Smart Lighting

One of the core aspects of any smart home automation system has to be lighting. It can also be rediculously expensive — especially if you have loads of lights!

Here’s how to convert all of your lights to smart lights without breaking the bank.

Phillips Hue

Ok, these are expensive. But it’s worth getting hold of a starter pack to get you started. The “Colour” starter packs contain some colour bulbs and the hue hub. I fitted colour bulbs in my living room/dining room so that I can show off the marvels of coloured lighting to guests. They’re really cool for creating mood lighting and for watching movies.

The hue app is also great to use. It’s nice and easy to set up and easy to control your lights. Also because Hue is such a big player, it’s compatible with Amazon Echo or Google Home without any fuss.

However.

There’s no need to kit out your entire house with hue bulbs. Unless you’ve got money to burn there are cheaper ways…

IKEA Tradfri

These are quite new, but IKEA have started to produce a range of smart lighting solutions. As it’s IKEA, they’re reletively cheap and “OMG” they now also are compatible with Phillips Hue. That means you can control them via the Hue bridge and in the Hue app.

This is amazing.

For comparison, a White hue GU10 bulb costs around £25 each, wheras an IKEA version is £7. They don’t do colour GU10 bulbs yet (they may in the future) but i’ve kitted out nearly every room in my house with these nice, dimmable £7 bulbs and i’m so pleased with them.

So why, I hear you ask, do I recomend buying a Hue starter kit?

Controling your lights

There are a few ways to control smart lights. You can use the app, you can talk to Alexa/Google/Siri or you can use the good, old fasioned wall switch (eugh).

However, the best thing i’ve found to date, is the Hue Tap.

It’s a nifty little button that allows you to control your smart lighting with a physical button. For me, I simply rewired the light swith to an “always on” position (please don’t do this yourself unless you know what you’re doing). I then fixed a blanking plate and the tap went on top. Simple.

The tap uses kinetic energy (i.e. the force of you pushing the button) to transmit the signal. There are no batteries, wires or anything. They’re super cool. But they only work with Hue… They’re also fairly expensive but can sometimes be found on offer. They do, however, have four buttons on, so you could possibly control more than one room from them, depending on your layout?

Rob StokesComment