Garages, along with the cars inside them, used to be a status symbol, but these days, if all you've got are 3 walls, a door and a place to house your car, it's not that impressive. To make it more than merely an Airbnb for your Prius — it needs to be smart! Of course, adding smart home control to your garage can be as simple or as sophisticated as you want it to be.

Let's start with the garage door. Replacing your old garage door opener with a Z-Wave garage door remote controller opens up a world of possibilities and turns that old car stall into an intelligent entry point to the rest of your home. How so? The garage door controller can be connected to the same automation system that controls your lights, your HVAC system, indeed even your home security.

Having your garage door controlled by the same system that manages the rest of your smart home means that the simple act coming home could trigger all manner of automated events. Raising the garage door after sunset might cue a lighting scene that illuminates the path from your door to the kitchen. Or, dial your Z-Wave thermostat to your preferred temperature settings.

The best smart home controllers even allow you to take things one step further by changing the way you interact with the garage door itself. With a Z-Wave door controller, you won't have to worry about clip-on visor remotes whose batteries always seem to die at the worst times; your mobile device itself—indeed, the same app that controls your lights and doors and climate control—becomes your remote. You'll never again get five miles down the road and find yourself trying to remember if you closed the garage door.

In fact, with the best home automation controllers, you won't have to remember to close it at all. Add a smart presence sensor to your car, and you could easily program your garage door to close itself as soon as you drive away. Or, with home automation hubs like SmartThings, you could set up geo-fencing and have your garage door (and HVAC system, and security system) respond to the very presence or absence of your mobile device.

As with the smart home, having a smart garage isn't just about bragging rights. With the right application of smart technology, you can make your garage and your home more convenient, comfortable, and secure.