Why would you want to spend the extra money on color-changing smart lights instead of the usual cheap LED bulbs? So you can use them to throw a killer party, that’s why. Here’s how you can use Philips Hue lights to turn a boring living room into club-style lighting.

For this project, we’re assuming you have at least one Philips Hue colored light bulb (although the more the better). You’ll also need a third-party Hue Disco iOS or Android app. Hue Disco switches the colors of your lights to the beat, giving your room an atmosphere that matches the tone of any party you throw.

Disco Hue is $3.99, but it’s powerful enough to cost a few bucks, and if you’re on Android, you can always cover the cost by answering a few surveys. The app can be a bit intimidating at first, but if you want to create a custom lighting scheme for your home, it has all the tools you need.

First, choose your lights

When you first open Hue Disco, you will see a lot of options and sliders. This can all get a little overwhelming, so first we’ll deal with the most important thing: choosing the light bulbs you’ll be using for your party. If you’re like me, you may have installed lights in rooms where you won’t have guests, such as your office or bedroom. You can only select the lamps you want to invite to the party from the Lamps tab at the top of the screen.

On this page, turn on the switches next to each light you want to include in your party setup. For convenience, if you have a lot of lights, you can drag the ones you need to the top.

Please note that you can use any model of Hue lights for your party. However, regular white lights and colored background lights will only flicker. If you want to use a stroboscopic effect, you can use these bulbs (and they can be pretty fun), but full color bulbs give you the most flexibility.

Once you have selected your bulbs, you can return to Disco or Moods mode.

Use the disco mode to make music incendiary music

Disco Mode lets you choose the color scheme that your lights will glow in. You can switch colors based on a preset BPM to match your music, or let your phone listen to the ambient sound and try to match it. You will also find the strobe mode on this page. On the left screenshot below you will see the regular Disco Mode. If you touch the center button at the bottom with the lightning symbol, you will enter the strobe mode and see the screenshot on the right.

It’s a little overwhelming, so we’ll take a look at each feature and how to use it. Most importantly, there are three buttons at the bottom. Here are three types of disco mode you can use:

If you don’t care too much about giving your lights a special look, you can press one of these buttons to start riding your bike and it will look pretty good. However, you can do much more and make your party stunning by changing a few settings. Here are the settings on the disco mode screen (screenshot on the left above) and what they do.

You will also see two options below the color slider. One of them is an unlabeled dropdown that lets you choose between Smooth, Snap, and Mix. Smoothness will gradually fade from one color to another. Snap changes colors instantly. Mix will randomly choose one of these two transitions each time the lights change color. The second option is an auto-disco switch. If you turn on this switch, the application will automatically select the options on this screen, changing the settings periodically.

If you enter the strobe mode, your lights will flash. You will also be presented with another set of options.

Phew. There are plenty of options here, so don’t worry if you’re feeling a little overwhelmed. If you’re not sure what to do, you can simply select a color theme, press the Auto Disco or Strobe button, and let the app decide. In most cases, the default settings will look pretty good, but if you’re not happy, you can easily tweak it.

Use mood mode to create a more relaxed environment

Disco mode is very interesting for a fun party, but if you prefer a more subtle lighting pattern, you can go to the «Moods» tab. Moods are designed to cycle more slowly in the background rather than in time with the music. Like Disco Mode, you’ll find a big blue play button at the bottom, though thankfully there’s only one play mode.

Most of the settings on this page are the same or identical to the settings on the Disco tab, so we won’t repeat them here. However, you also have a few new options.

In my experience, moods are a bit more useful than disco mode, if only because you don’t have to match them to any music. You can dim the lights with a color scheme to keep things interesting without blinding anyone or risking your light show by dancing to its own slightly lagging rhythm. It all depends on what kind of party you want! Play around with the settings to match the mood you’re going for.

It’s also important to remember that Hue Disco uses your phone to control the lights, so you can’t let your phone die during a party. If you are using your phone’s microphone, it must also be in the music room. If you need to keep your phone on or can’t guarantee it will stay charged, you can use an old device to control your lights. Otherwise, just keep it on the charger and relatively close to the speaker.

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