navy2x, you’re definitely on the right track. You’ll unfortunately need the Hue Hub like you probably guessed already. If bought with a Hue bulb though you can do a comparison of your own between them and the LIFX bulbs, which I think is a bonus.
I don’t know if this is still needed, but when I integrated the Hue switches to Node-RED, I could not find a working module for the purpose at that time. I ended up using this as a workaround: https://github.com/dale3h/hue-mqtt-bridge (I have even contributed with two fixes on the code that causes random “ghost button presses” to the project).
Before running hue-mqtt-bridge, you’ll need an MQTT server which will be used to relay messages from the bridge to Node-RED. Luckily this is simple as you can just run “sudo apt install mosquitto” on your RPi and you should be good to go. With the default settings no password is needed for the login, which is convenient in the beginning. It’s up to you if you want to secure it better later on.
Node-RED and Home Assistant both support MQTT out of the box, so I’m Node-RED you can use an MQTT input node to get the button presses. I suggest to use a debug node to see what each button press is sent from the bridge, and then work forward from there. I use a switch node to redirect the different button presses to nodes that will create the messages expected by node-red-contrib-node-lifx that I use in Node-RED to control the lights.
If you’re unfamiliar with MQTT, I suggest googling an introduction article on the topic. It is quite simple but powerful tool, commonly used in DYI home automation.
P.S. I got my two (original) Hue bulbs and the Hub from a relative (they came with a Philips TV). Glass on both bulbs got smashed into little pieces in separate occasions. It’s not a big issue as I never used them due to poor brightness, annoying app and the difficulty of using two different smart lights at the same time.
I hope this helps to get you forward!