The purpose of this instructable is not to tell you how you can do whatever you'd like your home to do. Instead it has been written to make an idea a reality but also turn madness into sanity by understanding the limits (technology, cost, time required, safety...).
There a lot of very good guides and articles on the web to understand many things in very extensive details. This is not what we want. We want the big picture. What are the basic skills we can learn or improve. What we should touch.
This covers basic things like :
Googling "home automation" returned 33 millions results. This is either more than enough or just too much.
The first result, Wikipedia article (of course), states :
"Home automation or smart home (also known as domotics or domotica) is the residential extension of building automation and involves the control and automation of lighting, heating (such as smart thermostats), ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC), and security, as well as home appliances
such as washer/dryers, ovens or refrigerators/freezers that use WiFi for remote monitoring. Modern systems generally consist of switches and sensors connected to a central hub sometimes called a "gateway" from which the system is controlled with a user interface that is interacted either with a wall-mounted terminal, mobile phone software, tablet computer or a web interface, often but not always via internet cloud services."
What does it say?
So if we summarize we end up with : I want to put a screen to order my home appliances to do what I want. Pretty much what we would expect.
As a friendly reminder, we are not going to cover technical aspects like protocols, vendors, suppliers and the likes. This is a DIY project. As myself a hobbyist, I don't know all details of the items composing that galaxy. Knowing my house is where I want to start. As such I'll share mostly about my personal experience.
However I will simply ignore all bundled solutions from the market as this is not what we want. This guide might still come handy if you just want to go through basic concepts.
Note : We don't care about size of your home. Sky is the limit. Most of this article was written by having a few devices on my desk.