For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
Display screen shot 2016 09 17 at 12.40.59 pm
Sep 17 2016
by Nancy Canevari

8 Alternatives to Candles to Keep in Your Dorm Room

By Nancy Canevari - Sep 17 2016

Let’s be real here: we all love candles. We all love taking artsy, aesthetic pictures with candles and books and mugs of hot beverages, and why shouldn’t we? Unfortunately, because dorm life crowds students so closely together, candles are often banned as a fire hazard. However, there are plenty of alternatives that can produce the same effect, either by providing light that’s softer than dorm lamps or scents that make a crowded, messy room smell a bit better. Try these out, and see which ones you like the best.

1. Fairy lights.

image credit: tumblr

If you want additional light in your dorm while still keeping the room warm and cozy, fairy lights are a perfect idea. Place them as high in the room as you can, to allow light to spread through the entire room, drape them over the backs of your furniture or wrap them around your curtain rod. 

To purchase: Amazon and Target.

2. Electric candles/tea lights.

image credit: Pottery Barn

This one’s a pretty obvious replacement for candles, but there are a surprising number of people who don’t realize that these exist. Powered by batteries, these look very similar to actual candles and provide light while also giving a similar aesthetic. Unlike actual candles, these can also be left on when leaving the room or sleeping. 

To purchase: Bed, Bath & Beyond and Target for these.

3. Clip on book lights.

image credit: Barnes and Noble

These have been a godsend for me. If your roommate goes to bed early and you still want to work without leaving the room, clip one of these onto your book or desk - it gives a small amount of light in a very defined amount of space. Like a candle, a book lamp provides a small amount of light, allowing your workspace to be visible, but it’s steadier than a candle, and doesn’t need to be closely monitored. 

To purchase: Amazon and Staples.

4. Reed diffusers.

image credit: Pier1

Reed diffusers, like air fresheners, spread scent through a room without any need for heat. Scented oil is poured into a small glass pot and thin reeds are stuck into the pot, through which the scent of the oil is spread. 

To purchase: Yankee Candle and Pier One.

5. Oil warmers.

image credit: Amazon

Oil warmers are small dishes that small amounts of essential oils are poured into. The oil is then heated by either battery or power cord, and as the warmer heats the oil scent spreads through the room. Like a scented candle, oil warmers provide the room with a pleasant smell, but because they contain no open flame, they’re not a fire hazard.

 To purchase: Amazon

6. Wax warmers.

image credit: Glade

Similar to oil warmers, wax warmers contain a small dish that is filled with scented wax, and then powered by battery or power cord. The wax is melted as the dish heats, and the scent diffuses through the room without an open flame. 

To purchase: Yankee Candle and Bed, Bath & Beyond

7. Air fresheners.

image credit: Glade

If you’re buying candles to make your room smell better (because let’s be honest, you haven’t cleaned since move-in day), air freshener will spread scents just as easily. They can also be left activated even when you leave the room, so the fresh smell won’t go away. 

To purchase: Febreze and Amazon.

8. Perfume on the lightbulb.

image credit: Chanel

This one is a bit less well-known, but it works surprisingly well. If you have lamps with bulbs, spray a bit of perfume on the bulb and turn on the light. The heat will spread the scent of the perfume through the room, making it smell nice whenever you turn the light on.

Just because your dorm room has restrictions doesn’t mean you can’t make it as cozy as you want! And the wonderful thing about most of these options is that they are constantly reusable, meaning that you’re saving the environment and money when you purchase them. Happy decorating!

Lead Image Credit: Unsplash

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Nancy Canevari - Smith College

Nancy is a junior editor for Fresh U. She is a sophomore at Smith College and plans on double majoring in secondary education and English, with a concentration in creative writing. She's originally from New Jersey, a place she views with one part love and one part exasperated disgust. She loves dogs and young adult high fantasy novels a bit too much and spends most of her time drinking tea and yelling about politics. Follow her on Instagram @fearlesslynancelot for some solidly mediocre content.

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