45 Best Smart Home Automation Ideas

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When it comes to setting up smart home automations, the possibilities are almost endless. There are so many different things you can do with all of the smart home devices that are now available, it can become overwhelming and lead you to not have a clue on where to start.

To help you out, I have created you a list of 45 useful smart home automation ideas to get you started. These automations are easy to implement whilst also not costing you too much to get the devices themselves.

Even if you decide not to use any of these exact automations, I hope it at least sparks an idea for automations you can use throughout your own smart home.

I’ve broken down the automations into 6 categories so you can jump straight ahead to whichever interests you the most:

  • Money Saving
  • Lighting
  • Home Security
  • Climate Control
  • Entertainment
  • Convenience

I’ve also specified what gear you will need to set up each automation and as well as a few basic steps on how you can set them up yourself. Feel free to adjust these depending on exactly what you hope to achieve with your automation.

Recommended Gear

This article mentions several different smart home devices that all make these automations possible. Here are some of the recommended ones you can find on Amazon.

Money Saving

Smart home devices require a bit of upfront investment, but you can find they actually end up saving you more money in the long run. A smart thermostat is likely to contribute towards the biggest savings, but you can save money in other ways such as not having certain devices being used when they aren’t really needed and warning you of potential issues that could lead to a large bill later down the road.

1. Set sprinklers to not turn on if it’s due to rain

If it’s due to rain on a particular day, it would be silly to waste money on powering on your sprinkler system when the lawn is going to get wet anyway. This automation will have your sprinkler system remain powered off if the weather forecast shows that it will remain dry today.

What you need:

  • Outdoor smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When weather forecast shows rain is due
  • Do nothing

2. Monitor potential water leaks

Although it may never happen, a water leak could end up costing hundreds, if not thousands, to fix. By using a water leak sensor, you can catch them early and hopefully save yourself money in repairs as well as a massive headache.

What you need:

  • Water leak sensor

How to set it up:

  • When water leak sensor detects a leak
  • Send a notification

3. Show energy usage

Some smart plugs are able to monitor the energy usage of a device plugged into it. This can be a great way to see if there are any particular devices that are contributing to a higher energy bill at the end of the month than you may like. With this information, you can decide whether a particular device needs replacing with one that is more energy-efficient whilst the smart plug can also be used to easily power the device off when it isn’t being used to reduce its standby power consumption.

What you need:

  • Smart plug with energy monitoring

How to set it up:

  • When device is plugged into the smart plug
  • Display energy usage within the app

4. Stop overcharging your smartphone

The general recommendation is to keep your phone’s battery between 20% and 80% for longevity, so you could use a smart plug that is on a schedule to automate your phone charger being on or off. You’ll need to run a couple of tests to get a general idea of how long it takes to charge your phone, but not overcharging it over a long period of time can save you money in having to buy a replacement when the battery becomes unusable.

What you need:

  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When phone is plugged into the smart plug
  • Turn on smart plug for x number of hours

Lighting

Anyone that is just getting started in setting up a smart home is likely to start with some smart light bulbs; they are easy to use and relatively cheap to buy. For some, simply being able to turn them on and off using their voice is enough, but that really is just scratching the surface. Smart lights can be incorporated into some really cool and useful home automations.

1. Do not disturb

Using smart lights can be a great way to help boost your productivity, but you may need to do a bit of convincing to get your family on board with this automation. The idea is that your lights will turn a certain color when you are in focus mode and wish to not be disturbed. This is an easy indicator for the rest of the family to let them know you are getting some important way done.

What you need:

  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When do not disturb voice command is given
  • Turn lights red

2. Dinner is ready

If you have kids, I’m sure you’ll appreciate how difficult it can be to get them to stop playing their video games and get them downstairs for dinner. Having a smart bulb in the kid’s bedroom can be set to flash a certain color along with an announcement from a nearby smart speaker could be just what is needed.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Smart speaker

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is given
  • Flash the bedroom light
  • Announce that dinner is dinner

3. Show the weather forecast

Having your smart lights be a certain color in accordance with the weather forecast is an easy way for everyone in the family to know what to expect for the day. You could have them shine orange when it is due to be sunny, blue when rain is incoming, or flash yellow if a storm is on its way.

