Two smart home projects that won’t break the bank


Have you been toying with the idea of designing a smart home but haven’t yet gotten around to it? Think you can’t afford it? These two simple smart home projects that won’t break the bank might be just the ticket. They are ideal for a beginner and are relatively cost effective.

One project turns your lighting into smart lighting while the other turns ordinary appliances into smart ones without replacing them. As long as you already have a wireless network in your home, these two projects can be achieved for under $200 each and only require an hour or two to complete.

Smart home lighting project
You can go in two directions on this smart home lighting project. You can use the Philips Hue lighting on their own and control them with your smartphone or integrate them with Amazon Echo for voice control too. We’ll stick with just the lights for now so we can stay under our $200 budget. You will need a Philips Hue starter kit to make this work.

Philips Hue uses smart light bulbs and a hardware bridge to control them all. It includes a smartphone app that you download onto your phone and control those lights. With 16 million color variations, a dimmer and optional extras, it’s a great first smart home project.

1. Insert the Philips Hue bulbs into your fixtures and turn them on.
2. Connect the Philips Hue Bridge to the mains and to your wireless router with the Ethernet cable. Once all lights are lit on the Bridge, everything is connected and talking.
3. Download the Hue app onto your smartphone.
4. Connect your smartphone to your Wi-Fi network and open the Hue app. The app will search for and connect to the Bridge.
5. Follow the Hue setup wizard to pair the lights with the Bridge.

Once the lights are paired and the app connected to the Hue bridge you can control every aspect of your lighting from your smartphone!

Smart appliance project
Most smart appliances cost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. But what if you could turn your existing appliances into smart ones for much less than that? Use the TP-Link smart plug and you can do just that.

You will need a TP-Link smart plug for each appliance you want to control which cost around $40 each.

1. Insert the smart plug into each socket and plug your appliance into the smart plug.
2. Download the Kasa app from TP-Link. You will have to create an account to get everything working but you need the account to be able to control the plug.
3. Open the Kasa app and tap the smart plug icon. The plugs Wi-Fi light should glow orange.
4. Tap Next and wait until the Wi-Fi light turns green on the plug.
5. Tap Next to pair the Kasa app with the plug. Once detected, give the plug a meaningful name and an icon.
6. Tap Remote Control to enable you to control the plug from your smartphone.
7. Select your Wi-Fi network and enter the Wi-Fi password. Tap Next. The app will now configure the plug to work with the app. This can take around a minute.

Once paired and set up, you can control the plug from the app. For example, you could plug your coffee machine into the plug and set it working from your phone while still in bed so it’s ready for when you get up. Ideal!

Creating a smart home doesn't have to be expensive. Check out the Cheap and easy smart home night light guide and save money with this smart home energy guide.
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