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Philips Hue isn’t just a fancy lighting solution. It is a smart lighting solution, and that means smart home users are tricking it out, linking it other devices and using Hue in ingenious ways to make it more than just a set of clever bulbs in your home.
Here are 10 ways that you can take the full range of Hue (or other smart lighting) products and use them to create a dramatic impact, a warm mood or create a focal point. Certainly, you can do a lot more than just have them come on at the right time, and turn off when there’s no one home.
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1 Hue for Alerts
One of the most practical uses for Hue is to signal a visual alert when one of your smart home devices is in an unusual state. That could be the garage door being opened to a Hue or other motion sensor on the front or back door detecting movement.
Using the Hue app or some IFTTT coding, you can link the lights to the sensor and trigger a color change.
2 Light the Floor
Most folks’ inclination with lighting is to have it on a table, shelf or up high, but Hue Lightstrips and the portable Hue Go can be placed at floor level to create mood lighting, for safer navigation at night or cool effects at parties.
The Lightstrips can be extended up to 33-feet in length to encompass a room or go up and down a wall, through the use of Lightstrip Plus connectors.
The can be installed down the edges of a staircase to improve safety at night, especially when linked to a motion sensor for activation. Hue owners can also temporarily run them down the edge of a path or drive on a dry night to welcome people to a party.
3 Strip Lights Everywhere
The flexibility of Hue’s Lightstrips mean they can be placed pretty much anywhere. That encourages creativity, from making the kitchen look funky with strips running along the back of the kitchen cabinets.
This creates a practical benefit with good lighting across all the work surfaces instead of just above the hob, as is traditional.
While there are specific lighting products and apps that will sync light changes to what’s playing on a TV display, using the Hue Camera app, Hue lights will make any wall-mounted entertainment system look good, or can be used to highlight some modern art.
Younger owners might be tempted to extend this theme to the bedroom with a lightstrip behind the headboard, or perhaps under a child’s bed to create a comforting night time glow.
And use a Philips Tap and you can turn them on or off whenever you come to tuck them in, when you realize you left your phone downstairs
4 Power Your Home Office Efficiency
Hue’s lights come with a range of settings for different white light temperatures. You can set lights up in your home office and turn them to the ‘Energize’ setting when it is time to settle down and focus on your work. That might help improve your drive, energy levels and help get those home-working chores done faster.
Home offices can also benefit from brighter lighting as it gets dark in the evening and you can adjust the settings to turn the lights up to max to help keep you working to the end of the office day.
5 Make Storage Stylish
Perhaps the most dramatic use of a Lightstrip is to place it behind a set of open shelving or cube storage to provide an impressive backlight. They can also be used behind a wine rack to create an impressive glow, reflecting through the bottles and adding a particular ambiance.
You don’t even need a wall or edge to use one, the basic 6-foot model will curl around underneath any glass round table to create an instant and attractive effect.
6. Scene Setting at the Touch of a Button
A combination of lights in a room can be linked together to create a scene, which can be controlled using the Hue iOS or Android app.
Other apps like Ambee can improve these scenes by dynamically or automatically controlling the lighting, through different themes that you can pay a small amount to download to perfectly complement any room design or event you are hosting.
7. Wake Up Right
If you want smart lights in your bedroom, then you may as well get the best out of them.
For those winter nights when you simply don’t want to get out of bed, or if you’re an early riser anyway, the Hue lights can be set to gently up the lighting to provide a more natural waking experience than stumbling about in the dark, fumbling for an alarm.
And, of course, if you don’t need to get up, you can tell Alexa to turn the lights off, without having to move or look at your phone app.
8. Make Art With Light
Most of these tips help to use light to make a focal point, or highlight something in a room. However, the Hue lights are worthy of making art in their own right. A pair of Hue Go or Hue Bloom lights set to different colors, and pointed at just the right angle can create cones of light on a wall, or intermeshing effects.
9. Romance in the Smart Home Era
The latest range of Hue lights added to the product line includes a new set of candle-style E14-470 lumen bulbs operating at 4,000 kelvin, equivalent to a 40w traditional bulb.
These are ideal for traditional candlestick lamps, overhead art deco light fittings and add a classy air to the more open light fittings, ideal for romantic meals or cuddling up on the sofa, when you don’t want necessarily want to feel part of the 21st century.
10. Light Up the Apps
There are many hundreds of apps you can use with your Hue or other lighting systems to create fun, funky or stylish effects. HueDisco will get any party started without the need for an actual disco ball. Lightbow helps to create the most artistic lightscapes imaginable with Hue and other smart lights.
Philips and the many other smart lights on the market (Ikea has just launched its own range) give the user a great deal of power and flexibility when it comes to illuminating a room or part of a home. Let us know what you do with yours that’s cool on our Twitter or Facebook.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!