Thursday, September 21, 2023

How to use smart lighting in your child’s room: tips, equipment and more

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If you’d rather not change the main light source in the room, consider adding a color-changing lamp. There are many options, from Amazon Echo Glow at Govee Aura, but it should be noted that you can still use a smart bulb in an ordinary lamp.

For parents using a lamp as a night light, consider pairing it with a smart outlet (we have several recommendations here), so you can turn it off remotely without waking your child by crawling around the room. You can also program smart plugs to automatically turn lights on or off.

We tried out several lamps before settling on a bluetooth speaker called the Soundcore Flare Mini (we recommend the larger Soundcore Flare in our Best Guide to Bluetooth Speakers too much). It has LEDs in the base with a variety of lighting modes. After settling in for the night, I use it to play sleep stories, music or soothing sounds. My daughter also uses it for Spotify during the day and the lights change to the beat. (It doesn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity.)

Smart light strips can transform rooms

Photography: LIFX

For more impactful and versatile lighting, consider smart light strips. These are rows of LEDs on a strip with an adhesive backing. Some are not designed to be viewed directly and may look quite ugly. What is difficult is finding the perfect places for them. Recessed areas are best, so the light shines while hiding the strips, but one end should be close enough to a power outlet.

Here are some tips that I learned the hard way: Test it before you secure it in place. Clean the wall thoroughly to give the adhesive backing the best chance of working or you will find it peels off over time. You can usually cut a light strip to the size you want, but be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. And whatever you do, make sure the cat isn’t in the room when you set it up. Also be aware that these bands can be difficult to remove; they could leave residue or peel off the paint.

There are two main types of smart light strips. The cheapest type can only display one color at a time. I installed the Govee smart LED light strip under my child’s two beds and it works extremely well as a night light. It supports app and voice assistant control, but what I like the most is the simple control unit with physical buttons for power, color cycling, and sync with the music.


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