Only in December for LazyAdmin readers: Get 20% discount on your first invoice of Cloudways hosting with code LA20. Read more here

Best Home Automation Ideas

Once you start with automating your home and you see the benefits of it you quickly want to do more, but what? The possibilities with home automation are pretty much endless so to help you get started I put together a list with some of the best home automation ideas. This list is created based on my own Smart Home and based on some ideas that I haven’t come to yet.

I will update the list when I come across other good ideas, so to keep the list with home automation ideas ordered I will categorize it.

Below every idea, I will add some rules that you can use as a guideline to create the routine/flow your self.

Light Automation Ideas

Lights are the most commonly used smart products, they are cheap to buy and easy to implement in your house. Everybody knows the standard light automation (turning your lights on when it gets dark or when you get home). But I gather some light-related home automation ideas that you will find interesting.

Before we start with the ideas, I first want to give you some tips on creating a good basis for your lightings routines/flows.

Create a routine or flow that will turn all the lights in the house on and one to turn them all off. You can call these flows easily from other flows and when you add a new light you will only have to add it in one place.

Also, make use of variables or modes in your smart home system. They all have a home, away or sleep mode. But also add a variable Night and BabySitMode. When you go to bed, you can simply set the variable Night on True and use this in your other flows.

The same goes for BabySitMode, you don’t want that your lights are going off when you are out and a babysitter is at your home. (Trust me, I made that mistake in the beginning)

1. Increase your sleep quality with a smart wake-up light

You have probably heard of the Philips Wake-Up light that slowly starts getting brighter before your alarm goes off. With a smart light, you can make this really easy your self. All you need is a dimmable smart light or Philips Hue light and let it gradually increases before your wake up time.

If you can’t place a Smart Light Bulb you can also use a smart dimmer switch to control your lights. With this wake-up light, your sleep habits will increase and you will feel more rested.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When time is 06.30 and day is mo, tue, wed, thu, or fr
  • And master bedroom lights are off (maybe the lights are already on)
  • Set brightness to 0% (reset brightness first)
  • Turn lights on
  • Increase brightness to 40% with a duration of 15 minutes.

2. Dimming the lights around bedtime

If you implement the wake-up light, then you should also consider dimming the lights in your house around bedtime. Dimming the lights slowly will help your body get into sleep modus. Again all you need is smart light bulbs or a smart dimmer switch to control multiple lights at once.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When time is 22.30 and day is mo, tue, wed, thu, or fr
  • And living room lights are on (maybe the lights are already off)
  • And somebody is home
  • Decrease brightness to 30% with a duration of 30 minutes.

3. Let your kids know it’s still bedtime

Parents with little kids will know, they get out of bed way too early. But you can solve this really easy with an RGB Smart Light. Just turn the light red between 4 am and 7 am and let it glow green between 7 am and 9 am. The kids will know when it’s ok to get out of bed and not waking up the whole house way too early.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When time is 06.00
  • And somebody is home
  • Set color to red
  • Set brightness to 10%
  • Turn lights on
  • When time is 07.00
  • And somebody is home
  • Set color to green

4. Controlling lights based on motion or door sensor

Now, this is something you won’t use in the living room but works really well in a basement or garage.

When you open the door of the garage or basement, you can turn the lights automatically on with a door sensor or motion sensor. I prefer to use the door sensor to turn the lights on because this will always work. Motion sensors don’t always detect the motion right away. They work perfectly for smaller rooms, but for a larger area, a door sensor is more reliable.

If you add a motion sensor to the room in question, you can check if there is no movement for x time, and then turn the lights off automatically.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When the door is opened (door sensor is triggered)
  • And garage lights are off
  • Turn garage lights on
  • When no motion is detected for 5 minutes
  • Turn garage lights off

5. Automated bathroom or hallway nightlights

We all need to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night sometime. And I really hate it when I step in the bathroom to turn does bright lights on. With a motion sensor or door sensor, you can make this nightly exercise a lot more pleasant.

