Often used for mood lighting, LED strip lights are colorful additions to rooms. Many people use strip lights for the atmosphere when overhead lights are switched off. These lights often provide several color options or will cycle through colors automatically.
For students living in dorms, LED lights can inject a bit of personality. Dorm rooms all look similar, and those little accessories can make a big difference to space.
You might like to put strip lights in one specific part of your dorm room to highlight a feature. Alternatively, they could be a border around the whole room so you can change your lighting to suit your mood.
Are LED strips allowed in dorms? Could you break the rules if you use them?
LED strip lights will be allowed in some dorms but might not be allowed in others. You are renting your dorm as a tenant, just like you would rent an apartment, so you’ll be expected to maintain the dorm in its original condition. Speak to your dorm coordinator for more clarification.
To help you consider adding a strip to your dorm, I’ll be addressing:
- The rules about renting dorms and adding your own lighting
- The risks of LED lights in dorms
- Ways to mount strip lights without leaving permanent damage
Can You Install LED Strip Lights In Dorms?
When you’re renting a dorm room, you’re a tenant. There will be an agreement between you, the tenant, and the landlord or property owner. You will have signed a contract before you moved in, and this contract will set out your responsibilities while renting your dorm room.
You’ll have a bit of freedom when renting your dorm, but you won’t be allowed to make permanent changes to the room that you’re staying in. It will be expected that, when you move out, the room will look just as it did before you first moved in.
It isn’t always easy to add personality to a generic dorm room.
However, your dorm room is your home for a while, and you deserve to feel comfortable in it. If LED strips would make your dorm look better, you may be allowed to install them.
If you’re installing strip lights, make sure you don’t cause permanent damage. Check that you’re allowed them in your dorms, and consider asking your dorms coordinator if you need clarification.
Most will be very understanding, so you should be allowed to add a strip (or more) as long as you’ve considered the risks.
If you want to learn more read my full guide to LED strip lights.
What Are The Risks Of Installing LED Lights In Dorms?
When you install your tape lights, you could damage the walls. There are several different ways to install your strip lights, so it’s essential to make sure that your choice will not involve drilling or damage paintwork.
If you damage walls in your dorm room, you might lose your deposit and could be expected to cover the costs of repairs.
Before mounting strip lights on your walls, it’s best to carry out a small test.
Most LED strips come with their own tape. Before you commit to installing the strip lights, apply a tiny amount of tape to the wall and check if it sticks as expected.
This shouldn’t be in an obvious location, but in a corner where it can’t easily be seen. Leave the tape for a few days, then try to peel it from the wall.
Check if the tape comes off as it should or if it leaves marks or removes paint.
If the tape for your strip has damaged the paint in your dorm room, you should be able to make a minor repair on your own.
It’s far easier to fix a small amount of damage than to realize your mistake when you’re about to move out and remove all your LED strips. That’s why a test is so important.
This being said, if you need to paint over a small bit of damage, make sure that you use the right paint. You should match the existing color and select the right type of paint.
Most dorm rooms will have hard-wearing and durable gloss paint, but don’t apply a shiny gloss if the walls of your dorm room are currently covered in matte.
Don’t forget to check the condition of your strip lights before you install them. As an electrical product, LED strips do involve a small electrical risk.
However, this is minimal and shouldn’t be a problem if the wires are all in good condition.
If you can’t install a strip light without damaging the walls – or you’re simply not allowed to use a tape light – then why not try a string light?
They might not be as discreet as a strip light that’s tucked into a recess. However, they’ll still add to the atmosphere of your room and can be held up using less-strong adhesive or wrapped around the furniture, so they won’t cause damage.
Like strip lights, string lights are cheap and energy-efficient and are a great option for weaving around a shelf or a mirror.
Here is a fantastic life hack for all students. The majority of halls will have some type of board on the wall where you can place pictures. At least, it was the case with my halls when I was in uni a few years back.
This board is great in terms of installing the strip lights on it because it won’t get damaged.
How To Mount Strip Lights Without Damaging Walls?
If you have checked that you’re allowed to install LED strip lights, make sure that you don’t damage your dorm walls and end up with a costly repair bill.
It’s important you’re careful when you install your strip lights. Install strip lights in a well-ventilated location and room.
Your strips will probably come with their own tape. If not, you can buy double-side adhesive backing tape (Amazon).
Test a small area, as I’ve explained, to see whether the walls will be damaged. If you want to install your strip lights, cut the tape to the correct size.
Prepare your walls by cleaning them with a damp cloth, then drying them carefully. Next, peel one side of the tape and stick it to the wall with gentle pressure.
Take your time and make sure the tape is straight before you secure it in place.
Your LED strip lights will also need to be cut to the right size for your dorm room. Only cut along designated lines.
Otherwise, you risk cutting through electrical circuits and breaking your strip lights.
You can use scissors to cut through strip lights and a ruler or tape measure to make sure that you’ve accurately measured.
Once your light strip has been cut to size, stick it to your wall with the two-sided adhesive tape.
Another cool life hack. Simply install LED strips around your bed frame, cabinet, or table in the room. Just make sure it is not a tight area, so the strip has enough airflow.
LED strip lights are a safe and affordable way to add personality to your dorm room. Still, you might not be allowed to install them.
It’s best to check with whoever’s in charge of making the rules for your dorms. If you do install strip lights, make sure they won’t leave any permanent damage.
Some surfaces don’t bond well with adhesive tape for strip lights. Improve your chances of success by wiping the walls and drying them thoroughly.
If your LED strip lights don’t stick, you might need a stronger adhesive tape or something like command strips instead. Don’t use anything to put holes in the walls or leave adhesive behind when you move out.
Do you have any tips for the best adhesives to use on walls in a dorm? What are your tips for personalizing a dorm room?
Use the comments below to let me know how you’ve improved your college dorm room.