Category: Home Ideas

How To Use Alexa: Top 10 Alexa Kitchen Skills | Nixplay

How To Use Alexa: Top 6 Alexa Kitchen Skills

Your best friend in the kitchen, Amazon Alexa offers a helping hand to both novices and expert chefs. Some of the best uses for Alexa come straight out of the box, but there is also a wide selection of Alexa kitchen skills for you to enable and make the most out of your device. Wondering how to use Alexa to make your kitchen experience that much better? Discover our top 10 Alexa kitchen skills below.

1. Start a grocery list

One of the most popular ways to use Alexa in the kitchen. Keeping a grocery list is a great way to make sure you get everything you need from the store, and to avoid the dreaded feeling of having to “nip” back out for those forgotten items. Say goodbye to the paper and pen and let Alexa keep your grocery list for you. This feature doesn’t even require a specific Alexa kitchen skill either, which is what makes it so great. Simply say “Alexa, add … to my shopping list” and she’ll take note of it for you. Then, as you pull up to the grocery store, bring up the Alexa app and you’ll find all the items you need under the Lists section – it’s as simple as that!

2. Set more than one timer

Save yourself from jumping between your cooker and phone timers, and set all of your alarms in one place with Alexa. So say goodbye to the egg timer and hello to this handy Alexa kitchen skill. To have more than one timer running at the same time, just give them each a name. For example, “Alexa, set a pasta timer for 15 minutes” and “Alexa, start an oven timer for 10 minutes”.

3. Make a fresh cup of coffee

Struggling to get out of bed before your morning coffee? Pair your Amazon Alexa device to your smart coffee brewer and have everything done for you. Simply wake up and ask Alexa to get the coffee brewing. Better yet, prepare the machine the night before and save yourself a quick trip downstairs in the morning to fill up the water or coffee.

With the right set-up, you can also control other smart appliances, like ovens, slow cookers and refrigerators. 

4. Try out new recipes
Getting bored of the same old dinners? Want to try out a fun, new bake? This Alexa kitchen skill is particularly useful for those who dare to try out more, or the beginners who need a little extra help. And it’s also another one of the most well-known ways to use Alexa in the kitchen. Start by searching for “recipe” in the Skills section of your app and browse the options to find your favorites. Some offer new daily recipes, and some even offer catered recipes to the ingredients you have in the cupboard. You’ll find some of these Alexa kitchen skills from Food Network, Allrecipes and Betty Crocker.

5. Convert units

Struggling to follow a recipe? Can’t figure out how many cups are in 250g? Save yourself the trouble and cut the math out of the equation with one of the best uses for Alexa in the kitchen. Simply ask Alexa to convert the units for you, making life that little bit easier.

6. Find alternative ingredients

You know that feeling of getting halfway through dinner prep and realizing you’re out of eggs? Or you’re baking a last-minute cake, but you accidentally picked up the baking soda instead of the baking powder? We’ve all been there. That’s where this particular Alexa kitchen skill comes in handy. Simply ask what you can use in place of the missing ingredient and Alexa will give you a list of potential alternatives. Then, add the missing ingredient to your grocery list for later!

7. Check cooking times

Cooking up a family roast? Trying out a new recipe? If you’re not sure how long something takes to cook, you can ask Alexa. Whether it’s a 20-pound turkey for the holiday season or a fresh cut of steak, this Alexa kitchen skill can provide cooking information for various types of food – including chicken, seafood and vegetables.

8. Get the best wine pairings

Hosting a dinner party and want to find the best wine pairing for your recipe? There are Amazon kitchen skills available to tell you which wines pair with certain dishes – possibly one of the lesser-known ways to use Alexa in the kitchen. Wow your taste buds by enabling the Wine Pairing Alexa kitchen skill and ask which wine goes best with your dish. Your guests will be impressed, and you’ll be the perfect host!

9. Control your smart photo frame

What better way to spend your time in the kitchen than with your favorite family memories? Whether you’re home alone or you’re off to college for the first time, keep your family close with a Nixplay Smart Frame. Experience the latest Alexa software on your digital photo frame, making it that much easier to share your treasured moments with family and friends – all with the sound of your own voice. When you’re cooking in the kitchen and your hands are full, simply ask Alexa to display any of your playlists on your frame. Pair with your favorite music and you’re set for a great time!

And that’s how to use Alexa in the kitchen! Our top 10 Alexa kitchen skills are sure to make your cooking experience that little bit easier, and much more special. Looking for more of the best uses for Alexa? Check out our top 10 fun things to do with Amazon Alexa for more inspiration, and pick up your Nixplay digital photo frame today to make the most out of the experience.

Create new moments with the family at home with Nixplay.

