There’s not a lot about college dorm decor that’s worth taking into your adult apartment. Pulp Fiction and Bob Marley are great, but perhaps it’s time to leave those posters behind. White string lights are probably the thing you used to make your dorm room feel “fancy,” but it’s time to upgrade, and LED strip lights are the adult version of that.
The thing that sets LED strips apart from string lights is that the strip is supposed to be hidden under a cabinet or behind a TV, making for lighting that’s simultaneously discreet but statement-making. Instead of relying on one large bulb for lighting, LED strip lights use a number of tiny “bulbs” that work together to illuminate a space.
These strip lights are a surprisingly sophisticated way to add lighting to your place, especially if you don’t have a lot of other ceiling or floor lamps. They blend in subtly, don’t take up a ton of space and are easy to set up — even without an electrician. Some of our options below offer fun features too, like changing colors and the ability to sync to your music, making for an interactive lighting experience.
For tasteful, chic and yes, adult-appropriate lighting, upgrade to one of these LED strip lights.
1. Philips Hue Bluetooth Smart Lightstrip
If you’re looking for an option that you can integrate into your smart home, this light strip from Philips is Alexa certified if you have an Alexa device, and it also works with other smart assistants like Google Home. The lights use Bluetooth, making them easy to control without worrying about WiFi. You can set the color options using the Philips app, and there are 16 million colors to choose from. The lights are bendable and cuttable, making them easy to set up.
Pros: Connect using Bluetooth, allowing you to turn them off from your phone or using your smart assistant. Millions of color options. Can be cut and bent into place.
Cons: Some options may be less expensive.
2. L8star Color Changing LED Strip Lights
These LED strip lights have RGB color options, and there’s a designated app to dim the lighting and change the colors. There are 16.4 or 32.8 feet options. Plus, there’s a music mode that makes the colors change with the sound of the music. This is a great set to pick up for your next party or to add some ambiance to your space.
Pros: Lights can be controlled through an app or included remote control. Lights can change color and be dimmed.
Cons: App and syncing the lights to music can be somewhat tricky.
3. Pangton Villa LED Strip Lights
These 6.56 feet lights are designed to be put behind a TV for a subtle way to enhance your viewing experience. There are 16 different color options, and it comes with a remote to easily switch between colors. The lights adhere easily using double-sided tape, so no drilling or hanging is necessary.
Pros: Easy to install, good for a gaming set-up or TV, different color options.
Cons: Won’t work with TVs without a USB port, no option to leave lights on when TV is off.
4. Govee White LED Strip Lights
If you’re looking for a simple set of white lights that you can use for vanity mirrors or under kitchen cabinets, these lights from Govee are a great option. They can be dimmed using the simple control panel which features a power button and individual plus/minus buttons to easily control the lighting level. The light is 16 feet long, and the included adhesives make these lights easy to set up.
Pros: Easy to dim with the control panel. Can be trimmed to fit the space you need. Adhesive for an easy install.
Cons: Some may prefer an option with more colors.
5. LE 12V LED Strip Light
These strip lights are 16-feet long, and they’re available in warm or daylight white. The strips are flexible and can be attached to a variety of surfaces. The strips can be cut and linked to fit a variety of spaces, whether across the ceiling or around a bookshelf or frame.
Pros: Available in warm or daylight white. Flexible, cuttable strip. Lights emit very low heat so it’s safe to touch and move around, even when plugged in.
Cons: Requires separate power adapter which is not included.
6. Lphumex LED Vanity Mirror Lights
Maybe you don’t have any intention of becoming a famous actor, but you can still inject a little Hollywood glamor into your morning routine. These vanity lights are designed to go around your bathroom mirror. Of course, they’re not just for show — these lights let you do your morning routine more easily or pop into the bathroom at night without turning on the main light. These lights can also be used under cabinets, and you can even cut off excess light panels for a customized fit.
Pros: Lights can be cut for a customized fit. Ideal for vanity mirrors, but can also be used for cabinets and displays. Can be dimmed.
Cons: Only one color.
7. DAYBETTER Led Strip Lights
Create appealing mood lighting everywhere in your house with these lights from Daybetter. They come in a 32-foot string, but the lights are cuttable and linkable, allowing you to decorate different parts of your home. The LED lights are also color-changing, and the included remote control makes it easy to set the mood.
Pros: Cuttable and linkable to create lighting in different areas. Includes a remote to conveniently change the colors.
Cons: If you want to separate the lights you’d need to buy an additional adapter.
8. MINGER White LED Strip Lights
If you don’t need a variety of colors, these white lights are a good option. They’re daylight white and dimmable, allowing you to create a natural glow that will suit your room. The lights are also cuttable, meaning you can customize them to fit the space that you have. Plus the adhesive backs make it easy to apply these lights with minimal effort. They’re great for mirrors, as well as closets and kitchens.
Pros: Cuttable to fit. Adhesive backing for easy application.
Cons: Some options are longer.