Need help with a smart light setup for my basement

My basement lighting is set up in a way where every single light bulb is on a separate switch. These switches are scattered throughout the basement, some are on the far side of the wall from the area they provide light, meaning you need to walk across a dark section to get to the appropriate light switch.

I want to be able to turn on all the lights at the top of the stairs to the basement. Whenever I go down there I need all of them on so there is no need to have them separated.

It would seem that all I need to do is put smart bulbs into all of the sockets, but I don’t want to have to take my phone out or use some voice command product every time I want to turn on the basement lights. I just want a physical switch that I can use to turn on all of the wifi bulbs at once that I can put at the top of the stairs.


As long as all the devices are connected there are several ways to do this. I use a z-wave switch at my front door for a light by the door, but there are also a set of lights down the length of the front porch and a set of flood lights. When I turn on the front door light to go out side at night I can turn on the one switch and they all come on on. The flood light switch is in another room and the porch light switch is on another wall. I have smartthings setup so that when I turn on the front door lights all the other lights come on as well. They also go off when I turn off that switch. This can be done with any combination of connected devices. I do this with the classic app’s smart lighthing smartapp, but it could be done with webcore or the new apps’ automations I am pretty sure.

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This forum is for people who are using the Samsung smartthings home automation platform. So questions and answers are always in that context.

(It’s a very active forum so it tends to come up near the top Of general home automation Google searches, but it’s not a general forum.)

Assuming you have a smartthings hub, it’s very easy, :sunglasses: there are literally dozens of battery operated Devices which you can place anywhere in the room. The switch then talks to the hub, and the hub talks to whatever smart bulbs/switches you have set it up to talk to when the battery switch is activated.

All kinds of form factors as well, from ones that look just like a regular switch to multibutton devices.


FAQ: Full list of buttons and remotes confirmed to work with SmartThings

As @Terminal mentioned, as long as you have a smartThings hub, you can also do that with mains-powered smart switches and dumb bulbs.

If you don’t have a smartThings hub, but you use smart bulbs that will work with the Phillips hue bridge, then it also has some “place anywhere“ switches that you can use, although they don’t have as many choices. I think the maximum is four “scenes” from one switch. So it really depends on exactly what you want the setup to be. But certainly you could have one switch that turns on all the smart bulbs in the room at once. And you could put a couple of those in the room, for example if you wanted one at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom. ( The Phillips hue devices are zigbee, by the way, not Wi-Fi. It’s a wireless radio frequency protocol, but a different one than Wi-Fi. That’s why you need to Phillips hue bridge to operate them.)

I don’t know of any similar devices that work with Wi-Fi smart bulbs, though.

I wouldn’t use smart bulbs, as the bulbs are connected to switches. It’s generally not a good idea to use smart bulbs on switched circuits for a couple reasons. Smart bulb life can be adversely affected by being switched on and off regularly. Additionally, the switches may get turned off manually, rendering the bulbs inaccessible to the home automation system.

Instead, replace the switches with smart switches. Then, presuming you are using SmartThings, you can program it so turning on one of the switches will turn on the remainder.

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Have you considered using a motion detector? Every time I walk into my office (during certain hours), my office lights come on. You could use the same mechanism to detect when you leave (or fall asleep on the couch) to turn them off.


I think bulbs and buttons are just fine. It sounds like if someone flips a switch accidentally they will put out one light, not all of them. Also, much quicker to install (and cheaper). Yes, all my many smart bulbs are connected to switches. But over time we’ve all gotten used to not flicking them. So, depends on your budget, your comfort with swopping out electrical switches, and whether or not you have a neutral wire that lets you swop them out. Smart bulbs are a perfectly fine option.

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How about this?

  1. A Philips Hue hub and as many Hue bulbs as needed for the basement sockets.
  2. A Lutron Aurora dimmer attached to the switch at the top of the stairs.
  3. As many magnetic switch covers as needed to cover the switches in the basement.

You should only have to open the Hue app once to program the lights to be controlled by the dimmer. After that, use the dimmer to turn all the lights on/off and use the magnetic switch covers as a gentle reminder not to turn the other switches off.


I don’t totally disagree with this but I have a few smart bulbs connected to circuits that have switches. I mainly did this because my house was built in the early 90s and they didn’t always run neutrals to the switch boxes. So you couldn’t use a smart switch. I had many switches re-wired and added neutrals, but in some cases, I felt just adding a cover over the switch so you know not to turn it off was sufficient… You can get them on Amazon for a few dollars. They still allow you to flip the switch if you need to but reminds you not to.

All that being said a connected bulb can be a easy and quick way to automate a circuit.

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This looks like the best option for me, thanks!

Yes, as @tleroy mentioned the new Lutron Aurora Switch Is going to make life much easier for many people with smart zigbee bulbs. It fits right over an existing toggle switch, locking it in place so people can’t accidentally turn the power off, but giving you a very intuitive dimmer switch in its place. With the ability to assign that switch to any combination of smart bulbs that you have connected to a hue bridge. :sunglasses:

It’s battery operated, but the battery is supposed to last about three years under normal usage and you can just pop the knob off to replace it.

Amazon will have it beginning July 15, but quite a few other places have started shipping it now. :sunglasses:

I’ve got one on order for the bathroom vanity lights. We have a childlock on the switch and a Phillips hue dimmer on the wall next to it, but one of my housemates has a girlfriend who just has not been able to figure it out and is always turning the lights off at the switch. :scream:

So this will solve that problem once and for all. :tada:

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I like this!! Hopefully the husband will too. In addition to frequent lack of neutrals in our house, he also doesn’t like the look of paddle switches. Maybe he’ll like this one for a couple of places.

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