A motion sensor light bulb is different to a smart light. It is cheaper, easier to install and operate and you can find at least 27 different ways to use one! If you’re thinking about adding convenience to your home, here are the best ways to use one of these lighting solutions. If you’ve never used them before you’re in for a treat. I still remember the first time I used one in my home. Suddenly I was finding lots more ways to use them, they’re so useful.
There are indoor and outdoor motion sensor bulbs but you can often use an outdoor bulb inside your house and similarly you can use an indoor bulb on a covered outdoor area (this is my experience anyway).
With a motion sensor bulb you don’t need to replace your light fitting. It’s a perfect way to improve the functionality of your lighting without committing to anything permanent. You’re just replacing a bulb. This is so easy you’ll wonder why you didn’t start doing it sooner.
Are all motion sensor light bulbs the same?
There are lots of different features on this type of bulb. You need to be careful that you know what you’re actually getting before you buy one.
Obviously the first thing to check is the size and fitting for your light. You need it to fit properly. But this is just the beginning.
With this type you need to know about lots of other things they can do and determine what features you need.
Let’s take a look at the features to consider before buying:
- Size and fitting of your light fixture
- Whether you want a dusk to dawn feature
- Will this bulb be used close to other lighting sources?
- Do you need directional light or a broad spread of light?
- Do you need warm or cool light?
- Is there more than one light connected to the switch?
- Do you want to turn the switch on and off once a day or leave it on automatic 24 hours?
- At what distance do you want the sensor to activate?
- Do you have a pet that is likely to activate the sensor?
So, here are the 27 ways to use one of these bulbs and as I go through each idea I’ll address the features you need to take into account before you buy.
Motion Sensor Light Indoor Ideas
1. Motion Sensor Light for Basement Stairs
Do you hate having to turn get to the switch before you go down the basement stairs. Often, the switch is located in an awkward position, or even worse, you need to take a few steps in the dark before you get to the switch.
To avoid this difficulty, install a motion sensor light bulb above your basement stairs and as soon as you open the door to your basement or take a step towards the stairs, your light will turn on.
If you store large items in your basement, you don’t want to be grasping in the dark for the switch while you’re holding heavy items. This can lead to disaster. Keep your basement stairs safe with this type of bulb.
Tip: consider getting a bulb that stays on for longer before automatically switching off. Alternatively, get one where the time is adjustable so you have enough time to get back to the stairs with it still on. Of course it will turn on again when you approach it but it might be better for you if it stays on longer while you’re down in the basement.
2. Motion Sensor Light for Garage
This is one of the best places for a sensor light bulb. You can replace the current bulb and save yourself so much trouble having to switch on (and off) your garage light.
I used to regularly forget to turn off my garage light. Having a sensor light bulb that automatically turns it off saves electricity.
When you drive into your garage at night it is so convenient to have the light come on. You save time and effort having to get to the switch in the dark. You’ll be so much safer not fumbling around in the dark. Avoid twisting an ankle or bumping into things.
Tip: if you have a double or triple garage you may have more than one light attached to the one switch. If you do, you’ll need to get a motion sensor light bulb for each of these light fixtures. Why? Because you’ll need to leave the switch on to use the sensor bulb and this means all the other lights will stay on continuously. By replacing them all with sensor bulbs they’ll only come on once they detect motion.
3. Place One in the Laundry Room
Is your laundry room rather dark? Do you ever take dirty laundry to the washing machine at night? You may need a motion sensor bulb in your laundry room or in the hallway near it.
My laundry room is quite dark even during the day so I use a sensor light bulb in there. It’s also at the bottom of stairs so it’s best if I don’t need to get to the switch.
If you’re carrying a laundry basket and your hands are full, the last thing you want to do is reach up to a switch for the light.
Tip: if you’re approaching your laundry room from an unusual angle you’ll want the motion sensor to cover a wide field. Don’t get one that is highly directional if you need it to detect you from a wider angle.
4. Motion Sensor Light for Linen Closet
Do you have a light fitting in your linen closet? Replace it with a sensor bulb and you’ll have automatic light every time you open the door. It’s as easy as that.
No need to flick a switch or pull a chain to get light. And no fumbling around in the dark trying to find linens or towels.
This is such a simple idea but gives you so much convenience. It also means you’ll never accidentally leave the light on in your linen closet again.
