43 College Dorm Room Essentials: What to Bring to College


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college dorm room essentials

Dorm Room Essentials

HELLO College!!! Whether you are heading off to college for the first time or returning to campus as a sophomore or junior, there are a few “must-have” college dorm room essentials.

Of course, everyone needs a cozy comforter, a soft pillow, and a reading light…but what else is needed?

This college guide is all about dorm room essentials for a smooth and easy move-in. Some of these items are obvious must-haves, while others are things you may not have thought about but will be glad that you have.

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Quick Tip – College Dorm Room Essentials

If you prefer to browse through LOTS of pictures with college dorm room essentials, check out this Amazon guide with college dorm room essentials and this Target page with dorm room ideas. These two guides basically cover EVERYTHING you need for college as well, and are a great supplement to the college dorm room essentials/college packing list below!

College Dorm Room Essentials

Below is a master list of everything you need to pack with you to college for your dorm room. 😊

1. College Dorm Room Comforter

Of course, everyone needs a comforter. Choose a dorm room theme and color, and then get a matching comforter and sheets.

This college dorm room comforter is lightweight, easy to wash, and gets great reviews!

2. Twin Sheets

These sheets are super cute and fun!

Target is also a good place to go shopping for twin sheets for college dorm rooms.

3. Pillows

Don’t even bother packing a pillow from home. Buy a new one for college!

Relatively “flat” pillows are easier to sleep on at night. Go with a hypoallergenic one if you can.

4. Mattress Topper

College dorm room mattresses are SO uncomfortable. Get a good, cooling mattress pad/topper to ensure you get quality sleep!

This is something you don’t want to go cheap on.

5. Eye Mask

An eye mask to block out your roommate’s reading light at night will be a life-saver. Plus, this eye mask is super soft and handles the washing machine well.

6. Mirrors

Mirrors make small spaces look bigger.

Have one full length mirror over your door and another mirror on the wall by your bed to expand the space visually.

7. Bulletin Board

A small bulletin board above your desk is GREAT for hanging up photos and placing “to do” lists.

8. Command Strips

Don’t put holes in your dorm room walls. Use command strips instead! Command strips are also great for hanging up picture frames and posters in college dorm rooms.

Command strips are GREAT for hanging up lights and for creating space to hang up your backpack, purses, coats, and sweaters.

9. Hangers

Thin hangers are a MUST to squeeze as many clothes as possible into your small dorm room closet.

10. Under the Bed Storage

Under the bed storage containers are PERFECT for placing clothes you don’t need on an everyday basis.

Think winter coats in the summertime, heels for formal events, costumes, and blazers for professional occasions.

11. Bed Risers

Most college dorm beds sit relatively low to the ground. Get bed risers to raise the height of your bed, and to ensure you can fit storage containers under your bed.

12. Desk Lamp

Your desk may have a light above it, but a desk lamp adds extra light and a touch of softness.

Amazon has GREAT lights. IKEA has some really good options too!

13. Reading Light

Your roommate may go to bed earlier than you. To be polite, use a small reading light to stay up and read your favorite book.

This puts out less light than a traditional nightlight. Plus, it’s great to pack for traveling too.

14. Clothes Hamper

You’ll need a hamper for your dirty clothes.

Plastic hampers are sturdier than cloth hampers and easier to carry to and from the washing and drying machines in college dorms.

15. Lysol Wipes

Lysol wipes make it quick and easy to wipe down dusty services. These will also come handy in the wintertime to prevent you from getting sick!

Don’t forget to wipe down doorknobs too.

16. Vacuum

College dorm rooms get dirty quickly. The space is so small!

This small vacuum can be used to vacuum floors and to vacuum the edges of the floor too.

17. Trash Can

Your dorm room may come with a trash can, but why get black when you can get something that is fun and matches your dorm room color theme?

18. Towels and Bathrobe

You may have a towel at home, but it’s nice to get a new matching set for college.

Depending on whether your floor is co-ed or not, you may want a bathrobe for walking to and from the bathroom.

19. Shower Caddy

A simple shower caddy for holding your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razer, and hairbrush will be most helpful! Get a plastic one with holes to let the water out.

20. Sandals

Colleges are usually good about keeping the bathrooms clean, but it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Get a simple pair of cheap sandals for wearing in the dorm room showers.

21. Dry Erase Board

Put a fun dry erase board on your dorm room door.

You can write fun notes for your roommate and friends on it, like “Happy Friday!” or “Have fun at the football game this Saturday!”

22. Charging Station

A charging station for your phone and Airpods will be most helpful. And if you don’t own a pair of noise canceling AirPods yet…it’s DEFINITELY worth the investment.

23. Mini Fridge

Cafeterias usually close around 8pm. If you stay up late (which you likely will!), it will be nice to have a mini fridge for keeping yogurt, turkey, cheese, and other snacks.

24. Fairy Lights

Fairy lights (AKA “twinkle lights” or Christmas tree lights) make a dorm room bright and cheery.

Plus, they are an instant and quick way to decorate a room! Buy the small command strips and hang fairy lights above your bed.

25. Fans

Most dorm rooms have ceiling fans, but it can get warm at night (or while studying). Get a large fan if you get hot at night and a small desk fan to keep you cool.

