Smarthome preparation

Hi all,

I’m buying a flat and the construction started a few months ago. I would like to take the opportunity that is given to make as many things smart as possible, nothing too complicated, such as lights, switches, wallplug, blinds, garage door, doorlock, heater, etc…

Of course I can go through those smarthome companies that install everything. It seems usually they go through wired systems using KNX, but this is very expensive and I have the feeling this is not so flexible should I want to change or update things. Therefore I would like to avoid this solution, if possible.

As so many devices are already smart, I believe I would rather go for a wireless solution, and manage them through Home Assistant for example.

Now, this is for me not very clear how to proceed. As I’ll go mostly wireless and I believe the only things that I should need external help for (or maybe not?) would be to adapt the wallplugs and switches that can be upgraded with the help of an electrician, if I ask the General Contractor for those adaptations, first they will buy the material at the most expensive price + take their cut, and I’m not sure if I will be able to have total freedom in devices/services providers I would want.

Therefore, if I can “prepare” the flat with some things that could be good to be done straight forward during the construction, and finish by myself or with the contractor and brand of my choice, I would go for that. For instance, I have read that I should ask to have big spaces behind all switches and wallplug should I want to insert any modules to make them smart.

For the blinds and garage door, I know they will be all electric but they will be basic with just a remote control/switches and not smart, so I might just ask to go for the upgraded smart version to make things simpler.

Am I having the wrong mindset by trying to avoid the GC/Smarthome companies as much as possible, or this is maybe easier to do most of the things directly with them for warranty/responsibility reasons even though a bit more expensive?

Do you have any experience or advice to share on the topic? Any additional smart things that you would recommend?

SmartHomeSolver has lots of good videos. Honestly there’s about a millions good videos on youtube about this topic.

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Thanks for the link! I’ve seen this guy, and of course I’m inspiring myself from him for some of his home automation/smart devices.

My question was also related to what could I implement/do directly in the construction (walls, wires, etc…) as I have the freedom to do it and that can be useful. And as you say, you have a million choice, so many protocols, brands, etc… you have to make sure of the compatibility etc… that you can be a bit lost.

Just want to avoid regretting not having done something during the construction that wouldn’t be complicated/expensive and regret it afterward.

IMO, KNX is still the “gold standard” and very flexible - but as you’re saying: Expensive. And hard to implement if you are not building / renovating from the ground up.That is the main reason I’m not using KNX…

HA is what I’m using. Also very flexible but IMO not very “robust” - If you are willing to keep spending some time here and there in adjusting, upgrading, changing config you are fine. That is: It’s not a “setup and forget” solution. But you can integrate pretty much everything…

More space and cables in the wall is always better. That is not the case with my house. I’m using shelly switches ( those integrate very well into HA

If you can control something via (simple) remote, e.g. on/off, up/down, you may perhaps also control it via a shelly switch (via bypassing the remote receiver) - it’s sometimes even simpler than the hassle with proprietary / vendor specific “smart” devices, especially when they are cloud based. That’s how e.g. I made my regular Hörmann garage door smart (with a 20 CHF switch)

I’d just give it a try and install HA on a dedicated device and play around. Integrate e.g. your router (“presence” sensor), some online devices you have laying around, the weather from meteoswiss, scrape some online data, … test some automation routines and configure everything in a nice dashboard.


I have been working for a smart home company for the last 15 years BUT I haven’t seen what a solution looks like, when things are brought together with Home Assistant.

The basic question you have to ask yourself is if you want a smart home of if you want a hobby. I am not trying to offend you here but there are basically these two approaches:

a) A smart home is bought from a smart home company and they will always install a KNX or their own proprietary bus system. They usually have a range of push buttons and intercoms and other stuff to choose from and you can get a fingerprint reader at your door, an iPad or a dedicated touchpanel mounted to a wall which in hopefully only one or maybe two apps integrates control for light, blinds, intercom, heating, cooling, security, audio. The HA company will take care of the electrician and of the contractor. When the house is finished, you experiment with your gadgets if you want but you mostly leave the installation of the house alone. Usual customers of HA companies don’t upgrade their lightning situation or anything else a lot. I guess when carefully planned, it fits their needs quite well and changing scenes for having dinner or watching tv doesn’t need an upgrade. the customers just set their lights to whatever they want their new preset to be and do some long push on a button on their touchscreen. This smart home solution is usually acceptable for wives and children. The cost of such a solution is usually 1…3% of the cost of the flat.

