Few people give a second thought to their home's lighting, yet it plays a big role in their daily lives. By spending a bit of time and money updating lightbulbs and controls, homeowners can see the world in a brand-new light.
A popular trend in home lighting is an automated system that allows a homeowner to control every lightbulb in her home from a single wall panel or using an app on a smartphone or tablet. These complex systems can automatically adjust lighting for certain times of day or in conjunction with particular activities or moods.
Some smart systems are even voice-activated, allowing a homeowner to make changes without ever leaving the couch or lifting a finger. In addition to being fun to operate, automated lighting systems can potentially reduce your home's utility bill by using energy more efficiently. The systems are typically included as part of a larger home automation program, which might also include appliances and the HVAC system.
There are some pared-down automated lighting systems available for DIY installation. The more involved programs, however, are best left to a home automation professional. They can create a brand-new progressive lighting scheme or retrofit your current system in a day for a few thousand dollars.
Homeowners who aren't ready to invest in a whole-house lighting system might instead update their home's lightbulbs. Most people have already made the switch from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents (CFL) because recent changes to U.S. law have made incandescent all but obsolete. While CFLs dramatically lower energy use, they aren't "green." People concerned with the environment might prefer light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs. Thanks to their digital nature, LED bulbs also allow for some cool bells and whistles.
Certain LED bulbs offer mobile apps to control everything including turning the lights on and off and adjusting their color to enhance sleeping schedules. LED bulbs are more expensive than CFLs, but manufacturers are rapidly updating their processes so they can lower prices to meet public demand.