Southern Mom Loves: 15 Must-Haves for Dorm Rooms

15 Must-Haves for Dorm Rooms

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

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Some of you parents may be sending a child off to college this fall. Going off to college can be exciting, but dorm rooms can require a major adjustment. Most dorm rooms have a desk, dresser, and bed for each student. If the student is lucky, there are only two students per room, and as you can imagine, there aren't a lot of storage options. This means college students (and parents) need to think outside the box to make their dorm room more functional. The following are 15 must-haves for dorm rooms (with some fun options thrown in, too!)

15 Must-Haves for Dorm Rooms

Dorm room mattresses are usually thin and very uncomfortable. An easy way to make sleeping or lounging much more comfortable is to use a foam mattress topper. Because college mattresses are so thin, you can use a thick topper and still have regular twin mattress sheets fit. If you want to keep the foam topper clean, also invest in a mattress pad/protector.

2. Dorm Bedding & Bath Set

You can save some money and trouble gathering all of the bedding and bath essentials by buying a bundled set just for college students. These Bedding & Bath sets can come with sheets, a pillow and comforter, mattress pad, and cotton blanket that fit a twin XL bed, + sets with bath towels too. Find prints and colors for guys here, and for girls here.

3. Privacy Bed Tent

Rooming with another person can sometimes be a pain. What if your student's roommate is pulling an all-nighter when your student needs some sleep? A great way to be able to shut out the world is a bed tent. They have a zippered flap on either side so your student can decide if they want company or not.

4. Eyemask and Earplugs

Just in case that doesn't get them some shut-eye, you can equip them with an eyemask and earplug set. :)

5. Footlocker Trunk

A common sight in dorm rooms is a footlocker trunk at the end of the bed. It is a great way to pack and move, get some extra in-room storage, keep your private stuff private, and to act as extra seating. If the size of the room doesn't allow for a footlocker trunk, there is also a slim model for under the bed.

6. Under-the-Bed Storage

Speaking of... If more storage is needed, under the bed is the perfect area. You can purchase under-the-bed storage containers that make it easy to store and access items. The best containers have a hinged lid that allows you to open the container without pulling it all the way out from under the bed. You can usually fit two to three of these containers under a dorm-sized bed. One could be used for media, another for dry food, and another for school supplies.

A shower caddy is another must in a communal bathroom. You can find mesh shower caddies that can hold all of your shower supplies and will allow water to easily drain. Best of all, it allows you to keep everything organized. Just grab the caddie and head to the bathroom. Another consideration is a pair of Antimicrobial Shower Flip Flops. Find those for girls here and guys here.

Another great item to have is a collapsible laundry bag. These have handles for easy carrying and can fit just about anywhere when empty. You can find a model with pockets for laundry detergent and fabric softener or buy an extra mesh bag for laundry supplies.

You're not allowed to use nails or thumbtacks in most dorm rooms, so if you want to decorate, poster putty is a good option for posters and other light items. Command hooks are great for giving you more storage area on the wall for hats, accessories, etc. 

10. Desk Organization

Your student will need to have (and organize) all sorts of school supplies. Even if there is not a desk in the room, a large organizer with a drawer can be kept on a bedside table or on the floor and will keep all those supplies on-hand. A clamp-style lamp is also a good purchase and can be mounted on a desk or headboard, and you may need to invest in a wastepaper basket as well. 

A great option to a flip-style wall calendar is a Dry-Erase Wall Calendar Decal. This will stick right on and won't damage the wall coming off. Your student can fill in their class schedule and assignment due dates, and have it right in front of their eyes to remind them.

11. Surge Protector/Charger

A charging base with a built-in surge protector is a good idea in a dorm room since the dorm building and wiring may be older. You don't want your laptop getting fried while you're working on a paper. A surge protector will keep you charging and working safely, and you can find models with USB charging ports for phones and other gadgets too.

12. Mini Fridge

Let's talk about food. A dorm room may or may not come with a mini fridge. No worries! You can usually find one pretty cheaply, and if space is an issue, it can double as a bedside table. This way, your student can have cold drinks at hand during those long study sessions, and store leftovers to eat later.

13. Toaster/Coffee Pot/Griddle Combo

Your student may be on a meal plan, but the cafeteria may not be open, or only serve food during certain times of the day. If you check out the meal plan and are worried that it's too restrictive, you could invest in a coffee pot/toaster oven/hot plate combo. Even if your student doesn't cook, they can use the griddle or oven to heat leftovers. Just make sure that this kind of appliance is allowed in the dorm rooms. If a hot plate isn't allowed, perhaps they are allowed a small microwave or coffee maker.

14. Streaming Device

Now this one is just for fun. If there is a flatscreen TV mounted in in the dorm room (lucky kids!) your student and their roommate can enjoy movie nights on a big screen with a Roku Stick, Fire TV Stick, or Apple TV. They plug into a port on the back of the TV and can access all of your kids favorite streaming services, including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, YouTube, and more.

15. Care packages

This one is for later on in the year. If you'd like to send a little surprise package to your student, you can find some care packages already put together and ready to ship out. There are bundles for snacks and drinks, quick meals, coffee, cleaning essentials, or school supply essentials.

A boring dorm room can get plenty of personality, functionality, and storage space with just a little planning. If you find out ahead of time what your dorm room includes and what extras are allowed, you can have your student fully prepared and settled in before the first day of class starts.


Do you have a student starting college this year? What are your must-haves? I love to read your comments!

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