Beyond the Bulb: Smart Light Fixtures, Switches and Accessories
Smart lighting can go beyond on-demand control of your lights with the help of some smart accessories. These gadgets can help you automate your lighting routine, provide easier access to controls, and add dramatic ambience to your home. Check out our picks that can help you bring your smart lighting system to the next level.
1. Motion sensor
There are certain lights we turn on when we’re in a room, and turn off when we leave. Smart motion sensors can automate this for you in places like the bathroom, a basement, or your closet. You could program the light to slowly come on when motion is detected in the bathroom, and then have them turn off 15 minutes later, or until motion isn’t sensed for 5 minutes — whichever happens first. While not an entirely new technology, the introduction of smart lighting motion sensors means effortless installation of a technology that historically meant replacing an entire light switch.
2. Smart switch
The first few weeks of living with smart bulbs you may find yourself using the phone app to turn the lights on and off with delight. As the novelty wears, you’ll notice something — you miss light switches. It’s true, being able to control your lights from your phone is convenient, but try doing that with your hands full of groceries, or in a sleepy haze as your roll out of bed in the morning. Sometimes a physical switch is just what you need, and they come in standalone, in-wall, stick-on, and dimmer knob varieties.
3. Smart plugs
Smart plugs are a great piece to have in your smart home toolbox. Maybe you have a beautiful antique lamp or lighting fixture like a backlit cabinet that can’t accommodate smart bulbs (and let’s be honest, smart bulbs can look a little funny in certain fixtures). The good news for you is that there’s still hope. Smart plugs can be used to turn anything with a plug into a smart device so you can sync those fixtures right alongside your true smart bulbs. Now that’s smart.
Outdoor Smart Plugs
If you have outdoor lighting fixtures like spotlights or Christmas lights, an outdoor smart plug gives you exactly the same functionality as a regular smart plug but with rugged protection against the elements like rain and snow. But it’s not limited to lights — you could control a garden fountain or an inflatable lawn decoration.
4. Accent and ambient lighting
It’s not just regular lightbulbs that can be controlled with a smart lighting system. Manufacturers make accent lighting fixtures and alternate light sources that can function almost like sculptures in your home.
Smart Light Strips
These LED strips are great for accent lighting behind a TV, under a desk or cabinet, or above your molding. The intended effect is for the light source to be somewhat unclear, as the LEDs illuminate their surroundings to provide a glowing effect. They can be put just about anywhere, and can be cut to size with scissors. Make sure you measure what length of light strip you need and secure the proper extenders and connectors to make your vision come to life.
Smart light fixtures
Who doesn’t love something pretty to look at? Consider this the lava lamp of the 21st century. These lighting fixtures provide beautiful ambient light and help to create a true atmosphere in your home. Pick a form factor that works with your aesthetic to add a dramatic ambience to your home. Smart light manufacturers Philips Hue, LIFX, and Nanoleaf all offer unique smart lighting fixtures that can be a statement piece in any room.
Outdoor smart lights
Walkways and outdoor spaces can easily be transformed with smart lighting accents that can be controlled or programmed from anywhere. Combine something like this with the motion sensor discussed above and the next time you arrive in your driveway and exit your car, watch as your path to the door beautifully illuminates to welcome you in.
5. Entertainment syncing
With tools like the Hue Play HDMI Sync Box, you can integrate smart lighting into your entertainment experience and setup. While this is a pricey option, there are some alternatives, like this app which uses the camera on a mobile device to sense the colors on screen and reflect them on your smart bulbs.
Whether you need some practical tools to extend the functionality of your smart lighting system, or you’re looking to add some fun and color to your home, smart lighting accessories can provide an elegant solution.
Product features may have changed and are subject to change.