Home

A Complete Guide to Upgrading Your Home with Smart Light Bulbs

With one last flip of a switch, your home can be a "smart home!"

Tags:

You may have heard about the smart lighting trend, and it may seem like a daunting home upgrade. But with the purchase of the Philips Hue smart bulbs and Hub (below), and about fifteen minutes of your time, this guide will have your smart lighting set up in no time!

What is smart lighting?

Smart light bulbs can be controlled by either voice command or by using an app. Simply installing smart light bulbs can transform your entire house into a “smart home.” Not only can you turn the lights on or off without flipping a switch, but you can also control the brightness, color, tone and much more!

Key features of Smart light bulbs:

  • Dimmable
  • Multiple colors
  • Rename each light (e.g: kitchen spotlights, bedroom lamp)
  • Set alerts and timers
  • Automatically turns off when you leave the perimeter
  • Link to other devices (Apple Watch, Alexa)

How to set up:

The basics:

  1. Connect the Phillips’ Hub to the WiFi via ethernet cable.
  2. Download, then launch the Phillips Hue app from the app store. The app will locate the hub and request to connect.
  3. To install smart lights, be sure to check that the light switch is turned off. 
  4. Unscrew the light bulb and replace with your new Phillips bulb.
  5. Once connected, turn on the switch to provide the smart light with power. The app will register the connection between the bulb and the hub.
  6. On the app, create rooms and assign each bulb accordingly.
  7. You can customize the colors of either the room or each individual bulb by clicking on it through the app.

Setting up alerts:

To set alerts or automate your lighting, using the app simply select the ‘routines’ tab and choose which automated feature you want to set up, click through and then follow the step-by-step guide. The alerts you can set include:

  • Home & Away. When you’re a certain distance from your home, the lights will automatically turn on/off depending on the setting you choose, so you never have to worry Did I leave the kitchen light on AGAIN?.
  • Wake Up. Naturally wake yourself up in the morning to a warm (fake) sunset, triggering your brain to get moving. The perfect way to get yourself set for the day.
  • Go To Sleep. You’ll know it’s time to bed as the lights begin to dim slowly, like a sunset, tricking your mind into tiredness.
  • Out-of-Home Control. Set the lights of your home to turn themselves on when you’re expected to arrive back home — a welcoming feeling after a hard day’s work!

Setting up the dimmer switch:

  • If your order contained a dimmer switch, simply pull the plastic tab out from the base of the switch. You’ll see the LED blink, which indicates that the hub has received the dimmer switches’ connection.
  • Place the switch wherever you please with the adhesive straps located on the back of the base plate.

Things to know:

  • Check the bulb fittings that you plan on replacing with smart lights BEFORE ordering your bulbs.
  • The light switch must always be turned on, as this is the source of electricity to allow the smart bulb to function and receive commands. If someone mistakenly turns it off, you must actively go over to the switch and turn it back on.

What to buy:

When buying smart lighting for your room, planning is essential. Depending on whether you want your lamps, main lights or just featured lighting to be smart.

Although you can control the lighting without the Hub, you’re limited in features. Without connecting the hub to the wifi, you can only control the lighting via BlueTooth on your phone. The Hub allows you to connect the smart lighting to the wifi which then can be linked to other devices.

Don’t forget, you can add bulbs overtime, so if you’re hesitant to order for the whole house in one go, stick to one room at a time!

Philips Hue Smart Hub

Just the Hub
smart light bulbs
Wayfair

$59.67 Amazon

Features:

  • Fully automate
  • Add up to 50 Philips Hue Lights
  • Voice control
  • Control from anywhere
  • Expand with accessories

One reviewer wrote, “It’s nice to purchase an electronic product that you can unbox and use almost instantly. I pulled it out of the packaging, pulled the plastic slip to ground the battery and pulled the sensor up in the app. Two taps in the app assigned it to a room (and the lights in the room). Easy peasy.”

Philips Hue A19 Starter Kit with Bluetooth (White & Color Ambiance, 4-Pack)

Hub and Lights
smart light bulbs
BHPhotoVideo

$199.99 B & H Photo Video

Features:

  • Kit includes Hub/bridge and 4 A19 bulbs
  • 16 million colors to choose from
  • Voice control
  • Easy dimming
  • Easy install

One reviewer wrote, “This has literally changed the way I look at light and how I light my home. I never really thought about the difference between warm and white light and I have to admit it’s made a difference in my day to day activities. My daughter also loves the different colors! We really enjoy deep blues in the evening as we wind down. I synced the lights with my Google mini so I can control the lights with my voice. I’m ready to buy like 10 more bulbs so I can have these awesome lights in my other rooms.”

See more of our best product recommendations.

We write about products we think our readers will like. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the supplier.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.