Written by 5:39 pm The Guides

Designing a Smart Home

Whether building out a new home or upgrading an existing one, integrating smart home devices into t…

Whether building out a new home or upgrading an existing one, integrating smart home devices into the project has become easier than ever. When it comes to planning a smart home lighting (and smart ceiling fan) plan, there’s plenty to consider in addition to the usual interior design factors.

The Benefits of a Smarter Home 

Today’s technology has given greater control over our lives than ever before. Smart home devices, can set the temperature inside, turn on landscape lights to welcome us home, play music in multiple rooms of the house, set up atmosphere profiles for different events—like dinner, movie night, cleaning the house—and even automate the lights to slowly brighten each morning. And now, most smart home control can be done without even swiping a finger, thanks to voice assistants like Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

Ways to Make a Home Smart

Smart Switches and Dimmers 

Replacing existing switches and dimmers with Wi-Fi connected smart switches and dimmers is an effective way of turning existing hard-wired lights and fans into smart lights and fans. With the smart controls in place, the lights will continue to function the way they did, but can now be controlled from anywhere in the room—or world, depending on signal strength.

BOND – Minka Aire Smart Control by Minka Aire Fans
BOND – Minka Aire Smart Control by Minka Aire Fans

This device allows for control of smart ceiling fans as well as retrofit existing ceiling fans to be integrated into a smart home system.

SensaDimmer Auto–ON / Auto–OFF by Legrand Adorne
SensaDimmer Auto–ON / Auto–OFF by Legrand Adorne

Control dimmer switches for multiple types of lighting, from hard–wired ceiling lights to dimmable table lamps.

The Legrand Adorne Wi–Fi Lighting Starter Kit
The Legrand Adorne Wi–Fi Lighting Starter Kit

Allows lighting scenes to be set on a phone. Automation of the home’s lights and a real-time clock for scheduling allows for up to 100 scenes.

Smart Fans 

Installing a smart fan is a quick way to get into the smart home game. As a stand-alone device, it brings smart-home tech to any room instantly, but it can also be incorporated into a smart home system, depending on compatibility. Smart fans allow for control of the temperature, syncing with a smart thermostat and can even be activated using voice assistants. The newest fans take energy efficiency to a new level through built-in sensors that automatically recognize changes in the room’s temperature and humidity and act accordingly to maintain the desired atmosphere. 

Windflower Smart Ceiling Fan by Modern Forms Smart Ceiling Fan by Modern Forms Smart Ceiling Fan by Modern Forms Smart Ceiling Fan by Modern Forms

Bluetooth Pairing

Often a feature of portable and cordless lighting, lighting that pairs to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth can be controlled on the go and without the requisite Wi-Fi connection that devices need to function properly.  

Bluetooth Smart Lighting
Lantern Bluetooth LED Indoor/Outdoor Lamp by Smart & Green
Lantern Bluetooth LED Indoor/Outdoor Lamp by Smart & Green

Motion Sensing Lights

Save time and energy with motion-detecting smart lights that know to light up when someone has entered a room or outdoor space. The lights are programmable to sense motion at certain times of the day or have them tailored to a schedule. Additionally, they are typically Title 24 compliant.

Modern Smart Home Lighting With Motion Sensors
Chute Motion LED Large Pendant by Kuzco Lighting
Wave Switch by Legrand Adorne
Demetra LED Table Lamp by Naoto Fukasawa for Artemide
Endurance PRO Energy Star LED Flood Wall Sconce by WAC Lighting

Smart Mirrors

Don’t overlook the ability to update bathroom spaces. Lighted smart mirrors offer a range of features that will optimize and energize the morning routine, including motion sensors, integrated LEDs and even touch screen displays that play video and stream audio without disrupting the reflection. 

Hilo Light by Hilo Smart Mirror
Hilo Light by Hilo Smart Mirror 

Controlling The Smart Home 

Hey, Google 
Google has built a sophisticated voice recognition system, plus all of the benefits of being the native platform for Nest products (thermostats, baby cameras, home security and more). 
Welcome to the Amazon universe. Summoning “Alexa” will allow you to dim smart lights, start a ceiling fan, play favorite tunes on a wireless speaker and order another box of Q-tips. 
As the grande dame of voice assistants, Siri now has control of all Apple Home devices as well as all iOS compatible ones. 
Proprietary App 
Many smart devices come with their own apps that allow more control over the device. Sometimes that’s helpful, especially with devices that try to learn habits, such as thermostats and smart fans. 

Is a Smart Home Hub needed?

Not necessarily—well, at least not a physical “hub” that sits tucked away somewhere out of sight. In order to control a smart home, a theoretical hub is needed—and this device can be one of many things, including a speaker, small screen or even a smartphone. Amazon uses the Echo devices as a hub; Google has Google Home, which is a speaker-like device that also has a microphone; and Apple’s smart home ecosystem can be run through an iPhone, iPad or Apple HomeKit.

One Step Closer to a Smarter Home 

Most smart homes don’t happen overnight. Finding an entry point into the smart home game can easily be done one device at a time—whether that’s a smart fan, a smart thermostat, smart dimmer or video doorbell. Be sure to assess the compatibility of these products if the plan is to use them in tandem or control them all with one virtual assistant (for example, Apple is notorious for not allowing certain third parties into their ecosystem). Adding smart devices can also be a smart idea for selling a home, now that a new wave of tech-savvy home buyers are aging into the market.    

 To get started, shop our assortment of products for a smarter home. 

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