Lamp Control Best Practices

I'm looking for a bit of guidance as I start to buy more lamps for my house. Currently, most of my rooms have recessed lighting and I'm looking to augment with lamps. Historically, I've struggled to control lamps because the use of smart bulbs or smart outlets introduce dual switches in series. In other words, the physical switch on a lamp does not play well with smart control. A major principle I try to follow with smart homes is to preserve the pre-smart physical functionality, but I haven't found a way to do that with lamps.

Also, wall control is a challenge, albeit with more work arounds with either multi-tap rules or special switches. However, my double and triple taps are mostly consumed for dimmer presets on the recessed lighting.

At any rate, I'm curious how people are integrating lamps into their smart homes these days. Have you found a ways to preserve physical control withoit cutting power to smart control? Have you found intuitive ways to control them from wall switches?

Use a ZEN34 remote / wall switch if you need an extra switch.

Depending on how much room is inside the lamp, you may be able to cram a ZEN51 relay in there, using the existing switch and making it "smart" at the same time. You would need an open cavity inside the lamp or to get creative for this to work.

Use Inovelli (or similar) dimmers that have smart bulb mode for wall control of smart bulbs. Smart bulb mode keeps the power at 100%, essentially turning the dimmer into a button device. An alternative that will work on the wall or on a table by a lamp is Lutron Picos.

I use this ...


And this for lamps ..


In my living room with no switched outlets I put smart bulbs in every lamp and removed the knobs or pull chains for each lamp. Initially there were three ways to control them - a pico/smart button next to the lamp, by voice using an echo dot, or by phone (smart things initially and now iOS home).

After a while my family gravitated to voice first and phone second. They never used the buttons so I removed them.

In the bedroom I did the same thing, but here the buttons where first choice and phone was second. Voice never gets used. Each lamp gets a pico/smart button.

What I found made the most sense with a few houses I worked on:

  1. Lutron Dimmer Plug

  2. An ON/OFF Lutron Pico Remote:


  1. I don't recommend the remote that comes with the plug. It seems to confuse people on what buttons to push and then they want to turn the lamp on manually. Additionally the remotes I suggested will keep your lamps at 100% since those remotes are on / off only.

  2. Having a smart lamp / control is still a bit of a tough sell and not the easiest to adopt as @ireallyhopethisworks points out. I would agree if you make your lamps smart, disable the ability for someone to turn the lamp on and off from the lamp itself.

  3. You can directly associate the Lutron Plug and Remote together. If your hub goes down, the remote/lamp combo will still work.

  • The only caveat is you need a Lutron PRO Bridge if you don't have one already, make sure to get model #L-BDGPRO2-WH.

  • The alternative as @jtp10181 mentioned is the Zooz route. A ZEN34 remote with a ZWave plug. These two can also be directly associated together.

  • I have both and prefer the Lutron.

I've dissected a couple pull chain switches and I've not, yet, succeeded.

I do this three ways. For lamps that are accent lighting I use smart bulbs controlled by an Inovelli switch and / or rule automations. Lamps that require a higher output similar to a traditional three-way bulb we use the Lutron plug, associated pico and 150 w equivalent dimmable led bulb. Third are smart bulbs and Lutron pico. My first effort was with nightstand lamps using dimmable bulbs and the Lutron combo plug and pico. It is just as easy and less expensive to use a pico and a smart bulb. We never have to fiddle with switches on the lamps. Most are automated to some extent as parts of scenes and now set with room lighting.

I used voice commands a lot for extra lighting. That and as you mentioned multi taps on certain swtiches. Others I have a mirror app setup to turn on a table lamp when the ceiling lamp turns on, etc.