b) You learn how to use the KNX-Software (or you get a course from Loxone or whatever), you spend a decent amount of time with your electrician and your contractor to find a way how they can prepare for what you might want to do without installing too much switches or stuff that you won’t need and still be able to deliver a house that works. Loxone is an example of a proprietary ecosystem that lets the customer integrate many many things and spend his evenings and saturdays improving his smart home experience. the support situation is basically an internet forum and if you want to do some HTML you can even build a fancy user interface.
Without Loxone or KNX you can still control your home with fourteen apps. Spoiler: your wife can not.

A thing to consider If you ever want to sell your home: buyers will look differently at a house full of KNX vs. a house full of Shelly devices.

I am not trying to be harsh here or shove you into becoming a customer of a smart home company. I fumble with enocean- and shelly devices once in a while in my rented apartment myself and I have collegues and friends who enjoy programming microcontrollers, embedded linux and what not and probably invest 10 hours to save 5 seconds when they leave their houses.

Depending wheter you want to choose approach a) or b), I would heavily recommend to seek advice in a smart home forum or visit you local smart home company. Try to avoid electrical companies who have only one or two guys who do builiding automation and who only program half a dozen houses per year and spend the rest of their time programming industrial or office buildings.


I warn you from going down that rabbit hole :slight_smile: I’ve been on the HA forums for a few years and was one of the most active persons on the forum.

I had a fairly extensive system and documented everything on GitHub → GitHub - Burningstone91/smart-home-setup: Installation and Configuration of my Smart Home Setup

My honest opinion: It makes a lot of fun and I highly recommend it if you like to tinker around and play with new technology and learn about it.
However, I’ve ditched my whole system for a few reasons:

  • I spent far more time configuring and polishing stuff than all the automations saved me
  • All the automations are cool to show off to your friends and family, but after some time the fascination wears off.
  • When you sell the house, you’ll need to remove all the stuff, no one will use your self programmed HA solution (except if you find another nerd xD).

Ask yourself “Do I really need a smart home or am I just following a trend?”

I’d say 99% of people don’t actually need a smart home.


If you dont want a conplet systwm like KNX I would order everything wired (blinds…)
This allows you to install a system you like afterwards.

I would go for shelly. For example you could make a routine to close the blinds at a certain outside temperature etc


Again: I work in the HA industry so don’t think I am neutral.

Your statement is true but then 99% of people don’t actually need a big TV or an AC in their car. You may scream ‘That’s not the same!’ but don’t people have smartphones to watch TV? Will a car without AC not bring you from A to B?

As I work in IT, I have many colleagues being crazy about smart home solutions. Personally, I was never interested in those…as I don’t want my home to be hacked :smiley:. So I won’t be able to help in planning things in pre-renovation/construction phase. We did ours recently and the only thing I cared about was at least one RJ-45 in each room… That being said - now I consider adding some external wireless cameras, like for example: Tapo C420S2 | Smart Wire-Free Security Camera System, 2-Camera System | Tapo. I’ve heard that recharging the batteries need to happen only every few months, so having no cables beforehand should not be a big issue for this. At least I hope, but if anyone has any opinion, eg. about best cameras for such setup, please don’t hesitate :wink:.

Depends what smart means for you. For some, it’s colorful light you can turn on with your phone and for others an integrated solution that covers light, blinds, and heating.

I started with basic KNX that was planned with the contractor. It cost more but already offers so much more functionality compared to old-school installations. There are other options, of course.

You could do the basic wiring and switches, and then add more stuff and functionality later as desired, KNX and non-KNX. Or don’t.

My mind wasn’t on smarthome company or not, but to define what I definitely want, plan for stuff I likely want to add later and single out other things that weren’t worth it.

There are great ressources at ipcamtalk forum. I went for dahua, big difference to the retail-grade cameras installed before.

Murphys law sais, your battery will be empty or wifi connection lost at the time something is happening. If you are the owner I would go for a wirde setup

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I use the Homematic IP system and until now, I am quite happy wirh it