Updated: Aug 1, 2020
I have been slowly turning my house into a smart house. It all started when I decided to get my Father a Fire Stick to turn his TV into a smart TV and open him up to the wonders that are on Amazon Prime (and his new favorite, Disney+). That Black Friday they had this lovely deal that gave you a Echo Dot free (this model has been discontiuned), so I thought, gosh, my husband would like that.... as would I.
We had fun talking to Alexa for a few months, letting her play music for us, asking her random questions. But, I knew she could do so much more. Now, my loft area has some, interesting lighting going on. Let me draw you a picture.
Now, as you can see it has three lights. Three lights are great for this space, however, whoever decided to put in the switches hadn't quite grasped the idea of how rooms work. The light switch right up the stairs in the library (the bigger room) went to - you guessed it - one light. And the other light in that space? Well, if you wanted to turn it on you went into the studio (fake smaller bedroom I use as a studio) flipped that switch and both the bedroom and the one in the library came on. Now, besides the craziness with the lights upstairs, there are no overhead lights in the downstairs bedrooms, but the ones upstairs provide enough light for the whole house. However, I was a bit tired of being downstairs and wanting to turn the lights upstairs on and off. So, smart lights to the rescue!
I can now tell Alexa to turn on the library, studio, art room, bedroom, upstairs, house, living room, master, closet, and any other variation of lights that I want, and she does it. Smart lights are not cheap, so we are progressively turning them over. You can also get smart switches, which might be what I am going to get instead of bulbs for the rest of the lights in the house, but another plus of the bulbs, is they change color, when when we are eating and watching TV, blue light is great because it gives just enough light to see the food.
Now, I had always loved those makeup mirrors, you know the ones with the lights surrounding it. It reminds me of the backstage dressing areas in theaters. So, in my progress to get my dresser perfect, I decided I wanted some lights around it. I found these super cheap lights, no idea they would only cost that much, so I decided to get them. A full blog on how I installed them is coming, so be sure to sign up so you don't miss that. The best part about them - when you turn them on Alexa also tells you how good you look.
We also have installed the Ring Doorbell. Sure, it is great have if you are concerned about security (we are not, we live in a pretty safe area.) It is also great if you want to know when people are at your door when you aren't home. (Not a lot of people visit us, so we don't care as much.) You can also talk to people outside. (My phone isn't fast enough for this.) But, the real reason we have a Ring is because I hated the tone of the doorbell that came with the house. But with the ring you can change it to be so many different sounds. Even festive rings during the holidays!
I have also installed some smart plugs. One is on the fish tank, and so their light comes on and off like clockwork, because, it is. It seemed every time that we would go on vacation, even though the fish got fed daily, they would be sad and lost when we came home because they had been sitting in the dark for so long. They are much happier since we got the smart plug.
We also have our balcony lights, living room lamp and grow lights on smart plugs. It works great on this outdoor smart plug so I don't have to worry about the weather. Some are on a timer to come on and off at sunrise and sunset, and all of them we can just ask Alexa to turn on and off. It makes for a great custom lighting setting that you don't even have to think about. I can't wait for Christmas this year, we will have everything on a timer and be able to not think about the Christmas lights at all but just be able to enjoy them.
I know there are many, many other smart home devices out there, and I would love to have them all. But for now, we are just working on getting the a little at a time.
What devices do you have and what cool things do you do with them?