Fans: of the Electronic House: know how important home lighting can be. Still wondering what’s so great about flipping the lights on and off?
These days, installing a lighting system can be insanely easy—and pretty high-tech, too. Whether you’re opting for a full-blown lighting system or sprinkling smart LED light bulbs: throughout the house, there are plenty of product options currently available.
And options are very good to have. After all, we’ve gone on and on about the benefits of smart lighting in the home theater, home office and even all over the house. A lighting system or even a few smart LED light bulbs can guide you through: a dark foyer, make the home look occupied when you’re out, and save a few toes from getting stubbed during a midnight snack run. It can even set the mood when gathering with friends in the family room, while watching a movie, or when enjoying a night under the stars.
Just be aware that this: type of luxury is very easy to get used to, so expect to want smart lighting all over the house at some point. This is a wonderful goal to aspire to. However, if you want to keep to a budget or experiment with: lighting before committing to a whole-house project, there are a few key spots around the house: to: consider.
Having outside lighting may seem like a no-brainer. After all, a dark house at night can be like something out of a horror movie. With: smart lighting out: front, you can turn on lights from the driveway, the office or: anywhere else in: the world, and be guided safely to the door. Of course, it also allows your home to look occupied, even when you’re on a beach 3,000 miles away.
In addition to putting smart lighting out front, having something: around the back of the house is just as important. It can keep raccoons out of your trash can, neighborhood kids out of your pool, and more. An outdoor lighting system: also makes those: pool and/or patio areas safe, so you won’t be breaking any limbs while trying to step out for some fresh air. It can even add ambience, putting a spotlight on the pool area or a favorite plant.
As an added bonus, a lighting system combined with a motion sensor will: keep you informed (and illuminated) whenever creatures from all walks of life decide to stop by.
Lutron makes a crazy amount of lighting fixtures and system options that can be adapted to an outdoor setting. The latest and possibly easiest is the Caseta Wireless system. Although you can’t put Caseta components: outdoors permanently, you can use the Lutron Caseta Wireless Smart Bridge ($119) to control both new and existing outdoor lighting fixtures. That’s because this system works with a variety of different bulb types, allowing you to power and dim lights right from your smartphone.
MiPow PlayBulb Garden ($39.99) outdoor lighting fixtures are made to live outside, using solar power, Bluetooth and a smartphone app to create a variety of colors in the backyard. This option is also easy to install. Just stick it into the ground and download the app; otherwise, it: uses the sun’s energy to power up for nighttime use.
For more outdoor lighting ideas, check out our article on “Smart Outdoor Lighting Ideas for Home Automation, Security and Décor.”
At the Top of the Stairs
Putting automated lighting at the bottom of the stairs is nice, but having smart LED light bulbs or even a keypad at the top of the stairs is one of the best spots to put smart lighting. That way, you can light up the hall and stairs for that midnight snack or the morning rush. Even better, it allows you to shut down everything downstairs and still have a way to get up to bed without having to feel your way around.
Lutron’s Caseta Wireless system would also work in this spot, since it’s easy to install and works with existing bulbs. If existing lighting fixtures aren’t available, something like the WeMo Switch + Motion Kit ($79.99) can control hall lamps via any smartphone or tablet. If you don’t want to pull out a device to turn on the hall lights, this option actually combines a sensor that can trigger whatever is plugged in when motion is detected. In other words, once you head up the stairs, the light will turn on automatically.
In the Bathroom
Most bathrooms have the switch right there, so it would seem silly to put smart home lighting in this small space. That said, you know that if you get up in the middle of the night, you are probably headed one of two places. Of course, you could put a smart bulb in the kitchen or you could keep yourself from late-night snacks as well as breaking your neck, all by putting a lighting option in the bathroom.
This would also be a great spot to combine lighting with some type of motion or proximity sensor because sleeping or awake, there are plenty of times when other members of the house forget to turn the lights: off.
Lutron’s Maestro Occupancy Sensor ($41) combines a switch and an occupancy/vacancy sensor into one wall-mounted device. It can turn lights on and off when you enter the room, without even touching a thing: (which is perfect: for someone in a zombie/half-asleep state). It can even sense when it’s daylight, so you won’t be wasting energy. Designed to work with a variety of bulbs, this product: also works with the rest of the Maestro lineup, which includes light controls, fan controls, sensors and timers that work both in and outside of the home.
If you extend the: Philips Hue: to: the bathroom, you can have all sorts of pretty colors for tub time. However, think about adding the Hue Tap ($59.99) to that room: as well, so you can control lighting without the need for a smartphone. This controller isn’t just easy to add into an existing Hue setup, but it’s also portable. So: if you find out it’s not needed in one area, it’s easy to move to anywhere else in the house.
Wherever you decide to put smart lighting, make sure you purchase a system that’s easy to add onto: at a later date. You never know where you’re going to need it!
Get answers to your questions about lighting upgrades, motorized shades and controlling your lights with an iPhone in this free report.
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