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This post is all about dorm room essentials.
Dorm room shopping is stressful, and requires a ton of planning. What if I bring too little? Too much? Not the right stuff? Forget something?
As a college student who lived on campus for two years, I can help you! I brought way too much stuff with me both years, even after learning my lesson the first time. I also didn’t bring a bunch of stuff that I definitely needed.
In this post, I show you exactly what you need in any dorm room. All of these items are essential dorm room products! I didn’t only use these products myself, but I noticed that my friend’s dorm rooms had them as well. These popular dorm room products will make your dorm life as functional as possible.
Here are 38 dorm room essentials.
Dorm Room Essentials
This list does not include everything that you need to bring to your dorm room, but covers stuff that I find almost all dorm rooms contain. So, I can almost guarantee that these are items that you will be using a ton! I highly recommend getting these items in advance, in the months leading up to your move in, since the stores in college towns around college move-in days are essentially empty.
Microfiber Sheet Set
Some nice, quality sheets can go a long way in providing comfort in your dorm room. My mom got me some really nice microfiber sheets for my freshman dorm room, and I couldn’t wait to crawl into them every night.
Throw pillows really add a lot to your dorm room bed. Need your dorm bed to be converted into a couch for when friends come over? Throw pillows do the trick! I included some of my favorite throw pillows below, but check your local TJ Maxx or Target for some other great options.
*All the pillows below are listed as throw pillow covers, so I included my favorite inserts. Having separate throw pillows and covers is great for changing the look of your throw pillows at any time.
High quality sleeping pillows are an absolute essential! College may be a lot of fun, but it’s also a lot of work. Take this new opportunity to get some new, nice pillows if the ones you have at home aren’t amazing.
You’ll (hopefully) have your bed made throughout the day, making a throw blanket a must for daytime naps and Netflix binges.
Finally, a super fashionable comforter set that matches your dorm room theme really sets the tone for the whole room. Make sure that you pick wisely! When in doubt, you can always get a neutral colored comforter set and incorporate your theme’s colors through throw pillows and decor. Here’s a few of my favorite neutral colored comforter sets.
Cooking and Eating
Keurig or Electric Tea Kettle
A Keurig is perfect for regular coffee drinkers, and an essential in a dorm room. Brewing coffee isn’t the easiest in a dorm! If coffee isn’t your thing, it isn’t entirely necessary to splurge on a Keurig. However, I recommend that you get an electric tea kettle for all of your hot water needs! Think ramen, tea, soup, etc.
A microwave is obviously a dorm room essential. I recommend that you get a nicer one – I’ve had my fair share of small, crappy ones, and they work horribly. It’s a better idea to invest in a nicer one now, and remember that you get to take it with you to any future living spaces!
Here’s a two for one – instead of getting separate bowl and containers, get a set of microwave safe glass containers that you can use to store food and eat out of. It saves space and money! I have these containers, and they’re fabulous!
A small silverware set will be plenty for the school year. I noticed that lots of people living in dorms would use plastic utensils – which are horrible for the planet. Plus, expensive! Save yourself money and help save the planet by just getting a small set of silverware.
Bring your favorite water bottle to college with you – an essential! I recommend a hydro flask. On top of this, it’s nice to get a few cups – jars work wonderfully! Don’t forget a few mugs as well.
While I didn’t have a TV in my dorm room, most of the dorm rooms I saw did have one. I personally just used my laptop to watch TV, but watching TV with friends was more difficult and we always used a friends TV. Keep these things in mind when deciding if you want to bring one!
A bluetooth/portable speaker will get a ton of use if you have one!! If you’ve been looking to get one, I would recommend getting one for your dorm. It’s perfect for listening to music in the shower or bringing on any trips.
Whatever your favorite books may be, these are essential to bring to college with you. I brought a basket of all of my favorites, and they were really comforting during study breaks or before bed.
I can guarantee that you’ll lose a phone charger at some point – it’s better to get some extras now! Plus, if you have some inexpensive ones it won’t be a huge disappointment if they go missing. I would use my inexpensive ones to take with me throughout the day, and keep the one that came with my phone plugged in next to my bed.
AirPods, if you don’t already have them, are so so so nice for college. I love wearing my AirPods when studying, walking between classes, working out, etc. A pair of wireless headphones is a necessity, and I recommend AirPods!
9 Cube Organizer
A cube organizer, in general, is an inexpensive way to easily add some cute storage to your dorm room. I personally had a 3 cube organizer, but I recommend getting a 6-9 cube organizer and keeping it under a lofted bed or using it as your nightstand.
Remember that you’ll need to get cube bins to go with these organizers. Tip – you don’t need to fill all 9 space with a cube bin! You can leave some blank for decor.
