11 Affordable Dorm Room Lights that Combine Style and Function

Best Dorm Room Lighting
Credit: Pottery Barn Teen

For study dates and making late-night memories, lighting is one of the key ingredients to crafting the perfect dorm room. While you have to purchase all the necessities like bedding and storage first, finding the right mood lighting can be the key to your student’s room becoming a designated hang-out spot. The best dorm room lighting is budget-friendly, stylish, and versatile enough to use in various spaces throughout the room.

To find the best dorm room lighting I searched through dozens of retailers, looked at customer reviews, and took note of products from popular stores that have a heavy college-age target demographic. 

Note: We are a reader-supported site and may receive compensation from purchases made through these links.

The Best Dorm Room Lighting Ideas

1. ​​Best Curtain Lights: Room Essentials LED Plug-in Curtain String Lights

Best dorm room lighting: Curtain lights
Credit: Target

Give your college student a backdrop they can rave about. The Room Essentials LED Plug-in Curtain String Lights include 100 LED bulbs set on a clear wire so they can easily coordinate it with a range of decor styles. The lights come with clips for easy installation, and feature rotating, flashing, blinking, or constant light settings to create a captivating light display.

2. Best Fairy Lights: Xinkaite Fairy String Lights

Best dorm room lighting: fairy lights
Credit: Amazon

If your student wants a soft glow and an enchanting feel to their room, fairy lights are the answer to their design prayers. These LED Fairy String Lights from Amazon come in nine different colors, including warm white, multicolor, and blue, so they can find an option that fits in seamlessly with their style. The lights are bendable and can be shaped in a variety of different ways to fit around their desk, on their headboard, and more. 

3. Best Lantern Light: Gardeningwill Ball LED String Lights 

Best dorm room lighting: Gardeningwill ball lights
Credit: Amazon

Lighting and light fixtures are often an interior design afterthought. Why not make them the main event? The Gardeningwill Ball LED Battery Operated String Light comes in seven different hues, including rainbow, warm white, and purple and white, so it can fit in with any color scheme. Plus, it is battery-operated, so there’s no need to use up that coveted outlet space. 

4. Best Neon Light: IbayNawi Custom Neon Sign

Custom neon light
Credit: Amazon

If you want your college student’s dorm to be Instagram-worthy, a custom neon light is a must-have. The IbayNawi Custom Neon Sign from Amazon can say everything from your kiddo’s name to their school to their Greek letters to their favorite quote, and beyond! The customizable sign comes in  white, pink, ice blue, and dark blue, so there’s sure to be a color that fits your student’s style.  

5. Best Mushroom Lamp: Pottery Barn Teen Glass Mushroom Table Lamp

Mushroom light
Credit: Pottery Barn Teen

All Gen Z-ers have seen the popular mushroom lamps that have gone viral on TikTok. Now, they can sport one of their very own in their dorm room. The Glass Mushroom Table Lamp from Pottery Barn Teen is handcrafted and provides their space with the ultimate laid-back 70s vibe. The on and off switch makes it easy to operate and the light itself offers a soft glow perfect for nighttime reading and studying. 

6. Best Standing Lamp: Everly Quinn Column Floor Lamp  

Everly Quinn floor lamp
Credit: Wayfair

There’s no doubt about it: most dorm rooms lack both storage and extra lighting. Why not kill two birds with one stone? Wayfair’s Everly Quinn Column Floor Lamp has four small shelves for everything from knick-knacks to books and more.  It comes in a variety of finish options, so they can combine style and function with this multi-purpose lamp. 

7. Best Desk Lamp: Room Essentials Organizer Task Lamp

Room Essentials desk lamp
Credit: Target

Late night and early morning study hours spent at your dorm room desk are a rite of passage for most college students. But in many dorms, the provided desk light just won’t do. Give them a desk lamp that actually makes them want to spend hours there or at least makes it comfortable! The Room Essentials Organizer Task Lamp from Target is both a source of light and of storage.

The lamp is compact, so it won’t take up too much desk space, but it also features convenient slots to store pens, sticky notes, or anything they may want to keep within reach. Plus, there’s a USB port with a phone stand so they can charge their devices while they study. 

8. Best Projector Light: Sanrio Projection Lamp

Sanrio projection lamp
Credit: Urban Outfitters

Dare to be different when it comes to dorm room lighting. If your student is a Sanrio fanatic, this adorable Sanrio Projection Lamp from Urban Outfitters will make them the talk of the dorm. Unlike conventional lighting solutions, this projector casts a vibrant character in the space while also doubling as trendy wall art. It’s also lightweight and small, so you won’t have to worry about it taking up too much space. 

9. Best Smart Lamp: Amazon Echo Glow Multicolor Smart Lamp

Amazon echo glow
Credit: Amazon

Get your kiddo a lamp that’s almost as smart as them! Perfect for your high-tech student, the Echo Glow Multicolor Smart Lamp pairs with any compatible Alexa device and can be controlled from an iPhone or Android. Once hooked up to the app, they can control the lamp’s color and brightness with their voice. The light can also provide visual reminders to help them set up routines like waking up or designating study hours when you’re not there to do so. Plus, they can pair the light with music and video games to add a visual display like no other. 

10. Best Floor Lamp: Cindy Paper Lantern Floor Lamp

Cindy paper lamp
Credit: Urban Outfitters

Proof that floor lamps don’t have to be basic and boring, the Cindy Paper Lantern Floor Lamp is a simple yet cool piece that will look great with any type of room decor. Just plug it in, and they’ll enjoy the beautiful luminous glow that it casts throughout their room. 

11. Best Charging Lamp: Pottery Barn Teen Taylor Wireless Charging Lamp

Pottery Barn Teen charging lamp
Credit: Pottery Barn Teen

Dorm rooms are notorious for being short on outlets. If your student has multiple roommates, it can be a real struggle to find enough spots for everyone to charge all their devices. The Taylor Wireless Charging Task Lamp with USB from Pottery Barn Teen has a built-in wireless charging station at the base and a USB-A charging port so you can charge multiple devices at once. It also comes in four different colorways, including blush, white and gold, black and nickel, and nickel, so they can choose an option that best fits their aesthetic. 

Why You Can Trust Us

Hi, my name is Madison, and I am a full-time lifestyle writer who has spent countless hours reviewing and writing product guides. I have written and tested everything from rowing machines to kitchen gadgets, beauty products and beyond. My experience has helped me learn a few things about what makes a product worth buying.

Grown & Flown is the ultimate resource for parents of older kids. Whether you need help finding the best dorm room accessories for your college student or figuring out the need-to-knows of the college admission process, we have you covered. 

For this article, I researched top-rated products from popular stores, and I pored over  reviews to ensure that all of the recommended products are worth purchasing. . I also looked at top retailers college-age students love and found dorm room lighting options that combine both style and function.

Prices were accurate at time of publication.  

Don't miss out!
Want more like this? Get updates about parenting teens and young adults straight to your inbox.