What you need:

  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When weather forecast shows rain is due
  • Turn the lights blue

or

  • When the weather forecast shows a storm is due
  • Flash the lights yellow

4. Prepare for movie night

Smart lights are a great way to add a bit of atmosphere for when movie night rolls around. You could have the smart light strips behind your TV and under your couch turn on whilst all of the over lights throughout the house get turned off.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Smart light strips

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is given
  • Turn the light strip behind the TV on
  • Turn the light strip under the couch on
  • Turn the lights off

5. Bathroom night light

Bathroom lights can be blinding, especially when you are stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night whilst half asleep. Placing a smart light bulb in your bathroom and a multipurpose on the door can allow the light to come on automatically at a reduced brightness whenever the door is opened during the night.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When time is between 20:00 and 07:00 and multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Reduce bathroom light to 30% brightness
  • Turn on bathroom light

6. Get a cooking reminder

It’s easy to get distracted whilst cooking dinner, so you could use your smart lights to remind you when your food is done cooking, so it doesn’t get burnt. Use your voice assistant to set a timer and when that reaches zero, your smart lights could flash a certain color. Even if you aren’t in the kitchen at the time and can’t hear the timer, chances are you’ll still be able to see the lights flashing.

What you need:

  • Voice assistant
  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When timer reaches zero
  • Flash the lights

7. Kids are up at night

If you have young children that like to get up during the night, you can set up either a motion sensor or a camera to alert you when they decide to go for a walk. When motion is detected, the smart light strip behind your TV could turn a certain color as well as send a notification to your phone.

What you need:

  • Motion sensor
  • Smart light strip

How to set it up:

  • When time is 18:00 – 06:00 and motion is detected
  • Turn on TV light strip behind TV
  • Set TV light strip behind TV to orange
  • Send a notification

8. Intruder alert!

This automation is more for fun but is still one of my favorites. Use a voice command like “Alexa, intruder alert” to turn all of your smart lights red and have your voice assist issue a stern warning for the intruder to leave and then play some tense battle music. The great thing about this automation is that it can genuinely be used to also improve home security and could be triggered by a motion detector picking up motion or a multipurpose sensor attached to a window or door. Just consider the times in which you want this automation to be active!

What you need:

  • Voice assistant
  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Turn the lights red
  • Announce a warning
  • Play music

9. Improve your sleep

Smart lights can be a great way to improve sleep hygiene. Have your lights slowly start to increase in brightness for 30 minutes ahead of your alarm going off in the morning and have the living room lights slowly dim when it is nearing time for bed. This simulates the sun rising and setting which can help develop better sleep habits.

What you need:

  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When alarm is due to go off in 30 minutes
  • Turn bedroom lights to 25% brightness
  • Wait 10 minutes
  • Turn bedroom lights to 50% brightness
  • Wait 10 minutes
  • Turn bedroom lights to 75% brightness
  • Wait 10 minutes
  • Turn bedroom lights to 100% brightness

10. Random vacation lights

This alone is one of the main reasons for people getting some smart light bulbs and is incredibly easy to setup. You can have your lights turn on and off at random times whilst you are away to give the impression that someone is at home.

What you need:

  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When vacation mode is set
  • Turn on lights randomly

11. Turn on the porch lights at night

Having your porch lights turn on automatically as you arrive home when it is dark helps improves safety and means you are less likely to trip where you can’t see where you are walking. This automation can be set up using either geofencing or a motion sensor set up near the driveway as the trigger for the lights to come on.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Motion sensor

How to set it up:

  • When time is 19:00 – 07:00 and motion is detected
  • Turn on porch lights

Home Security

There are many different home automations that can help improve the overall safety and security through your home for you and your family. Even the more basic automations such as letting you know when the pool gate has been left open can go a long way. Most are also very easy to set up and start using straight away.

1. Bedtime alarm

When it is time for everyone to go bed, a simple voice command can set your alarm to arm the home security system to keep an eye on things whilst everyone is asleep. You could also use a similar automation for when you are away from home.

