Bathroom occupied indicator help

I have the opportunity to increase the xAF (WAF) in my house and need some ideas. I know this sounds stupid but my wife would love it and help my SmartThings future :smile: We have one bathroom in our house and my wife hates it when she gets up to go to the bathroom and someone is in there, especially at night if she is in bed. My daughter takes forever in the shower.
I want to put an open/close sensor on the door and have some sort of indicator that will tell when the door is shut. The door always stays open when no one is in there. I was thinking a light of some sort but I would think that would get annoying, especially in the bedroom if the light is off. I could also use a dashboard (smarttiles) but was looking for something that was always there. The dashboard may be a little too much for this simple task.
Something she can just glance over and see, maybe like a small light?

I need some ideas.


I use Hue lights for this sort of thing. I have a light strip on the back of our TV that lights up a few different colors for different conditions. You could also use a Bloom or an Iris, depending on where you want to put it.

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With a basic on/off appliance module or dimmer module, you can plug in any sort of very subtle nightlight…

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I’m starting to think I over-engineer this stuff… :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


As someone who’s had a lot of sleep issues over the last few years, I’ll toss in a few of the tips I’ve been given to help keep a nightlight or nighttime notification from waking up a sleeping person:

  1. keep the light physically low, preferably way below the bed line. Or put it right up at the ceiling line. Lights from the top of the mattress to about 3 feet above the bed are the most likely to wake a sleeping person.

  2. if the light is colored, choose very dim warm white or pale orange - red. These are the least likely to wake the person.

  1. if you sleep with the door open, put the indicator light in the next room, like the hallway. It will still be visible when you look to check it late at night, but psychologically it will seem less important when it’s farther away, and so less disruptive

The whole point of all of this is that in this use case, the light is not an alarm light and should not demand attention. It should not wake someone up who is sleeping. It’s just there as information for a person who does wake up.

BTW, until I was told, I had no idea that blue light was more likely to make you feel awake and make it harder to go back to sleep then an orange light. That feels counterintuitive to me but apparently it’s true. Blue light will wake up your brain in a way that orange light does not.

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I’ve been thinking about a red/orange light under the bed for this reason, so I can keep the nightstand light off at night. The underbed light could provide enough position reference to keep from bumping into furniture in the dark, with less impact on sleep.

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You may just need to experiment. The rule of thumb I was given is that the further away from the bed the light is, the less likely it is to wake the person. So a very dim light right next to the bed might wake someone up while a slightly brighter light that is on the far side of the room might not wake them up. There’s actually a theory that the person does wake up a little bit in both cases when the light comes on, but there will be a greater need to investigate an environmental change that happens close to the person.

This stuff comes up a lot in medical monitoring, which is why I’ve run into it. (I’m a quad.) where you put the indicator lights for any monitoring equipment in the room can make a big difference to the person’s quality of sleep.

I like underbed lights a lot as furniture position indicators for someone who is already awake and wants to move around without turning on the regular lights.

I’m just concerned that an indicator light coming on underneath the bed might wake the person up, which wouldn’t be good for the original use case in this thread. The wife doesn’t want to be awakened every time the daughter is in the bathroom. It’s just that if the wife is awake she wants to know if the bathroom is occupied without having to get out of bed. so as always, the details make a difference.

But again it’s something you can experiment with. If you do use a sleep tracker, it’s really helpful, because you can see exactly when you change from deep sleep to light sleep, so you can tell if your sleep is being disturbed by the indicator going on and off even though you don’t remember the events in the morning.

Funny that you asked. My wife was asking for the same thing. I have two spare iPhone 3gs. Using SmartTiles. I have just 4 tiles on it. Clock, mode , room temp and the last one is for the washroom door. It’s in my son’s bedroom and our bed room. Been having for about 6 months and it’s awesome. I use an app called f.flux for auto dimming and tuning out blue light.


Thanks everyone for all the info, I knew I would get help here!!!
@btk, I was trying to stay away from a bright light but I think that may be the best way. I had bought the Hue Disney Storybook Light off a friend for a really good price, I think its just a Bloom with Mickey ears…lol. I have not connected it to ST yet but knew I could find a use for it, this is my first HUE and the price was great. I also have a spare open/close sensor so sounds like a win win.

@JDRoberts, as usual your knowledge amazes me! My wife is a light sleeper and the reason I did not want a regular light is I did not want to wake her. All your info will help me in placing and coloring it properly, THANK YOU!

@tgauchat, I had not thought of using an Appliance module and regular nightlight. I may try that if I find the need to move the HUE to serve another purpose.

@Navat604, Glad to see I am not the only one with this need :smile: SmartTiles was my very first thought but she is not going to want to turn something on to check each time.

I am going to try to setup the “Bloom” somewhere in the room and have it come on as dim as I can but still see it. When I didn’t want the light before I had not thought about just dimming it really low :blush:

Without looking does anyone know what simple app I could use for this?



Dashboard / Shortcuts Solution built-in under Lights & Switches should have “Turn on light when door…”… Oh. Without looking, maybe only works when door opened, well… Take a look there first. Always should be the starting place.

After that, I love the rule builders, because this is such a simple case.

Yeah, only when opened. I forgot about SmartRules. I just set it up but have to wait for my daughter to get out of the bathroom to test…lol

Hello Home Actions can turn a light on “when something closes.” :blush:


I didn’t know that. Thanks!

I know what you mean. My wife wouldn’t open her phone to check for that either but because I am using my spare phone as a clock, music, mode check, temp and washroom door check. It’s actually pretty convenience and it’s always on but I don’t see anyone would do this unless there is a phone laying around.


I do like the way that looks.

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You could buy a cheap phone for just this purpose. All it needs is to be able to use Wi-Fi, it doesn’t have to have a phone account that was ever turned on.

Walmart has an LG android phone with a capacitive touchscreen for $19.84 which is a popular choice if you want a Wi-Fi only phone. At that price, it’s cheaper than pretty much all the other solutions we discussed so far.

And since phones are battery-operated, you could even stick this on a wall across the room if you want to place it far away from the bed, and charge it during the day, just using different colors for the Open vs Closed status. Although I think most people would want this one close to the bed. :sunglasses:


Thanks, how do you get the phone to display the information that you have on yours?

I have been using old phones as digital clocks throughout my home. For example; I have a Roku 3 box and while I am watching something, I often want to know what time it is? In fact, most cable, satellite or other TV providers do not show the time when a program is paused! It makes so much sense that no one does it! I put an old phone below the TV that shows the time and is always on.

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That’s SmartTiles, though the current version has some limitations on login time which won’t be fixed for a few weeks.


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