The best thing to do (it was for me at least), is to figure out what you want your home to do. I’m sure you have an overall goal or fantasy about what you’d like automated, like, “A home that reads me bedtime stories, wakes me up to a hot shower, cooks me breakfast, dresses the kids and drives me to work.” Or, something more practical, like, “A home that checks email and my postal mail, has light that follows me around the house, knows when I am too hot/cold, and wakes up before I do.”
All of this is possible in some variation. The key is, to keep those grand goals in mind while figuring out which problems you can solve today. Choose the low-hanging fruit – the smallest projects that can cause the greatest impact on your life.
For me, it was:
I want to automate all of our outdoor security lights and get them off timers that we constantly have to adjust.
My wife wants a night light that knows when she gets out to bed at night to light her way to the bathroom.
My wife wants to stop having to drive back home to make sure she put the garage door down.
I have a fan that’s 15ft in the air that doesn’t have remote control, and I want to turn it on from the couch.
As you tackle those small problems, you will get a better idea of what you can realistically do, and how HA can benefit you and your family. With each project, do research on the forums here (and around the web), and ask as many questions as possible. The ST Community is extremely helpful, and many people have tackled the projects that you come up with. You will benefit from their experience, successes and failures.
So, tell us what you want to do, no matter how far-fetched it may seem, and I’m sure someone has done it, tried it, or can tell you whether it’s even currently possible or not.
The community – created wiki has a “get started” list in the quick browse section under project reports. It’s a good place to start when you’re looking for ideas of what to do with home automation. Includes threads like “top 10 things to do with SmartThings” and “what device should I buy next?” Etc
There’s also a fun list there of “impress your friends” projects which many people find inspiring.