Don’t think lighting can change your life? Ok, maybe not so dramatically but it definitely can make life more convenient and fun.
We have been testing out the Philips Hue smart lighting system. I never thought technology could affect the whole family. It amazes me how far it has advanced over the last five years too. I have to admit, I was sceptical to just how much smart lighting could do for us in our house but I was quickly convinced. We tested out these four different lighting products from Philips Hue and here is how our family put them to use.
First off, you need a bridge which is the little white box on the floor with the blue circle you see above, which comes as part of the Starter Kit. The bridge is the brains of the operation and this is what allows you to control your lights from your smart phone or tablet. The Starter Kit comes with the dimmer remote control, as well as three bulbs. Once the bridge is plugged into your Wi-Fi router, you can download the Hue App.
Now you are ready to start setting up your lights and room controls. The app is super easy to navigate and use. Even my kids love using it. There is an on screen step by step guide so you don’t have to spend hours reading a manual on how to get your lighting system up and running. It really is SO simple. See video below for more in depth Hue app setup.
You can pair it with your Apple HomeKit, Siri, Google Assistant and more smart capabilities to control it outside the Hue App too.
Next plug in and turn on all your lightbulbs, LightStrips and Hue Go. The lightbulbs fit into your lamps as any other ‘normal’ bulb would. Go to settings in the app and click light setup, add light, and search for your lights that you have just installed. The app connects it all for you. No inputting serial numbers and codes.
Now, it’s time to divide the lights up into the rooms they live in. For us, I have them in our family room, playroom, and both kid’s bedrooms in my app. Even though the Hue Go is mobile in our house depending on what we are using it for, it’s under MM’s bedroom as it’s mostly used in her room if I am not using it for the baby in mine. Go to settings, room setup, add room, type in room name, and tick the boxes to all the lights in that particular room. Our living room has four lights for various purposes, from working at my desk to reading in my chair or the TV LightStrip for family entertainment.
There you have it! You are setup and ready to use your Philips Hue system. Finally let’s see it all in action below!
MM was over the moon when I told her she gets a new nightlight that she can change to 16 million different colours, literally. The first night she went with her favorite color, yellow but it wasn’t long before she was testing them all out.
It gives me peace of mind to know that when she has gone to sleep I can dim it slightly more from my bed. I can also set the timer on it if I wanted to turn it off. Or even schedule it to wake with a bright morning glow like the sun would do. It really is my favorite of the Philips Hue lighting products.
When she isn’t using it, I use it for evening reading downstairs or listening to music to calm myself after a hard day. With dimming options and warm to cool lighting, there is a setting that can fit any mood. I foresee us using it on game night when our friends come over too. It just creates this amazing ambience.
I even tried it out with my newborn having it set to come on at a certain time very dim so I could breastfeed in the night without stirring him too much. Then wake up with a bright morning glow. It’s much better than using my actual alarm and startling the baby to wake to feed in the night and in the morning. It’s a more natural way for him to wake as much as it is for me. I think we might have to invest in two because it’s so handy for me and MM is in love with it so sharing is getting tricky now.
B hasn’t moved into his new bedroom in the loft yet with building on hold so we put the Hue lightbulb in his little lamp by his bed. He loves to read before bed and if I am bathing and feeding the baby it’s hard to keep track if he has turned off his light and gone to bed or if he is still sneakily reading his chapter books long into the night. This way I can check the app to see if his light is still on and I can even set in on a timer so that it dims or turns off when it’s time for him to go to bed. I love this feature. It gives him that independence without Mommy shouting up the stairs, “time to turn off your light and go to bed”.
I think as I get used to the settings on the app, I like the idea of setting routines with our lights throughout the house. In the summer evenings, the house lights can be dimmed for a more relaxing, cool feeling. In winter, our house is a cave even during the day, with the bright light feature it really does feel like natural light in a room. I know this will be huge as both my hubby and I suffer with the lack of bright light in the winter time.
It’s also a great option while we are on holiday when you want people to think someone is still at home. I know I would feel better knowing lights were on a rotation while I am gone. Or know when I get home I am not coming home to a dark house. I can turn the lights on before I get there or have them set for our arrival back home. We often fly red eye flights back from America and this will be a great feature to use in future for that.
What kid doesn’t like to control his own lighting in his room? This little superhero thought it was the best thing ever to discover the app and see what features it had. He had a good play with it including all the preset scene options. He even had a go at taking a photo in the living room and making his own scene up for our movie night lighting.
He hopped into his reading chair when I first installed the light and said he was just going to read a bit longer to test the lighting out. We agreed to give him 10 extra minutes longer than normal and I set the timer for him. He really thinks the lights are magic. I have to agree with him. He loves sleeping with the color red or orange on dim or the nightlight feature that’s already preset in the app.
Our old light bulbs were easy to swap out for the Hue lightbulbs. What a difference lighting can make to a room! I couldn’t believe how much brighter they were. Our house is really dark even on a sunny day and these lights throughout it make such a huge difference. I love more natural lighting so we use those settings more often.
It has transformed story time into a theatre type experience. The kids pick a book and we settled down on the sofa in the playroom. The kids each get to pick a color for the lightbulbs. If it’s during the day we have fun with vibrant colors like the blue below. I love that I can set scenes to this lamp as there is four light bulbs and can make each light bulb a different color. We were reading about the jungle the other day so we had it red, orange and green. It just makes the story come to life that bit more for the kids. Using their imagination is so important and lighting can be a big part of that experience.
I personally would like my desk lamp to stay pink forever. Hubby wouldn’t let me paint the walls in the family room pink so this is the next best thing. It’s nice as I work a lot late at night to just make it a calm environment with warm colors and fun lighting. I think it makes the corner look lovely but it’s really nice when I can turn all four lights in the living room on full brightness and the whole room looks as if we have big windows with natural light flooding in. This is the darkest room in our entire house, even in the middle of summer. Working in the dark can get depressing but I love the decor but can’t share it or take photos because it’s too dark and there are shadows on the wall which just don’t photograph well. Already with just the normal Hue white light setting on it’s so much better. It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to test out taking photos with the new lighting system in place now. I can take flatlays on the floor, or styled fashion photos in my new armchairs and not have to worry about dark shadows and grainy photos. It’s a must in my line of work so a big added bonus.
It’s also where we have our Google Assistant. It’s nice to be able to sit and read and just tell the system what lighting I want. I sometimes can get deep into a book and not realize the sun has gone down and I am squinting at the words on the page because I have been that engrossed into a book. No, just me? Surely, not! Now, I can just ask Google to turn the lamp on. Or if I am reading and feel like watching a movie I can just ask it to dim the lights or turn them a different color and turn on the TV for me. I love that so many things are now able to connect to our Google Assistant, making life interactive.
Last but not least and most importantly our family room lighting has been amazing for family time. The TV light strip has revamped movie night into feeling like we are at a fancy cinema. It’s made the kids want to do more things together in the family room too. Because this used to be the darkest room in the house we didn’t necessarily spend a lot of time together in it. Sounds crazy being it’s the family room. We have game night now with various colors on the TV light strip and the lamps in each corner. The lighting has made it so much brighter so we will be able to do fun things like playing games long into the dark months of winter without having to sit at the dining room table.
I think Philips Hue lighting system really is great for families. I am huge into routines and schedules so that feature alone has sold me on it. The idea that I can control it all in one place, so easily and even when I am on holiday is just luxury. Each room has been transformed with them.
“I am seeing my house in a whole new light,
excuse the pun! It really is smart lighting.”
*In collaboration with Philips Lighting