How To Make Dumb Lights Smart

By Steve Hall

*We may earn a commission for purchases made using our links. Please see our disclaimer to learn more.

For beginners to smart home technology, the most logical and common place to start is with the lights in your home. When converting a home into a smart home, changing old 'dumb' lights to smart lights that can be automated, is one of the first things that come to mind. Fortunately it's also one of the easiest and cheapest! You can even implement this change without changing to smart switches or smart bulbs!

Making dumb lights smart is easy by installing a snap on smart light switch that does not replace a conventional switch or require wiring to the home circuitry. These devices bring smart technology to standard lights quickly, easily, and cheaply. They are easily removable to take to a new home.

Public interest in smart homes is growing quickly as the technology and intelligence of the devices that make your home smart evolves and improves. The ability to turn lights on when you approach your house or turn lights off or on when you enter or leave a room is not only convenient but improves safety and energy efficiency in your home. We will demonstrate to you how simple it is to make your dumb lights smart.

How To Turn Dumb Lights Into Smart Lights

Many people who want to experiment with turning their home into a smart home find the prospect of making permanent, expensive changes to their home a daunting idea. The cost to replace existing light switches and outlets and the cost of an electrician to do the work may seem costly, especially if you are not totally sold on the idea yet.

smart lights

Another situation that may put people off making a move to smart technology is if they are renting their home or apartment. Generally, if you make changes to a rental property, especially regarding fixtures, you cannot take these with you when you leave, or you need to restore the fixtures to their original condition, resulting in additional expense.

Many people also prefer trying something new on a small scale before they commit to the concept and go big, installing the system throughout their home.

Fortunately, there is an easy method to try out some smart home features without making any permanent changes to your home or replacing switches or bulbs.

How Do You Turn A Regular Light Into A Smart Light?

Smart home technology has developedin leaps and bounds in a few short years and is getting better as time goes on. Technology is now available to turn traditional lights and light switches into smart lights with very little effort or expense.

The way many people turn a regular light into a smart light is to replace the switch with a smart switch or replace the bulb with a smart bulb. 

Smart Switches Are A Permanent Option

Smart switches replace your normal light switch with a smart switch that you can program, control from an app on your mobile phone, or integrate into a smart home management system such as Alexa.

Smart switches do require some knowledge about electricity and the wiring of your home to install safely however. Although they can be installed as a DIY option, most people opt to get an electrician out to install these switches, which is an additional expense.

The installation is also a more permanent option since it is not easily removed and relocated to another location without reversing the installation with the services of an electrician again.

Smart Bulbs Are A Better Option

How To Make Dumb Lights Smart 1How To Make Dumb Lights Smart 2

Smart bulbs are a simpler solution to installing a permanent smart switch. The installation is as basic as replacing a lightbulb.

No wiring changes need to be made that would require the services of an electrician, making this option a good choice from a simplicity point of view.

Smart bulbs can easily be removed, which is a great option if you are renting your home. When the time comes time to relocate to a new home, you can remove your smart bulbs to take with you and replace them with standard bulbs when you leave.

Snap-On Wireless Smart Switches Are The Easiest Option

How To Make Dumb Lights Smart 3How To Make Dumb Lights Smart 4

There are many advantages to replacing switches or bulbs, but if you are looking for a simpler, temporary, and easily removable solution, these options may not be the best choice.

Some smart home technology manufacturers have produced snap-on smart switches that can turn your dumb lights into smart lights in a matter of seconds! They are even easier to install than smart light bulbs and do not modify the electrical wiring in any way, making installation simple and easy.

Wireless, snap-on smart switches work with your existing bulbs and light switches. You simply snap these switches over your existing light switch, and you have an instant smart light!

The switch is held in place over the normal switch with magnets that adhere to the screw holding the light switch faceplate n place. This means that they work with plastic or metal switch faceplates.

These snap-on switches contain electronics that bring intelligence to the switch, as well as mechanical components to automate manual control of the existing light switch. The best way to explain these snap-on switches is to give an example.

Switchmate For Rocker Style Light Switches

This switch is an example of the snap-on type of smart switch available, and it comes at a cost that is cheaper than most smart bulbs!

The Switchmate for rocker-style light switch installs in seconds and does not modify any of your existing circuitry in your home, making it easy to remove if necessary.

This should explain how to use remote smart switches to switch regular lights on and off as well as perhaps smart plugs to switch lamps on and off.

The Switchmate rocker style smart switch offers the following features.

Quick and easy setup. The setup requires no tools, no wiring changes, and no professional assistance, and all batteries are included! Attaches magnetically to the screws in existing wall plates – simply snap in place and go!

Snap-on installation. The snap-on style is ideal for homeowners, renters, or students. The sleek design fits over existing wall plates for a clean, seamless look.

Adds convenience. A timer function, remote control for the on/off function, as well as a manual switch function from the panel, brings smart features to standard light switches.

Google Assistant compatibility. This feature brings voice control to the smart switch. It can also pair with Power by SimplySmart Home for Amazon Alexa and Google Home compatibility.

Free Switchmate Mobile App. You can download the free app for this device which is compatible with both Android and iOS Devices.

Switchmate comes in different models to cover both rocker and toggle-style standard light switches, giving you options for the type of switches you have in your home.

How To Bring Smart Feature To A Plug In Lamp

smart lamp

Standard lighting is not the only form of lights in the average home. Many homes have plug-in lamps for bedside lighting or large free-standing lamps in living spaces for ambient lighting.

How do you bring smart functionality to these lights without making changes to your existing electrical outlets and wiring?

If you have plug-in lamps that you want to add smart features to, you could add a smart bulb to the lamp, or you could simply install a smart plug. A smart plug works similarly to the snap-on light switch. You do not need to replace the outlet or change any wiring.

The smart plug will plug into your normal electrical outlet. Plugging your lamp into the smart plug will bring smart features to your lamp. The advantage of a smart plug is that you can use it for any device, not only your free-standing lamp. This adds some flexibility over simply installing a smart bulb.

How To Make Dumb Lights Smart 5How To Make Dumb Lights Smart 6

An example of this type of smart plug device is the Gosund Mini Smart Plug which turns an ordinary outlet into a smart outlet for less than $10!

Compatibility with Alexa and Google home offers voice control if you decide to install these systems in the future. Remote control via the associated app and WiFi compatibility offers true remote control, even if you are not at home. You can set timer functions on the smart plug via the app to turn your lamp on and off at scheduled intervals.


Dipping your toe in the smart home pool is not a difficult, complicated, or expensive undertaking with these easy-to-install smart devices.

You do not need any tools, skills, or professional knowledge to get a snap-on smart switch or mini smart plug installed and working. With these products, it is possible to bring smart technology to your home within minutes.

The best part about them is that they can be removed as easily as they are installed, so if you move to a new home, you can take your smart technology with you!

Social box scroll stop element

Steve Hall

Steve Hall is the founder of this website, a certified technology professional and a smart home tech enthusiast fascinated by the power of connected devices.

More to explore

Ever since we decided to build a smart home, my wife talked with giddy excitement about the idea of choosing the best smart home lighting for our house. [...]

How To Pick The Best Smart Home Lighting