Don't know what to bring to college. Here is the best dorm room essentials that my friends and I are currently obsessed with.
If you are a freshman or upper-level student heading into college this fall, I bet you are super excited to live with your new roommate, make new friends, and enjoy the college experience, but I'm sure you are stressed on what you need for your dorm room.
I remember going into my freshman year of college, trying to figure out all the dorm room essentials that I would need. I had no clue, and I bought everything, and let's just say my bank account was not happy.
It can be stressful trying to figure out was stressed trying to figure out if I have everything that I need. That's why I'm breaking down every single dorm essential you would need for your room that I recommend from dorm room bedding, dorm room bathroom essentials, and more.
I won't lie. This blog post is pretty long, but you won't regret finding the best dorm room essentials. I promise you can't live without after getting them. These are all dorm products that I used, or my college friends use and swear by.
If you're interested in a complete dorm room packing list, be sure to read my ultimate dorm packing list for girls and for guys that contains EVERYTHING you need to bring to college.
2021 Dorm Room Essentials
1. MATTRESS TOPPER
If you are going to take anything from this dorm room essentials list. Get a mattress topper. I cannot stress enough how much I regret not buying a mattress topper my freshman year of college.
At the end of the year, I felt like an 80-year-old woman with back problems. The first item I bought for my sophomore year was a mattress topper, and let me tell you it's the comfiest bed I've ever slept on (even better than my bed at home).
This topper will transform your bed and make it so much more comfortable. I cannot recommend this high enough.
I suggest getting this 3-inch memory foam mattress topper for your dorm room.
2. BRita Water Filter
This Brita filtering water pitcher is game-changing.
My mom bought this as a dorm gift for my roommate and me to use, and it was very helpful to have in our apartment.
For my coffee-obsessed readers, this one is for you. A mini Keurig coffee maker is perfect for your dorm room.
I am not a coffee drinker, but my roommate could not live without her Keurig machine. She swears by this dorm room essential.
Instead of spending money on coffee every day, you can make it at home.
If your light sleeper, I recommend getting blackout curtains for your dorm room.
I love having these curtains for my room; it's great for privacy and sleeping. It would be a lifesaver. A little tip for hanging up these curtains is getting some Command hooks.
I used these, and they worked out great.
Another beneficial thing to have in your dorm room is a printer. I saved a lot of money by getting a printer. I know in college that you are going to have to print out lots of essays. So investing in a printer will save you time and money.
A trunk is a great way to keep your dorm room organized. You can store your extra decorations, textbooks, or anything in your trunk to save some space in your place.
This is the most life-changing purchase that I made. Most dorm rooms have air conditioning. I sometimes get hot at night, and having this fan clipped near me, it was so nice.
8. Noise Canceling headphones
There are going to be times when your neighbors are being loud, or your roommate has someone over, or you just want to block out distracting noise and daddy. This noise-canceling headphones will be perfect for studying or hitting the gym.
This phone charger is extremely long. So you can be away from your phone up to 10 ft well it charge. Helpful when your bed is not near an outlet or when you're in the library and if there's not an outlet near you this will be life-changing that will last you forever. I would definitely add this to my dorm room essentials checklist.
10. Alarm Clock
This was one of the best gifts I got when I was in college. I tried waking up with my iPhone alarm but I always hit the snooze button but with this alarm clock, I put it's on the other side of the room wake me up every time.
11. Extension Cord
I would definitely add this to my dorm room essentials list.
Trust me, you'll be plugging in so many things, and there is never enough outlets.
I really like this power strip because it has USB charging ports and outlets to keep everything plugged.
A USB is a must-have. In college, you will have to learn to make backups of everything that you need to turn in. Once I was writing this paper in my computer shut down, and I lost half of my work.
I recommend saving it every 10 minutes, keep it on a USB drive, and email it to yourself to make sure everything is okay.
If you don't carry a purse or wallet around, I like having lanyards to keep all my keys and student ID on me. So you'll never lose any of your cards or room keys.
DORM ROOM ESSENTIALS for guys
Here are a few of my favorite dorm room bedding for guys.
What I love about this backpack. It comes with different colors, water resistant, and comes with a charging port. I highly recommends this backpack for any freshman.
3. mini fridge
A mini-fridge is a must-have dorm room essentials for guys. It's a bit pricey, but I'll let you put your drinks, food, and more.
If you like playing video games or watching Netflix shows, this is an absolute must-have four guys.
Dorm Furniture Essentials:
If you can fit a futon in your dorm, I would highly recommend it. Whatever you have friends over, it's a great place to hang out, and it's extra study space instead of being stuck at your desk or on your bed. I know my friends would have loved hanging out in my dorm with this free time.
