Whether you’re heading to university as a fresher, or returning for your second or third year, make sure you’re prepared for September with all your university essentials. From new bedding, a laundry basket and towels to small kitchen appliances, pots and pans, and cleaning supplies, the checklist can be endless. I should know, as a recent graduate, how important it is to get everything you need ahead of time. Because why wouldn't you want to start the new school year well prepared?
You might think shopping for the essentials involves kitting yourself out with everything you can find from IKEA, and while it does, to make your halls feel more like home we’ve put more elevated basics in the mix, all at an affordable price, of course. Including John Lewis towels, student bedding bundles from DUSK and trendy bathroom buys from Made.com, you can set up your space in style.
Oh, and don't forget the practical buys either, like one of the best mattress protectors. So tick off as you go, and find everything you need to start the term right.
Your uni essentials check list
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This bedding bundle from DUSK has everything you need for a luxury sleep, at a low price. Including a 10.5 tog duvet to last you all year round, and two standard pillows, there's no need to compromise on comfort while you're away from home.
For only £15 this polycotton duvet set is a great value for money buy that can easily be bunged in the wash and dried before bedtime. Choose from 8 colours and designs, which are reversible too, so there'll be one to go with the scheme of your room.
This felt laundry basket is a handy buy with an inner divider to separate your lights from your darks and handles that make it easy to carry down to the laundry room (or take home). You can even fold it to store away when it's not in use.
Great for student digs, this value mattress protector will guard against allergies and bacteria while shielding your mattress from spills and stains. It’s a uni must-have if you want a cleaner, fresher bed.
These best bath towels from John Lewis' budget range are impressively soft, considering the price. We've tested these and can vouch that they wash well too. Plus they come in a few colours to choose from. Top tip: go for a colour other than white to avoid getting mixed up with any of your flatmates'.
This sleek three piece bathroom set is a great way to elevate your en-suit or shared bathroom for a small price. Keep your toothbrush and toothpaste neatly in a pot and refill your soap into the dispenser. It’s the little things that give at-home luxury.
Keep on top of your studies with this daily goal setter journal from Mål Paper. With spaces to plan your long-term and short-term goals as well as to-do lists you’ll be all set to start the term in full productivity mode.
Pack your lunches, store your leftovers or even keep your stationary neatly organised in your backpack with Stashers silicone bags. They're washable, reusable, can go in the freezer, oven or just about anywhere and are all-round eco-friendly.
Whether it’s early morning lectures or late night study sessions, no uni student can live without their daily coffee fix. Well save on spending at Starbucks with this affordable Lavazza coffee machine that’s simple and compact for a fresh cup of coffee when you need it. It's one of our best coffee machines!
This simple and timeless stainless steel cutlery set has everything you (and your flatmates) need, for under £20. It's not super cheap, but you know it'll last and wash well.
This best dinnerware set (opens in new tab) is simple yet stylish to upgrade your budget uni meals. There's a set complete with side plates, dinner plates and bowls and another with additional dishes and mugs – for all mealtimes and study snacks.
It may be more of an investment but the multi-use Always Pan will save on space and washing up time, replacing up to 8 pieces of cookware. Not forgetting it's super stylish and comes in 10 different colours to choose from, with some going on sale every so often. See our Always Pan review for more info.
No uni household is complete without a toastie maker. It's the ultimate budget friendly kitchen buy. And with this Salter Sandwicher toaster press, you can make cheese and ham or tuna toasties in just four minutes.
This set of tumblers from Pro Cook is a great price considering the quality. They're pretty and perfect for a range of drinks, with a 330ml capacity and ribbed design. Water, wine, juice or pop, make every drink feel like a celebration.
Clean your floors with ease and keep your halls smelling fresh with this handy Flash speedmop starter kit. It comes with 12 absorbing refill pads, so you're sure to be stocked up for some time.
This Dettol cleaning bundle has everything you need to sanitise your clothes, anti-bac all surfaces and keep your space looking and smelling fresh. Buy online or pick it up during your next trip to Wilko.
What do all uni students need?
Deciding what to take to university can be a bit overwhelming. From everything for your bedroom to kitchen appliances and cookware, it can be easy to buy too much. But the trick is to tick off a checklist of essentials before you go. After all, there are plenty of places to buy cheap home decor from to make your room a little more you, once you've moved in. Already thinking about it? Then check out these uni room ideas, to add some personality to your student digs.
For now, students will definitely need new bedding, dinnerware, a sturdy saucepan set and plenty of cleaning supplies to keep your place in good condition for when relatives come to visit. And whilst it's typical to buy the cheapest bundles online, consider going for better value buys that'll last you a little longer and look great too. This way you'll have your halls feeling like home in no time.
What shall I bring to university?
Figuring out what you need, and what you don't when buying your uni essentials can be a little confusing. So it's worth checking out your university halls handbook to see what's already provided. A kettle and toaster for example are often already part of a student kitchen. And many digs even come with a sweeping brush and mop bucket. But this isn't mandatory.
Also bear in mind you can always wait until you get there for some non-essential items, and consider splitting the cost between flatmates for shared things such as an ironing board and iron.
How we chose these uni essentials
Most of these uni essentials are the best affordable or value for money buys from our buying guides. So they've been tried and tested to make sure they balance out on price and quality. Otherwise, they're brand favourites and best-sellers you can rely on, like Flash's speed mop or Command Strips. And while cost is the overarching factor when it comes to buying basic essentials, we've considered style and practicality too – basic doesn't have to mean boring.