Smart Lighting Trends to Meet Every Budget
Whether looking into smart light bulbs, installing smart light switches, or trying to find the best lighting system to fit your home and lifestyle, this guide explains the hottest new features out there to improve your interior lighting design and function, regardless of budget.
In the latest home lighting trends, aesthetics take a back seat to function, leaving entertaining and at-home ease as the main focus. Read on to find out how to upgrade your home lighting system incrementally or to find the full-service solutions that are perfect for your situation.
Using Smart Light Bulbs vs. Smart Light Plugs
Once you decide to upgrade your home lighting system from basic timers to smart light technology, you need to choose whether to invest in smart bulbs or smart plugs. To put it simply, smart plugs are the best choice for making a slow integration of smart home technology on a budget, while smart bulbs bring more versatility (think color-changing features) for in-home entertaining. Smart plugs allow homeowners to basically keep their existing lighting systems while incorporating smart home features, like voice activation.
On the other hand, smart light bulbs replace current nonsmart bulbs and have the ability to sync with the home’s WiFi for features like app integration, voice control, and endless color options. An overwhelming benefit of smart light bulbs over smart plugs is the mood lighting elements — they are dimmable and provide dusk-to-dawn automation. Also, high-quality smart bulbs offer a 22-year lifespan, surpassing most nonsmart bulbs.
Why Automated Lighting Systems are Beneficial
A growing home lighting trend is having a central automated system that allows for control over every lightbulb in the home from a single wall panel or through an app on a tablet or smartphone. These systems are able to automatically adjust lighting to coincide with certain activities or entertaining moods, or for certain times of the day.
Some systems feature voice activation, allowing homeowners to make adjustments without lifting a finger. Easy to operate, the automated lighting systems can also reduce your home’s utility costs by making use of energy more efficiently. The systems typically come as part of a larger home automation program, which might also include the HVAC system and security devices.
There are also some surprisingly uncomplicated automated lighting systems on the market geared towards DIY installation. As smart programs get more involved, however, it’s best to leave them to a home automation professional. The experts have the ability to help you build an entirely new lighting scheme or retrofit your current setup in a day’s time, especially if you are integrating other smart devices.
Incorporating Dimmer Switches and LED Light Bulbs
If investing in a whole-house lighting system isn’t something you’re ready for, consider updating your home’s light bulbs, adding occupancy sensor light switches, or incorporating dimmer switches instead. Because energy efficiency changes to U.S. laws have made incandescent light bulbs just about obsolete, most people have already changed over from incandescent to compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL). While it’s true that CFLs lower energy use dramatically, keep in mind that they are not considered “green.” If you’re concerned with the environment, light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs might be a better choice. Because of their digital nature, LEDs are also able to offer some great bells and whistles when integrated with smart technology.