Looking for some inspiration for beautiful lighting ideas you can do with your smart lights. In this article, we’ll go through some real-life examples of some stunning and creative lighting ideas you could implement yourself. Some may be harder than others but with a little know-how and work, we’ll get them installed.
The List of Smart Lighting Ideas
- Hot tub and patio hanging lights
- Outdoor soffit LED lighting – Close proximity to turn on.
- WIFI RGB Strip lighting in walk-in shower and en suite
Hanging Patio lighting for Around the Hot Tub
The above image shows our patio area with hanging lights going around our deck and side of the hot tub area. Still, need to finish the pergola area and decking, but that will be a next years project.
The Tiki sign is something me and my daughter made with some spare fence boards and leftover paint. I always love pointing it out and think it makes a nice little touch. Once I finish the outdoor kitchen area on the deck it should match up well. Not to self, quit creating more and more projects when you haven’t finished the others yet.
Anyways I degrees. Let’s get back to the point at hand, installing and setting up these patio smart lights. The nice thing about this little project is it is very easy for any DIY person to complete. There’s no need to do electrical work on run new wires or install hardware. It is for the most part plug and play.
In addition, this will make it possible to be able to control your plugin lights without having to unplug and plug them in repeatedly.
What’s Needed for the Smart Patio Lighting Option
The lights themselves are a set of 30 foot led string lights. We found ours at Costco but there are many on Amazon for right around the $30 price mark. For hanging the actual lights you can use a number of options. Such as staples, u-straps, Ty-Raps, or smaller nails. The string lights shown above had a hole where we could hang it by a nail in the wood.
As for the actual device that is going to make this a smart-enabled light we have a few options. If you don’t have a hub yet or don’t want to get one right away. You can grab a wifi-based outdoor outlet. If you already have a brand you are using you should be able to find the appropriate outdoor outlet from that brand or protocol.
So whether you are using Insteon, SkyLink, ZigBee, Zwave, or any of the others you should be able to find one. For this specific purpose, we are going to be using a Skylink outdoor smart plug. I had one sitting around and thought, lets put it to use.
- LED string lighting for outdoor use
- Smart or WIFI based outdoor rated plug
- And optionally, a tiki sign
How to Install This Smart Patio Lighting
This next part we will keep fairly simple and mainly because it is. Decide how long of a string you will need and order it. Once you have it you should start at the outlet end. You’ll want to leave enough cable here so we can tuck it away and shape it nicely.
We want it to be placed nice but at the same time, we are looking for that outdoor tiki bar look. Where the lights hanging and draping are part of the image.
- Find a path that will work and where you can support sections of the lights.
What if you don’t have a wall or wind brake on your deck? If that’s the case, most decks have a railing, and this might be the better option. Also, you could see if hanging the lights along your eaves would look good. Try to use your imagination a bit and get creative.
- Next, begin spacing the lights evenly and stapling or supporting them.
- Now that you have your string lights hung up and ready. Take the smart outdoor outlet you have. Plug it into the outdoor outlet where you ran your lights from. Then plug your lights into the smart outlet.
- Now program your outdoor lights using the in phone app. Program will differ depending on the brand and protocol. You can find mind article here on programming different apps and devices.
How to Program the Smart Patio Lighting
If you happen to be using Skylink we’ll go through setting the lights up. If you need a hand setting up your Skylink hub and other devices you can use our guide here as well.
- Open the Skylink Net App
- Select the 3 dots with the “More” button.
- Select “System Settings”
- Select “Setup Wizard”
- Select “Add Device”
- Select “Lighting”
- Type in a name for the device and location (ie. “Tiki Lights” and “Deck”)
- Hold the button on the outdoor outlet until it flashes
- Select “Learn Now” and it should pair it up, if not go through the steps again. Also, you can try to reset your Skylink hub and restart your phone app.
With using Skylink and an outlet without switch control, you will need to open the Skylink App and press the light button. But if you haven’t yet download the IFTTT app on your phone. There is a plethora of commands you can enable here. And if you need more info on using IFTTT or Skylink click on the links.
If you want a button right on the home screen of your phone, it’s easy to do with IFTTT. Perhaps you want to use your voice with Alexa or Google, that also can be done through IFTTT with SkyLink. Another cool feature when using Skylink and IFTTT. Is you can have the lights come on at set schedules or when your Skylink alarm goes off or is set to alarm or home mode.
For a quick idea on how to use IFTTT here a couple steps.
