Adding smart lights to my home, where do I start?

I was recently asked the question, How do I add smart lights to my kitchen? Now as simple as it sounds, there are actually many things to think about. It all depends how you wish to control your lights and any automation you wish to take place.

For example you may just wish to turn them on/off and change the brightness via app or you may wish to schedule them to turn on at particular times or via motion.

You also need to consider your light fittings as the smart bulbs could be incompatible or require multiple.

Option 1 – Single light bulb with on/off/dim control

The easiest and most affordable method of adding a smart light is to purchase a single WiFi bulb and connect it. Bulbs such as the LIFX bulb do not require hubs and can be controlled via an app to operate on/off and brightness/colour options.

You may wish to turn the lights on at particular times, such as just before you get home from work. This can be done via apps such as Stringify where you can create different types of flows based on dates, time and the weather.

Option 2 – Turning smart lights on via motion or schedules.

Sometimes in the evening we turn on lights in rooms and walk out forgetting to turn them off. This causes us to waste electricity and cost us money. Therefore an ideal method to combat this is to turn lights on and off via motion.

This however requires investment in more than just the smart bulb, you’ll also need to add motion sensors which connect to a platform and hub.

These smart home controllers allow us to control the smart lights in many different ways including via presence sensors, scheduled routines, door sensors and motion sensors.

Popular hubs include Samsung SmartThings and Fibaro home centre.

Option 3 – Keeping light fittings and light bulbs the same.

You may wish to keep your light fittings and light bulbs the same, as replacing them could be very costly. The alternative to this is adding a dimmer switch within the wall. This is not as simple as it sounds as you may require an electrician to fit a deeper back box.

You will also require a compatible hub to take control of the dimmer. This allows you to keep your existing lights and control them via motion, presence or scheduled routines.

Fibaro offer a smart dimmer which is compatible with UK wiring systems.

With many options to consider it’s worth thinking about what your end goal is and plan on ways to working towards it. You may wish to build up to it, however you need to make sure you smart devices are compatible with any chosen smart hubs.

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