At night the hallway or bathroom light turns on dimmed so it won’t blind you. And in the morning during the normal activities, the light will just turn bright as you are used to. We are going to use the Night mode/variable for this, as explained in the beginning.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When motion is detect
  • And Night mode is on
  • Dim hallway/bathroom light to 10%
  • Turn light on
  • Turn lights off when no motion is detected for 5 minutes.

6. Turning lights of but keep a night light for 5 min

This is one of those home automation ideas where I am really happy with. When I turn the lights off (well I ask Homey to turn the lights off) at night, I keep the hallway light and a couple of kitchen spots on for 10 minutes.

This way you can find your way through the house. As a fun detail, Homey has a led ring, which I let glow bright white for 5 minutes in case I forgot something from the living room.

7. Turn kitchen light on based on motion

If you have little kids as I do, you probably get out of the bed in the middle of the night to make a bottle. What really made this nightly exercise a lot easier was turning some of the lights in the kitchen dimmed on based on motion.

You can use the same motion sensor for this as you use for your security system, just create a routine based on if somebody is home, and the time is between 11 pm and 6 am (or check if the night mode is on).  Make sure your motion sensor isn’t set too sensitive if you have pets walking around.

If you want to know more about motion sensor, or looking for some other ideas, make sure you read this post.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When motion is detect
  • And Night mode is on
  • And kitchen lights are off
  • Dim kitchen lights to 20%
  • Turn kitchen lights on
  • No motion detected for 5 minutes
  • Turn kitchen lights off

8. Turn light blue when it’s about to rain

With Alexa or Google Home in your living room, you won’t always hear them. So to warn you that it’s about to rain you can turn some of the lights throughout the house blue. This way you get alerted that it is about to rain and you have time to get wash inside or to put the top on your convertible.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When it’s about to rain in 10 minutes
  • And somebody is home
  • Turn lights blue
  • After 5 minutes, set lights to normal color and turn them off

9. Flash the lights when the doorbell goes

When you are working at home with your headphones on you probably won’t hear the doorbell. If you have a Ring Doorbell you can make a flow/routine that will flash your lights when somebody is at the door. This way you will never miss the delivery guy again.

If you have an outdoor smart light near your front door, and the doorbell goes when it’s dark outside, you could even increase the brightness of the outdoor lights.

What do you need:

Rules:

  • When the doorbell goes
  • And somebody is home
  • Flash lights white

10. Controlling your Outdoor Garden lights

If you have outdoor lights in your garden then you probably want to turn them on when it gets dark. In some outdoor light fixtures, you can easily replace the light bulb with a smart bulb, but that doesn’t work with a low voltage system.

Smart Home Ideas

To control low voltage outdoor light systems you can use an outdoor smart plug or a smart relay in a junction box. If your smart home system supports it, you can use the sun position/events to trigger the lights on and off.

In this article, I will explain more about the options for outdoor lighting.

11. Use LUX level to turn the lights automatically

Of course, you can ask Alexa or Google to turn the lights on. Or use your smartphone for this. But some motion sensors are also able to read out the amount of LUX (light) in the room.

The advantage of using the lux level in your living room is that it never gets too dark in the house. Even on a rainy day, the lights will turn on automatically.

We can use the same lux level to turn the lights off in the morning. On a clear day, the lights can be turned off earlier than on a rainy day.

What do you need:

Rules

  • When LUX level is below 20
  • And time is after 3.00 PM (15.00) and before 10.00 PM (22.00)
  • And the lights are off (use a variable or check one light for it)
  • Turn the lights on
  • When LUX level is above 20
  • And time is after 6.00 AM (06.00) and before 11.00 AM (11.00)
  • And the lights are on (use a variable or check one light for it)
  • Turn the lights off

12. Increase kitchen lights when it’s time to make dinner

I have smart led spots in the ceiling of the kitchen. The brightness is set to 30% when day are on, but when it’s time to make dinner, the brightness increases automatically to 50%.

Two hours later, taking cleaning up the kitchen and dishes into account, the lights will return back to there normal brightness of 30%.

