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Best Accent Lighting for Dorm Rooms

Adding personality to a sterile dorm room is tricky, but good lighting can go a long way towards making your space personal and fun to relax in. Here are our top picks for awesome dorm accent lighting.

Accent lights are great for dorm rooms, especially since they’re easy to hang, they’re relatively inexpensive, and they add a bit of fun! Our list includes accent lighting that can span dorm room walls, move to music, act as curtains, and even hang pictures.

Note that we’ve left out some great accent lighting and true smart home options (like the Philips Hue) because they’re impractical to set up in most dorm rooms on account of network requirements. We have, however, filled that void (and strayed pretty far from the “inexpensive” side of things) by including some sweet premium lighting options at the end of our list.

Whether you’re looking for lights that are simple, themed, multifunctional, or smart, we’ve got a pick for you. Let’s dive in and start with the budget friendly and move onto the ultra premium.

Best Simple String of Lights: GreenClick Globe String Lights ($10)

Shopping for books, supplies, and other dorm decor gets expensive fast. Get decorations that won’t break the bank, like these GreenClick Globe String Lights. One string, which is almost 15 feet long with 40 multicolored LEDs, will cover a good portion of your side of the room (but 2 strings wouldn’t hurt and the price is certainly right).

The lights are battery-operated and even come with a remote so you can turn on and off or choose from 8 different modes (like wave, twinkle/flash, slow fade, steady, etc.). These lights are perfect for a dorm room, whether you’re looking for color, functionality, or price.

If you’re interested in a simple string of lights, but are looking for a solid color, check out these TaoTronics String Lights that are not only remote-controlled, but look great with the white-yellow lights and copper wire string.


Best Light Curtain: Twinkle Star ($16)

Want lights in your room, but want something more than your typical simple string of lights? The Twinkle Star Light Curtain is perfect if you’re looking for unique lighting. The Twinkle Star is 6.6 feet long with 10 strands (9.8 feet long) that hang vertically to create an illuminating curtain that can be placed on a window, wall, bunk bed—anywhere you want!

This curtain has 8 different modes (that you can control from the mode controller on the end of the main string) ranging from waves, twinkle/flash, steady, and more. You can add your own accents by intertwining a cloth curtain among the lights or by hanging pictures between the vertical strands—the possibilities for creativity and decoration are endless.

This curtain of warm white lights can be turned on or off by simply plugging it into the wall, so you won’t have to worry about replacing batteries. If you like the idea of a light curtain, but want more color, try the FEFE Rainbow Curtain Lights. Do note that the product is just the light strands and not the fabric; it’s up to you to pick out sheer curtain panels—like this set—to really complete the look.

Best Light Clips: Adecorty Photo String Lights ($16)

The Adecorty Photo String Lights provide more functionality than just a string of lights. This 14-foot string of 40 LED lights has clear photo clips attached to each light. You can use the clips to hang pictures, notes, art, decorations, and even the lights themselves. Say goodbye to boring picture frames!

This string is even remote-controlled, so you can set a timer or choose between 8 different lighting modes that will illuminate your photos in unique ways.  

Best Beach-Themed Lights: Impress Life Decorative Lights ($13-$17)

So you want accent lighting, but you don’t just want plain lights. What do you do? You check out these beach-themed Impress Life Decorative Lights! There are so many different themes to choose from, and while each strand from this collection is different, it still comes with a remote so you can turn the strand on and off (and even set timers for the battery operated lights).

While all lights are on a copper or silver wire, you can choose what the decorative light will be. For a more subtle look with hues of blues, you may like the Sea Glass Lights, which are perfect for beachy rooms otherwise. The Starfish Lights are a subtle touch as well, but there are also obvious beach-themed lights such as the Tropical Fish Lights, Dolphin Lights, Flamingo Lights, Blue Crab Lights, and Sea Turtle Lights.  

Best Hidden Accent Lighting: Rxment Strip Lights ($40)

We’ve touched on all kinds of accent lighting thus far, but what about more subtle lighting where the source is concealed? With Rxment Strip Lights, you can stick this strip of LED lights above curtains and doorways, behind a TV, or under cabinets and beds so that the light will illuminate the surrounding area. The back of the strip has durable 3M adhesive so that your lights will be sure to stay; plus you can cut the strip, so you can fit them wherever you want (just be sure to cut along the dotted lines).

Each 10-meter strip comes with a remote so you can choose between 16 color options. And with 300 LEDs on the strip, the quality of the illumination is better than competitors (similar strips have only way fewer LEDs along the same span). The strip is a great way to add accent lighting in a very subtle way that’s only visible when you’re in the mood for it.

Best Smart Lighting: Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm Smarter Kit ($330)

While most accent lighting is relatively inexpensive, lights that give you your own audiovisual lightshow will cost you a bit more—but are well worth the price, like The Nanoleaf Aurora Rhythm Smarter Kit. This kit comes with 15 triangular light panels that can display millions of colors while transforming your favorite songs into art you can see.

Just use the adhesive mounting pads and panel linkers to create patterns of these panels on your walls (or use one of the 15 mounting stencils of your liking). If you want more panels, you can purchase more to expand your lightshow. Once your panels are up and ready to go, you can use the app to customize animations and colors—or even link your Nanoleaf Aurora with Amazon Alexa, Siri, and OK Google. Unlike high profile smart lighting platforms like the Hue, you don’t need internet access to use the Nano. Wi-Fi access is helpful, but the product, thoughtfully, has hotspot connectivity built right in so you control it directly. 

The kit has a sound sensor that picks up on the rhythm of songs, and displays the lights so that you get an immersive and new way to listen to music. If you’re a gamer, you can integrate the panels with Razer technology to give you a totally different videogame experience. No matter how you use the panels though, you’re guaranteed a premium experience that is sure to wow anyone who sees the panels in action.

Best Bluetooth Lightbulb: Flux ($34)

If you were really smitten by the idea of a cool color-changing accent light but not so smitten by the insanely high price tag of the Nano system, the Flux bulb is for you. The Flux Bluetooth Smart Lightbulb screws into a ceiling or lamp and has an app that controls the settings, no hub or internet access required.

You can sync the lightbulb with your music, so you can create a light show concert or a tranquil ambiance with whatever tunes fit your mood. And if you’re feeling different colors, choose from 16 million shades with ease.

Need a little justification for spending a chunk more than a simple strand of lights would run you? The bulb has some nifty smart features like the ability to schedule what time your bulb turns on or off, and even set your bulb to gradually brighten as you wake up. So whether you have one bulb or several, control them all with one app to give you a unique and personalized experience with your accent lighting and music.

Caroline Stewart Caroline Stewart
Caroline is a writer and software engineer with a love for great gadgets and hot deals. She's got a soft spot for fun pet products. Read Full Bio »