Dorm Room Essentials 2018

Dorm life represents one of the many new experiences entering college freshman will face. Most students go from having their own room at home to sharing a tiny room with one or more other individuals (often complete strangers). Fortunately for today’s students, there are tons of products catering to college students and those living in dorms. Some essentials (and additional useful items) that can make dorm life a bit more pleasant:

Command Hooks

Most colleges don’t allow putting nails in dorm walls and many dorm walls are cinder block anyway. Command hooks allow you to hang decor and other items without damaging walls. They also allow you to add extra storage for bags, coats, and other items. Buy it: Command Traditional Plastic Hook, Large, Brushed Nickel

Small Fan

You might not be able to control the temperature of the dorm room, so it may become unpleasantly hot or cold. Bring a small fan to use when things get sweaty. It can easily be stored a way when not needed.  Buy it: Genesis 6-inch Clip-On Fan

Chair Pillow

A chair pillow comes in handy when you want to comfortably study or watch tv on your bed. A must-have, especially if you don’t have another place to sit in your dorm. Buy it: Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow

Lap Desk

Along with a chair pillow, a lap desk makes studying and doing homework on your bed much easier. Buy it: Honey-Can-Do TBL-03540 Portable Laptop Lap Desk with Handle


Bring at least one comfortable blanket (separate from your bedding) for when the dorm gets chilly. Choose one that’s big enough to wrap up in but not so large that it’s difficult to fold and store. Buy it: Bedsure Flannel Fleece Luxury Blanket


Some dorms provide microwaves, so don’t buy one without checking first. You’ll also need to contact your roommates to see what they intend to bring. You don’t want to end up a room full of duplicate appliances! Buy it: Counter Top Rotary Microwave Oven 0.6 Cubic Feet, 600 Watt

Mini Fridge

As with the microwave, you’ll need to see what your dorm provides and coordinate with your future roommates. A small refrigerator can be particularly useful for storing drinks and snacks so you don’t have to overpay for individual items at snack machines. Buy it: RCA RFR321-FR320/8 IGLOO Mini Refrigerator, 3.2 Cu Ft Fridge

Air Fresheners

Dorms don’t allow candles due to fire hazards and tiny shared rooms can get quite musty. Therefore, air fresheners are a must-have for your dorm room. Air fresheners exist in many forms (spray, motion-detection, plugin, etc) so you’re bound to find something that suites your preferences. You can bring a variety of options so that your roommate can help you choose a fragrance. Buy it: SMELLS BEGONE Odor Eliminator Gel Bead Value Pack – Air Freshener

Slim Hangers

Instead of bringing bulky plastic hangers, choose ultra-thin hangers to maximize closet storage. These hangers can often be bought in bulk at department and home goods stores. Buy it: 50 pc Premium Quality Off-White Velvet Hangers – Space Saving Thin Profile

Laundry Hamper

Your laundry hamper should be small enough to store in your closet, and sturdy enough to hold your close without collapsing or tipping over. Laundry facilities for dorms are often in the basement or a ground floor, so it’s also important to have a hamper or separate laundry bag that’s easy to carry.  Buy it:  Collapsible Fabric Laundry Hamper

Flip Flops (Shower Shoes)

It’s likely you’ll be sharing a bathroom with several other students (if not an entire floor), so it’s important to protect your feet against fungus and other dangerous things that may be lurking on your dorm floors. Invest in a pair of flip flops or slip on rubber shoes to wear while visiting the shower. Buy it:  Shower Sandal Slippers Quick Drying Bathroom Slippers

Shower Caddy

Most students know to have a shower caddy, but don’t just grab any caddy. Look for one with well-placed openings for proper water drainage and appropriately-sized slots for organizing your toiletries. Think about how much stuff you usually bring to the bathroom and choose one that can hold everything you need. Buy it: Attmu Mesh Shower Caddy, Quick Dry Shower Tote Bag


You might not have the space or privacy in the communal dorm bathroom to get fully dressed, so keep a robe handy for an easy cover-up. Seven Apparel Hotel Spa Collection Herringbone Textured Plush Robe

Hand-Held Vacuum

For quick and easy cleaning, bring a small hand-held cordless vacuum. Buy it: BLACK+DECKER Dustbuster Cordless Lithium Hand Vacuum

Stackable Shelves and Drawers

Stackable storage units can create more storage space when used in closets or under the bed. Buy it: STERILITE 29308001 Wide 3 Drawer Cart, White Frame Clear Drawers

Covered Wastebasket

Any small wastebasket will do, but covered is best because it creates a neater appearance and masks any odors. Buy it: simplehuman 6 Liter/1.6 Gallon Compact Plastic Round Bathroom Step Trash Can


You won’t be able to keep a lot of linens, but it’s good to have one extra set of towels and bed linens. Check on your dorm’s bed size  before investing in sheets or other bedding. Don’t forget pillows and a mattress cover. Buy it: Pinzon 300-Thread-Count Percale Sheet Set – Twin Extra-Long

Over the Door Storage

Over the door storage offers many options, whether you want to store shoes, jewelry, school supplies or cleaning products. It’s a convenient and cheap way to save space and increase storage. Buy it: Mirella’s House LARGE POCKET SHOE ORGANIZER, Over Door Shoe Rack

Although the list above is far from comprehensive, it offers some important dorm room items that might be overlooked by college students. Remember to contact your roommates before making decisions about decorative items, appliances and electronics.