Living in a dorm room has its perks. You’re usually close to the dining hall. Getting to class doesn’t usually require much more effort than rolling out of bed and walking a block or two to arrive at your lecture on time. You can usually find your friends living right in your back pocket. But despite all of its benefits, living in a dorm room can be a bit of a culture shock if you’ve never really experienced something similar before you first come to college.
Your parents aren’t there to take care of you when you inevitably get sick. If you have a roommate, you might find that you don’t actually get along as well as you’d hoped you would. And you could discover that you’ll have to cycle through a few different friend groups before you really find those people who will wind up being some of your closest, lifelong friends. One of the most difficult - albeit inane - things about adjusting from living at home to living on your own at school, however, is the lighting that comes with your school-issued dorm room.
Dorm rooms usually come with small windows - usually only one or two and only on one wall - which allows for very little natural light to filter into your room. At the same time, the bright fluorescent bulbs that are usually built into dorm room ceiling lights are a far cry away from any of the more warm lighting you might have experienced in your room at home. In the meantime, then, the best way for you to make your dorm room feel a bit more homey is to incorporate some of your own lighting.
Here are x ways to brighten up your dorm room with extra lighting:
1. Add a whimsical touch with some fairy lights
Hoping to bring the vibes of a warm summer night to your dorm room this year? Fairy lights are reminiscent of fireflies, and hanging them from your ceiling will bring a warm glow to any space you choose to string them up in. The twinkle of their tiny bulbs will remind you of the dreams you used to have of being whisked away to a world of fairies - hence their name! If you’re hoping to find a way to truly bring your whimsical childhood fantasies to life right in your dorm room this year, fairy lights are a great way to do this.
You can string them up in the traditional way - hooked over a series of Command Hooks along the top of your wall so that they swoop down in a u-shape or taped up to create the same shape - or you can opt to hang them in a less traditional way. Rather than only hanging them along the top part of your wall, you can hang them vertically so that the strings fall from your ceiling to the floor in a twinkly shower. If you’re particularly fond of the look of glistening rain, you can even switch the bulbs out for clear or blue ones if they come with a yellow glow.
Set-up for fairy lights can vary depending on how you choose to string them up, and it can have varying degrees of success, but you’ll love the results, nonetheless. Apply the Command Hooks we mentioned before along the upper part of your wall - near the ceiling - spacing them intermittently to let your fairy lights swoop down in the way that you’d like them to. If you’re looking for a less time-consuming way to get your lights strung up, or maybe to to hang them vertically like we suggested, you can also opt to stick them to the wall using tape that won’t destroy the paint on your dorm room wall when it comes time to take the lights down.
2. Combine some string lights with your photographs
String lights will function just fine on their own, but sometimes the best way to set them up as a part of your dorm room decor is to combine them with something else that you’re using to decorate your room with a taste of home. And nothing is a great reminder of everything you think of when you think of home more than a collection of all of your favorite memories stuck to your walls in photographs. This year, why not combine a set of string lights with the photos you’ve strung up on your wall.
You can choose to weave a set of fairy lights around your photographs if you’d like to, but to make your life even easier, you can now find string lights and clips for your favorite pictures rolled up into one neat package. Instead of keeping all of the pieces and parts separated, you can easily hang up your favorite memories with the clips attached to these strings of lights. With such a simple and non-destructive way to hang up your photos, why wouldn’t you want to use these as a way to illuminate your fondest memories?
To make these string lights with clips work, you’ll need to get yourself some AAA batteries, as well, but they’re fairly easy to set up. You can use Command Hooks in much of the same way that you can for regular fairy lights - being careful to drape the wires over the hooks, rather than the lights - or you can opt to use tape if you’d like to wind the lights around your wall in a more unconventional way. These lights glow a warm yellow color, so they’ll do a great job of adding a golden glow to your best memories.
3. Carry a flameless solar candle with you to your favorite corners of your dorm room
Love the soft, warm glow that candles bring to any space? Unfortunately, there are major restrictions against keeping an open flame in your college dorm room - but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on candles completely. If you’d really like to bring the touch of home that comes along with every candle to your dorm room this year, bring along a portable, solar-charged, flameless candle. It might not have the same floral or spicy smells that you might prefer, but it’s great for the environment, and you can move it around the room with you!
By far, our favorite thing about these candles is just how easy it is to transport them to whatever space you’d like to see it in. Set it up on the corner of your desk to let a calm glow wash over you while you do your readings for class or work on those physics equations. Place it on one of the lower shelves of your bookshelf while you catch up on your favorite shows or read that book you haven’t had the time for in the last several weeks while you sit in your favorite chair. Put in on your window sill, near the head of your bed, and use it as a night light.
Powered with an LED light, these electric candles provide a warm, calming glow to any space, so your dorm room will be truly cozy if you invest in one of these. To charge it up, you simply need to place it in the path of some natural light (we recommend keeping it on your window sill for charging), and wait for the light of day to charge it up. Direct sunlight is always more effective, but if you live in a particularly cloudy area, your candle will have no trouble charging in the light of day. Keep it in the light for eight hours, and it should hold a charge for up to eighteen!
4. Add a feminine touch to your room with globe string lights
Fairy lights are plenty feminine and soft, but if you’re a fan of all things pretty, you can take the lights you string up in your dorm room a step further. Hang some globe string lights from your bedroom walls for something a little extra dainty. With their light and neutral colors, they’ll pair well with almost any color scheme that you set up in your room, and the hanging globes that contain the lights that will illuminate your room are reminiscent of fuzzy those fuzzy pom poms that were so much fun to use in your DIY projects.
Many people only choose to string up these lights for parties, but we think that you shouldn’t ever have to put that charm away. These lightweight lights are the perfect addition to your room if you’d like lights that are a little bigger than your typical fairy lights, but still have the delicacy that you know and love. If you look closely at the globes that hang from these strings, they take on a sort of floral exterior that will be just the touch of delicacy that you were looking for in the first place.
To hang these up, you can use the same methods that we suggested for the fairy lights above. Apply a series of intermittently-spaced Command Strips and drape the lights over those, or stick sections of the lights to the wall with some tape to arrange them in whatever pattern you would like to. With a soft white glow, these lights are sure to make your room as cozy as it could be while you’re studying away from home.
Dorm room lights are usually incredibly bright as they come. While they can be great lighting for getting all of your reading and assignments done if you choose to do them in your room, they’re not so great for giving your space that warm glow that reminds you of home. The good news is: you can bring your own glow to your dorm room this year with some extra lighting.