How to choose the best smart lighting solutions for your home
How to choose the best smart lighting solutions for your home

How to Choose The Best Smart Lighting Solutions for Your Home

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Buying & Selling Your Home

Tuesday, August 15th, 2023 @ 12:20pm

How to Light up Your Home with Smart Lighting Solutions

Smart lighting is controlled remotely using a wireless connection and a smartphone app. You can set time and schedule your lights based on your lifestyle and activities. You can sync your lights with the sunrise and sunset, add dimers, and change the colour of your lights or a grouping of lights on more than one circuit. In fact, depending on the system and the level of automation you can be the mastermind behind the lighting zones of your entire home – all controlled by buttons, remotes, and voice commands.

I’ve integrated smart lighting solutions into my own home, including having smart lighting programmed to turn on when I enter my home, to the outdoor lighting on my deck and outdoor space, I love it! So much so we’ve been adding new smart lighting features to all the homeowners we are helping. Technology, innovation, and smart lighting solutions can make our lives easier and safer. To me, that’s Making It Right!

I know it may sound complicated, but most manufacturers have simple integrated systems that make it user-friendly. Let’s break it down so it doesn’t seem so daunting.


Benefits of Using Smart Lighting Solutions in Your Home

I’m a big fan of smart homes and lighting. I got several new smart lights from Philips Hue recently and I’m very excited to be installing them in my home. It’s not just convenient for me as I age, but also when I have my children and grandkids over. Or even for pets. 

Not to mention, it’s a great way to create zones and set the mood in different rooms in your home. And if you know me you know I’m a big zones guy.

Here are some benefits of smart lighting:

  • Security and safety: smart lighting can create the illusion that you are home even when on vacation, and can change colour, and brightness in different rooms. A great deterrent for potential burglars.
  • Convenience: with smart lighting, you can control your lights from anywhere and program them to automatically detect that the person has left the room and the lights can be switched off and turned on again upon entering the room.
  • Ambiance: smart lighting allows the user to create rooms or zones with different intensities, and colours creating ambiances that are calming or energetic.
  • Energy saving: smart lighting allows you to have more control when lights are on and off, contributing to using less energy



Cons for Smart Lighting

Like anything else, there are some drawbacks to smart lighting, including:

  1. Usually tend to be more expensive than standard incandescent bulbs. However, most are LED and last a very long time
  2. It requires a strong and steady Wifi
  3. They require a hub or control center to be able to control them remotely


Different Types Of Smart Lighting Solutions (Bulbs, Switches, Fixtures)

When I think about smart lighting systems, they should create convenience and functionality, just like traditional lighting, but with a level of sophistication. 

A light switch is still useful in a smart lighting set-up but there are many other ways to control the lights in a smart system, such as an app on your phone, voice control or full automation using motion and sensor.



A smart lighting system is made up of smart lights and smart switches that operate independently. However, building a system incorporating both devices is possible; you simply need to utilize a smart home platform or hub that can connect the systems together to meet your needs.


Smart Bulbs:

The easiest way to introduce smart lighting to your home is to swap out your traditional incandescent bulbs with smart LED bulbs. They easily fit into most modern-day light fixtures and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs. 

We’ve started using smart light bulbs by Philips in all our jobs and they offer a great range of colour, brightness, and compatibility —with over 16 million colour choices. I love that! 


Common Smart Bulbs are:

A19 – standard bulbs
BR30 – recessed bulb
E12 – candle style/chandelier bulb
E26 – extension bulbs, can be placed into any existing fixture or lamp


Smart bulbs come in dimmable white, adjustable white, and dimmable colour and should be used in single lamps, accent lighting, and other secondary lighting that is not controlled by a light switch.


Philips Hue Smart Bulb Starter Kit

We’ve started using smart light bulbs by Philips in all our jobs. They offer a great range of colour, brightness and compatibility —with over 16 million colour choices. I love that! 

I recommend starting with the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance starter smart bulb kit. This kit comes with three Hue light bulbs and a bridge that allows you to easily control your home’s lighting, change the colours, put them on a schedule, control them with voice commands, and more. 


Philips Hue Starter Kit Smart Lighting

The Philips Hue starter kit comes with three Hue light bulbs and a bridge that allows you to easily control your home’s lighting.


One Hue Bridge supports up to 50 Hue lights, which is perfect for average homes. All you have to do is link your Philips Hue bridge directly to your home’s modem or internet router. Your mobile device connects to the Wi-Fi network and communicates with the bridge —even when you’re halfway across the world on vacation. 