26. Hot Water Heater

A hot water heater will come in handy for making tea at night (or instant coffee).

27. Microwave

If your dorm allows it, a microwave can be great for heating up oatmeal, soup, or popcorn.

28. Bluetooth Speaker

If you and your roommate share similar tastes in music, it can be nice to play music on a Bluetooth speaker.

It will also come in handy for lazy days when you want to hang out with friends in the courtyard!

29. Comfy Chair

An extra chair for guests will be appreciated!

30. Power Strip

You may only have one outlet in your dorm room. A power strip can come in handy.

Get one with USB plugins too.

31. College Dorm Room Storage Container

32. College Dorm Room Ottomans

A college dorm room ottoman will come in handy for storing small knick-knacks. It also doubles as a chair or a foot rest.

33. Jewelry Hanger

34. Above the Desk Storage

35. Under the Bed Storage and Shoe Racks

36. Advil

For days when you may have had too much to drink the night before…or simply have a headache.

37. Airborne

When you start to get a sore throat, take an Airborne. It works wonders at preventing you from getting sick.

38. Backpack

A big tote bag is great for school, but you’ll likely need a backpack so you can carry more stuff with you throughout the day.

39. A Good Water Bottle

Stay hydrated in class. The Hydro Flask water bottles are popular right now, but there are also lots of other great water bottles online.

40. Laundry Detergent

Yeah…you’ll have to do your laundry.

And please don’t be one of those kids who gets to college and has never done a load of laundry in their life.

41. Small mirrors

42. Artwork for above your bed (or a dream catcher!)

43. Inspirational Artwork

College Essentials on Amazon

Searching for a one-stop shop for all college essentials? Amazon has a curated list of everything you need for college. From Amazon deals to electronics to college bedroom must-haves to kitchen and study supplies, check out this Amazon page with everything you need for college. Seriously…they have everything from paper towels and disinfecting wipes to cute desks and expresso makers! You'll even find a discount to Amazon Prime for students!

Summary – Dorm Room Essentials

Below is a summary of everything you need to bring with you to college.

Dorm Room Essentials for a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep is so important, especially in college! Don’t forget any of these college dorm room essentials for move-in day.

  1. Comforter
  2. Twin Sheets (x-long)
  3. Pillows
  4. Mattress Topper
  5. Eye Mask

Handy Dorm Room Essentials That You Might Forget!

These are must-have college dorm room essentials that are easy to forget!

  1. Mirrors
  2. Bulletin Board
  3. Command Strips
  4. Hangers
  5. Under the Bed Storage
  6. Bed Risers
  7. Desk Lamp
  8. Reading Lights
  9. Clothes Hamper
  10. Lysol Wipes
  11. Small Vacuum
  12. Trash Can

Bathroom College Dorm Room Essentials

You will likely be sharing a bathroom with others, so you’ll need a good bathrobe and towel, a shower caddy, and good sandals to wear in the shower.

  1. Towels
  2. Bathrobe
  3. Shower Caddy
  4. Shower Sandals

Optional College Dorm Room Essentials

These aren’t “must haves” for a college dorm room, but they sure do come in handy for college students!

  1. Dry Erase Board
  2. Charging Station for your cell phone/air pods
  3. Mini Fridge
  4. Fairy Lights
  5. Fans
  6. Hot Water Heater
  7. Microwave
  8. Bluetooth Speaker
  9. Comfy Chair
  10. Power Strip

College Dorm Room Storage Solutions

Need more storage and places to hold stuff?

Target, IKEA, and Amazon have great storage solutions for small college dorm rooms.

Here are a few simple storage containers online.

  • Storage Containers
  • Ottoman

More Helpful Items

These items aren’t necessarily “college dorm room essentials,” but you will want to have them on hand as a college student!

  • Jewelry hanger
  • Above the desk storage
  • Under the bed storage
  • Advil
  • Airborne
  • Backpack
  • Water bottle
  • Laundry detergent

Cute Dorm Room Decorations

Want to make your dorm room a little bit more colorful?

Check out these fun and easy decorations for your college dorm room. You may also want to check out these ideas for your dorm room.

  • Decorative mirrors
  • Dream catcher
  • Artwork

Where to Buy College Dorm Room Essentials

Getting ready for college can be a bit overwhelming, and shopping for college essentials can be too! Thankfully, both Target and Amazon it SUPER easy to buy everything you need for college in one place. Both Target and Amazon have specific “shopping pages” on their websites for college dorm room essentials, so you can really just go there and buy everything you need for college.

For Amazon, check out this College Dorm Room Essentials page. Seriously…it’s great!

For Target, check out this Dorm Room Ideas page to get everything you need for college.


In conclusion, getting ready for college and move-in day can be easy! Just make sure to get the items listed in this college dorm room essentials guide and you’ll be good to go. College, here we come, with our dorm room game on point! 🙌💕

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Ultimate College Packing List

Fun Dorm Room Ideas

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college dorm room essentials
College Dorm Room Essentials
College Dorm Room Essentials and What You Need for College
College Dorm Room Essentials and What You Need for College

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