2021 Interior Design Trends: What’s New? | Nixplay

2021 Interior Design Trends: What’s New?

After a year of spending more time at home than ever before, many people have turned their attention to sprucing up their décor. But how are interior design trends going to change in 2021? From the growing importance of sustainable materials to how you should position your smart devices, you’ll find everything you need to know about the latest interior design trends in our guide below.

Classic Vintage

Vintage décor is a timeless classic, with antique, repurposed and salvaged pieces taking center stage. When it comes to creating a vintage theme, the key is to reference the style rather than to reproduce it, using strong colors, contrasting furniture and a less-is-more approach for a vibrant, colorful vibe. But what are the new interior design trends for vintage décor in 2021? 

Retro style is set to make a big comeback, using futuristic styles to create eye-catching designs. From neon hues to vintage typography, retro futurism makes a quirky addition to any vintage theme. Prefer something a little edgier? If so, you’ll be pleased to hear that street art styles will also be making an appearance in 2021. With a nod to the 70s, 80s and 90s, graffiti-inspired pieces will allow you to truly exercise your creativity.

Global Influence

Inspired by earthy color palettes and warm, natural textures, global influence interior design typically pairs well with wooden, woven and rattan home accessories. But what other internationally inspired styles can we expect to see in 2021? We’re all familiar with French style, renowned for its effortless chic and soft colors, or the characteristically minimal and sleek feel of Swedish interiors (we’ve got IKEA to thank for that one!). But what about lesser-known influences?

Spanish interiors are set to fill homes with vibrant yellows and terracotta reds in 2021, adding a touch of summertime to your rooms. Greece is also climbing the popularity chart, with many people opting for whitewashed walls and a mixture of sea blues and turquoise shades to give a rustic seaside feel.

Photo Frames

In recent years, people have decorated their homes with collages of photo frames, carefully positioning them to suit their favorite aesthetic. But it seems that the latest interior design trends are set to change this tradition. Interior designers are now choosing singular photo frames, focusing on one standout piece to make a real style statement. Many people are also turning their attention to digital options, where they have the freedom to change images without needing to fiddle around with the frame or spend time printing new images. Does your shabby chic interior require sepia photographs? Check out our stylish Nixplay Smart Frame, where you can easily upload your favorite memories.

Sustainable Modern Design

It’s safe to say that one of the most important design trends in 2021 will be our focus on using sustainable materials. With heightened awareness around how precious our natural resources are, many people are taking more responsibility for the environment. Reused materials and bioplastics are set to play a big part in sustainable interior design, but that doesn’t mean compromising on luxury. Often the simpler the materials, the more versatile they can be, provide you with a greater amount of design options.

Face Line Art

One of the latest interior design trends to make its way into peoples’ homes is face line art. First adopted by the millennial generation in the online world, this chic style is set to make a big impression in 2021. From bathroom wallpaper to wall canvases and home accessories, these abstract faces make an elegant addition to any interior. Typically designed in black and white, these pieces also offer optimum versatility.

House Plants

You only need to take a peep at Pinterest and Instagram to see that house plants have never been more fashionable, and this is only set to increase during 2021. From retro-style hanging creepers to beautiful blooms, you’re sure to find a plant to suit your style and space. Not only are they a charming addition to your interior, they also bring vibrancy and color to our homes – freshening the air, filtering out pollution and releasing oxygen.

And that’s our guide to what you can expect from new interior design trends in 2021! Do you want to put a personal spin on your home, adding memories shared with family and friends? If so, be sure to check out our smart photo frames, where you can share your favorite memories straight from your phone using our Nixplay App.

The Transformation Of Halloween Technology | Nixplay

The Transformation Of Halloween Technology

Halloween is a time for fun-filled adventures, costumes and spooky celebrations. Over time, October 31st has been revolutionized, from the original homemade décor and costumes, to high-tech drones, extravagant lighting displays and tech Halloween costumes. But while the freshly carved pumpkins and handmade costumes still live on, technology has truly transformed the way we approach the Halloween festivities.

Halloween technology and the internet

Technology and the internet have benefitted many of us over the years – from businesses and organizations to students and families. It has also had a positive effect on the holiday seasons, including Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Halloween.

Wondering how tech has transformed October 31st? Technological devices have become a huge part of the whole immersive experience – from home decorating to showstopping party tricks. Here are just a few of the Halloween technology and internet features that have helped to transform the way we celebrate the spooky season:

  • Tracking apps: Apps like Find My Friends now mean that parents can be stress-free and let their older children go trick-or-treating safely with their friends.
  • Social media: Combined with the internet, social media has transformed Halloween forever. You can find haunted house reviews, costume inspiration, and spooky décor ideas with the click of a button.
  • LED bracelets: Make sure your little one is in sight throughout the night with a light-up bracelet that stands out in the dark.