What do you need

  • Smart lights in the kitchen

Rules

  • When the time is 06.00 PM
  • And somebody is home
  • And the lights are on
  • Increase kitchen lights to 50%
  • When the time is 07.30 PM
  • And somebody is home
  • And the lights are on
  • Decrease kitchen lights to 30%

In-house climate automation ideas

A Smart Thermostat can control your heating system and sometimes also your air conditioning. But if you have smart fans, humidity sensors and smoke & carbon monoxide detectors you can do so much more with it.

This not only results in saving on your energy bill but also help to keep your family safe. Below some climate-related home automation ideas:

13. Turning on the bathroom fan

Based on the humidity in your bathroom you can start the bathroom fan when you take a shower. When the humidity gets below 80% you can let it turn off. If you don’t have a humidity sensor, you can also use a water sensor that you place in your shower. Then let the fan run for another 15 minutes is the water sensor doesn’t detect water anymore.

Also, you don’t really need a smart fan for this, if you have a dumb fan on a switch, you can also replace the switch with a smart switch or smart relay to turn the fan on or off. The Lutron Smart Switches are a really good choice for this. They look nice, are easy to connect and really good price. They are pretty much the most popular smart switch that you can buy on Amazon these days.  So make sure you take a look at them when you are looking for a smart switch.

14. Cool the house down at night

If you have a ventilation system you can use it to cool the house down at night. Based on the outside and inside temperature you can let cold air into your house at night. This is something the Ecobee 4 can do for you by itself.

But this is also something you can do based on a smart sensor. Any sensor that can read the temperature can be used for this.

What do you need

Rules

  • when the time is 11.00 AM (23.00)
  • and inside temperature is above 25 °C
  • and outside temperature is lower than inside
  • Set the ventilation system to medium

15. Open garage door based on carbon monoxide

Placing a smoke and carbon monoxide detector in your garage is always a good idea. Now if you have a Smart Garage Door opener you can also make the garage a little bit safer by automatically open the door when a to a high level of carbon monoxide is detected.

Make sure you also send a message to your phone of course 😉

16. Lights on in case of fire

One of the routines you hope never gets triggered, but if it does, this will help you get out safely. If the smoke alarm goes off, just turn on all the lights in and around your house. If you have a Smart Lock you can also unlock the front door so you can get out easily. (before unlocking, make sure you check if somebody is home).

I find Smart Smoke detectors, like the Nest, pretty expensive. Another good option is to go for First Alert Onelink smoke alarm and hook them up to your smart house with the Insteon Smoke bridge. You can buy the Smoke bridge at Smarthome.com for around the $ 17,50.

17. Circulate hot air (from a fireplace) around the house

If you have a fireplace you know that the other rooms can get cold while the fireplace is on. Especially when the thermostat is in the same room as the fireplace. If you have a fan system in the house you can let it kick on to circulate the air around the house.

To do this you could use a separate temperature sensor placed near the fireplace. But another option would be to check the outside temperature and the inside temperature from the thermostat. If the outside temp is below 10 °C (50 °F) and inside is above 24 °C (75 °F) then turn on the fans.

18. Turn off your heating/ac when windows are open

Sometimes it’s nice to let in some fresh air inside your house. But it’s also a waste of energy to keep the heating or ac on while your windows are open. Based on a door/window sensor you can turn your Smart Thermostat to ECO/Away mode to save you some energy.

Ecobee 4 Smart Thermostat

Now keep in mind that on winter days heating the house with the windows open is a good way to lower the inside humidity. So you can extend this with humidity sensors, if the humidity is too high, then turn the heating off after it’s below 60%.

Placing sensors on every window can get expensive, if you don’t have a Smart Thermostat yet, you can check out Tado. It can detect open windows based on the amount of heat that is lost. Check for prices and availability in your country the site from Tado. If you want to know more about Smart Thermostats, check out this post where I go more into detail about the different thermostats.