This ottoman serves more than one purpose. It serves as a dorm seating option and a storage option to stuff some shoes or some random things.
3. rolling cart
This is a must dorm room essentials for girls. My roommate had this in her dorm, and she put her makeup, snacks, and hair products in her cart. She loves three-tier rolling cart because it fits anywhere she needed, and it saved tons of space.
I love these storage cubes. I have them in my bedroom, and they are so nice to have. You can store your items in storage bins like this one or this. Take it off, so place it as a TV stand.
4. Fluffy Chair
I had this chair in my dorm, and I loved it. It was small and cute. I put it in the corner of my room, and I did my homework in it or my friends would sit in it when they came to hang out.
Dorm Kitchen Essentials:
1. Mini Fridge
A mini-fridge is a dorm room kitchen essential. If you plan on bringing food in your drinks to your dorm, this will be a lifesaver. Plus, having a fridge will help you keep healthier options to avoid eating out regularly.
You have to get a microwave for your dorm room. you would be surprised how much you can make in a microwave.
Check out this list of 23 best microwavable mug meals you can make in seconds.
3. food container
These containers are great to have in your dorm kitchen. They're airtight containers perfect for meal prepping or storing leftovers.
I would definitely add this to my dorm room essentials. I promise you this is the one dorm essential that you will use all the time.
5. Coffee Maker
This Keurig is perfect or making a good cup of coffee in your dorm. They are super compact and won't take up any space.
6. Paper Towels
7. Magic Bullet blender
I brought my best selling magic bullet to my dorm, and I'm so happy I did. It was a great dorm kitchen essential that I recommend. I love making green smoothies to start up my morning.
I can not recommend having dinnerware instead of paper plates enough. Not only you are helping the environment but it's cheaper reusing plates than buying paper plates.
9. trash can
Don't forget you need somewhere to put your trash; this is definitely an important dorm room essential. This is the trash can that I had in my dorm room, and it worked out great. Don't forget some scented garbage bags to prevent a smell in your room
10. travel mug
Travel mug is a must for any coffee lover. If you have an early morning class, this is great to have on the go. My roommate loves this travel mug and she uses it all the time.
11. Water Bottle
I love this water bottle so much. It has timestamps to encourage you to drink at certain times and keeps you hydrated all day. I bring this everywhere with me and it's a great college essential.
Dorm Bedding Essentials:
If you want some more headboard but check out my post of 12 insanely cute dorm room headboards ideas.
I got my first comforter through Bed Bath and Beyond, and I recently just got this dorm bedding at Target, and I love it. I love white bedding because you can do anything you want with it.
You could a different accent colors you could go crazy with the sheets. There are so many things you could do with a white comforter.
The next thing you need is sheets for your bed. Make sure you get the right size for your dorm.
This 4-piece twin XL set comes with one fitted sheet, two pillowcases, and one sheet. The best part of this it's all under $30.
4. mattress topper
I mentioned this in my 2021 dorm room essentials. And I am putting this down again that this is a must-have dorm room bedding essential. I promise this mattress topper will save your life and your back and not be overdramatic, but I'm serious.
I love blankets. I have this soft queen-size blanket that I am always wrapped in. Perfect for a chilly night or late-night study sessions.
6. bed skirt
A bed skirt will transform your bed. I didn't have a bed skirt, but I am OBSESSED with the look. I wanted it becomes it keeps your stuff hidden, and it looks really good.
Most of the dorm rooms you see on Pinterest have this, and I highly recommend getting it if you want to make your room look more put together and hide your storage.
7. bed Shelf
A bed tray is a perfect dorm room essentials for your freshman year. If you plan on lofting your bed, this is great. you can have your remotes and your phone near you. these are super popular and great to have in your dorm room
8. bed Risers
If your bed doesn't loft high enough, you can get these bed risers that also have outlets for your chargers.
Dorm Bathroom Essentials:
1. Shower Caddy
My friend swears by this mesh shower caddy. You'll need something to transport your toiletries from your dorm to the shower. She says that the plastic ones ruin fast, but all the water drains out with the mesh shower caddy.
Plus, the shower caddy has tons of pockets to hold everything you need. This caddy is only 7.99
2. Shower Shoes
Shower shoes are a must if your school has communal showers. You do not know where anyone has been especially walking on those floors.
It's just not sanitary, and can't even imagine what you step on the floor. Just gross. This is why it's a must that I would add to my dorm room essentials checklist.
I recommend getting a set of towels. This towel set comes with two bath towels, two hand towels, and two washcloths. It's great to have two towels because if one is dirty you can use the other one.
4. Bluetooth Speaker
I'm not sure if it's only me, but I love having concerts in my shower. It's a fun dorm essential if you love listening to music in the shower.
