21 Creative Uses for Smart Lights

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Many people will buy a few basic smart lights just to turn them on and off through a voice command, or perhaps adjust the brightness.

This is just scratching the surface of what can do be done with smart lights. Use your smart lights alongside some of the other smart devices in your home and you’ll soon realize they can do so much more than you first imagined.

Let’s look at 21 creative uses for smart lights so you can make use of their true potential.

1. Do Not Disturb

You may need to do a bit of convincing to get your family on board with this idea, but if you can, you could see a real boost in productivity.

If you find yourself working at home, being disturbed by the kids wanting to play or the wife wanting you to take the trash out is very common.

Even if the interruption is small, it can have a big impact on your productivity and workflow.

Smart lights can be used to give a visual indication to the others that you wish to not be disturbed.

Set the lights to red if you are in some deep work and shouldn’t be disturbed, but then set them back to green if you are happy for others to enter your office to chat.

do not disturb

2. Smoke Alarm Alert

You’re probably wondering how on earth anyone would not hear the smoke alarm going off, but consider if someone is hard of hearing, the smoke detector is in the garage, or if you have a large home where you may not necessarily always hear it.

Certain models of smoke alarms can help improve safety by being a trigger within IFTTT. IFTTT will react to the smoke alarm going off by having your smart lights flash red. This greatly reduces the chances of you failing to hear the alarm going off.

You could go one step further with this by having all of your smart speakers around your home also play an alarm sound at maximum volume, so everyone knows what is happening.

This is one of the best uses of IFTTT and shows how powerful it can be at integrating many different services and products together.

You may also like: 45 Best Smart Home Automation Ideas

3. Get Into the Christmas Spirit

In addition to the tree, decorations and fairy lights, get in the Christmas spirit by setting your lights to be green and red during the holiday season.

A simple voice command could turn on a smart plug that powers the Christmas tree lights and have your smart speak play Christmas songs alongside changing the color of the lights.

This is sure to get the kids into the holiday spirit in the lead up to Santa arriving on Christmas day.

4. Someone Is Calling

I’ve recently moved over to an Android phone after using an iPhone for many years; one of the best benefits I have received is more flexibility around setting up my home automations.

There are several apps available that you allow you to link your phone to your lighting

When a call is coming in, you could have your lights flash a certain color. It is possible to even assign different colors to different contacts; no more missing important calls from the wife!

This could be really useful if you tend to leave your phone on silent or are wearing noise-cancelling headphones while you work.

5. Dinner’s Ready

When I was young, my parents had a nightmare trying to get me to away from my video games and come downstairs when dinner was ready.

Having a smart bulb in the kid’s room flash a certain color when dinner is ready could be just what you need to convince them to come down to eat.

You could also pair this with an announcement from a nearby smart speaker telling them to come downstairs as dinner was ready, or even play one of their most hated songs and not allow them to stop it.

6. Show the Weather Forecast

Having your lights be a certain color in accordance with the weather forecast is a great way for everyone to know what to expect throughout the day.

You could have them shine bright orange when it is due to be sunny, blue when rain is incoming, or flash yellow when a storm is on its way.

Yes, it is easy to just look through the window or check the weather forecast on your phone, but this could be a much more interesting way to get the kids involved as they are getting themselves ready for the day.

IFTTT would be used to setup this automation. The weather forecast would be the trigger and the lights changing color to reflect it would be the outcome.

Also check out: 23 Creative Uses for Smart Plugs

7. Front Door Locked?

We’ve all had the moment where we leave the house, pull out of the driveway and starting driving down the street only to feel a pit in your stomach where you are doubting yourself as to whether you locked the front door.

If you have a smart door lock installed, you can have the front door lock itself.

It’s as simple as having an outdoor smart light, or even one inside that you can see through the window, change color when the front door is locked.

Glance up to the light as you are leaving; it’ll be a great visual reminder that you have in fact locked the door.

8. Build Better Sleep Habits

The earlier you can teach the kids better sleep habits, the better. If you can show them that getting a good night’s sleep from a young age, not only will they benefit from it later in life but you yourself will also get a better night’s sleep as a result.

Smart lights can be a great way to help improve sleep habits as they can be a visual reminder that it is time to go to bed or even time to wake up.

Schedule your bulbs to slowly dim in brightness over time as an indication that it is time to get ready for bed, and then have them gradually increase in brightness when the morning rolls around so they are less likely to sleep in.

This isn’t just for kids, either. Anyone could benefit from incorporating smart lights to work alongside the body’s natural circadian rhythm.

build better sleep habits

9. Prepare for Movie Night

Movie nights with the family can be vastly improved with just the use of some smart lights.

Through a voice command, you could have the light strips around your TV turn on and be a certain color whilst also turning off all the other lights in your house.

You could then use another voice command when the movie is over, or you need a break to pause the TV and have the other lights turn back on to see where you are going when you get up off the couch.

If you have a video doorbell, you could also have the TV be paused and the light turn back on whenever there is someone at the door, saving you scrabbling around for the remote.

10. Porch Lights at Night

Having your porch lights turn on automatically as you arrive home when it is dark is a great way to improve safety and greatly reduces the chances of you tripping over something where you can’t see where you are stepping.

