How to Build a DIY Smart Home System with Raspberry Pi That Saves You Money

Building your own smart home system with a Raspberry Pi can help you automate your home and save money compared to buying pre-built commercial systems. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to do it.

What is a Smart Home System?

A smart home refers to a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with each other and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.

Some examples of smart home devices include:

Why Use Raspberry Pi for a Smart Home?

The Raspberry Pi is a low cost, credit card sized computer that is an ideal platform for building a smart home system. Here are some of its key advantages:

Components Needed

To build your Raspberry Pi smart home system, you will need:

Optional components:

Step 1 - Set up the Raspberry Pi

The first step is to set up the Raspberry Pi board itself:

  1. Insert the micro SD card into the Pi.

  2. Connect the Pi to your monitor using the HDMI cable.

  3. Plug in the USB keyboard and mouse.

  4. Connect the Pi to power to turn it on.

The Raspberry Pi OS should boot up. The initial setup involves:

Follow the Raspberry Pi documentation for detailed guidance on the initial setup process before going further.

Step 2 - Install the Smart Home Software

There are a few options for software to control your smart home devices:

I recommend Home Assistant as it has the most features and integrations with various devices. To install it:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install homeassistant

This will install Home Assistant and set it up to run on boot automatically.

Step 3 - Integrate Smart Devices

Now you are ready to connect actual devices to your home automation system. Here are some options:

Smart Lighting

Smart lights like Philips Hue and LIFX can be paired with the Raspberry Pi over WiFi and controlled through Home Assistant. Through automation rules, you can schedule lights to turn on/off at set times every day. Voice assistants like Alexa can also control the lights.

Smart Switches

For controlling appliances and power outlets. Options like TP-Link Kasa switches can connect to WiFi to be controlled. Allows switching on/off of lights, fans etc remotely.

Smart Locks

Locks by August, Kwikset and others can be opened/locked by the Raspberry Pi via Z-Wave or WiFi. Can send notifications when someone unlocks the door.

Smart Sensors

Sensors like motion and door sensors can be placed in different rooms. They can trigger actions like turning on lights when motion is detected in a room.

Security Cameras

IP cameras can be integrated with the Pi to view live feeds and get notifications if movement is detected when you are away. Can also use facial recognition.

Step 4 - Voice Control with Alexa

An optional but useful step is to add voice control capabilities using Alexa:

  1. Get an Amazon Echo Dot and pair it to your WiFi.

  2. In the Alexa app, enable the Home Assistant smart home skill.

  3. Link your Home Assistant instance to the Alexa skill.

Now you can control your smart home with voice commands like "Alexa, turn on the bedroom lights"!


Building your own smart home with Raspberry Pi gives you a highly customizable system at low cost. With Home Assistant for control and automation, and devices like lights, switches, locks and sensors, you can create an intelligent home that simplifies your life! Start small and expand it slowly for best results.