Tip: If your linen closet is in a room or hallway with a bright light close to it, you won’t want a “dusk to dawn feature” on your sensor light bulb. Why? Because when you open the door, if the light is too bright the bulb won’t turn on, thinking it is not yet after dusk when it is meant to activate (according to the light detected).
5. Motion Sensor Light for Bathroom
This is a brilliant idea if you need to get up to go to the bathroom at night or if you have kids. Instead of stumbling around in the dark, add a motion sensor light bulb to your bathroom.
You will then have the perfect night light when it’s needed. No need to leave a light on all night just in case the kids get up. You can save electricity.
Add one bulb to a light that is exposed to the door of the bathroom to ensure the sensor detects movement when you open the door and enter.
Tip: There are lots of different bathroom motion sensor lighting options such as light up toilets, under cabinet lights and more. If you’re interested to see more details, take a look at Bathroom Motion Sensor Lighting here.
6. Use for Internal Stairs
Do you have kids who leave the stair light on? Sick of yelling at them to turn the light off?
There are two advantage to using a motion sensor bulb near stairs. Firstly, stairs can be dangerous in the dark. By using a light that comes on as soon as someone is there you know it’s safer for you and your family.
Secondly, kids and other family members often forget to turn the light off on internal stairs. If you want to save electricity use a sensor bulb to let it turn itself off automatically. This will give you peace of mind knowing you don’t need to yell at the kids yet again.
Tip: Make sure the sensor is strong enough to detect people at the bottom of the stairs as well as people at the top (if there is a direct line of sight). This way you get the full benefit of the light bulb and you only need one light above the stairs instead of one at the bottom and one at the top. Most motion sensor light bulbs tell you their maximum vertical distance for the sensor to activate.
7. Hallway light
Place a sensor bulb in the hallway outside your kids’ bedrooms. This is perfect because you don’t need to leave a night on all night (which wastes energy) and yet they’ll be able to see if they get up during the night for a drink of water or to go to the bathroom.
This type of light is good outside any bedroom but it’s especially good outside kids’ rooms and guest rooms because your visitors may not know where the switch is in the middle of the night.
If you have a hallway to get to the kitchen this is also a good place for a sensor light if anyone in your family is inclined to go and get a drink of water during the night.
Tip: if you’re choosing a sensor bulb for outside the bedrooms, you’ll probably want a warm white color rather than a cool white. In the middle of the night the warm white will be easier on the eyes.
8. Master Bedroom Closet Light
Do you have a large master bedroom closet? Sick of having to remember to turn off the light? Install a motion sensor light bulb and you can just leave it on, it will automatically turn itself off.
This is a great way to save on electricity. I’ve been known to leave the closet light on all day after forgetting to turn it off. My closet is quite dark without the light so I need to use it every time. It’s so easy to just open the door and instantly have light.
Tip: don’t use a sensor bulb with a dusk to dawn feature. Why? Because if your closet is dark (like mine) you’ll need to use the light during day and night. If the light from daylight or another bulb is bright in the bedroom when you open the door to the closet, your sensor bulb will not turn on with the dusk to dawn feature because it detects too much light. This really defeats the entire purpose of having the sensor light in your closet. However, if your light fixture is quite secluded at the back of the closet you may not need to worry about this.
9. Pantry Motion Sensor Light Bulb
Sick of trying to find the packet of pasta in the dark at the back of your pantry? With a sensor bulb the light will come on automatically every time you open the pantry door. There’s no hassle of pulling a chain for the light.
So long as you already have a light fixture in your pantry it’s easy to replace the normal bulb with a sensor bulb. This will be appreciated by the entire family (midnight snack anyone?)
Tip: if your pantry is narrow and tall (like mine is) you may want to use a bulb with more directional light so you don’t have to deal with the glare every time you open the door to the pantry. One way to do this is to use a small motion sensor floodlight instead of a normal shaped bulb that throws the light out around it. The floodlight uses more directional light and you can often move the angle of the bulb to get the position you want it.
Motion Sensor Light Bulb Outdoors
10. Porch Motion Sensor Light
It’s always welcoming to have a light on for visitors. With a motion sensor light on your porch you’re always ready because the light will turn on as someone approaches.
This saves electricity and it stops bugs being attracted to your front porch light which happens when it’s left on. I used to hate it when I’d open my front door and moths would fly in because they’d been hovering around the porch light. When you leave the light too long on you get so many moths and other insects that it’s hard not to get them in your house.