As a backup, you can also connect to your lights via Bluetooth without the need for the bridge but you won’t have access to all the features and integrations.


Smart Strip Lighting

The Philips Hue line also has light strips and they are perfect to add to your interior or outdoor space and have all the benefits of the other Philips Hue light bulbs. 

The strips are flexible and expandable to a maximum of 10 meters and can be attached to almost any surface providing unique ambient lighting in any colour and intensity. 

Philips Hue-StripLights-Bridge



Strip lighting can be installed under or above cabinets, behind a flat-screen tv, beneath a bed, anywhere, really, and perfect for tight spaces. I even heard the story of how some homeowners are using these for their kids and pets to help guide them at night —just like in an airplane.


Smart Switches

I love working with Eaton products, and their Wi-Fi voice-controlled dimmers are a game changer for anyone with children, mobility issues, or who just wants to age in place and make this their forever home. 

These smart voice dimmers with Alexa Built-In have a smart speaker embedded into the dimmer, allowing homeowners to control lights and use voice assistance from a single device.



The best aspect is that Alexa voice control can be easily placed throughout the house to deliver a better voice command experience, eliminating the need for a separate home device.



A smart switch stays “on” and keeps working so it can continue to be automated and accept voice commands. Since a switch controls an entire circuit, when you install a smart switch, this means that any lights you have are now “smart”, however if you want to have dimmable and varying colour features then the bulbs will have to be replaced with smart LED bulbs.


Smart Fixtures

While you can add smart bulbs to your existing fixtures, which is the easier and more affordable route to go, you can actually purchase smart lighting fixtures —like a portable light… 

I was recently introduced to the Philips Hue Go and I think this is great. It’s a plug-and-play version that can be placed on a table, shelf or floor, casting an infinite array of colours. What I love about this is you can easily take it outdoors or indoors depending on where you are.



The Wiz Mobile Portable Light is another great alternative and it comes with a handle so it’s easy to carry with you anywhere you go. This is a great product for those of you who like to camp —I know my son will love it. Another great product is the Philips Hue Signe gradient floor lamp. It has a very modern and slick lock and lots of great features including:

  • Long lifespan of 10+ years
  • Blends very well with any style with its white and coloured light
  • Instant wireless dimming
  • It’s compatible with Bluetooth and the Hue bridge for easy control and access
  • Allows you to control lights with an app or voice


Smart Light Plugs

Here’s another great, quick, and easy solution to convert your lights to smart lights. Smart Plugs.

Any outlet can be made smart by using a smart plug. Simply connect a standard lamp or appliance and you’ll be able to manage it with your smartphone or voice. You can even save energy by turning gadgets on and off according to your schedule. You’ll never have to worry about leaving lights or appliances on at home again since you can check on them with your smartphone.

You can also take it a step further and convert your wall outlets to smart outlets. The Eaton Wifi Smart Duplex receptacle is Alexa-compatible and does not require a hub. LED indicators show good installation and may be customized with features such as on/off, pre-set timing, dimming, and light control from two to three or more places. Love that! 



Just make sure if you’re replacing your receptacles that it’s done by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.



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How To Plan Your Smart Lighting

I’ve talked about lighting a lot lately. Whether you are staying with traditional lighting or thinking of integrating smart lighting into your home, it is still essential to consider the three basic layers of lighting in each of your spaces: 

  • General lighting (ambiance)
  • Accent lighting
  • Task lighting


One of the most essential factors in designing a smart lighting plan is to find a system that provides features and customization, including voice commands, motion-activated and scheduling capabilities. 

Most high-end brands, like the Philips Hue system, provide homeowners with a starter kit which is a good introduction to introducing smart lighting to your home.



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Determining the purpose and goals of your smart lighting system

Depending on what spaces or zones you are designing it’s important to consider the general purpose of the space. 

Bathrooms will require task lighting because seeing well is important for make-up application and shaving. Bedrooms on the other hand are a place of relaxation and reflection, so more relaxed lighting is ideal. And a kitchen will require brighter light for tasks and food prep and softer lighting around the dinner area.


Identifying the areas in your home where you want to install smart lighting

Before purchasing any lights, I would suggest doing a good walk-through of your home to determine what areas you think would benefit from smart lighting. 

Maybe key areas of your exterior home need better lighting, like the front door, side door, and the pathway that leads to your door.


Philips Hue Outdoor Lights Installed on Mike Holmes Project

Consider installing smart lighting over your garage door for safety and security.