You could setup a motion sensor near the driveway to automatically turn on the lights or use geo-fencing.

Geo-fencing is a location-based services where an app on your phone uses GPS, Wi-Fi or mobile data to trigger an action when you and your smartphone enter or leave a pre-determined area.

This virtual boundary is setup within the app and is a fantastic way to trigger lots of different automations.

Don’t forget to check out: 23 Cool Uses for Smart Sensors at Home

11. Intruder Alert!

This is one of my favorites and one that you could have some real fun with as well as make use of for real.

If you’re just playing around, use a voice command like “Alexa, intruder alert” to turn all of your smart lights red, have your voice assistant issue a stern warning to leave and then play some battle music.

If you genuinely want to improve your home security, you could just change the trigger to be a motion detector picking up motion or a smart sensor knowing when a door or window has been opened. Just remember to have it only operate during the night time!

12. Bathroom Night Light

Before having smart lights in my own home, one thing I really hated having to do was visit the bathroom during the night.

It was too dark for me to see properly so I was forced to turn on the bathroom light. It was so bright that it felt blinding and I had to keep one eye shut.

To solve this problem, I put a smart bulb in the bathroom and had it turn on at a low enough brightness that I could see what I was doing without being blinding.

The trigger for this automation was a smart sensor attached to the bathroom door that would only operate during the night hours.

This is a very simple automation but one that has proved to be very useful.

13. Kids up at Night

If you have young kids that like to get up during the night, setup a motion sensor or a smart camera to alert you when they are out of bed.

When motion is detected, IFTTT would trigger the smart light strip behind your behind to flash a certain color as well as send a notification to your phone.

If you yourself have also gone to bed, you could have your bedside lamp be a certain color too.

This automation is a clear indication that you need to hunt down the missing child and put them back in their bed where they belong.

14. Let’s Go Team!

When your favorite sports team are playing, you could use a voice command to set your smart lights to show the team colors.

You want to not use this automation when you have friends or family over that support the rival team, but its your smart home at the end of the day, so what you say, goes.

15. Weasley Clock

One of the most creative and quite frankly cool uses I have seen for smart lights is setting up you familiy’s very own Weasley clock.

In the Harry Potter series, the Weasley family have a clock on the wall that shows where every member of the family is.

To set this up, you need to associate a certain color with each member of their family and then use location services and geo-fencing on each smart phone to know when they were either at home or out and about.

16. Reminder for a Break

With more and more people now working from home, it isn’t uncommon to get so into your work that you forget to take a much-needed break.

Although the employer may love the boost in your productivity, your eyes and posture won’t and will insist on you taking regular breaks.

It is good practice to take a break every 30 minutes or so to get away from the screen and have a quick stretch, but it is easier said than done.

You could se a simple alarm, but it is all too easier to snooze it or turn it off completely.

Instead you could set your lights to be a certain color when you are due for a break.

reminder for a break

17. Get a Cooking Reminder

If you’re like me and get easily distracted when cooking dinner, you can have your smart lights remind you when your food is ready so it doesn’t get burnt.

Ask your voice assistant to set a timer for however long the food needs to finish. You can then use IFTTT to have all your lights flash a color when the timer reaches zero.

Even if you are in another room of the house, you will see the lights flash even if you can’t hear the voice assistant announce that the timer is finished.

This is a relatively easy automation to setup and one I have personally found very useful.

18. Sync With Your TV

For the ultimate cinematic experience, you could have the light strips behind your TV seamlessly mirror the colors that are on the TV. This could be from a cable box or even a streaming service like Netflix.

You may find that a separate device is needed depending on the brand of smart lights you have.

Philips Hue, for example, offer a HDMI sync box which acts as the middleman between your TV and up to four HDMI inputs.

You can also customize how the lights react when syncing to your TV’s content within the app.

19. Random Vacation Lights

This is one the top reasons for people to invest in some smart lights in the first place and is very easy to setup.

You can have your lights turn on and off at random times to give the impression to others that you are in fact home.

20. Laundry Is Done

To save the washer or dryer being on unnecessarily, you could have your lights flash a certain color when the washing has finished, and you are free to collect it.

A smart sensor placed inside the washer or dryer will known when it has stopped spinning and could then trigger the lights to change.

To take this automation one step further, have a smart plug automatically power off the appliance to save on energy usage and have your voice assistant announce that the washing is done.

laundry is done

21. Mail Has Arrived

Here in the UK, we don’t have mailboxes; we get everything delivered straight through the door so there is no chance of missing it.

But for those of you with a mailbox, this could be a useful automation to set up.

Place a smart sensor inside the mailbox that will trigger the automation when the mailbox is opened. You could then have your lights flash a certain color and have your voice assistant announce there is mail to be collected.

Your much less likely to forget to collect the mail this way.

Final Thoughts

I hope these 21 creative uses for smart lights have given you some new ideas on how you can make use of your own smart lights within your home.

Don’t limit yourself to just turning the lights on and off using your voice; let your imagination run free and you’ll be surprised at all the fun and interesting automations you can set up with them.

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