargers. This makes it convenient to use one of those ports as the power source for my Echo dot device, without losing one of the electrical outlets. It also has wings that fold out at the top, so you could charge your phone also here so you can grab it and go after your morning routine.
Speakers, sound and automation
Sound in the bathroom is important to me and adding a voice activated device like the Echo Dot allows for increased productivity during your bathroom time.
The Sonos Play:1 speaker I added is a really nice addition, because it connects the source wirelessly. It’s part of my larger Sonos sound eco-system and I use this often. If we want to listen to the morning news, I simply add this speaker as a “group” that includes my Sonos TV playbar.
That’s also a great feature if you’re watching Sunday sports and want to pipe the audio into the bathroom for your guests, so they can listen to the action. The sound is rich and full on these speakers so it really packs a lot of power. You can stream something different to each speaker in the house, so you’re not tied down to a single source. My Echo dot is a little powerhouse. While the audio on the speaker isn’t the greatest, it’s the voice activation on this thing that boosts my productivity during my bathroom time. The three main things I use this for are:
- Listening to audio books while in the shower.
- Getting my flash news briefing for the day, while I’m getting ready.
- Checking the weather for the day.
While that’s not brain surgery, they are all things that I could not do, just a year or two ago. My audio books pick up, exactly where I left off, while listening on any other device. Very convenient and has allowed me to listen to the same book, more than once, much more easily than I would have previously.
Compact size but powerful
Both of these devices are small enough to be tucked away and out of sight, on top of my medicine cabinet, and still reach the power source. Since the Sonos streams wireless from the source, no Cat5/6 cable plug is required.
Budget: $200 Sonos Play:1 speaker, $49 Echo Dot
Several years ago, I tried to convince my wife to allow me to hang a tube TV from one of the corners of our small bathroom. I’m glad I could view things from her point of view, because I might have been killed while taking a poop if that thing had dropped on my head.
My how things have changed with shrinking devices. I had a much easier time (but not rubber stamped) in convincing her now that I could recycle my old Kindle tablet and use it to view an ocassional video or such while in the shower. I’m always looking to take advantage of my Prime membership in new and different ways, and this allows me to do that easily. I had an old color Kindle tablet that is a bit outdated, but still works fine. I was literally going to toss it, or sell it for $20 or $30 bucks on Ebay. When I started searching for mounting brackets, I found a solution that would allow me to mount this toward the back wall of my shower, keeping it out of reach of any water, while still allowing me to view it.
I threw in a JBL speaker that I was previously using as my music and streaming source. This was important because I found it difficult to hear the small tablet speaker with the noise of the shower. A perfect fit for full and enriched sound. I ended up keeping it connected physically, because it’s just easier. Neither device requires an active electric source, and once charged, they last for about a month or more, depending on what I watch. I’ve found this a great way to introduce myself to new things that I wouldn’t normally watch on Amazon Prime, like the embedded NFL video “All or Nothing” that covers an inside look at an NFL team.
The nice thing about the brackets, is that they are so inexpensive and unobtrusive that you can mount a couple pair, in different locations in your bathroom, so you can move your video source if you’d like.
Budget: $30 JBL Blue tooth speaker, $50 Kindle tablet, $15 for wall mount brackets
Technology has decreased in both price and size to make practical improvements within the reach of most families. It can really enhance your experience for both you and your house guests. It also adds an element of improved efficiency to your morning, but allows for a more spa-like experience, when you want to slow down a bit.
Total Budget: $360
What are your favorite uses of technology in the bathroom?