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Then think about the key area of your home, the entranceway and foyer, the kitchen, the living room, the staircase, closets, bathrooms, bedrooms, and perhaps the laundry room. 

You can start out small and add to your smart lighting plan as your needs change, but it’s important to pick a system that will allow you to add to the system.


Mapping out lighting zones and areas

Lighting zones are areas of light that are used together and allow you to control more than one light or lighting area at the same time. This means you don’t have to go around individually controlling each light separately. 


Considering colour temperature and brightness requirements

Everyone is familiar with the terms “warm” light and “cool” light but most homeowners don’t really think about the different colour possibilities beyond that. Colour temperature is usually quantified on a scale from 1,000 to 10,000 degrees Kelvin (K). Kelvin temperatures for lighting applications in commercial and residential settings typically range from 2000K to 6500K.

Different light sources produce light with different colour temperatures. The great thing about smart light bulbs is the wide range of brightness and colour temperatures they provide.

  • Warm White = 2700 to 3000 K
  • Neutral White = 4000 K
  • Cool White = 5000 to 5700 K


Colour-tunable smart bulbs supported by apps can automatically adjust the brightness and colour temperature according to the position of the sun. These smart bulbs, mimic the sun helping you fall asleep and gently wake you up in the morning. This is also known as circadian lighting.


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Here is an example of how smart lighting can work in your home.

Imagine having your exterior lights sync with the time of day, and your lights turn on at sunset and off at sunrise automatically and adjust with the changes of the seasons.

You arrive home with your hands full of groceries in the dead of winter and your home is dark. What if the lights in the foyer and kitchen automatically come on? Or you say “Turn on the kitchen lights” and all the lights come on to full capacity as you walk through the door.

The groceries are put away and you say turn off the kitchen lighting. Then when it’s time to watch TV, you say “Turn on the TV” and your living room lights dim and your fireplace accent lights turn blue – the perfect setting for watching TV.

You go upstairs to retire for the night, the hallway lights and stairwell automatically turn on as you go up the stairs. In the bedroom, you say to turn on relaxed lighting and the bedroom dims to the perfect light for reading. Downstairs, the sensors detected no movement for 15 minutes, and all the lights shut off.

You put your book away and say lights off and it’s time for some ZZZZZZ’s.

This is just one example of what a smart lighting system can do in your home!


Check out this interactive tool to see different ways you can light up and control your home with Philips Hue smart lighting. 


What Is The Average Cost Of Smart Lighting

There are many smart lighting options available today, with different price points and system requirements. While smart bulbs can be relatively inexpensive, replacing all of the bulbs in your home with smart ones can add up quickly. A single smart bulb can be about $20 and go up from there, as bulbs with more features can be $50. 

However, if you want to control the smart lighting in your home collectively, you might require one hub or more, which can cost anywhere from $60.00 and up. 

By assessing your design goals, budget, and the different smart lighting options available, you can select the right system for your home and seamlessly integrate it into your existing design. 



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Key Factors to Consider When Building A Smart Lighting System

Compatibility with voice assistants (Google Assistant, Alexa, Siri)

Not all voice assistants, like Google Assistant, are compatible with all the smart light systems on the market, so you have to be diligent when searching for your bulbs. Fortunately, Philips Hue lights support all of the popular voice assistants, like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google Assistant. 

Voice control of Hue lights is simple to activate. To configure it, open the Hue app on your phone and select Voice Assistants from the Settings menu. All three of your options are there for you. Choose the devices that you use the most. Choose Alexa if you have an Echo Dot in the kitchen or Siri & HomeKit if you’re using an iPhone, for instance. After that, just follow the directions.


Dimming capabilities and colour temperature control

Installing a typical dimmer switch can be difficult and requires the services of a licensed electrical contractor. But adding smart lights to go along with that can help you control your lighting any way you want and set different moods.


Pro Tip:

Smart switches must be hardwired to your home’s electrical and is NOT a DIY project. Always hire a licensed electrical contractor when installing smart switches. They’ll be able to do the job right the first time, and file for the needed permits or notifications of work with your local electrical authority.

To find a licensed electrical contractor near you visit: or if you are in Ontario, Canada visit


Integration with other smart home devices

The beauty of the Philips Hue system is that it works with many other smart home devices, platforms, and assistants to help make your life more convenient. The best part is that Matter will now work with the Philips Hue Bridge. This means all your smart home systems can more easily connect and communicate with each other all from an even more central location.


