How to Build a Low Cost Arduino Smart Home System Even If You Have No Experience


Building your own smart home system with Arduino is an exciting and rewarding project that does not require prior experience. With just a few inexpensive components, you can automate lights, locks, sensors, and more. The key is taking it step-by-step.

In this in-depth guide, I will walk you through everything you need to know to build your own low cost Arduino smart home system, even if you're a total beginner.

Needed Components

To get started building your Arduino smart home, you will need:

Many components can be purchased as part of inexpensive "starter kits". I recommend Elegoo kits for beginners.

Installing the Arduino IDE

The Arduino Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is the software you'll use to program the Arduino board.

Follow these steps to install it:

  1. Go to and download the Windows, Mac or Linux version depending on your computer.

  2. Open the downloaded file and follow the prompts to install the Arduino IDE.

  3. Once installed, open the Arduino IDE. It should look something like this:

How to Build a Low Cost Arduino Smart Home System Even If You Have No Experience

The Arduino IDE is fairly simple to use. We'll cover how to use it later in this guide.

Connecting the Arduino

Next, you need to connect your Arduino board to your computer using the USB cable so you can program it.

Here's how:

Your Arduino is now connected and ready to be programmed!

Programming the Arduino

Programming the Arduino allows it to interact with components to automate your smart home. This is done using code in the Arduino IDE.

Here are the basic steps:

  1. Open a new sketch - A sketch is the name for an Arduino program. Go to File > New to create a new sketch.

  2. Add code - Write your program code in the sketch using Arduino's programming language. We'll cover example programs later.

  3. Select board and port - Go to Tools > Board and select your Arduino model. Then pick the right port it's connected to under Tools > Port.

  4. Compile the code - Click the "Verify" button to compile your code and check for errors.

  5. Upload code - Once compiled, click "Upload" to upload the program to the Arduino board.

  6. See it run - The code will now run on the Arduino. Plug in components to test it out.

Don't worry if this seems complicated for now. I'll walk through example sketches later on.

Example Smart Home Devices

Here are some example smart home devices you can create using an Arduino:

Smart Light Switch

This uses a relay and light sensor to turn lights on at night and off in the morning automatically.

Smart Thermostat

Using a temperature sensor, this adjusts a heater or AC to regulate room temperature.

Smart Door Lock

An IR sensor detects motion and a servo unlocks the door when you arrive home.

Motion-Activated Light

A motion sensor detects movement and turns on an LED light automatically.

These are just a few ideas - there are tons of possibilities for your own custom smart home projects!

Building a Simple Circuit

Let's look at building a simple circuit as an example Arduino project.

This motion-activated light turns on an LED when motion is detected:

Components Needed

Circuit Diagram

Here is the circuit diagram showing how to connect the components:

Motion Activated Light Diagram

Follow this to properly connect the components on the breadboard.

Arduino Code

The Arduino needs to be programmed to detect the motion sensor's signal and turn on the LED:

const int motionSensor = 2; // Connected to pin 2
const int ledPin = 13; // Connected to pin 13

void setup() {
pinMode(motionSensor, INPUT); // Set motion sensor as input
pinMode(ledPin, OUTPUT); // Set LED as output

void loop() {
if (digitalRead(motionSensor) == HIGH) {
digitalWrite(ledPin, HIGH); // Turn on LED
else {
digitalWrite(ledPin, LOW); // Turn off LED

delay(200); // Small delay

This code continuously checks the motion sensor. When motion is detected, it turns on the LED!

Upload this sketch to see the motion-activated light work.

Expanding Your Smart Home System

Once you have the basics down, there's so much more you can do:

Don't be afraid to get creative and ambitious with expanding your smart home system!

Troubleshooting Tips

Here are some troubleshooting tips in case you run into issues:

With time and patience, you can troubleshoot any issues that come up in your DIY smart home project.


Building your own Arduino smart home system is an immensely fulfilling project for both beginners and experts. With the help of this guide, you now have all the knowledge needed to get started - from the required components and software to example projects and circuits to expand and troubleshoot your smart home. So don't be intimidated, and dive into creating your own customized automation - the possibilities are endless! Let me know in the comments if you have any other questions.