Tip: use a sensor bulb with long reaching sensor so that a person will activate the light before they reach the porch. Also consider the other lighting at the front of your house – what color is it? If you already have warm white lights then get the same for your new sensor light. If you’re using cool white bulbs then match it to those. It helps to keep your house looking good if the white lights all match in color when they’re all turned on together.
11. The Front Door Light
This is a similar concept to the porch light but not everyone has a porch.
I used to live in a house where the front steps went straight up to the door. If you have either an overhead light or a wall sconce light then you can replace the bulb with a motion sensor light bulb and benefit from hands-free light when you arrive home and you’re getting your keys out to open your front door.
This is also handy if you have teenage kids who come in after dark. Perhaps you always go in the garage door but they’re more likely to arrive through the front door.
Tip: Check that the light fixture outside the door either has an opening at the bottom of the structure or that is is made of transparent glass so that the sensor on the bulb can detect movement. If it doesn’t have an opening, sometimes you can remove the shade part of the light or replace it with something more appropriate without having to replace the whole light fixture.
12. Back Door or Side Door Light
If you enter your house using a back or side door you should get a motion sensor bulb for outside these areas. You can find your keys easily and it will stop you tripping over anything on your pathway.
This is obviously a great idea for security reasons too. If you’re ever worried about a thief breaking in one of these doors, it helps to have an automatic light so that the intruder may think you’ve seen him and turned on the light.
Tip: make sure the sensor will detect you from the front of your house as you start to walk down the side (if you’re using it on a side door). Otherwise, think about getting two sensor bulbs and putting one in a light at the front of your house.
13. Light on the Back Deck
If you’re concerned about security at your home you really should have a motion sensor light on your back deck.
This is usually such an easy point of entry for an intruder so it’s best to include a light which is often a deterrent. A light won’t stop an intruder but it might just send them off to try and find an easier target so they can break into a house in the dark without anyone seeing them.
If your deck gets wet or icy it’s also handy to have an automatic sensor light so if you need to go out there after dark you can do so hands-free with the convenience of the light being on. It helps with safety.
Tip: you can use an ordinary sensor bulb if the light on your deck is under cover. If it’s exposed to the weather you’ll need to make sure you get an outdoor light bulb (possibly a floodlight).
Outdoor Motion Sensor Floodlight Bulb
An outdoor motion sensor floodlight bulb is usually suitable for a light exposed to the weather. It is usually directional light and can often be pivoted to point the light where you want it. A floodlight will often give you more light for outdoor spaces.
14. Sensor Light Out the Front of Your Garage
A lot of people have a light out the front of their garage. Can you imagine how convenient it would be to have the light come automatically on when you drive up? It makes a world of difference if your light turns on automatically.
It also helps with security because if someone enters your property and walks up to the garage the light will come on.
My kids like the sensor light in front of our garage because they can play ball games on the driveway with the light when it starts getting dark.
Tip: This light fixture is usually exposed to the weather that’s why you should get a bulb rated for outdoors and this will usually be a floodlight to give you more light in front of your garage.
15. Light Over Your Veggie Patch
Do you have a problem with nocturnal critters eating your vegetable garden? I have a continuing problem with possums. The easiest and safest way I’ve found to deter them is by using the light on the back of my house to direct toward the veggie garden. I use a motion sensor bulb so it only comes on when it detects movement.
This is a quick and easy solution that’s also eco-friendly. By using an outdoor motion sensor floodlight bulb I can get enough light to deter any nocturnal wanderers.
Tip: be sure to get a sensor on the bulb that is directed toward your vegetable garden and covers the right distance.
16. Along the Side of Your House
Even if you don’t have a door along the side of your house it’s worth using an outdoor sensor bulb in the light fixture there for added security. If someone is lurking in the shadows, the floodlight sensor bulb will turn on and encourage them to leave. A floodlight bulb should be strong enough to light up the whole way along your house if it is positioned correctly.
Tip: if you’re using it for security purposes, make sure the timer on the bulb stays on for long enough. Some bulbs are adjustable so you can choose from 30 seconds up to 10 minutes. Others give you a set time such at 2 minutes before they turn off again.
