smart lights in dorm

Dorm rooms and smart lights are a match made in heaven. Late night study sessions are better with voice controlled lights. Set moods by changing colours on your smartphone. Better yet, create light schedules and morning and night routines so you never sleep in again. If you’re moving into a dorm, get yourself some smart lights and personalize your new space to create an environment that makes you want to study. Let’s look at all the ways you can brighten up your dorm with smart lighting.

Smart LED light strips for ambient lighting

If I was moving into a dorm, the first thing I’d get is several smart LED light strips. I’m a huge fan of ambient lighting. Rather than a direct light source, use LED light strips to light up various objects. For example, apply it under a desk. The light reflects down onto the wall and surface. Another place to set up LED light strips is over or under a shelf. Again, the light reflects off the wall and illuminates the space with a soft glow.

The key is to apply the LED light strip where you can’t see the lights themselves. This is a mistake a lot of people make. Otherwise you see the individual dots of lights on the strip—and it’s not a good look. Instead, place it so you only see the light reflecting off another surface. That’s the secret to ambient lighting in a dorm room. 

Smart lights - smart panels

Smart light panels for interactive wall art

Let’s face it, other students are going to see your dorm room. This is the perfect opportunity to showcase your creative side with smart light panels. These are panels that attach to your wall and reflect light. The great thing about them is that they are modular, so you can design your own configuration with different light combinations. 

If you’re installing smart light panels, I recommend you start from the power outlet. The key is to hide the wire as best you can. Start the design near the wall outlet to best hide the wire. If you do have a long stretch of wire on the wall, buy a cord cover. You can even paint it to match the wall colour to completely hide it.  

Smart lights - smart lamps

Smart lamps for late night studying

Dorms are small but it’s important to set up a proper desk space for studying. Smart lamps are the perfect addition to any desk. These are LED lights that connect to smart speakers and displays. Personally, I’m a big fan of new LED light bars. In my opinion, they provide the best lighting experience at night. Simply face them up towards the ceiling or to a wall for endless lighting possibilities around your desk. This sets the perfect mood for late night study sessions.

Smart bulbs to create regular sleeping patterns

Back in my day, pulling all-night study sessions was commonplace. Students would sacrifice sleep to study. Now we know the importance of sleep in learning. Smart bulbs are an effective tool to ensure students maintain healthy sleep patterns. Many smart bulbs have a circadian feature. This is when the colour and intensity of the light matches the sun during the course of a day. For example, in the evening, the intensity of the light decreases and changes to an orange glow. This replicates a sunset inside a dorm room. The net effect is helping prepare the body for sleep. With smart bulbs, students can retrofit all the dorm lights and group them together. As the sun goes down outside, so do students. Used right, smart lights can promote regular sleeping patterns. 

Smart lights

Using smart lights with smart speakers and displays

The hub of any smart dorm is a smart speaker or a smart display. With smart lights, you can control their lights anytime through voice commands. Change the colours of specific lights with your voice. Or group lights together to control them with voice commands. Not only is this convenient, it’s sure to impress others. People will judge you on how you keep your dorm. Make light switches a thing of the past and control all your lights with voice. 

One tip I have is to use smart speakers and displays to change the light intensity. If I’m working late into the night, I usually turn the light intensity down on all my smart lights. This helps ensure I can fall asleep quickly afterwards. In the morning, I like to have the light intensity at the highest level. This helps me wake up quickly and get at it. 

Setting up routines to optimize lighting 

Once you have a variety of smart lights setup in your dorm, the next thing to do is to set up routines. For example, I would create a morning wake-up routine. At a specific time, the lights would simulate a sunrise and gradually increase in brightness. This helps students naturally wake up. Another routine I would create is a Study Mode. Here, I would have the brightness at max to enhance concentration. A good tip is to pair the lights with the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your phone. That prevents any notification from distracting you while you study. This helps train your brain to do deep work for a specific amount of time without distraction. 

Finally, I would set up a bedtime routine. Here, I would have all the lights turn off from a single voice command. This signals it’s time for bed. I recommend adding an alarm to set for the next day as part of your bedtime routine. Then you know you didn’t forget to set your alarm. When the lights go off, the alarm sets on. 

Smart lights - smart dorm setup

Brighten your dorm with smart lights

When it comes to dorms, remember lighting matters. Having the right lighting setup will drastically affect your mode. With smart lights, you become the master of your lighting experience. Use ambient lighting with smart LED light strips and smart lamps. This creates the right mood for studying. Smart lights can also help you maintain a regular sleep schedule. Take advantage of voice control and routines for the ultimate setup. 

Read this smart light buying guide to learn more about smart lighting. As you move into your new dorm, be sure to bring some smart lights with you.  

Andy Baryer
Andy Baryer aka “Handy Andy” is a technology journalist, gadget reviewer, and DIY/how-to content creator. Known as the handyman of tech, Andy enjoys fixing poor wireless networks, building smart homes, and cooking with the latest kitchen gadgets. He’s a competitive whistler, a budding woodworker, and loves gardening in his home-built smart garden.