Philips Hue lights are cool, but are you using them to their full potential? Of course, you can control them from your smartphone and turn them on from anywhere, but there are many other useful tricks you can use. Here are some clever uses for your Philips Hue setup.

RELATED: How to set up your Philips Hue Lights

Scroll through colors to keep kids on task

replica Philips Hue-Lights

If you constantly have difficulty getting your kids ready for bed on time in the morning and evening, a fun way to keep the kids on track is to turn on Hue light bulbs in a different color at specific times.

RELATED: How to turn Philips Hue lights on or off on a schedule

For example, you can turn on the orange light to indicate that it’s time for the kids to get ready for bed. And in the morning, you could at some point turn blue, indicating that they have five minutes to go downstairs and have breakfast. This is a fun little game that kids can enjoy, but it also helps you a lot as a parent.

You can simply use the Routines feature in the Philips Hue app to make this possible, so it’s very easy to set up and implement.

Know if it will rain


If you’re about to go outside and aren’t sure if you should take an umbrella with you, you can put a Philips Hue light at your front door that will let you know.

Through IFTTT, you can make the Hue bulb blue if it’s about to rain, and red or orange if it’s going to be especially hot. Of course, you probably don’t need to keep the lights on all the time, so you can attach a motion sensor so that the bulb only turns on when you walk near the front door.

Movement activate dim lights at night


With the Hue light and motion sensor, you can turn the lights on very faintly in the middle of the night, so if you have to get out of bed to use the restroom, you can actually see where you’re going.

You can install a motion sensor under the bed and only activate it for a certain amount of time, so that when you get out of bed and the motion sensor sees your feet, you can turn on the light, which turns on dimly. What’s more, you can purchase a couple of Hue Lightstrip Plus kits and attach them to your bed frame to create more aesthetically pleasing lighting.

Add automatic cabinet and pantry lighting


Many people think living spaces and bedrooms can use Hue fixtures, but closets and pantries tend to be left out. But in fact, these are some of the most profitable places for smart light bulbs.

RELATED: How to add automatic lighting to your cabinets

Attaching a Hue lamp and a motion sensor inside a closet or pantry is a great way to turn the lights on and off automatically when you access those places, and it can be very handy considering you no longer have to fumble around for a light switch or pull a string ever again.

Quickly see if all your doors are locked


If all your exterior doors are equipped with smart locks, such as those offered by Kwikset or Schlage, you can use them to communicate with a Philips Hue light that turns green (or any color) when all your doors are locked.

RELATED: 10 Smart Ways to Use Samsung SmartThings Sensors

You can do this by connecting your Philips Hue smart locks and lights to SmartThings and using the SmartThings app to set up a task using the SmartApp in SmartThings. You can then program it so that the Hue lamp turns on and changes color when all of your smart locks are in the locked position.

Of course, you can just open the corresponding app and see if all the doors are closed and ready to go, but being able to take a quick look at the light bulb is a much more convenient option.

Lights up red when the smoke detector goes off


While you will most likely hear the smoke detector go off, there are a number of reasons why you may not be able to hear it. If you have a smoke detector in your garage that would be hard to hear in your bedroom, for example, it would be nice to have an extra signal to let you know it’s going out.

If you have a smart smoke detector like the Nest Protect, you can turn it on to turn the Philips Hue backlight red. You can do this using IFTTT, which is a service that can connect a ton of products and services that you might not otherwise be able to connect.

See if the letter has arrived yet


I always like to know when mail has arrived in a day, and a great way to find out is to attach a sensor to my mailbox and then turn on the tint light when that sensor turns off.

(Note: There is some gray area as to whether it’s illegal or not to put anything other than mail inside a mailbox, but if it doesn’t interfere with the mail carrier, then they probably won’t care.)

You can use the Hue Motion Sensor or the SmartThings Open/Close Sensor on the mailbox door. From there, you can turn on a light tone in your home that will let you know if the email has already arrived today. You can even set it up so that a door opening twice in the same day indicates that mail has already been checked.

Image by Mike Cole/Flickr

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