Tech or treat: Fun Halloween tech ideas

The spooky season is the perfect opportunity to show off your creative side – and Halloween technology makes it even easier. Here are some of the Halloween technology ideas that have developed over time:

Tech Halloween Costumes

What about wearable Halloween tech? Over the years, and as technology has become more prominent in our everyday lives, more and more people have decided to design their own tech Halloween costumes. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Use your smartphone or tablet to develop your dramatic tech Halloween costumes. Check out this YouTube video posted by Mark Rober, where he creates the effect of a hole in his stomach using two tablets!
  • Implement LED lights into your Halloween costumes. How about creating a hat with flowing LED strips to turn you into a jelly fish? Or use some wire to form light-up fairy wings?
  • Robot suits! The ultimate tech Halloween costumes. These are more on the pricey side, but they’re definitely worth it. What’s not to love about turning into a robot for a fun-filled evening?

While Halloween technology is great for costumes, it can be dangerous to wear – if it’s not done in the right way. So remember to stay safe when wearing your tech Halloween costumes!

High-tech Halloween decorations

There are many digital Halloween decoration ideas that have been developed over the years. From spooky animations to hang around the house, to ghostly drones and holograms to haunt the exterior of your home, but here are a few of our favorites:

  • LED light shows: Outdoor lighting displays aren’t just for Christmas – these technology Halloween decorations are completely versatile. Use a projector or some string LED lights to spruce up your front yard and make it Halloween-ready.
  • Haunted moving paintings: Perfect for an authentic haunted house experience.
  • Halloween photo displays: Whether you’re celebrating with a party, trick or treating or a cozy night in with the kids, a great way to get in the spooky spirit is by displaying some of your favorite Halloween snaps – past and present.

Looking for a way to show off your spooky surprises at home? Make your Halloween memorable with a digital photo frame – the perfect way to display your favorite family photos, no matter what time of year. Browse our range of Wi-Fi photo frames and Smart Frames online today to complete your Halloween technology decorations.

Things might be a little different this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still celebrate. Why not get the whole neighborhood to decorate their front lawns and have a virtual Halloween party to keep up the spooky spirits? Whatever you do, make sure you have a happy Halloween at home with your family and carry on the festivities. 

7 Amazon Alexa Compatible Devices | Nixplay

7 Amazon Alexa Compatible Devices

Building out your smart home? With an Alexa at the center of everything, it’s easy to control your smart home devices and turn your house into a smart hub. If you want to make more use of Alexa, we’ve got a selection of some of the best smart home devices to that can be controlled with only the sound of your own voice.

Smart home devices that work with Alexa

There are so many smart home devices that work with Alexa, so it can be difficult to get your head around the ones that will benefit you the most. The hundreds, if not thousands, of Amazon Alexa compatible devices all have their advantages and disadvantages. So we’ve pulled together a list of some of the must-have smart home devices to help you get started.

1. Alexa, turn up the lights

Tired of tripping over your feet or walking into furniture when heading to bed after turning the lights off? A smart bulb is the best solution. Simply hop into bed with the light on, and command Alexa to turn it off once you’re all set for sleep. There are a lot of smart bulbs that work with Alexa, so make sure you do your research to find the right one for you. Some let you dim the lights, change the color and turn them on or off.

2. Alexa, open up Netflix

Lost the controller? We’ve all been there. Whether it’s stuck down the back of the sofa or the batteries have died, with a smart TV and Alexa device, you won’t need one. One of the best Alexa compatible devices will have the software built in, and some smart TVs do. Turn it on and off, switch the channel, increase the volume or adjust the brightness, using nothing but your own voice. 

3. Alexa, lock the doors

Gone are the days of dragging yourself back out of bed to bolt the front door. Make your home is secure with Alexa and a smart lock – so you don’t have to wonder if you locked the door when you’re cozy in bed. There are many smart locks to choose from, to suit all budgets. So if you’re tired of losing track of all your keys or don’t want to leave a spare under the mat, a smart lock will give you more control.

4. Alexa, turn up the heating

These smart home devices can make you more comfortable at home, but have a great impact on your bills. Some smart thermostats also come with Alexa built in – meaning you can manage the temperature of your home with ease. Which means no more fussing about with buttons that you can’t quite figure out, because it’s all done with your voice!

5. Alexa, vacuum the floor

The best way to keep your floors clean without lifting a finger? Smart vacuums. These home staples have come a long way, and many now have the capability to work using voice activation – making your life just that little bit easier. With these Alexa compatible devices, you can ask your vacuum to clean, stop and return to its dock. You will still need the app to schedule the cleaning and check the status of your vacuum, but there’s every chance that these actions will be voice activated in the future.

6. Alexa, feed the dog

Running late because your pet needs feeding? Cutting your day short to make sure you’re home on time for dinner? A smart, automatic pet feeder will do the job. Set regular mealtimes, adjust portion sizes and set voice alerts to let your pooch know that it’s time for dinner. Better yet, some of these smart home devices can be used in conjunction with Alexa to dispense food manually, for those days when your furry friend needs an extra feed!