What you need:

  • Voice assistant
  • Home security system

How to set it up:

  • When time is 21:00 – 07:00 and voice command is issued
  • Arm the home security system

2. A window has been smashed

Multipurpose sensors have a vibration sensor built-in which can be used to let you know if a window has been hit hard or even smashed. You’ll get an alert if a hard object has come flying into the window or someone is potentially trying to break into your home by smashing the glass.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Send a notification

3. The pool gate is left open

If you have a pool in the backyard, you’ll appreciate how important it is to keep the gate shut, especially when you have children running around. A multipurpose sensor on the gate can be used to send you a notification when it has been left open for too long. Just keep in mind that most sensors are not weatherproof so only use this automation if your pool gate is covered.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Send a notification

4. Automatic video recording

If no one is at home yet your smart door lock detects that the door is being opened, you could have your video cameras automatically start recording as well as send you a notification that someone has entered your home. Everything will be captured on camera which you can view on your smartphone from wherever you are.

What you need:

  • Smart door lock
  • Security camera

How to set it up:

  • When nobody is home and smart door lock is activated
  • Turn on security cameras
  • Start security camera recording
  • Send a notification

5. The safe has been opened

If you have your valuables locked away in a safe, I’m sure you’d want to know if someone was messing around and trying to open it. With the use of a motion sensor, you can get a notification whenever anyone gets too close to the safe, or you could use a multipurpose sensor that will detect when someone is actually trying to break into it.

What you need:

  • Motion sensor
  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When motion is detected
  • Send a notification

6. Outdoor security lights

Outdoor floodlights that come on automatically are pretty standard, but there are automations that allow you to take this one step further. You could set up motion sensors near the front of your property to have the lights come on before anyone even gets close or use geo-fencing to have them come on automatically for you as you are approaching your home late at night.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Motion sensor

How to set it up:

  • When time is 19:00 – 07:00 and motion is detected
  • Turn on lights

7. Smoke alarm alerts

You’re probably wondering how on earth anyone would not hear a smoke alarm going off, but it can happen. Certain models of smoke alarms can help improve home safety by acting as a trigger within IFTTT (If This Then That). You could set it up so that you receive a notification on your phone or your smart lights flash red whenever the smoke alarm is going off, greatly reducing the chances of you failing to hear the alarm.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Compatible smoke alarm

How to set it up:

  • When smoke alarm is activated
  • Flash the lights red
  • Send a notification

Climate Control

These automations will be primarily centered around a smart thermostat; one of the most useful smart home devices you can get, in my opinion. They offer complete control over your entire HAV system and can contribute towards improved energy efficiency and substantial savings on your monthly energy bills.

1. Automate your greenhouse

Greenhouses require a lot of maintenance if you want what is growing inside to survive. Heaters, vents, and misting all need to controlled according to the temperature and humidity inside the greenhouse. Using smart thermometers, you can easily monitor the temperature and humidity whilst smart plugs can be used to make the adjustments needed automatically.

What you need:

  • Smart thermometers
  • Smart plugs

How to set it up:

  • When temperature drops below X°F
  • Turn on smart plug

2. Warm up cold spaces

Smart thermostats are great for controlling your entire home’s heating system, what about those spaces that might need to be heated by a portable heater, like a shed? Connect a small heater to a smart plug and remotely give it power ahead of time. This way the space should be nice and warm ready when for when you want to use it.

What you need:

  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Turn on smart plug

3. The window has been left open

If you place a multipurpose sensor next to a window that can be opened, you can set up an automation that will notify you when the window has been left open and it is due to rain. Take this one step further by having your smart thermostat automatically stop heating the home whenever the window is open to save wasting energy.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor
  • Smart thermostat

How to set it up:

  • When weather forecast shows rain is due and multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Send a notification
  • Turn the heating off

4. Time to exercise

When it is time for your home workout, you could use an automation that lowers the temperature throughout your home whilst also starting your favorite workout playlist.

What you need:

  • Smart thermostat

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Decrease heating temperature
  • Turn on speaker
  • Start playlist

5. Schedule the heating

Having the heating on in the morning is all well and good, but you need to remember to turn it off when everyone leaves the home in the morning otherwise you’ll end up just wasting energy and money heating an empty home. Smart thermostats allow you to schedule when the heating comes on and turns off automatically. I have mine heat my home for an hour in the morning and then for a few hours in the evening. The rest of the time it is turned off.