- Download and register with IFTTT
- When you open it go to the search “Skylink”
- Scroll through and there a tons of applets to use. If you want to create your own you can. They have made it really simple. Say for instance you want the outdoor lights to come on when your backdoor sensor is triggered you can do it easily. For information on setting new IFTTT applets with your current devices go here.
Outside Soffit LED and Automatic Turn On Within Proximity
Our next idea can create an amazing look on the outside of your house. Enough to make all the neighbors jealous, as well as keeping any night time lurkers away. Most of us have seen the LED slim fit lighting. The great thing about these lights is they are fairly easy to install and can be placed in most places.
I have installed my fair share of recessed lighting and I can tell you it wasn’t fun in the past. Depending on insulation or combustible material you could need huge vapor hats and certain ratings on your lighting can. In addition, you would need to follow the manufacture recommended bulbs. Using halogens it seemed they would need replacing all the time. Especially when you forgot to turn your pot lights off.
LED lighting has come a long way and with anything being developed. The longer it is being updated usually the lower in price it becomes. Parts are cheaper and more places are making them, creating competition and a lower price point.
What’s Going to be Needed For Our Outdoor Smart LED Eaves Lighting
We will need to grab the material needed for this install. First off is the LED slim lighting to go into the eaves portion of your home. These can be found on Amazon as well. Keep in mind to purchase lighting that is CSA or UL certified. If it doesn’t have this certification or any other certification applicable to your country then it shouldn’t be used. This is stamp meaning the light itself has gone through testing and is safe to install as per manufactures specifications.
Second, we will need either an inline wifi relay to tie into our lighting circuit. Or a much simpler way would be to purchase a smart switch. Make sure it is dimmable and compatible with LED lights. If you have a hub already grab a switch that works with your system. Provided your system works with IFTTT for the close proximity activation.
If you do not have a system and hub setup, you can purchase a wifi switch that will work with your router and you won’t need to buy an additional hub to control it.
- LED Slim Fit Lighting (Decide on 3k, 4K, or 5K – read more here)
- Smart light switch – WIFI Protocol if you don’t want or have a hub. For this purpose, we will be using the Wemo WIFI Dimmer Switch
- IFTTT Account (They’re free and more info can be found here)
If you are hiring an electrician to wire in these devices, don’t forget to grab the Wemo switch as well. This way they will be able to install it at the end and you won’t be left with a regular switch or completing the task later.
Deciding To Install LED Slim Lights Yourself
For this installation, there is going to be some electrical work needed. So at this point, you’ll need to decide how much of a DIY individual you are or if your comfortable with completing this part of the task.
If not you have 2 options. One is you could hire a local electrician to install these soffit lights and complete the smart integration yourself after. This would ensure everything is done properly and give you peace of mind.
The second option would entail not installing these LED lights. if you have some sort of outdoor light you can implement this method with those lights as well. Simply move on to installing the smart devices and programming and you’ll be set.
If your determined to get this done and have confidence in your ability then let us move on.
Installing the LED slim fit lighting
I’ll throw a declaimer out there real quick. I take no responsibility for any work carried out and all electrical work should be done by trained and qualified people. Also, we won’t go into great detail on how to perform this task but there are a few things to keep in mind.
Any electrical upgrades to your home will most certainly require a permit. And depending on your area you may be able to obtain a homeowners permit in order to get your inspection completed. This can add a level of risk mitigation as well as keeping your home within compliance.
Some tips to also keep in mind.
- Find out where you are going to get power from for your LED lights.
- Decide on your locations for the LED lighting – you can use a 4″ hole saw for 4″ LED slim fit lights
- For getting the wires from one light spot to the next use 2 people. You may be able to fish lines using a fish tape and pushing it trhough from one hole to the next. It will depend on the framing you have in your soffit area. Otherwise, you may need one person in the attic and another on the outside to loop the lights.
- You can install an inline wifi relay in order to control the lighting through your smart home system. If you want to have a manual location or install a smart switch instead you will need to run your lighting loop back to a switch. You will also need to have power at your power so the circuit can be complete and power can be sent through the switch to the lights
- Never work with live circuitry. Use a voltage tester and make sure any circuits you are going to work with are dead and the breaker is off for that circuit.
For more details and an in-depth look at how to complete this type of installation, we will throw a link to a video when it’s complete.
To re-iterate you will want complete the steps as follows:
- Plan your lighting layout around your home and/or garage.
- Purchase the amount of slim fit led recessed lights as needed.
- Purchase your smart wifi Wemo Switch (Dimmable)
- If you will be doing this work, you’ll need additional parts. Such as, electrical homeowners permit, 14/2 NMD, staples, and tools to complete the task.
- Once the installation is complete you should be at the final step of programming.
