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11 Unexpected Ways to Decorate Your Dorm With Holiday Lights

With the blink of an eye, summer has faded away, and winter is creeping its way back again. But with the cold weather comes the holidays. Want to add some extra warmth to your home away from home? Bring some coziness to your dorm with these cute holiday light designs!

1. Lighted headboard

In most dorms, there’s that awkward wall space behind your pillows that’s difficult to decorate. Headboards and posters can definitely add a little flair, but thankfully Meg Diamond shows you how to get this lighted headboard for a relatively low price. All you really need is some tape, Command strips or if you’re brave, some cork board tacks. Voilà! You have your perfect headboard, which also acts as a night light for before-bed reading.

2. Light-strung picture collage

The wall on your side of the dorm is a crucial display of who you are. What you choose to display can really set the tone for a semester. What better way to make your dorm as home-y as possible than by lining your wall with holiday lights? Hanging pictures from the lights, like Kindesign did, is a great way to make sure your side of the room takes on a personality of its own.

3. Faux Christmas tree

We have the perfect solution for the girl without space for a tree. What a cute and resourceful way to add some holiday cheer to your room! Don’t have the wall space to make it happen? Deck the halls by putting this tree on your window. Tape and lights are all you’ll need to complete this project. Not only will it take up minimal space, but it can help spread good holiday vibes to those walking around the quad outside your dorm.

4. Lighted canopy

Do your parents have those random tube holiday lights sitting around the house? Have you ever seen them actually used? No? In that case, this lighted canopy DIY from Handmaidtales is finally giving those long-retired lights a purpose. This canopy can be placed over your bed (making the perfect reading light) or over your desk to give it a more inviting vibe.

5. Spotlight map

Have you been bitten by the travel bug? Use holiday lights to check off just where in the world you’ve been or hope to go. Hazel & Ruby even shows you how to personalize these maps with minimal effort. Hang the finished product over your desk for some inspiration when your ever-present wanderlust kicks in.

6. Icicle lights

This proves that icicle lights can transform your room from simple to simply elegant in an instant.

7. Lit up bunk

White walls and close spaces can make a bottom bunk feel especially bland. Adding globe lights and an excessive amount of blankets and pillows, as Grosgrain did, can transform any boring bunk into a haven of comfort. Globe lights, however, can be pricey. Want to get a similar look but for half the price? All you need is a set of holiday lights and some ping pong balls. We’ll even show you how to make the discounted version of these cute lights.  

8. Desk lamp swap

Desks with shelving in college dorms are a blessing in disguise. There’s so much room for storage and so many options for decorating. According to Vagabomb, you should line your desk with any color of holiday lights and ditch the desk lamp! This lighting will make your desk feel less like part of a stuffy dorm and more of a welcoming place to study at.

9. Statement windows

Vagabomb proves that windows can be a source of light at all times of the day. As soon as you dress those dull windows up with dangling lights and sheer curtains, you’ll feel like you’re walking in a winter wonderland.

10. Starry sky

When you were younger, did you ever put glow-in-the-dark stars on your ceiling? Well, this holiday light decor idea from Kindesign is the college version of those glow-in-the-dark stars. With a few Command strips and tape, this can easily become a reality. Soon enough, you’ll be sleeping under the stars every night.

11. Lighted waterfall wall

This curtain of lights from Propinsanity is ideal for jazzing up that awkward space that you have no idea what to do with. Around the holidays, you can even attach various ornaments to create the perfect festive decoration. Thankfully, Architecture Art Design has given us an amazing example to model ours after!

Which of these holiday light decor ideas will you be trying, collegiettes?

Allie Maniglia served as the Campus Correspondent for Her Campus at Penn State from 2017-2018. She majored in public relations with minors in international studies and communication arts and sciences. If she's not busy writing away, you can find her planning her next adventure (probably back to the U.K.), feeding an unhealthy addiction to HGTV or watching dog videos on YouTube.