Your dorm room probably feels more like a cave than a bedroom. Small rooms with bland walls and a tiled floor often feel suffocating without the addition of some personal touches. But by adding some additional lighting-- so you can turn off those awful overhead fluorescent lights-- you can totally transform the look. String lights are an affordable and customizable lighting option accessible for almost every college student. We’re going to show you the ten best ways to utilize these versatile lights, so you’ll have your room feeling more cozy and welcoming in no time!
Create a Photo Display
Anyone can just hang their photos or put them in frames, but why not add a little something extra by adding some soft lighting? Add a touch of whimsy with a string lighting display! Simply create four or five rows of lights along the wall, criss cross them, make them swerve or curve and secure them in a way that’s approved by your school. Whatever looks best for you! Then, print your photos via printer or a store and use clips or even clothes hangers to hang from the lines. This will draw attention to your photos and light up your space at the same time.
For smaller spaces, purchase a giant or oversized vintage frame and spray paint it in a funky color. Then, string the lights on the inside of the frame and hang the picture in the perimeters. This is a great way to light up your pictures and draw attention to the memories you hold dear. A lot of string lights are battery operated, which might work better for this option. This beats any old photo collage any day!
Design a Study Nook
Lighting can affect the way you study. Having too dim of lighting can mean having to strain and getting more frequent headaches, while too bright a space can negatively affect your memory and can lead to glare coming from your textbooks or computer. But with a comfortable, chic reading nook in your own room, you can personalize an area to match your needs with just a few string lights.
Find a space in your dorm away from the television and any other distractions, preferably near an outlet (perhaps under your bunked bed or near your closet). If you’re short on outlets, invest in a couple of surge protectors to make sure there’s always enough. Then, create a tent using some extra sheets and some wire hanging from your ceiling. Add string lights, pillows, and blankets inside to complete the look. Feel free to add some authorized scent diffusers that promote concentrate such as peppermint or lemon.
Shape Out a Bed
Dorm beds can be completely blah with their out-of-date wood stains and rickety frames. If you have a bed that is closer to the floor, this is idea would be super easy to create. Making a canopy overhead or a headboard using faerie lights can give it a dreamy look ideal for the nighttime. This is a great way to prepare for a good night’s sleep each night, which we know is extremely important and necessary so you can take on a day of classes and exams.
If you have a canopy-type bed or a loft, use lights to create vertical rows over your bed. Then, add a white or tan sheet under the lights to dim the look so it appears more romantic. For the headboard, just use the lights to shape out a traditional rectangular shape at the top of the bed along the wall. You could also round out the shape of the lights so encourage a softer look and adhere them with adhesive hooks for an amazing way to light up your room. Alternatively, get creative and make a variety of shapes, letters, or symbols such as a heart, a home, or even your university’s letters.
Dress Up Your Desk
When it comes time to study, you have a variety of places to choose from-- the library, your dorm room study nook, a cafe-- but also at your very own dorm room desk! This basic piece of furniture is typically very plain in most dorms, so why not add a little lighting to make it your new favorite study spot? Chances are you already have a desk lamp, but we can do a little better than that. Take a basic string of lights and try outlining your armoire to give you some additional soft lighting while you study. You can secure it to your desk with tape, but you don’t have to limit yourself to just the outline of the desk
Mix it up and create a zigzag pattern, or even get a set of icicle lights so that they dangle off of the top shelf. This soft ambient light is much easier on your eyes than the harsh glare of bright overhead lights. It also can work to counteract the blue light given off by your computer or tablet, making it a little easier for your eyes to concentrate. Just put your headphones in and voila, instant study oasis!
Wall of Lights
Chances are your dorm room walls are not only barren, but are a shade of white or another very bland color. It’s easy to add a little extra lighting and create a nice cozy atmosphere at the same time with the addition of window curtain string lights. All you need to create this look is to hang the top wire of the window curtain lights to the height that you choose, and secure it to the wall with adhesive hooks.