How to Program Some Functions to Your New Smart LED Eaves Lights
If you have the Wemo dimmable switch you can follow the steps below. If you have purchased a different system feel free to take a look at our other articles on setting up your smart devices. We have setup guides a whole whack of devices.
Although for the most part, the setup process for these smart switches will be the same. Use the in-phone app to link the switch with your system and at that point, you should be able to set scenes and whatnot.
The two main reasons we went with the Wemo smart switch is because it allows connections without the need for a hub. And two it is able to link up with IFTTT commands. Meaning you can have these lights activate on a multitude of cases.
Steps for initial setup:
- Have your home network name (SSID) and password ready. If you’re unsure how to find this information here are a couple of tips. On your phone go to settings and then connections and press “WIFI”. If you are connected and at home, this should be your wifi name. If you’re unsure of your password, some internet providers have a sticker on their modem which will have a default name and password. This would work if you haven’t changed this information. You can also log into your router from a device in your home network. Usually, this will be by typing 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1 and logging in and going to the wireless settings. You can search for lots of guide for your router on the internet and see how to find and change your network name and password.
- If you have an Apple mobile device go to the AppStore or if you have an Android mobile you can go to the Google Play Store. Once there search and download the “Wemo App”.
- Ensure your mobile device is connected to your home network.
- Go to your mobile phone settings and go into the WIFI connections screen. Here you should see the WeMo device. It should look like WeMo.Light.xxx
Note* You can see the device ID on the back of the light switch
- Once connected launch the WeMo App. Tap “Let’s Get Started” and hit “Next”.
- Enter your Email address.
- Next, select your WIFI network and enter the password.
- You should see the lights on your WeMo Switch blink. Once completed the “Remote Access Enabled” message will then pop up. This feature is on by default and can be changed after in the settings.
- When the setup is complete you should see your new light switch and any other WeMo devices you have. Here you can change any names you want for the devices. And now that you have successfully set up your WeMo device you can now set different rules for these lights.
If the WeMo device does not show up, you can try pressing the reset button on the front of the switch
We aren’t done yet though. We still want to set an applet in IFTTT. If you don’t have IFTTT yet go over to this article for more information. It’s quite simple though, just download IFTTT from your App store and register, it’s all free.
Once logged into IFTTT, tap the search icon and type WeMo. A whole plethora of different task should come up. You can search and find one to suit your needs or even make one.
First setup we like to do is to have the lights dim 50% when we are arriving home. This can be done in IFTTT by using Google Maps as the actuator (IF statement) and WeMo light switch as the action (THEN statement). You can set how close you need to be before your outside lights come on.
A second setup to complete would be for the lights to come on to a certain level at a certain time of day. You could set it up so at 8 PM your outside lights will come on to 60%.
The options can seem almost endless once you start playing around with the devices and IFTTT. If you had a smart outdoor motion sensor you could link the 2 together. If the motion detector goes off than your outside lights will come on.
Of course, in addition, you can connect to Google Home and Alexa with these switches. So controlling them with your voice is an easy option as well.
WIFI RGB Strip lighting in walk-in shower and en suite
Next up we have RGB lighting installed in a shower ensuite. To be more precise it is a WIFI smart module with RGB strip lighting. I love this idea for a few reasons.
One is the fact that it can make a great night time light. You can adjust the intensity and colors. Two is the fact that you can sync it up with Google and Alexa to make turning it on effortless. In addition you most of these kits run from the mobile app “Smart Life” and can connect with IFTTT. So the options become almost limitless. And finally, just because it looks so darn cool.
What Items Will We Need for This Smart Lighting Project
As far as the items you’ll need, it is quite simple and readily available. It will be the install that can prove to be difficult, depending on where you’re installing the RGB lighting.
There are numerous suppliers on Amazon and fairly affordable. Starting around $20 and going up depending on the length you require. You’ll want to make sure of a couple things though when you are looking.
One is to look for a waterproof type if you plan to install this anywhere where water or moisture could be an issue. Again even the waterproof lighting is cheap and prices relatively the same as the non-waterproofed.
Secondly, look for strip lighting that is RGB, this will ensure it has the ability to glow different colors. And lastly, make sure it’s WIFI capable. Most of the RGB smart lights on Amazon are connected using SmartThings App. This means the interaction is pretty much the same with all of them.
They will be able to change colors with the beat of the music. Have the ability to link with Google Home and Alexa. As well you will be able to set up any IFTTT commands to be used with all other IFTTT compatible products.