17. Back or Front Yard Light to Provide Light for Your Security Camera
If you have a security camera pointing at your front or back yard you may want to add a sensor light to improve the picture quality at night. Some cameras come with night vision but you often get a better image if you use a light source.
The light doesn’t need to be connected to the camera in any way. You may have a motion sensor security camera and a motion sensor light bulb and they work independently. It’s just an added way to improve your video footage.
Tip: a cool white bulb may provide better light for your camera than a warm white bulb. Make sure the light covers the main purpose of the security camera. For example, make sure the sensor picks up a person on the front path to your front door or the driveway that goes to your garage.
18. Light at the Doggy Door
Are you tired of switching on the light for your dog to go outside and do what he needs to do? If you have a light above the doggy door in your house, replace the bulb with an outdoor motion sensor floodlight bulb. This will throw directional light out into your yard. Not only will your dog be able to see better but you’ll also be able to check where he is if you need to.
Tip: If you don’t use a dusk to dawn feature on your bulb you can simply turn it on at the switch in the evening or before you go to bed. The light will then be ready to be activated by your dog when he goes out.
19. At the Garbage Cans
Hopefully you have a light near where you keep your trash cans outside your house. If you do, replace the bulb with an outdoor motion sensor light bulb so you have plenty of light when your hands are full taking garbage out.
This is not only good for convenience but if you have any nocturnal critters nearby that show interest in your trash cans they will also be deterred by the sensor light.
Tip: You can also use this light as added security around the outside of your house. Think about the best way to set up two or more sensor bulbs so that the whole perimeter of your house is covered for convenience and added security.
Motion Sensor Light Bulbs as Night Lights
20. Night Light in the Bedroom
If you need to get up during the night it’s safer if you use a motion sensor night light. You don’t need to use the main light fixture in your bedroom. If you do you’re likely to be setting it off at random times throughout the night.
Instead, consider using a lamp with a motion sensor bulb. You can use the lamp shade to stop the light coming on accidentally. When you want the light on, simply swipe your hand underneath the lamp shade on your nightstand. If you don’t want too much light to avoid waking up another person sleeping, you can use a smaller bulb.
Tip: Use a warm white light bulb so that the light is soft and not harsh to your eyes in the middle of the night.
21. Night Light in the Bathroom
Instead of an actual sensor bulb you may want to try the LED motion sensor strip lighting which can be placed under the vanity in the bathroom. This type of lighting can be plugged into a outlet so you don’t need an existing light fitting.
The sensor will turn the lights on as you walk into the bathroom. This is a nice subtle form of lighting so it won’t be too dazzling in the middle of the night.
Because it’s a sensor it will then turn off again after you leave.
Tip: Do your measurements before you buy the LED lighting because they come in different lengths.
22. Night Light Under the Bed
The same motion sensor LED strip lighting mentioned above can be used under a bed. This way, the lights come on as you place your feet on the floor.
This a great for a master bedroom or for kids rooms. In a master bedroom the advantage is you won’t wake up your spouse. In a kids room the advantage is that they’ll have a night light activated when they need it because sometimes young kids won’t bother to go to the switch and turn on the light so they end up tripping over things or walking into furniture.
Tip: If you’re using it in the master bedroom consider installing a separate one of each side of the bed. This way the sensor lights are only activated on each side as they are needed.
23. Night Light in the Nursery
If you don’t want to leave a night light on all night in your baby’s nursery, consider using a sensor bulb in a lamp on a small table like a nightstand next to the door. This way you can walk into the room and get the light you need to check on your baby.
By using a lamp you can limit the amount of light so it’s not too bright to wake up your child.
By angling the lamp away from the crib you simple need to swipe you hand near the sensor bulb to activate it.
Tip: If you want to keep a light on to give your child comfort while they’re getting to sleep, choose a sensor light with a longer timer on it before it shuts off. This way you don’t need to worry about it staying on too long since it will turn off automatically. This means it doesn’t matter if you forget about it. Also, when it turns off, it can be used as a signal to your child to now go to sleep.
You don’t need to use all of these ideas for motion sensor bulbs. Just start with one or two and once you see the benefit you’ll naturally find more places for these bulbs. They really do add so much convenience to your life. Try them out today.
⇒ Could you use a Lamp with USB Port Built-in? They’re very convenient.
⇒ Looking for a Small Freestanding Bathtub for your bathroom? See the best here.
⇒ Want the best bathtub tray to help you relax? Here they are.