9 Tips and Tricks for Enjoying Whole-Home Smart Lights
Smart home gadgets have been a leading hit in home upgrades for about half a decade. From the first clumsy IoT (internet of things) devices to the now very sleek integration process across dozens of brands, smart homes and automated home features are more accessible than ever. You could get your first hub and pack colorful smart bulbs at a Black Friday sale, get them as a holiday gift, or start your smart home DIY one or two pieces at a time.
But no matter where you start, one of the best end-goals is to switch all of your home light fixtures to smart lights. Voice-controlled lights are extremely convenient, you can set up really cool routines with them, and you can still use the light switch if you prefer to. Not to mention, all smart bulbs are energy-efficient LEDs.
As lighting experts and smart home vets, we're ready to share a few of our best tips and tricks when your entire home is lit with smart lights.
1) Create a Command to Turn Off ( & On) All the Lights
Among the most convenient things we have discovered is the ability to control all the lights in the house at once. When you wake up in the morning or come home from work and you don't want to turn on the lights one at a time, a single voice command (with the right preparation) can set your house aglow. Another can douse all the lights when it's time to leave the house or go to bed.
You can do this in three ways using routines.
- First, you can create a routine and select "all lights" as your control item. This will grab anything that self-registers as a light, including light strips and some LED sculptures.
- Second, you can create a group with all your lights in it, and then toggle that group with a routine. This gives you an opportunity to leave one or two navigational or courtesy lights out of the group.
- Third, you can create a routine and select lights one by one to include.
2) Group Your Lights By Room and Section of the House
Take the time in your smart home app to group your lights by how you want to control them. Lights can also belong to more than one group. This gives you the ability to say "Turn the kid's bedrooms off" or "turn on the den" and all the lights in the named group will turn on or of.
3) Group Your Hubs With the Lights
Your smart home smart speakers can also know what room they're in. In Alexa, for example, you can assign each hub to one group or room. If the hub shares that group with lights, it will control them without having to specify the room or group.
How This Works:
- Group a smart speaker into your "Living Room" group.
- Stand in the living room
- Ask your smart home to "turn the lights on"
- The living room lights will come on
4) Gently or Energetically Wake Yourself Up
Lights play an important role in how we wake up, and smart lights can take an active part. If you need to roll out of bed ready to fight monsters and make breakfast, set a morning routine that brings up the lights and some pumped music as your alarm. If you need a few minutes to come back to planet earth or don't like to be startled awake, try a sunrise light setting. This causes your lights to gently light up through a soothing range of orange, yellow, and then white. You will wake more naturally, like a human sleeping outdoors as the sun rises.
5) Time Your Lights to Greet You Coming Home
Energy efficiency is one of the benefits of smart home, but so is a house that greets you like an excited puppy (or a stately butler, whichever you prefer). One of the coolest things you can do is program your smart home on a timer to warm up the thermostat and bring up the lights a few minutes before you typically get home. This way, the home is bright and ready for you but had not been wasting electricity on light while you've been gone.
You can even use proximity sensors with a little more advanced fiddling and the IFTTT app.
6) Skip Candles, Use Colors for Mood Lighting
Smart lights are also awesome at setting the mood. Whether you're preparing for date night with a partner, scary story night with friends, or a soothing bubble bath, experiment with your favorite light bulb colors instead of lighting a few flickering candles. The colors on RGBW (red green blue white) smart lights are far dimmer than the cool/warm white light, which makes these colors especially nice for mood lighting.
7) Create a Mode for Theater Lighting
Everyone watches movies at home, which means you'll want a theater mode. Use a routine with hand-selected lights and effects to turn off the over head lights, set your peripheral lights to soft glow, and leave your far-away kitchen and bathroom lights on. This kind of theater mode is perfect for catching the latest episode of Epic television, a new release movie, or an old favorite.
Being able to "hit the lights" without plunging the entire house into darkness with a single command is definitely a cool move whether you're showing off for kids, friends, or a date.
8) Use Smart Lights for Night Lights
Dimmed and set to a soft color, smart lights also make great night lights. You can leave a smart-bulb lamp glowing soft blue in a child's bedroom or one gentle bulb in each room of the house to make sure no one gets too scared on their own or stubs their toe on the way to the bathroom.
9) Light Paths Through Your Home
You can even light your path if you are the midnight wanderer. Lights all out and don't want to stumble into a doorway or step on a lego? You can whisper to your smart speaker or tap your phone to turn on just the lights you need. Switch on the kitchen or bathroom light from a distance and let it's beacon guide you - without waking up anyone else.
Getting Smart with Urban Ambiance
Here at Urban Ambiance, we thrive on keeping up with the latest lighting trends alongside timeless classics. Nearly all of our fixtures are smart bulb ready as smart lights have become an undeniably cool part of our industry. We're always happy to share ideas, tips, tricks, and specifications for anyone looking to upgrade not just their fixtures, but their entire approach to home lighting.
For more cool tips and tricks you can do with smart home lights or to find your ideal next light fixture, contact us today.