We ended up purchasing 3 RGB smart lighting kits for our projects. Used one on the en suite shower, one for under kitchen and island lighting, and one more for the bulkhead in a ceiling area. All 3 worked and were able to link up to our WIFI network. Sitting up to Google Home was also quite painless and we were able to voice control all the lighting.
One last point to mention is if you are needing to install the RGB lights in different locations, you will need additional adapters and WIFI modules. So if you want one in your kitchen area and one behind your TV, you will need to purchase 2 adapters and 2 WIFI modules.
You can purchase these separately, but it is a good idea to grab the same brand as your original kit. This is so the connectors will fit, otherwise, you will need to cut and splice the RGB which can be difficult.
If you are planning to install these in locations where you will need wire, you will also required the strip lighting connectors. These will clip down on the RGB strip and the other side will connect with your wire. You’ll need to use 4 conductor wire as well.
It’s good to note you can also purchase these 90 degree corner pieces. They are very helpful if you have a corner to go around. Otherwise, you can end up with the strip lighting having an offset bend and the light won’t shine in the right direction.
How To Install These RGB Strip Lighting
So we should have the following items
- RGB Smart Strip Lighting – Make sure you have a long enough length for your projects.
- 4 conductor RGB extension wire or similar cable (if you are planning to run to multiple locations on one adapter). This may happen for under kitchen cupboards. Where you will jump from one counter area to another and another.
- RGB wire connectors. Again if you are using cable as well you will need these
How to Cut:
You can cut the RGB lighting into different lengths. In order to do this cut where the copper flat pieces are.
- Find somewhere to start where there is an outlet.
- If you want to use the remote – you will need to have the module within line of sight. This isn’t needed as we have our SmartThings App and Google Home to control this.
- If you are running any wires make sure your polarity is correct. If you install the clips or wire backward the lights won’t work.
- We found the sticky back to be less than impressive. You could use super glue or you could also purchase clips to hold the RGB in place.
The image above shows 2 styles of clips you can purchase.
Actually connecting the devices and powering them on is pretty straightforward. You plug in the adapter into an outlet. You then plug the WIFI module into the adapter. The other end of the adapter connects with your RGP lighting strip.
There, that’s it. You have connected your RGB lighting and everything should be powered up and good to program.
I know I know, that’s the easy stuff. The harder area is actually running the RGB and getting it to stick to the surfaces you are applying it to. Use clips if needed, or glue.
Programming Some Functions and Loading the App
To program the RGB smart lights is quite simple. For our example, we will be using SmartTHings Application. Most RGB kits use it and it has the most functions.
- First, go to Google Playstore or Apple AppStore and download SmartLife on your mobile device
- As before have your WIFI SSID name and password handy as we will need them here as well.
- Open the app on your phone and press the Add Device.
- On the left side tap Lighting and then Lighting (Wi-Fi).
- You can follow the prompts on the app at this point. You’ll need to get your RGB strip lights into sync mode. Do this by unpluging and pluging the adapter in 3 times. Once you do this you should see the lights flashing. This means they are in pairing mode and ready for the next step.
- On the next screen enter your WiFi informaiton. The name and the password of your home network.
- Once you press confirm, the app will attempt to sync with the device.
If all goes well the device will be linked to the phone app. You should now be able toturn the lights on and off, different brightness, colors, and multiple modes. You can also set the music mode here.
You can now connect your RGB lighting in your SmartLife App to Google Home or Alexa. Once you connect them you will be able to control the lights using your voice.
Name your device in the SmartLife App something that is easy to say and remember. This will be what you use to voice control the RGB lighting. Example would be kitchen strip lights.
Some Other Functions To Use RGP Strip Lighting For
Lighting up the outside of your back patio is a great way to show off to the neighbors. Or just have some nice mood lighting for any bbq’s or parties.
You can use it for underneath the kitchen cupboards and island. I have installed these in a few peoples house and every time they just love them. Keep in mind your placement. If your running wires you want to make sure they come out in areas where they are not visible. Also if you have a space to tuck away the RGB even better.
Stair lighting is another great option. This can be more difficult of a job if done after development. Simply because you need to find a chase way for the wires and overhang preferably for th RGB.
It still can be done but requires some good planning. If possible remember to do this lighting while you’re doing any renos in the area.
Which Smart Lighting Arrangement do you Like Best?
There you have it, 3 awesome smart lighting ideas. Each one is doable but may require more time, money, or skill to complete. We love adding new lights and smart device in our home. The options are endless and with the price continually lowering it is within the means of any homeowner to complete.
Let us know which one you like the most or would try to do. If you have an idea to sure go ahead as well in the comments below. Show some love and share this as well. Thanks for reading!