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Lighting ideas for a dorm room

As the summer weeks continue, a new school year is looming. For many individuals, checking in for the fall semester of college is a day fast approaching. Aside from the books, pencils, and other essentials for schoolwork, considering how to decorate and light a dorm room space can be a daunting task.

portable accent lamp Lighting ideas for a dorm room

George Kovacs Portable Accent Lamp

Dorm room walls are typically painted white or off white in color. They’re a blank slate, so to say! Take advantage of the plain walls as an opportunity to introduce color and visual interest with your lamps and other decor.

For the most pleasant lighting situation, avoid using the overhead fluorescent lighting commonly found in dorm spaces. These fixtures tend to be the ones you see in office environments, and the light can be harsh and artificial. Having alternative lamps and light fixtures set up in the room can foster a cheerful and welcoming mood in your space, as well as keep things easy on your eyes.

desk lamps Lighting ideas for a dorm room

Adesso Graham Desk Lamp // Adesso Radar Desk Lamp // Dimond Antique Brass Hamilton Desk Lamp

A good rule of thumb is to utilize one accent lamp per large surface in your room. One of those surfaces is your desk – illuminating your workspace is essential!

P8140672 Lighting ideas for a dorm room

Photo credit: Shanty Insanity

table lamps Lighting ideas for a dorm room

Adesso Dune Table Lamp // Lights Up! Meridian Small Table Lamp // Lights Up! Oscar Boudoir Table Lamp

A bedside lamp is another necessity for your dorm room. Find one that coordinates well with the color or pattern of your bedding; it will help create a cohesive look for your space!

modern home office Lighting ideas for a dorm room

floor lamps Lighting ideas for a dorm room

Adesso Shimmy Floor Lamp // Adesso Pom Pom Floor Lamp // Adesso Lexington Combo Floor Lamp

Standing floor lamps can be another useful lighting solution for a dorm room. They can cast light over a larger area than a small table or desk lamp, so they can serve as a main light source for the space. Think about placing one near to your couch or futon. A lamp with a dimmer function built in is also a plus; being able to adjust the amount of light depending on the time of day or activity you are doing is advantageous.

modern bedroom Lighting ideas for a dorm room


To pair with the lamps you place in your dorm room, also consider utilizing mirrors! Darker rooms appear to be smaller, so creating a bright space will open it up. By placing mirrors near to lamps, you can bounce the light emitted and make your space appear larger.

Finally, keep in mind there can be restrictions on lighting in your school’s dorm rooms. Make sure to check ahead of time to see if there are rules and regulations for the type and number of lamps/lights you can place in your room. You don’t want to cause a fire hazard or get in trouble, so plan in advance!

Are you heading to the dorms this year, or know of someone who is? How do you plan to light the room?