What you need:

  • Smart thermostat

How to set it up:

  • When time is 07:00 – 08:00
  • Turn heating on
  • When time is 08:00 – 17:00
  • Turn heating off
  • When time is 17:00 – 19:00
  • Turn heating on
  • When time is 19:00 – 07:00
  • Turn heating off

6. Automate the thermostat with Geofencing

Using the scheduling feature through your thermostat’s app is great and will work perfectly for the majority of the time, but you could take it a step further by using geofencing. When you and your family leave the home and take your phones with you, the heating system can turn itself off. As you are approaching back home, it could turn itself back on depending on whether the temperature warrants it.

What you need:

  • Smart thermostat

How to set it up:

  • When nobody is home
  • Turn the heating off

Entertainment

Some automations may appear to just be there to impress your family and friends, but they can actually make entertaining easier and more fun.

1. Welcome home music

Playing music through your smart speaker is easy, but why not make it even simpler by having the music start playing automatically when you arrive home. This automation uses geofencing to start playing music when you and your phone are at home. You might want to consider other family members with this automation, though, and perhaps only set it to run when you are the only person at home.

What you need:

  • Smart speaker

How to set it up:

  • When approaching home and home is empty
  • Turn on speaker
  • Start playlist

2. Stop movie time from getting interrupted

It can be frustrating when you are settled down to watch a movie only to hear the doorbell ring and find yourself scrabbling around to find the TV remote and pause it so you don’t miss anything. With a video doorbell, if someone arrives at the front door, you could have the TV automatically pause whatever is playing whilst also turning all the lights back on.

What you need:

  • Video doorbell
  • Smart lights

How to set it up:

  • When video doorbell is activated
  • Pause TV
  • Turn lights on

3. Party time!

With just a single voice command, you could have your lights turn off, have a few lights come back on flashing different colors, power on the sound system, and start playing one of your favorite party playlists. When the party does end, another voice command can turn everything off when it is time to call it a night.

What you need:

  • Smart lights
  • Voice assistant

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Flash the lights
  • Turn on speaker
  • Start playlist

Convenience

Personally, the biggest benefit I get from my smart home devices and automations is convenience. There are automations that can save time and energy by performing certain actions like automatically closing the garage door or letting me know the mail has arrived, so I don’t have to remember to do it myself.

1. Get dinner ready remotely

With just a slow cooker and a smart plug, you can get your dinner ready whilst you are at work, so it is ready and waiting for you when you come home in the evening. Slow cookers will take many hours to get your food ready, but with a smart plug, you can simply provide it with power through the app, turning it on automatically. Just remember to check how long the meal needs to cook and set a reminder to turn your smart plug on at the right time.

What you need:

  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When reminder is sent
  • Open smart plug app
  • Turn on smart plug

2. Turn on your home office

Anyone with a home office likely has a lot of gear that needs mains power. Now turning them all on one by one doesn’t take much time or effort, but with just a couple of smart plugs you can make things even quicker. It’s as easy as plugging them into a power strip as normal and then plugging the power strip into a smart plug. Then with a simple voice command, you can have everything power on for you when you are ready to start your work day.

What you need:

  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Turn on smart plug

3. The garage door has been left open

Through the use of a multipurpose sensor, you can receive alerts to your phone when the garage door has been left open for more than a few minutes. You’ll need to make sure the sensor has a built-in gyroscope here given that the garage door doesn’t open in a conventional way. Remember to also mount it vertically rather than horizontally and check the box within the app to specify that it is attached to a garage door.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Wait 3 minutes
  • Send a notification

4. Mail has arrived

Another great use for a multipurpose sensor is to place one inside your mailbox so you are notified whenever the mail arrives. As is the case with a lot of automations that involve sensors, you may want to limit the number of times a day the automation will run, especially when mail typically only gets delivered once a day.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Send a notification

5. Limit Internet access for the kids

For this automation to work and not cut off Internet access for yourself as well, you’ll need a separate network set aside through the use of a Wi-Fi extender that just the kids will use. You’ll need to plug the extender into a smart plug in order to control when the extender receives the power it needs. Setting up a schedule within the smart plug’s app could be a great idea for this automation. One thing to remember is that you will need to make sure that all the devices the kids use are connected to this separate network and not your normal one for the automation to be effective.