Almost every dorm room will come with a desk, which is super helpful. However, the desk is likely to be composed of one long, wide drawer under the main part of the desk, and 2-3 deep bins on the side. To keep everything organized, get some inserts! Especially for the long wide drawer right under the top of the desk. This is where most people will organize their pens and other study materials.
Alongside organizing your drawers, I really recommend getting an organization unit to keep on top of your desk. Keep this unit small and simple, working with more vertical space rather than horizontal space. You’ll need your full desk to spread out while you’re working hard at studying!
3 Tier Rolling Cart
A 3 tier rolling cart is perfect for both being trendy and adding additional storage space to your dorm room. Make sure you’re not getting too much storage for your dorm room, but that is all dependent on the size of your room. If you have room for a 3 tier cart, you will definitely be using it!
A shower caddy is an obvious essential. When I went to college, I realized that lots of people bought those plastic shower caddies, and were super disappointed by them! This is because the water would get trapped in the bottom and super super gross. I recommend a mesh shower caddy – 1000 times better!
Bins and Baskets
This is what I ended up running back to Target for time and time again. Miscellaneous bins and baskets! These are key to making sure that the items you keep in your room don’t end up cluttered. Everything should have a place!
Bed risers are great for making sure that you have enough space under your bed for storage. If you have the option to loft your bed, this is the best option. I was only able to half loft my bed, and some dorms don’t allow any lofting at all. Bed risers are recommended to make the most out of your storage space!
Essential Oil Diffuser
This is not an absolute essential, but it’s something that’s nice to make sure your room is always smelling good. I added it under the “studying” category since certain scents can be associated with studying and give you a little brain boost! Who knows if it works or not, but in the middle of finals, I can guarantee you’ll be willing to try anything.
Pens and Pencils
Pens and pencils, obviously! Here are my ride or die selections –
And, my favorite highlighters! Highlighting in textbooks is a fantastic way to make quick notes that you can look back to.
I use sticky notes while I’m studying to expand on core concepts and stick them right into my textbook or notebook. This is a great option for saving space in your notes.
A pencil pouch is necessary to keep your pens and pencils from just being thrown into your backpack. Make sure you get one that’s big enough – I had to buy a bigger one during the school year. I recommend the one below! It pops into a stand when you’re studying and zips into a bag when you’re not using it.
Rushed college mornings of sleeping in and early classes call for dry shampoo! My favorite is the Batiste dry shampoo. It comes in just the normal dry shampoo color, or the color of your hair.
Oil Control Moisturizer
This Cetaphil oil control moisturizer is perfect for keeping any excess oil at bay if you’re not wearing makeup. Plus, it has sunscreen in it. It’s really the perfect daytime moisturizer!
I’ve tried so many black mascaras, and I still only come back to this one – the L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black! It stays in place better than any other mascara I’ve used and is a total bang for your buck. It’s fantastic!
College’s can be pretty dry, and a few quality chapsticks are essential for keeping in your dorm room and in your bag. Here are a few of my go to chapsticks.
Unscented Hand Lotion
While scented hand lotion is great and can offer additional benefits, it’s important to remember that a lot of people have sensitivities to artificial scents. Therefore, make sure that you use an unscented hand lotion when you’re around other people – like in class!
I forgot to bring a rain jacket to my freshman year of college, and I had to buy one on the fly. Luckily, I got a super nice Eddie Bauer one as a gift. Invest in a nice rain jacket now! It’ll last you.
Joggers and Crew Neck
If you don’t have a nice set of sweatpants and a sweatshirt that you’re able to wear on a run to the food court, you need to invest in some new ones! These sweatpants and joggers are my favorite and have lasted over two years.
Pick out a pair of shoes.. or two.. that you can wear regularly. You’ll be doing a lot of walking to get from class to class, so make sure that you break in these shoes! Here are my favorite ones.
Waterproof Shoes or Rain Boots
Just like forgetting a rain jacket, I also forgot rain boots. Remember to pack for all the weather you might encounter while living in your college town. Here’s some super popular rain boots I always see people wearing.
Even if your dorm room has a carpet, remember that it’s probably the carpet that they use in hotel rooms, too. Getting a nice fluffy carpet is a huge upgrade to your dorm room, and it helps make it feel a lot more homey.
Wall art takes every dorm room to the next level. Remember that you’re working with bland, most likely cement walls. I personally love buying art locally – it’s important to support artists! If you look hard enough, you’ll find some super affordable and one of a kind pieces right in your town.
Plants literally breathe life into your college dorm room. I get all of my plants from my local co-op, which sells plants from our local greenhouse. This is another great way to support local businesses! Plus, we end up finding some super unique plants and learning a ton about them from the staff at the co-op.
Decor figures are another thing that you can find pretty cheap at antique shops, thrift stores, etc. Really use your decor to make your dorm room your own!