In the aftermath of Amazon Prime Day deals, one of the weirder insights we gathered from Lifehacker readers was that aside from your affinity for Coca Cola multipacks, you were pretty big on smart lighting. Because apparently everyone owns a Philips Hue smart lighting system now, we’ve decided to figure out how to get the best out of the most expensive light bulb you’ll ever purchase.
Philips Hue has been around for a few years now and it truly is a must-have for any smart home. It’s a wireless system that allows you to control the lights in your house with a smartphone, instantly changing the look and feel of each room. The energy efficient LED bulbs connect to Wi-Fi and have the ability to emit any colour on the spectrum - 16 million to be precise.Read more
1. Use your lights for mental reminders
You can schedule your lights to remind you of important tasks throughout the week. To do that, open up the Philips Hue app, head to ‘Routines’ and select ‘Other routines’ and create a routine. If you always forget when bins night is on, you can set it to remind you with a bright green or red light the night before it’s due.
2. Rotate colours to mix it up
If you’re not ready to download a million third-party apps to push your new lights to the limits, opt for Philips Hue Labs; experimental Philips settings. One setting in particular, Living Scenes, lets you customise a rotation of colours for your Hue bulbs to go through so you can sit back and not fidget with the settings every five minutes.
Living Scenes lets you choose how quickly you’d like to transition between colours (15 seconds to two hours), which colours you’d like to rotate through and which rooms you want to apply them to.
3. Make them your wakeup alarm
Waking up in the morning is hard for many of us, especially when there’s an obnoxious alarm noise aggressively prying us from our slumber. With Philips Hue, you can program the lights to slowly wake you up with ‘sunrise’ lighting or some soft colours. Head to ‘Routines’ and then ‘Wake up’ and schedule your new wake up regime. Make sure you only choose the days you work otherwise you’ll wake early for no reason.
4. Match your lights with the weather
The IFTTT options is where you can get a little more complicated with your Philips Hue setup. IFTTT stands for If This, Then That, and means exactly what you think it does: If something you program occurs, then your lights will be triggered. You’ll need to download IFTTT app for iOS or Android then link it your Philips Hue setup.
Once that’s done, head to the IFTTT and choose the ‘Applets’ you’d like to apply. You can make your lights match the weather, choose a colour palette based on the NASA picture of the day or blink your lights when a Google Assistant or Alexa timer hits zero.
5. Trigger lights with movement
Sensor lighting has been used on porch lights for decades but you can make it a reality in your house too with a Philips Motion Sensor. Once you set it up, you can customise it so lights stay on for a certain amount of time without detectable motion and their brightness and colour can be adjusted depending what time of day it is.
It’s a handy tool if you’ve ever needed to do a midnight bathroom break or have large rooms with only one inconveniently placed switch.
While these five options are pretty schmick, we think, there are plenty more available within Philips’ own Hue app (available for iOS and Android) as well third-party apps to further customise your ‘spenno lighting setup.