Guide to Lighting for Home Automation
Setting up automated lighting control in your home doesn’t have to be complicated. While there are many ways to set up an automated lighting system, the equipment used is often very straightforward! And with the right technology – plus sticking to a few key principles – implementing these systems can be a snap.
Lighting Control Options
There are a number of control options available to you when creating a lighting scheme in your smart home. These options include…
Most of us are familiar with the concept of motion sensor controlled lighting; walk into a room, a sensor detects movement, lights turn on. After a pre-set amount of time with no motion detected (either because you’ve left the room or are head-down in those latest TPS reports) the sensor will tell the lights to shut off.
These are especially useful for reducing electricity consumption as they mitigate the human-error aspect of energy wastage. Forget to turn off the lights, or have kids who race around turning lights on willy-nilly? This type of lighting control prevents lights staying on all day with no one noticing.
They also act as a way to increase the convenience and safety of navigating your home after dark, which is particularly good for the elderly. Simply getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom can trigger the lights. Effortlessly light hallways and the facilities, reduce the risk of tripping and falling in the dark, or even improve your bathroom aesthetic with motion sensor technology.
Remote and Smartphone Control
Another way to control lighting features in your home is with a dedicated remote control or smartphone app. With a few taps of a button you can shut off your living room lights for a movie or dim the dining room to set the right mood.
Gone could the days of groggily trudging from room to room to turn off the lights before bed. You can even program out entire lighting schemes, making it easier than ever to set the right tone with just the press of a button.
Timers and Scheduling
Timed lighting solutions are excellent for a wide range of home automation needs, including home security, energy conservation, and home comfort. Certain technologies allow you to set a schedule to turn lighting on and off to conform to your daily routine.
When you’re away, this scheduled lighting can create the illusion that you’re home, deterring intrusion and theft. They also help reduce lighting usage if you keep a steady schedule. When you leave for the day, the lights shut off, right on schedule. Once the sun goes down at the end of the day, they come on again. Smart technologies will even ‘learn’ your schedule based on your usual usage patterns.
Remember when “The Clapper” was the pinnacle of sound automated technology? Well pinnacle might be a strong word, but we’ve come a long way when it comes to audio-influenced automation efforts.
Between smart plugs and voice-activated light bulbs, you can seamlessly integrate the lights of your home into your home network. Why fumble around for the switch when you can just ask Google to turn on the lights when you get home in the evening?
Implementation and Connectivity
In order to work properly, your automated lights need to be connected through a control system – whether that’s a motion sensor or a central hub that’s accessed through your smartphone.
If your home is wired for home automation, installation can be a breeze. Because many home automation systems require special wiring, including many home lighting technologies, it may be difficult to install whole-home lighting automation without it. But we never say never!
There are many bulbs on the market that require no special wiring to be operated remotely. Whether through your smartphone, a home network, or even just an automated dimmer, many of these controls – such as their Lutron’s Caséta Wireless dimmers – are easy to install and are fully compatible with most home network hubs (including Samsung SmartThings and Google Assistant).
Some single-room systems can be quickly installed in minutes with minimal need for experience with home automation. Others, including whole home systems and complex automated controls, require more expertise. It is best to consult with a home automation expert prior to implementing complicated home lighting schemes.
Technology and controls aside, the aesthetics of your home lighting are key. An attractive automated lighting scene incorporates various layers of lighting, each one with its own purpose. These layers include:
This is the general lighting in the room. It fills the space and often comes from multiple sources in the area. Ambient lighting may emanate from flush lights or a chandelier mounted on the ceiling or from standing lamps set in the corners of the room.
This is a more focused light for specific areas, such as a lamp on the nightstand for when you’re reading or a desk lamp for work. This light tends to be a bit brighter than ambient lighting, and it works best with its own dedicated controls rather than as part of an overall scheme.
Accent lighting highlights specific features in the space, such as artwork or interesting patterns on the walls.
Some light fixtures are purely decorative. Their function is less that of illuminating the space and more on standing out as interesting features themselves. Chandeliers or fanciful lanterns tend to fall under this category.
Get The Perfect Lighting For Your Home Automation System
With the right placements of the above types of lighting, you can illuminate all spaces of your home and make them functional without creating glare or leaving areas obscured.
Lighting is integral to setting the right mood for a space, and combined with other elements in your home’s interior design it can create an attractive aesthetic. Home design expertise is a must when it comes to achieving the right effect for your automated lighting scheme, and you learn more about LIvewire’s lighting services here or call us at (804) 793-8919.