The “internet of things” is becoming more and more common in Houston households. There is a good chance that in your home right now, there is a device or appliance that’s connected to your wifi. Maybe it’s a smart TV that allows you to stream movies and TV shows over your wifi. Or maybe it’s a smart oven that you can turn on and off through your smartphone. Or maybe you have a personal assistant device that helps you track your shopping list, play music, and check the weather. One of the most common smart home gadgets, though, is smart lighting.

Smart lighting started to become more popular in the last five years and it’s expected to become even more common in 2018. So is it something that you should have in your home? It’s time to learn more about this interior lighting option!

Smart Lighting 101

What is smart lighting?

Smart lighting is lighting that’s connected to an app on your smartphone through your home’s wifi. There are a number of different systems and apps out there for both Android and iOS. Typically, the app will allow you to do things like:

  • Turn your lights on and off remotely. You can often even turn the lights on or off from anywhere in the world that you have a wifi connection.
  • Set a timer for your lighting. You can program your bedroom lights to come on when you wake up in the morning or your living room lights to come on before you get home from work.
  • Design your lighting in more detail. Smart lighting typically allows you not only set the brightness of your lights but the color of them, too.
  • Create lighting schemes. You can set up one lighting scheme for morning coffee, another one for movie night, and even another one for task lighting. They can all be turned on with a press of a button on your smartphone.

How is it installed?

The great thing about smart lighting is that it doesn’t depend on the interior lights that you choose for your home but on the bulbs. In order to install smart lighting in your home, you’ll simply have to purchase smart bulbs for your fixtures and switch them out with your old bulb. Once the bulbs are connected to your home’s wifi, you’ll be able to manage them from the app. So installed smart lighting is as easy as screwing in a lightbulb.

What are the pros and cons?

The Pros:

  • Simple to install and use. Most people can install smart bulbs and learn to use the app in about five minutes.
  • Could cut down on energy usage. If you or your family members are prone to leaving the lights on, you’ll be able to check them and turn them off remotely.
  • Can make your home more secure. You can program the lights to come on before you come home so there is no more walking into a dark house. You’ll also be able to program lights to turn on and off while you are away, making it look like your home is occupied.

The Cons:

  • High initial investment. Smart bulbs are, understandably, more expensive than traditional light bulbs so you’ll have to buy a little more to change to a smart lighting system.
  • Could increase your energy bill. If you are turning on the lights before you get home or setting up fancy lighting schemes that run all night, it could end up costing you more on your energy bill than when you simply turned the lights on and off.
  • Wifi dependant. If your wifi is unreliable, you could end up having connectivity issues with your lightbulbs. Fortunately, the lightbulbs will still work as regular bulbs, but you’ll lose out on all of the fancy settings.

Tips for Getting Started With Smart Lighting in Your Home

Know what kind of bulbs you need.

Smart bulbs come in every shape, size, and connector type. Make sure you know what kind of bulbs you need for your lights before you make a purchase. You don’t want to buy a kit full of screw-in smart bulbs only to find your lighting uses a bayonet connection.

Find the right starter kit.

There are a lot of starter kits out there for smart lighting. These are a great choice when you are getting started. They usually offer a discount on the initial set of bulbs and give you a comprehensive walk-through about the installation and use of the bulbs. There are a lot of kits out there right now, so look for one that offers the bulbs you need from a brand you trust.

Experiment before going all-in.

Try smart bulbs in one or two of your interior lights before you go all in. This will allow you to experiment with colors and lighting designs while you get used to the app. Once you feel comfortable with those, you can determine which other lights in your home you want to switch to smart bulbs.

Check out other connectivity apps.

There are a lot of smart home apps out there that will work with certain smart bulbs. You can often pair your bulbs with your entry system to alert you to visitors, your smart oven so you know when the food is done, or even your weather app so you know what the weather is going to be like. There are so many possibilities; enjoy discovering them all!

We’ll Help You Start With the Right Lighting Fixtures

Make sure you start with the right lighting fixtures for your home before you install your smart bulbs! Visit our Houston showroom to discover all the beautiful interior lighting options available. We’ll help you find the right pendant lights, floor lamps, and task lighting that you need for your space so you can install your new smart lighting system. Have questions about how to get started? Call us or use the form on our website to make an appointment with our Houston-area lighting consultants today!