You only need lights when it is dark and there somebody in the room to use it. Both conditions are easy to automate. With the price of motion sensors and smart lights, there are no reasons we need to use the switches anymore.

Automation Bank is a community-driven list of over 100 practical automation ideas to make the best use of your smart devices. Read more about Automation Bank Mission and get blown away by the best home automation ideas as voted by our users.

We believe that light automation is one of the first things you need to do for your house and below is the guide on how to do that.

How Does It Work?

  • There are two ways you can smarten your lights.
    • Install a smart switch. The benefit of this is that you will save on the bulb costs and nobody will accidentally switch off the dumb lights. Cons is that you cannot control the color/brightness and so on. You also need a neutral line in the box with your switch.
    • Install a smart bulb. The cons are that it is usually more expensive and somebody can switch off the smart lights using a dumb switch.
  • Another important element is the motion sensor.
    • Make sure that you install it in the right spot to cover the whole of the room and also avoid false triggers
    • Make sure that your motion sensor will also have a luminance sensor. It will allow you to also detect when it is dark enough in the room to switch on the lights. You can rely on time, but the luminance sensor is a much more reliable approach.

What Do You Need?

DeviceOur RecommendationPrice

IR hub

A dedicated bridge
that emulates your
IR remote
$10 - $30

RF hub

RF bridge that emulates your Remote


  • Sonoff RF Bridge ($23.99) is our favourite RF bridge. The first thing you need to do is to flash it with Tasmota. This will allow you to connect to your bridge but also just control the bridge better.
$20 - $30

Shut off valve

A valve that will close and open water supply
  • leakSMART Water Leak Detection Kit ($365.72) is a more expensive option. It has all you need to set you up shut off valve. There are some negative comments on the hub but it works well in general.
  • Grohe 22503LN0 (from $14.00) is even more expensive. For the additional price, you have flow sensors capable to detect the pipe bursts without the sensors and better overall build quality. At the same, it has fewer options for integrating with your smart hub.
$99 - $400

Door/Window Sensor

Reports if a door or window is open or closed
  • Zigbee:  SmartThings Multipurpose Sensor ($19.81) is the best sensor by Samsung. Reliable, good battery life and looks amazing
  • Z-wave:  Z-Wave Door & Window Sensor ($30.42) is the sensor we recommend by Ecolink. It is easy to install, has up to 3 years of battery life and great customer feedback
$20 - $30

Motion Sensor 

Detects any motion. Ideally combined with luminance sensor.
A relatively simple device, with the price mainly dependent on the protocol you are using:
  • Zigbee Motion Sensor: SmartThings sensor ($24.94) is the best for its price and stability.
$25 - $60

Water leak detector

A sensor that will trigger the shut-off valve to work
  • Samsung Leak Detector ($19.95) is the most affordable and simple solution. At this price, you should cover all the areas in your house. Requires A Smart Hub
  • FIBARO Flood Sensor ($54.99) is a very good Z-wave leak detector. It has great battery life, easy to pair and very accurate at alarms. Requires A Smart Hub
$20 - $55


Allows you to remotely switch on and off. Can be retrofitted to any existing devices. 
  • Wifi outlet: Kasa Smart WiFi Plug (price for 2 - $34.99) is the best for price and local connectivity.
$20 - $35

Smart Colour Bulb

A a colour bulb you can remotely control 

$24 - $35

White Bulb

Practical bulb that would work for majority of use cases
$10 - $20

Switch US

Switch to turn on and off lights. Require neutral wire in the box.
$30 - $45

How to Set Up?

Section below will have step by step instructions how to set this automation routine in the most popular smart hubs like SmartThings, Home Assistant, HomeSeer and Hubitat

Please leave comments below if you have any questions, or interested in the instruction for a specific system. This will help us to better focus our effort.