Dorm lights – 5 ways to brighten the first day of school!

September 15, 2017

Unless it’s cash, lights are my favorite gift for new grads who are headed to the dorms.

Most universities prohibit burning candles on campus (that makes perfect sense!) so Christmas string lights to the rescue to light up a dorm room.

Traditional incandescent lights will warm up under operation so make sure you unplug them when you aren’t in the room. LED lights are cool under operation but operate those under supervision as well.

Basic Materials

  • No-damage hooks – don’t be skimpy, purchase the larger hooks
  • Your choice of string lights. Consider one of the following styles of sets:
    • Icicle lights
    • Curtain lights
    • Christmas String lights – LED or Traditional
    • Battery lights
  • Sheer curtains
  • Tension rods
  • Ping pong balls
  • Filler
  • Glass vases and containers


Here are a few ways to put these materials together to personalize what could otherwise be a sad dreary dorm room.

Use curtain lights above your desk or bed.

We love this trend and it’s super fun. Free up space on your desk and hang your photos on a string of lights or a string of  curtain lights as shown here in a dorm room belonging to a young woman who just moved into her dorm last week.  Read more about her room. Well done, Audrey!




Create an icicle light hula hoop

We’ve created a hula hoop chandelier with red, white and blue lights. Choose white for your dorm or show your school spirit with your school colors.

Read more about how to create a hula hoop chandelier.


Curtain lights installed above a bed


Battery lights in fun containers

Battery fairy lights last over 100 hours on 3 AA battery sets so they make a great choice for lighting your dorm room. Combine them with salt or another filler.

Here are a few examples:

Seashells and battery fairy lights!


Battery lights with corn if you are in school in the Midwest!! 


Container with battery lights, salt, and a flower!



Create a custom string of ping pong lights

Start with a simple string of white lights on white or green wire in either LED or traditional incandescent or choose a string of colorful Christmas lights and hang them over your desk or bed. Choose colors that complement your room decor or celebrate your school colors.




See the easy instructions for this fun project.

Shellie Gardner
Aside from throwing dinner parties that feature at least two kinds of cheese dip, Shellie's passions include travel, Mid-Century Modern furnishings and finding the perfect street taco. Has been known to snort laugh champagne.

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