How to make your dorm room into a smart home from under $25

From $25

The fall semester is right around the corner and while keeping your dorm room organized is a priority for some, there are other ways to get ready for the back to school season. Adding some smarts to your home away from home takes campus life to a whole new level, so below you’ll find our top recommendations for turning your dorm room into a smart home.

Dorms get a pretty bad reputation overall. But there are a lot of ways you can make your on-campus room feel a little more like home, and by personalizing it with smart accessories, bring it into the 21st century.

Echo Dot or  Google Home Mini |

Voice assistant-packed smart speakers are the foundation of many smart homes. The same is true for dorm rooms, where devices like the Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini serve as your means of controlling lights, listening to music and all the other things Alexa and Assistant excel at.

Having either of the smart speakers on your desk is a fantastic way to kickstart your smart dorm. They’re great for using as Bluetooth speakers or just streaming music and can help remind you when its time to grab laundry out of the dryer.

And on those nights when you’re so into studying that food is the last thing on your mind, ordering pizza is as easy as saying “Alexa order Domino’s.” At $50 each, it comes down to personal preference for either Amazon or Google.

During my last year of school, I personally found the Echo Spot, which doubles as an alarm clock, to be worth the additional cost at $130. But if you’re looking for the ideal nightstand accessory, it’s hard to go wrong here. 

LIFX Smart Bulbs |

There’s a lot you can do to make your dorm feel a little more like home, but the harsh overhead incandescent lights might kill whatever mood you’re trying to set. That’s where smart lighting comes in. Whether you’re looking for dimmable bulbs to wind down in the evenings or a full color setup for some ambiance, smart lights take your dorm room to the next level. They’re also great for scheduling as an alternative to alarms to wake you up gradually with lighting.

In our recent post about choosing the right smart lighting solution, we praised LIFX bulbs for being a convenient way to get started. They also just so happen to be perfect for dorm rooms, where setting up something like the Philips Hue bridge is not only difficult, but also sometimes impossible based on your college’s network.

Bulbs start at under $25 for a dimmable option and go up to $80 or so for the full color models. The entire lineup of LIFX devices work without a hub and pair nicely with either the Echo Dot or Home Mini.

Wemo Mini Smart Plug |

Over the past four years of living on campus, I’ve found that string lights are one of the most common dorm room accessories. If you were thinking of bringing any form of lighting decor to your room, adding a smart outlet, like Wemo’s $30 Mini Plug, is a great way to make your dorm a little cozier, and a little smarter.

Nanoleaf Aurora |

It’s hard to not include Nanoleaf’s Aurora lighting panels in any smart home recommendation, but for the dorm room, I think they’re even more of a must-have. They’re perfect to set a relaxing mood in the evenings or liven things up on the weekends when hanging out with friends. They were always a huge hit for me when throwing parties, with included Rhythm add-on syncing the lights to the beat of the music.

Have plans to turn your dorm room into a smart home? We’d love to hear about it on Twitter @9to5Toys!

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