The vertical strings of lights will then cascade down and create a wall of light look, and will definitely make it the statement wall of your room! You can choose to have the lights fall to your bed or to the floor, or anywhere in between. Depending on how long the wall is, you might need to string a couple of light sets together, and just make sure there’s a plug available nearby to achieve this whimsical look.
There are a lot of ways you can make this look work, just choose whichever way you like best! If you’d like to keep it classic, string some white or even colored lights together and follow the dimensions of the room. Going to where the ceiling meets the wall gives off the best look-- and will maximize your lighting as well!
With this type of design you can also get a little more creative with the type of bulbs you use, since they will be out of the way of any kind of daily interference. You can get the basic string lights, or choose to use Edison bulbs, star-shaped bulbs, globe lights, or even rope lights. Regardless of the shape or color of lights, you’re going to get a super easy way to create a subtle ambiance as well as some additional light.
Make a Tapestry Glow
Who isn’t a fan of big, flowy tapestries on the walls? No matter what your choice of tapestry is-- mandalas, Celtic knots, tie dye, or even your favorite inspirational saying-- stringing some lights around it is going to allow it to take on a whole new look. For this method, just choose the wall that you want the tapestry to hang from-- we recommend behind your bed for the best overall look-- and secure it with wall hooks. Then, simply string your lights around the outline of the tapestry, making sure to secure it where appropriate.
The interesting thing about pairing white string lights with tapestries is that the lights tend to take on the color of the tapestry, intensifying the awesome effect. So if you’re tapestry is mostly red, your lights will absorb some of that color and give off the illusion of being slightly red. What a cool way to decorate your dorm wall!
Incorporate Lights with Plants
If you love the idea of adding some extra green to your dorm room-- even if it is artificial-- then you’ll definitely want to try out this idea. Simply visit your local craft store and pick up some artificial ivy or fir tree boughs and drape them from the ceiling over your bed, your desk, or even your favorite study chair. Then intertwine your string of lights with the greenery for an amazingly simple outdoorsy look-- right in your dorm room!
You could also choose to do this with plants that are pots, such as ferns, pussy willows, or bay leaves and then put it in the corner for a great way to add some extra mood lighting. If you already have some real potted plants that you care for, you could also incorporate lights with them as well! Just make sure the lights are unplugged when it’s watering time.
For the ultimate romantic and dreamy look, you can make yourself a DIY fairy chandelier out of just a couple of craft items! These look fantastic over your bed and will give you some soft lighting before you turn in for the night. You can pick up the size hoop that you prefer from the local craft store, which are typically found in the DIY wreaths department and are usually already white. You could also use a hula hoop if you’d like something a bit bigger. Then get your icicle lights and take the horizontal string and wrap it around the hoop, securing with twine.
Then using some rope, measure the diameter of the hoop and double it, create a pyramid out of the rope, and secure in a knot at the point. You should have two ends of rope hanging down to tie around the hoop. Then simply attach a wall hook to your ceiling and use the knot to hang your chandelier! This DIY is super easy and looks amazing!
DIY a Work of Art
Remember those fun Lite Brites where you would use light bulbs to create shapes and pictures and then light it up to see it in action? You can make your own version with string lights and canvas art boards purchased at art stores! The easiest way to do this is to trace your image using a pencil onto the canvas. Then, use an exacto knife or drill to cut small holes through the canvas. String your lights through the holes and then plug in.
These work best using either a black or white canvas board and lights that can easily be popped inside the small hole. The designs you can create with this one is only limited to your creativity! Try doing your name, a famous building, a flower, or even your favorite sport team’s logo. Your artwork will come to life with the new lighting backdrop!
String lights are such an easy way to make your dorm room a little more cozy. There are so many ways you can add a touch of your personality to your room, you might have a hard time deciding which method to use!
How do you use string lights in your dorm room? What creative ideas have you come up with? Let us know!