Most of us take lighting for granted— we flip a switch, we have light, NBD. Now, with so many smart lighting options on the market, you can take control of lights in ways we couldn’t have dreamed of before— setting trigger events and schedules, affecting their color and brightness turning every bulb in the house off with a single app tap (my personal favorite feature).
Lately, I’m noticing lighting that dares to go beyond the basic bulb— it’s being used to evoke emotion, boost energy or relax you, and serve as a means of creative expression… all while being incredibly energy efficient. In other words, it’s not your mamas incandescents.
Here are a handful of ideas in smart lighting that I’m particularly exciting about— they’re stretching the imagination and redefining what lighting can do in the home.
The Showstopper: C by GE Sol
Part ultility and part objet, The C by GE Sol ($199) is sure to be a conversation starter with its light-up LED ring. The outer LED ring omits light, which can be adjusted for brightness and color temperature, while an inner ring doubles as a clock. Best of all, it’s powered by Amazon’s Alexa, so it doubles as a voice assistant while looking striking on your console table. The C can be controlled, customized, and scheduled using Alexa or through the C by GE app.
The Multi-tasker: Pulse and Snap by Sengled
These LED bulbs pull double duty and do more than just light your home. Sengled Pulse Bulbs ($79.99 for two) combine lighting with Bluetooth-enabled speakers, giving you wireless home audio that’s as easy to install as… screwing in a lightbulb. All you need to get started is a Pulse Master bulb. From there you can add up to 8 satellite bulbs depending on the size of your home. Adjust volume or dim the lights in the easy-to-use app.
Watch me install some Sengled Pulse bulbs in this video:
While Pulse takes care of the entertainment, Sengled Snap Bulbs ($129) keeps your home or business safe. This time, an LED bulb has a built-in HD camera inside: The camera is motion-activated and even has night vision, so you can live stream or watch in-app playback any time. The bulb is weatherproof and keeps an eye on things as long as it’s within range of WiFi signal.
The Wellness Guru: Mini Day & Dusk by LIFX
The concept behind Lifx’s Mini Day & Dusk bulbs ($30) is simple: Lighting can cue your body to feel more wakeful during the day, and to wind down at night. The design of these smart bulbs is inspired by the sun and intended to enhance your health and lifestyle: Wake up to soft daylight whites, shift to bright white tones to help you stay active, while evening calls for a calming amber glow. It’s also compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Homekit, so you can ask your lights to shift when the mood suits you.
The Artsy-Fartsy: Nanoleaf Aurora
This system turns smart lighting into an artistic experience. Nanoleaf Aurora ($199 and up) is a system of click-together triangular panels that can be mounted to any flat surface in myriad design configurations. The app allows you set schedules and create colorful patterns that can later be voice-activated. Have the lights sync up to your music by adding the Rhythm module, for a multi-media art installation that you won’t have to visit a snooty gallery to enjoy.
Have you made any smart lighting upgrades to your home? Share your favorites in the comments.