The only limitations to lighting up your home with smart technology are your imagination and budget. Home automation has come a long way in recent years and smart lighting is one of the key areas homeowners have enjoyed more control over their environment.
More people are using smart technology to control their lighting through apps on their smart devices or a central smart hub using a Wi-Fi connection, which is not only convenient but also influences style and boosts home security.
Let’s shine a light on some of the ways smart lighting can enhance your lifestyle and your home’s energy efficiency. We can go in-depth on types of lighting and some smart ideas for different areas of your home.
Types of Home Lighting
When it comes to the style of lighting you want for different areas of your home, there are three main types to consider. The type you choose can dramatically affect the mood and functionality of any given space.
The three main types of lighting are:
- Ambient – This is also called general or mood lighting. It is soft and might be similar to natural light. Ideal lights for ambient lighting are LED downlights, recessed lights, wall sconces, and chandeliers. You can also use table and floor lamps for ambient lighting.
- Accent – Accent lighting is used to spotlight specific items such as paintings, sculptures, plants, wall textures, and drapery. This can be used indoors and outdoors. Ideal lights for accent lighting are sconces, track lights, picture lights, backlighting, and under-cabinet lighting.
- Task – Task lighting fixtures are designed to provide focused light to specific areas of a room. You can use recessed or surface-mounted lighting, including desk lamps, pendant lights or under-cabinet lights.
It’s also important to note that LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting is the superior choice of over standard halogen or fluorescent lights, having far superior energy efficiency and longevity. If you’re not using LED lights at home, it could be time to make the switch.
Smart Lighting to Suit Your Schedule
One of the main advantages of smart technology is being able to control your appliances when you’re not home. You can also use timers to suit your schedule, which is particularly useful for heating and cooling, home security, and, of course, lighting.
Using your lighting app you can time select lights to come on when you’re getting up on dark mornings or when you’re arriving home at night. You can even select the level of brightness (or light temperature).
For the sake of security when you’re away from home, you can randomize your schedule to make it appear as if the house is occupied.
Set the Mood for Your Entertainment
Your entertainment zone, which is most likely in your main living area, is possibly the room that will most benefit from smart lighting as far as ambience is concerned. This is the space where most householders want to have complete control over mood and light temperature.
This is an area where recessed lighting is highly recommended. It is particularly suitable for low ceilings, but can also be effective with a higher ceiling. Choose smart LED lighting that can be colour adjusted to suit any mood you want.
Mood lighting is preferable to complete darkness while you’re enjoying your TV screen, so dimmable LED lighting is the way to go. Backlighting your TV screen also creates a wonderful ambience that enhances the viewing experience and is better for your eyes.
To really recreate a cinematic experience, consider LED strip lighting on the floor, which can be both visually appealing and functional, helping people to walk safely in dim light.
Relax in a Smart Bathroom
The bathroom has to be functional and relaxing, that special haven in which you prepare for a busy day or wind down after work. Ambient (or ceiling) lighting is important because you need a good level of brightness when you’re preparing for the day.
This is another room where a dimmer can play an important role. When you want to create a mood for a relaxing bath, dimming the ambient lights and even lighting a few candles can be just the ambience you need to de-stress after a busy day. The bathroom can become a welcome haven in an active household.
Task lighting is another crucial feature of any bathroom, particularly for your mirror to help in makeup application, shaving, and other functions. Don’t place task lighting directly above your mirror, it can result in a strange shadow on your face. Place wall lights or sconces on either side of the mirror.
For the sake of comfort on cold winter mornings, also consider a heat lamp with your main lighting. You can even use a timer so your bathroom has warmed up before you step into it.
Stylish and Smart Kitchen Lighting
The kitchen is another space that can benefit enormously from smart lighting. But it can be a challenge, given the different heights of benches, cabinets, and tables (dining or otherwise).
This is an area of the home in which you can get creative while being practical and multi-functional. It is the ideal spot for recessed lighting in the ceiling over countertops and islands. It can brighten the kitchen without drawing attention to itself. These can be dimmable but a good level of brightness is necessary for working in the kitchen.
Another option is track lighting, which can be handy if the light fittings are multi-directional, allowing you to direct the light to where you need it most. Track lighting has extra benefits in that you can add more lights to achieve the brightness you need.
The kitchen can also be enhanced by under cabinet light strips to enhance benchtops and shelves, which not only provides extra light but is also visually pleasing. Depending on the size and design of the kitchen, the space can also lend itself to wall sconces – over the sink or shelving – and stylish pendant lighting over the dining table.
Motion Sensors for Your Security
Outdoor lighting is crucial to any home, for safety and security as much as backyard entertaining. When it comes to getting smart with security, the obvious choice is motion sensor lighting.
Motion sensor lights essentially detect movement or heat. The light bulb connects with sensors that switch on the light in response to motion. The most common motion detectors are passive infrared, active infrared, microwave, photoelectric and dual technology.
Motion sensors are best used with other forms of manual external lighting, such as outdoor flood lights. That way you can light up outdoor areas for as long as you choose, without relying on movement.
There are a number of advantages to a motion sensor lighting system, including:
- Detects trespassers and potential burglars
- Deters potential burglars and trespassers are less likely to stay
- Helps householders and visitors to avoid accidents in the dark
- Energy efficient – the outdoor lights are never left on unnecessarily
- Indoor motion sensors can help to light darkened areas for extra safety
It’s also wise to have strip lighting alongside paths for maximum safety at night and on dark mornings. Remember to be strategic when it comes to outdoor lighting – too much lighting can be annoying to neighbors.
Link your outdoor lighting to your home automation and you can use timers so the outdoors is illuminated only when you need it to be.
With advances in smart home technology, a dazzling range of lighting types on the market and the versatility of long-life LED light bulbs, it’s not hard to imagine the myriad ways smart lighting can enhance your lifestyle and your home’s look and functionality.