What you need:

  • Wi-Fi extender
  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When time is 18:00 – 08:00
  • Turn off smart plug

6. Automatic air freshener

An automation that you may never have even considered possible is to have an air freshener automatically disperse when the bathroom door has been closed for a period of time and then gets opened. With a multipurpose sensor attached to the door frame, the opening of the door would be the trigger to briefly power on an air freshener and then turn it off again a couple of seconds later. This will help keep your bathroom smelling fresh and mean you don’t have to remember to do it yourself.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Turn on smart plug
  • Wait 5 seconds
  • Turn smart plug off

7. The dryer is done

Being magnetized, you can place a multipurpose sensor inside your dryer and set it up so it notifies you when it is finished. You’ll know that the dryer is done so you can go and collect it straight away and not waste electricity on it being left powered on unnecessarily. Plug the dryer into a smart plug and you could also have it power itself off when the drying is done.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor
  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Send a notification
  • Turn smart plug off

8. Remote access to your PC

There may come a time where you find yourself needing remote access to your PC and there is no one at home to power it on for you. Simply plug your PC into a smart plug and you’ll be able to power it on from wherever you are at the home by using the app.

What you need:

  • Smart plug

How to set it up:

  • When app is used
  • Turn on smart plug

9. Keep track of your pet’s movements

Whereas cats often like to leave their home and roam the streets for a while, only coming back when it is time for them to eat, dogs are very different and typically prefer to stay at home. If you attach an arrival sensor to your dog’s collar, you can be alerted when they leave home. This automation is worth setting up alongside geofencing so you don’t get the alert if you are just taking the dog for a walk.

What you need:

  • Arrival sensor

How to set it up:

  • When arrival sensor is activated
  • Send a notification

10. The fridge has been left open

Leaving the fridge door open can result in food going bad, so it needs to be shut whenever it isn’t needed. There are times where you think the door has been shut but it has been left ever so slightly open, so attaching a multipurpose sensor to the door can be a way of letting you know when it has been left open. I’m not aware of anything that will shut the door you, but at least you can be notified that it is open.

What you need:

  • Multipurpose sensor

How to set it up:

  • When multipurpose sensor is activated
  • Wait 5 minutes
  • Send a notification

11. Motion at the front door

If you don’t have a video doorbell, you can improvise by placing a motion sensor at the front door and have it notify you on your phone. Whether it be a package being delivered or a warning that someone is about the ring the doorbell, you’ll know when someone has been at the door. You’ll also have time stamps for whenever some last left or came home if the notifications are set to be text messages.

What you need:

  • Motion sensor

How to set it up:

  • When motion is detected
  • Send a notification

12. Bedtime routine

Either according to a schedule or with a single voice command, you can prepare your entire home for you heading to bed. This single automation could turn the lights in the bedroom to 10% and the lights in the bathroom to 50%, turn off everything that is connected to a smart plug, lower the automated blinds, shut the garage door and make sure the front door is locked. You’d be surprised at how much time this can save in the evening.

What you need:

  • Voice assistant
  • Smart lights
  • Smart plugs
  • Smart blinds
  • Garage door opener
  • Smart door lock

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Turn bedroom light to 10%
  • Turn bathroom light to 50%
  • Turn off smart plug
  • Turn on smart blind
  • Shut the garage door
  • Lock front door

13. Schedule the white noise generator

If you use a white noise generator to help you fall asleep, you could plug it into a smart plug and have it automatically turn on when you go to bed and then turn off when you wake up. Use a nearby smart speaker as an alarm clock and you could setup a routine to power on the white noise generator when you start your night-time routine and then power it off again when your alarm goes off in the morning.

What you need:

  • Smart plug
  • Smart speaker

How to set it up:

  • When voice command is issued
  • Turn on smart plug
  • When alarm goes off
  • Turn off smart plug

14. Someone is arriving home

With geofencing, you can set up an automation to automatically open the garage door and disable the alarm, if it is activated, whenever a member of the family is arriving home. You’ll want to make the geofencing boundary pretty small if you decide to use this automation as you wouldn’t want the garage door opening when they are still a block or two away.

What you need:

  • Garage door opener
  • Home security system

How to set it up:

  • When someone is arriving home
  • Open garage door
  • Disable alarm

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this list of 45 useful smart home automation ideas and it has given you some ideas on what to set up within your own smart home. If you have any automations that you find particularly helpful, let everyone know in the comments section below.

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