Philips Hue Bridge to control smart Philips Hue Lighting Installed on Mike Holmes project.

Using this Philips Hue Bridge I can program and control the lights from my phone to go on and off at certain times of the day, even when I’m away —how great is that


Philips Smart Lighting

Lighting is an essential part of your home as it provides function and ambiance. Smart lighting elevates your lighting needs and provides the added benefit of convenience and customization. 

Philips Hue Lighting system brings a whole new level to your lighting needs, and provides some great advantages:

  1. Allows you to pick warm and cool brightness in different rooms
  2. You can control your lighting to be on an alarm, or program lighting to mimic the morning sunrise
  3. Allows you to sync your lights with music, video games, and movies
  4. Allows you to program or control your lights when you are not at home
  5. Allows you to create truly unique spaces from designing the perfect entertainment space or backyard to the perfect child’s room
  6. Offers over 16 million colour hues, allowing to create of holiday-themed spaces


Philips Hue bulbs are all LED, contain a Zigbee chip and newer bulbs have Bluetooth chips, use RGB-CCT (better than RGB colour bulbs), and come with a three-year warranty (and 25,000 hour -rated life).



Smart lighting systems like Philips Hue can give you critical home-related information. For instance, if you place a water sensor next to your sump pump in the basement. If the sensor detects water, or there is an exterior door left open you can program all the Hue light bulbs in your house to illuminate red to warn you of a problem. Cool, right.


Different Ideas For Using Smart Lighting In Your Home

Entertainment Light

The Philips Hue app allows you to build an entertainment area that syncs with your TV and activities. How cool is that? This is perfect for movie-watchers and gamers too. 

A Play gradient light strip attached to the back of your TV, Play light bars around your TV, Go accent lights and a few Signe floor lamps will provide you with several lighting options to create unique environments. Games and video modes use the data from your screen to colour the lights and provide you with a variety of intensity settings. Using the Audio for Effect feature enables you to turn loud noises or sudden scares into light flashes. These elements will enhance your entertainment experience —now that sounds like a great time to me.


Sherry Holmes installing Philips Hue Lightstrips

My daughter, Sherry Holmes installed Philips Hue entertainment lightstrips on one of the projects we worked on.


In the music mode, you can also select a colour scheme and animate to the music being played using the palette. This function will animate lights based on all system sounds on your computer when you choose Start Light Sync in the app.


Kids Room or Playspace

When designing a child’s room, you must consider more than one light source. Flush mount or recessed lights brighten the entire space to perform essential tasks, like getting dressed, changing diapers, and playing. Consider installing a smart ceiling light that provides warm shades and is controlled by a wireless dimmer switch, app, and voice assistants —which you’ll find to be very handy when you’re hands are full carrying your baby or toddler

A desk table lamp with cool white light helps teens focus when studying or doing homework.

Dual zone light effect, everywhere. Philips Wiz Portable Light

A bedside lamp is perfect for story time; pick a lamp with timers to gradually dim down and turn off, making the child feel safe and easing them into dreamland.


Dimmers help alter the mood of the space and allow your youngster to choose the light intensity. Around nighttime, low light levels are beneficial because they tell our brains to get ready for sleep. Meanwhile, bright light can aid in our morning awakening. One light fixture can fulfill both purposes with the use of dimmers.

Add string lights, neon lights, marquee lights, lava lamps, and glow-in-the-dark accents to increase the fun factor of your child’s lighting options. Beyond just being entertaining, ornamental lighting can improve the atmosphere of your child’s bedroom.


Beautify your garden with millions of colors & dynamic modes

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Outdoor Lighting

Designing outdoor entertainment spaces has become increasingly popular —I’m seeing more and more homeowners renovating their backyards recently. 

When it comes to making your backyard into an outdoor oasis, smart lighting is a brilliant idea. We’ve installed several Philips Hue Outdoor smart lights, which helped elevate the entire space and connect everything together.



Imagine hosting a summer soirée or a cozy gathering under the stars, where the lighting seamlessly adapts to the mood and setting. You can quickly modify the brightness, and colours, and even create dynamic lighting effects with the ease of your smartphone to fit any event. 

Here’s another important feature. These lights have been built to withstand the elements, ensuring durability and reliability in all weather conditions.



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I think the best benefit of having smart lighting in your home is for security and being able to create different setups for every single room or activity in your home. From watching TV, or a movie, to a quiet relaxing time with dimmed lights – you can create different moods with varying levels of brightness and using different colours. To me, that is the best part about having a smart lighting system integrated into your home.



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