I love to lounge in our robes when I get out of the shower. Your robe is going to last you all through college, and it's a great feeling.
6. Tide pods
I love tide pods. It's incredibly convenient, and you don't have to carry different detergent types when you go to the laundry room. All you need is one and you're done. Don't forget to grab your dryer sheets as well.
7. Vanity Mirror
A vanity mirror is great to have in your dorm room. You could easily do your make up in the morning. The dorm room lighting is bad most of the time, it's great to have on your desk so you can get ready
8. Makeup Organizer
To keep your dorm room as organized as possible, this make up organizer will save you so much space.
You can organize your organizer by putting your drawers, eyeshadow, lipstick, or whatever and separate drawers. My roommate has this one and it keeps her organized.
Dorm Closet Essentials:
1. Closet ORganizer
You want to utilize your dorm closet as much as you can. Dorm room closets have no space, and you're sharing with the roommate. Using closet organizers will save you so much space and you can add more.
I love these velvet hangers. It's space-efficient and will allow you to utilize your space. Plus they look way better than the plastic hangers that break often.
3. Storage Bins
4. laundry basket
You're going to need this dorm room essential. Having this laundry basket will allow you to maneuver from your dorm to the laundry room.
RELATED: 8 Insanely Cute Dorm Bedding Ideas
5. Drying Rack
My friend had a drying rack, and I wish I had a drying rack. Some clothes are not meant to be in the dryer and I don't feel comfortable leaving my clothes out in the laundry room. So having a drying rack that you can hook over your door in your dorm room is life-changing.
This isn't an absolute must. But I do recommend it instead of getting an iron. It's a great alternative because it's super affordable, and it does the same thing. Especially if you plan on attending interviews and networking, you want to look presentable without wrinkled clothes.
A friend of mine recommends this wrinkle release spray if you don't have access to a steamer or iron.
1. Full Length Mirror
A full length mirror is great to have to check yourself out before you leave the house. If your dorm doesn't provide a mirror, I recommend getting this dorm essential. I like this mirror because it goes behind your door, and it gives space for your jewelry.
2. Throw Pillows
I love this throw pillows so much. They're so fun but don't bring too many pillows. In this blog post, I talk about what not to bring the college. I mention throw pillows because they can take up a lot of space.
I'm not saying you should I get pillows because I recommend that you do like three pillows max.
One thing that I have learned that I like is buying a cheap pillow and just buying pillow covers you can find on Amazon. Another place that I love to go get throw pillows is Marshalls or Target.
A rug will add a cute touch to your dorm room. Your dorm floors are usually gross, and adding a cute rug will make your dorm room feel cozy.
4. Wall Art
Find some wall art to put in your dorm. You could add up a wall gallery or pictures to make their room cute.
6. String Lights
String lights are a must dorm decoration for me. It transforms your dorm room and makes it feel so cozy and cute.
7. Desk Lamp
A desk lamp is great to have when you have long study nights. I got my desk lamp from target, but I found a similar one on Amazon.
My roommate has this vacuum and we use it all the time. It's small but works just as great as any other vacuum. The best part about this vacuum is cheap.
2. Jewlery organizer
I love how cute this jewelry organizer is. It will keep your bracelet, necklace, and earrings all in one place and it's a cute dorm decor.
3. Multi Surface Cleaner
Keeping your dorm clean is extremely important. I advise when you moved into your dorm room to clean it had to bottom. But you also want to try to keep your dorm room clean while you're living there.
I use this all-purpose cleaner all the time to make sure to keep everything clean
4. Cute Backpack
I love Northface backpacks. It's so cute and reliable. It has so many pockets for you to keep your things organized. I highly recommend this dorm room essential for freshmen.
Check out my post on 20 Trendy College Backpacks To Keep You Organized This Year
An essential oil diffuser is a great way to make your dorm room smell good without having candles. This diffuser is affordable and comes with a set of essential oils. My roommate got this as a dorm gift and she uses it every day.
6. Candle Warmer
Another candle alternative for dorms is a candle warmer. You get to have a candle without having to burn the candle.
I cannot stress this enough. A planner will save your butt in college. You may be taking six classes and it's important to have all your assignments, tests, and events planned out so you can schedule your time. I use this planner all the time. Besides the fact that it's super cute, it has a section for you to write out your schedule and complete to do list every day if you need help on how to organize your planner and check out this post.
8. Command Hooks and Strips
This dorm room is essential is the most important. Dorms usually don't allow holes at all. I swear command hooks will allow you to maximize the space in your dorm room. You could use the hooks to hold up bags, hats or jackets.
WOW! This blog post was long but I hope that I helped you find some dorm room essentials that will benefit you.