What do you need

Rules

  • When window is open
  • and heating is on
  • turn heating off
  • send push notification to mobile that heating is turned off
  • when window is closed
  • turn heating back on

Securing the house

With all the smart sensors in and around your house, it’s pretty easy to make a decent working security system. Now with good presence detection, you don’t need to enter security codes anymore to turn it on or off. Here are some security home automation ideas that you could implement in your house:

19. Turning alarm on when nobody is home

There are a couple of ways to determine if nobody is home. If you have a good geofencing solution from your smart thermostat you can use that to check if somebody is home. Another option would be to check if there is any known mobile phone connected to your wifi network. The last option can be to check if your thermostat is in away mode.

Now it’s pretty obvious that in case of motion when nobody is home you get an alert somehow. But another good idea is, when it’s dark, you turn on all the lights. Burglars don’t like standing in the light so they will get out quickly (well let’s hope they do).

20.  Turn on the alarm when it’s bedtime

When you go to bed and turn off all the lights you can also turn on the alarm. Just make sure you have a motion sensor upstairs that turns the alarm off for 30 minutes or so in the middle of the night in case you need to make a bottle for the little one.

You can turn the alarm also of based on your morning routine.

21. Protect your safe

You keep your valuables locked away in your save and you don’t want somebody to mess with it. Now, of course, a safe is pretty good protected with a secure lock, but you can improve it with this home automation idea.

There are a couple of options here, one is to use a motion sensor. This only works if the safe is tuck away in a place where you don’t come often. Based on motion you can get an alarm.

Another more reliable way is to use a door sensor. Just place it on the door, if the door is opened you will know it. Make sure you buy a good door sensor with tamper protection. You could use the EcoLink sensor for this. They are around $ 30,- on Amazon.

Household home automation ideas

Your smart home can also help you with some of the boring household tasks. Now it can’t do all of them for you, but it can certainly help you not to forget about some of them. Here are some home automation ideas for your household:

22. Laundry reminder

This is one that happens to everybody, you forgot to take out the wet laundry from the washer. Most of us have the washer stuck away in the washroom, basement or even garage. So you don’t hear the buzzer and with our busy lives, you might forget to take out the finished laundry.

To get notified there are few options, for the dryer a power consumption sensor is working the best. Just use a smart plug that can measure the used power consumption. When it’s below 2 watts the dryer is finished.

The washer is a little bit trickier. You can try the measure the power consumption, but the modern washer is really energy efficient and with the different routines the washer does it can be difficult to tell when it’s done. What you could try is when the consumption is below 2 watts for 10 or 15 minutes. Another option would be to use a vibration sensor.

What do you need

Rules

  • When power consumption is higher than 100 watt
  • Set variable WasherIsOn to true
  • When the power consumption is lower then 2 watt
  • And WasherIsOn is true
  • Send notification washer is finished

If your washer has multiple pauses during its program, then you can use a timer that you start when it comes below the 2 watts. When the times is completed, you can send the notification. In the mean will, you can reset cancel the timer when the power consumption comes above the 2 watts again.

23. Trashcan reminder

Here in the Netherlands, most cities have an online trashcan calendar. Some of them can be read out with an API so my smart hub Homey can pull the trashcan calendar from the site. But if that isn’t an option, you can program it your self. Trash is always picked up on the same days, so you can create some routines that will alert you in the morning to put the trash outside.

24. Automatic vacuuming while you sleep

One of the jobs we all need to do, vacuum the house. With a Vacuum Robot, you never have to vacuum your house self. But with a Smart House, you can let it vacuuming at night. Trigger your vacuum schedule after the lights are turned off. Might at a reminder to clear the floor. While you all are sleeping the vacuum robot will clean the floor. Another option is, of course, to start the vacuum robot when everybody has left the house.

If you don’t have a vacuum robot yet, you should really check out the Roomba 690. They are really affordable, around $ 190,- on Amazon and you can connect it with Alexa and Smart Things.

25. Check if somebody left the fridge open

Another real simple fix for a common problem. Put a door sensor on your fridge and send out an alert if somebody left the door open for more then 5 minutes.

26. Leak detection and mitigation

Detecting a water leak can be used in multiple situations. The principle is simple, place a water sensor where there is a change of a water leak. Near the washer for example, but also the basement, garage or bathroom floor can be a good idea.

