Areas vs Groups or how to organize and structure?

Hello all,
new to Home Assistant I am trying to figure out the best way to bring structure to Home Assistant.

Here are some questions:

  • Difference groups and areas?
  • Where are the areas found in the .YAML config?
  • Groups in areas; groups in groups?
  • Management possibilities GUI versus .YAML?
  • Mixed operation GUI and .yaml configuration > Consistency?
  • Recommendation structure .YAML configurationfiles > configuration.yaml; groups.yaml; secrets.yaml; automations.yaml;…

Set up is HA in Docker on Intel NUC with OpenZWave via MQTT, several Shelly…
Thanks for your help


Very different.

Groups put things together. You can toggle all of them by pressing a button. They create their own entity. You can see all of the individual entities in the more info popup. All entities can be added to a group. You configure them in configuration.yaml.

Areas also group things together. However you can’t toggle all of them at once. They don’t make their own entity, or a more info popup. They help build your auto-generated dashboard. You can only add devices or entities that came from a device to them. You configure them via the UI, in Sidebar > Configuration > Areas.

They’re not.

I don’t think that’s possible, because they’re not part of a device.

Should be possible, given that any type of entity can go in a group.

Right now, groups are YAML only, and areas are GUI only.

I don’t understand that. You should try creating a new topic.

in this case areas sound quite strange to me. If I get it right a group can represent an area like a room as well
and using “view: yes” may make it a tab in Lovelace. I have created all rooms as areas but may need now to duplicate to groups as well.
Very much like the idea of configuring ha via GUI but .yaml configs seem to be much more powerfull so far. This means something not represented in the.yaml may create problems.
Areas may be a nice idea but now I understand the ongoing discussion about them. Maybe it would be smart if the development team would explain better.

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Seems like the whole ‘area’ of ‘grouping’ things is very much in flux right now :wink:

Options to do this for UI and automations/scripting are definitely needed.

FYI, you can add an entity that not under a device to an area as of 2020.12.1, it just needs a unique id. But as yet, once you add it to the area, you can not see it as a member of the area…

The rational / definition for devices vs. entities need to be worked out as well.

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A group can group anything. Areas can group anything too.

I don’t understand.

Why would you want to do that?

You can do both at the same time.

You could try asking on the Discord.

seems it is not just missunderstanding of a newbe. Maybe it would make sense someone experienced creating a table showing definitionas and what al this could do…
Did not find expleantions to the logic and best practices so far.
As I will have to deal with 100+ devices and resulting a few hudred entities I want to make sure to sort this out right at the beginning so I will not have to change the whole thing later becaus there is problems on the logic and terminology side


We are all noobs at this home automation stuff, anyone that tries to say they are an expert is a boob :wink:
Everything is changing, improving, inventing. Which is a real challenge when integrated with our ‘KISS’ desires in our homes.

I don’t think there is one good source that you will be able to latch on to. Documentation, hah! dream. Don’t blink, it changed.

My view of Home Assistant is that it started as a couple folks poking around and starting a small home grown tool for themselves. It is evolving into a full fledged business, with all the goods and bads of that.

Back off soapbox and to topic.
‘Did not find expleantions to the logic and best practices so far.’
The logic is right in the middle of a sea change, IMHO, the core design of HA is solid, but it has some holes. ‘Grouping’ and ‘Hierarchy’ are the two that are very important to the next evolution of HA and are in flux right now. This is what you are seeing.

Good news is it sounds like you are at the beginning with few objects. Bad news is, regardless, you are going to most likely rebuild several times, these due to both your own learning, mistakes, evolving and Home Assistant doing the same.

If you have the time and gumption, do contribute ideas to the core developers. They need fresh insight, as well as experienced folks keeping the bugs down. I am sure they are so heads down grinding out code that they do not have enough time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

See if you can get your head around were they are thinking about grouping and hierarchy and then input your needs and ideas as you think about your home design. And if you can, document your experiences.

Happy New Year and Good Hunting!


A lot has already been said and I’ll only add to it.

From the Home Assistant documentation:

If you’re familiar with Homekit:

  • Groups in Home Assistant would be like Accessories in HomeKit that provide multiple sensors or switches. They can be shown as “Single Tile” or “Separate Tiles” (like a Philips Hue Motion Sensor, some Dyson products…).
  • Areas in Home Assistant would be like Rooms in HomeKit.

They are defined in JSON in <config_directory>/.storage/core.area_registry. While the file is human readable, its location strongly suggest that it’s not made to be edited by hand.

Different tools to do different things. In some places the UI is lacking a bit (in those cases where you can make changes either in yaml or in the UI) but it’s catching up. Since you can’t do everything in yaml only or in the UI only, my recommendation would be to learn both.


thanks to all of you. This is valuable input. Sure it is true that as a beginner I can’t contribute much. But it is possible to share experiences with the first steps to give the developers hints where a newbie gets stuck and which features are felt to be missing. This is also the reason why I try to understand as much as possible at an early stage.

Home automation certainly has a lot to do with logic so it makes sense to think about the basic logic at an early stage.

  • File structures
  • naming conventions
  • groupings and the structure of groups (groups in groups etc.)
  • rights management
    There is a lot of information about this on the web from people who had to think about structures. The managers of large buildings would lose the overview very fast if there were not clear rules here. Much of it is freely available on the web and can often be scaled to smaller buildings without problems.

That’s not quite correct, you can group anything. But areas will only accept things with a unique ID and you cant add a unique ID to everything sadly.

This is something i’ve been trying to get a handle on as well the last few days lol.

So it appears anything can be added to a group (though its a lot of work), but the areas are pretty limited once you want to add devices that can not have a unique ID, say like the Yamaha, or Nanoleaf integrations.

I know. Wasn’t thinking of that at the time.

LOL dont worry, Im doing the same thing is almost every post LOL

Its a massive learning curve

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