36 back-to-college dorm room essentials every freshman should have

Students need a lot for their first dorm room. We've rounded up the essentials to make the most of a small space

Dormify college dorm room essentials
(Image credit: Dormify)

Real talk, if you're heading off to college, there's a lot you need to make your dorm room feel like home. From decor that shows off your personality to storage pieces to keep you organized, you've hopefully thought about how you want your dorm room to look.

While your dorm is equipped with a standard issue wood bed, desk, and a drawer set, it takes a lot of things to make it feel like home. It feels like we've only just scratched the surface with 36 products you'll need for a dorm room that covers everything from sleeping to studying. Luckily, some of these items can be coordinated with a roommate to save both space and money. 

There's no doubt back to school is an exciting time. Bring the right dorm room essentials and you'll be off to a great school year. 

Dorm room essentials: sleep

1. A mattress topper for extra comfort

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2. A mattress protector is a must

3. Have fun with your bedding

4. A set of sheets, or two

5. A throw blanket for floor movie nights

6. Comfy, fresh pillows

Dorm room essentials: live

7. Bed risers for extra storage space

8. Control your own lighting

9. Underbed storage to make use of every inch of space

10. Thin velvet hangers are your small closet heroes

11. Laundry hamper to contain dirty clothes

12. Drying rack for laundry day

13. Towels

14. Shower shoes, a topic not up for debate

15. A shower caddy keeps all toiletries in one place

16. Miscellaneous storage

17. Removable hooks that won't destroy the walls

18. A trash can that works with your decor, not against it

Dorm room essentials: study

19. Desk chair (or cushion)

20. A desk lamp for even more lighting

21. Stay charged up and plugged in

22. A small printer

23. Desk accessories to keep your desk clear

Dorm room essentials: eat

24. A mini-fridge for keeping food fresh

25. A small dinnerware set won't take up too much space

26. Start your drinkware collection

27. Flatware for sustainable dining

28. Food storage containers for life on-the-go

29. Coffee maker (or hot water kettle for tea drinkers)

30. An air fryer for easy meals

Dorm room styling

31. A faux headboard makes your space instantly homey

32. Rugs for something soft beneath your feet

33. Air purifier

34. Cool off with a fan

35. A full length mirror for getting ready and outfit checks

36. Cleaning and laundry supplies

Jaclyn Turner
Ecommerce Editor

Jaclyn is an eCommerce editor at Future Home Interest, where she oversees sleep content including mattresses and bedding – in fact, she has passed our five-step certification process to become a verified customer advisor on mattresses. She regularly scouts out the best of the best for buying guides to help you fill your home with only the best. She joined the team in January 2021. She has previously worked with sites like Apartment Therapy, The Kitchn, The Spruce, The Spruce Eats, and MyDomaine, but got her start at the trade mag Home Furnishings News, which fueled her excitement for innovation in the home category and seeing the newest launches.  When Jaclyn's not working, she loves long strolls through HomeGoods, unwinding with a chilled glass of Rosé, and entertaining her Cavapoo  Reese.