The basic is simple, send an alert when there is a water leak, but you can also solve part of the problem by turning the water off. With a Smart Water Valve, you can shut-off the water while you are not at home.

What do you need

Rules

  • When water is detected
  • Send notification to mobile
  • Turn all light blue
  • And when nobody home
  • Turn off the water

27. You got Mail

Get an alert when you receive mail, real physical mail on your mailbox. By placing a contact or door sensor on your mailbox you can send out an alert that you have mail. If a door sensor isn’t possible you can also try a motion sensor that you place inside the mailbox. When the motion sensors see the mail being put inside the mailbox it can send out a notification.

Conclusion

I hope you have some cool home automation ideas after reading this list. If you have an automation idea that should be added to the list, just drop a comment below.

You may also like the following article:

Get more stuff like this

IT, Office365, Smart Home, PowerShell and Blogging Tips

I hate spam to, so you can unsubscribe at any time.

10 thoughts on “Best Home Automation Ideas”

  1. Very informative with good ideas. Our home has an old-style hardwired alarm system, which also has wireless output capability. This means that we can pick up doors and windows easily, so we turn on night lights, etc. We had one spare input contactor in the system and installed a Dakota 500 inductive driveway alarm. This hardware can close a 12V relay. We wired the relay into the open contactor so that when a car is in the driveway we have a photo and a message. Also it is set so that when the house is empty at night and a car arrives (usually us!) the outdoor lamps come on. Very welcoming and safe.

  2. Using Waze allows you to open up to a whole new level of cheap automation. We even have a door sensor without the magnet in the doorbell housing, when someone rings the door bell the traditional style door bell creates a magnetic field to make it chime, that same magnetic field trips the door sensor which then relays a message to Alexa which can do many things. The motion sensors are also tiny and cheap, about 5$ each, turning the rooms into automated rooms based on movement. It was once described to me that a smart house should do what is predicted of it without commands like telling Alexa to do something. We have a motion sensor in the garage, when we leave for work on Tuesday’s there is a stereo in the garage that reminds us it’s trash day, when we leave for work between 3-6am the sane motion sensor gives us the weather as we are getting into our cars. Waze door sensor on the Keurig, each time the K-cup is exchanged in the morning we get the weather and news from a local Amazon Show.

    • Hey JB,

      Thanks for sharing. Can you share more information on what you have done with the doorbell? I have a traditional doorbell myself (and a 100-year old house), so I am still looking for a way to make the doorbell smart without the need to place a modern smart doorbell.

  3. Water pipe, and fittings were from Lowe’s or Home Depot. Motion detector and electric wiring was also from Lowe’s. The “clip on the pipe” thermostatic switch and the hot water recirculating pump are available from any plumbing supply house. (I used a Gringos pump, but any potable quality pump such as from Tasco will work.)

  4. When we built our house, we realized the water heater was at the far end of the house relative to the master bathroom. So, I installed a motion sensor in the bathroom which activates a recirculating pump for the hot water line. If someone enters the bathroom, the recirculating pump rapidly fills the hot water supply line with hot water. To make this system efficient I included a return line on the hot water trunk line, thus creating a hot water loop rather than the traditional one way trunk line. The loop causes water which has gone cool in the hot water lines to be recirculated back into the hot water storage tank. I also included a thermostat on the return line so that if that line is already hot, the recirculating pump does not activate. With this system users don’t waste water down a drain while waiting for hot water to reach the sink. Also, contrary to most recirculating hot water loop systems, the loop is allowed to cool (and not waste heat) when the sinks are idle. With solar energy providing heat for the large well insulated hot water storage tank, the whole system is very efficient.

  5. Hi Ruud,
    This is Khodave from Global Brands Kolhapur , India .
    We are just starters in Home Automation (Two months ) and we have tie up with one co. But we think the products are costly and not affordable like Door Bird .The suggested automations are more than we thought off and really workable . Can you suggest some products which are cheaper . We are also in IT please suggest anything Innovative ideas or latest developments in Agricultural Automation .Thanks

Leave a Comment

6 Shares
Tweet
Pin2
Share4
Share