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DIY projects

DIY ‘smart’ hanging bedside lights

If you want to avoid the mild inconvenience of turning your bedside lights on and off, this is the project for you. Our smart hanging bedside lights can be controlled by phone or voice which is a bit of a revelation in our household. We reckon they look pretty tasty too so to learn how we made + set our lights up, read on.

The smart bit

What allows our lights to be controlled by phone/voice is actually the bulb. There’s various smart bulb manufacturers but Philips’ ‘Hue’ range dominates the market. They’ve got a really broad range and we’ve been chuffed with ours (we have a few around the house). There’s a wifi receiver within the bulb which is what makes it so darn clever.

For our bedside lights, we wanted the classic filament bulb look so opted for the globe bulb from their filament range. Granted, smart bulbs aren’t cheap as they’re still a relatively small market (ours were £25 each) so this won’t be the cheapest DIY project you’ve ever done, but I guarantee it’ll be your favourite thing in your house.

If you just want to control your lights with your phone then the bulb is all you need. If speaking to yours lights is a novelty that you can’t do without, you’ll need a smart speaker like an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini which at the time of writing can be had for around £20.

The Hue app

The pendant

These bedside lights plug into a socket like you’d expect. We bought our plug in pendants from Vendiamia which has a great choice of styles. We went for the black twisted fabric pendant to match the matt black touches in our bedroom. You need to make sure the cable is long enough to make it from the socket, up to the bracket, and then dangle down again. 2 metres should be enough in most cases but we went for 3 metres to be sure.

Planning the bracket

There’s plenty of these hanging bracket bedside lights on t’interweb but the beauty of making your own is that you can make it the except shape/size/style that you want. I went for a really simple wall bracket-style design made up of 3 sections of leftover wood battens from wardrobe shelf supports.

Grab a pad and plan out dimensions that look about right. You don’t want the bracket to look hilariously small but equally it shouldn’t dominate the wall or be disproportionate to the bulb.

Cutting the wood

Clamp your wood, mark your cut lines and grab a woodsaw. The back and top section are simple 90 degree cuts. The diagonal section, however, needs to be cut at 45 degrees at both ends to support the other cuts. You can measure and mark this yourself or use a mitre box to make sure the cut is exact.

Drilling holes

There’s a few ways that you could cut the holes for the cable but I’ve got limited tools so opted to stitch drill. This basically involves drilling several holes in a row that meet up and create a long gap. Any proper woodworkers reading are probably weeping at the thought of this technique but it actually works pretty well. Three holes will need stitch drilling to allow the cable to pass up through the diagonal section & back of the top section and then back down the end of the top section to dangle.

At this stage you can now also drill pilot holes & countersinks for when you need to screw the bracket together plus attach the bracket to the wall through the back section. Don’t screw the bracket together yet.

Spray painting

Ahead of painting, get all the rough edges smooth with some fine grit sandpaper.

You could leave the wood naked if you fancy or stain/varnish it, but we opted to paint the bracket matt black. This job’s a breeze. Make sure that you spray paint all the nooks and crannies.

Assembly & mounting

The three bracket sections can now be screwed together. Lay the pendant cable in place and screw the sections together, allowing the cable to pass through the pre-drilled holes.

Decide where you want your brackets to be positioned and drill into the wall. If your drilling into a brick wall like me, grab some wall plugs and screw your brackets into the wall.

Set-up

Screw your bulbs in and open the Philips Hue app to set them up. If, like me, you’re using a Google smart speaker to control them by voice, open the Google Home app and follow the set-up instructions. And then, the moment of truth… “OK Google, bedroom on”. The first time your lights respond to your voice is more exciting than being told your going to Disneyland.

You can set the the lights up to respond to whatever you fancy. For example, Haz’ light responds to “Hats on” and “Hats off” which is obviously hilarious. If I’m being honest, the only reason I’ve done this project is so that every night before I go to sleep I can say “OK Google, Jack off” to turn off my lights – comedy gold. You can also dim the bulbs which is pretty nifty.


As I said, this is on the more expensive side of the projects I’ve done so far due to the cost of the bulbs as they’re still fairly new tech. Of course, you could make the exact same hanging bedside lights with a bog standard bulb, but where’s the fun in that?

Equipment

  • Pencil & pad
  • Metal ruler
  • Clamps/vice
  • Wood saw
  • Mitre box (optional)
  • Fine grit sand paper
  • Combi drill
  • Screwdriver

Materials

  • Philips Hue bulbs
  • Plug-in pendant
  • Wood battens (I used W30mm x T16.5mm)
  • Matt black spray paint
  • Wood screws
  • Wall plugs (if mounting into masonry wall)

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