7.09.2017

Making Our House Smarter, One Light at a Time

Update: Congrats to Stacey G., the winner of our Leviton Decora Smart giveaway!

I love our house to pieces, but it's not very smart. We don't have a "smart" thermostat or any smart appliances, light bulbs, home security systems, etc. We do, however, have the Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot, so when Leviton gave us the opportunity to try their Decora Smart light switches, plugs and dimmers that work in conjunction with the Echo, we jumped at the opportunity.  

Make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post to enter our giveaway - you could win some Decora Smart switches, dimmers and plugs to try in your own home!

My husband completely geeked out about the Decora Smart technology and its ability to allow us to adjust our lighting in our favorite rooms simply by saying a few commands to the Echo or tapping a few buttons on our iPhones. He's really into this type of thing even when it's not "smart" by today's definition (he's done all of our electrical and home audio wiring), so when you add sleek modern technology to the mix, it's even more exciting for him.

Our first step was to decide what rooms would really benefit from this smart technology. Did we really need smart switches in our formal living and dining rooms that don't get used very often? Nope. But we did think it would be pretty fantastic to be able to go hands-free in our most-used rooms in the house: the playroom, the den and the master bedroom.

All three rooms have different reasons why the smart technology is useful, so I'll walk through how the Decora Smart products have made our lives easier in each place.

First, the playroom. This is the room where we first worked with Leviton on the decorating challenge - remember that? I loved my office so much. It's changed to accommodate the kids, but it's still one of my favorite spots in the house.

Just to the bottom left of the G bookshelf, you can see our Decora Smart plug that makes our gold task lamp from the thrift store suddenly a product of the 21st century.


We have another Decora Smart plug hidden behind the changing table that allows us to turn on this bike lamp with our voices, as well. The two are connected so they come on at the same time when we want the lights on in the playroom.


The playroom was the perfect place to try the Decora Smart plugs with Wi Fi technology, which allow you to turn on anything that plugs in to the wall--in our case, two lamps-- using your voice. (We used the Decora Smart line with Wi Fi technology that works with Amazon Echo or Google Home, but Leviton also has Decora Smart products that work with the Apple HomeKit or Z-Wave Plus Technology.) We spend a ton of time in the playroom with the kids, and as you can imagine, twin toddlers are a handful. To be able to walk into a dark playroom at 6 a.m. with a squirmy toddler in your arms and simply say, "Alexa, turn on the playroom lights," is an amazing luxury. It falls in the category of "I never knew I needed this but now I really don't want to function without it" category right alongside back-up cameras in our cars. (Seriously, what did I do before I had a back-up camera in my SUV? Somehow I survived before I had that technology, but I'll never go back to that.) Plus, it's just cool.

We took a quick video on my phone to demonstrate. (Pardon the noisy toddlers.)

video

The den is our happy place, where we go at the end of long days to curl up on the sofa and watch movies. My husband wanted an ideal home theater experience, so he'd already installed various recessed and overhead lights with dimmers to allow us to go from regular mode to full-on "movie mode."

See those three recessed lights above our built-in shelves? We used a Decora Smart switch with a dimmer to allow us to adjust those lights through our phone and/or voice command.


Since the husband is the real movie geek around here, I had him demonstrate how he takes the den from regular mode into "movie mode." Please enjoy our lack of professional video skills and general goofiness/discomfort being on camera. :)

video

Lastly, we smartened up the lights and ceiling fan in our master bedroom. As I mentioned before, we have twin toddlers. That means sleep is sacred. I do not mess around with my sleeping situation, and I embrace anything that makes it easier to catch some extra Z's. Thanks to the infomercials of my youth, I have always dreamed of clapping my hands and having my lights turn off automatically without me getting out of bed. Now I can do that by simply asking my pal Alexa to turn on the lights. Alexa already wakes us up in the morning, tells us what's going on in the world and plays music for us, so why not turn on our lights? Smart technology is so cool, am I right?

In this room we used two Decora Smart switches - one with a dimmer and one without - so we could control the four recessed lights and the ceiling fan.


video

 And in case you're wondering, the app is very simple to use. If you'd rather control your lights with your phone instead of your voice, you can do it that way as well.



*****

And now for the fun part: GIVEAWAY TIME!

Would you like to make your home smarter? We are teaming with Leviton to give away a set of Decora Smart switches (a regular switch, a dimmer switch and a plug) worth $135 so you can try them yourself.

How do you enter? Leave a comment on this Facebook post explaining what room you would choose for the Decora Smart technology, and a winner will be chosen at random. The contest is open until midnight on Friday, July 14. Good luck!

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8 comments:

  1. Loved seeing how you incorporated this technology to make life a little easier! I would add these to our family room and entryway. Having this option to control the lights from my phone would be great to have for those nights when our family is out after dark and forgot to leave a light on before we left! This happens more than I would like with both boys playing baseball and my hubby coaching! Thanks for a great giveaway!

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  2. I love this! I would definitely use this in the kids playroom down in the basement the most. Since there is such little natural light, my youngest won't go down there unless the lights are already on. And the number of times I have had to run downstairs because they left the lights on... I can't even count! I can see many other uses throughout the house too! Thanks

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  4. How fun that you can control lights with your voice - technology sure is great :)
    Best,
    Kelly

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