7. Alexa, show me my favorite photos

Experience the latest Alexa software on a Nixplay smart photo frame – letting you share your treasured memories with your family and friends, all with the sound of your own voice. Just ask Alexa to manage your frame and you can display any of your photo playlists and assign a specific playlist to any Nixplay frame (wherever that frame is). So if you’re looking for a gift that keeps you present, or an Amazon Alexa compatible device that displays your favorite memories, a Nixplay digital photo frame is the must-have smart home device for you. Browse the collection online today and order yours to start sharing your best moments with your loved ones.

7 Minimalist Home Ideas To Revamp Your Space

Minimalist Home Ideas To Revamp Your Space

Thinking of pairing down your home interior décor? From monochromatic simplicity, to a laid-back luxury style, minimalist house décor is a great way to revamp your home and get rid of some of that clutter. In theory, it should be pretty easy to pull off. Think of neutral colors, minimal art and a few staple ornaments. But when you’re trying to achieve the “effortless” look, you might need to put in a bit more work than you think.

Looking for some minimalist home ideas to get you on your way? With our interior home décor ideas, your space will feel minimal, warm and inviting – rather than cold and clinical. Find out how to revamp your living room, bedroom or even your office space below.

How to achieve the perfect minimalist house interior

Modern Minimalist Home Interior Décor

Let’s get down to the basics of minimalist home ideas. There are a few easy steps you can take to achieve modern minimalist home interior décor and, if you stick to them, you’re sure to achieve the look you’re going for.

1. Stick to neutrals.

Start off your quest to a minimalist house interior with a neutral color palette. Impartial colors are calming, fresh and classic. You can even incorporate some earthy tones, blues and greens to continue on with the natural theme. 

2. Use the natural light.

Warm the space up by letting in as much natural light as possible. Pull back all your curtains, use sheer fabrics and strategically place mirrors to let the light bounce off the walls. Mirrors are also the easiest way to open a space up, making a room appear bigger than it is. Utilizing the sunlight is a great way to keep the space from feeling stark and clinical. You can also keep the space feeling cozy, without the added clutter.

3. Try out new textures.

Neutrals don’t have to be boring. Revamp your home with multiple textures and some neutral patterns to spice things up a little. That way, the feel of the room will start to warm up. From knitted throws and tasseled cushions to sheepskin rugs and velvet touches, you can add an extra element of interest with plenty of texture within the same color palette.

4. Quality over quantity.

When you’re focusing on minimalist house décor, less is always more. So if you’re working with a smaller catalogue of staple pieces, it’s important to make sure that they’re high quality. Because with minimalist house interiors, there’s less to distract the eye, meaning that every piece you buy plays an important part in the overall feel of the room. Ultimately, you want to create a space that you want to spend time in. So why you might be tempted to go with the grain and pick up the latest trending items, this isn’t the key to minimalist home décor. Instead, focus on the classics that will stand the test of time.

5. Add a touch of nature.

Upgrade your home décor with some florals and greenery—an added touch of color and style. House plants are ideal for adding lush hues, extra texture and a point of interest in even the darkest corner of a room (just make sure they’re happy with reduced sunlight first!). Create a miniature indoor garden with a variety of greenery, from succulents to cheese plants and palms.

6. Embrace the white space.

You might see a blank wall or empty shelf and think it needs a little extra cover – but minimalist home décor proves that blank spaces can have just as good an impact. So don’t worry about filling every inch of your home in paintings and ornaments, let your designs stand out by embracing the white space.

7. Clear all clutter.

Possibly one of the most important minimalist home ideas. If your surfaces are covered in clutter—like piles of mail, your keys and random decorative objects that just seem to take up space—then you’re in for a bit of a surprise. The key to minimalist house décor is a clean look and feel, so the first step you need to take is clearing it all out. And going forwards, you should continue with this attitude. That means, for every item that you buy for your home interior décor, you should let something else go in return.

One quick way to clear out the clutter is to cut down on the number of photo frames and canvasses you have dotted around. Because while some paintings are suited to minimalist house décor, a plethora of family photos is sure to interrupt the neutral color palette. The downside is, of course, losing all of your favorite memories.

Looking for a way to display your family photos, in a minimalist way? Enter the Nixplay photo frame—one, sleek device that can contain all of your snaps in one single place. That way, you can keep your home free of clutter, while still holding on to those precious family memories. And because every Nixplay customer has 10GB of free cloud storage for their photos and media, you can display so many more of your favorite photos.

And there we have it—a selection of minimalist home ideas designed to make your space feel clean, fresh and organic. Complete your space with a smart photo frame from Nixplay and you’re sure to have everything you need to revamp your home and make it feel cozy. So go ahead and put our minimalist design ideas to the test—we’d love to see the results!

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