31 Best Dorm Room Essentials For College Dorm Life

A Dose of College uses affiliate links, read full disclosure in our Privacy Policy.

This post is about dorm room essentials that improve college life.

Find the best dorm room essentials for college!

Dorm Room Essentials

Packing for college can be stressful and exciting at the same time.

On one end you are excited to begin this new chapter of your life, but on the other end you’re freaking out!

Like yes! College move-in day is finally here!

But, “holy cow” what do I pack! Will I actually use this? Do I really need this?

Yes, this happens and it’s completely normal.

So if you find yourself excited and stressed out at the same time know that your roommate and many others are probably going through the same thing.

I know I did. In fact, I was overwhelmed because other than a few toiletries and bedding I didn’t know what other dorm room essentials I should be packing for college.

Thankfully, I had a great roommate, and who hard it all figured out! Yes, talk about being lucky!

So after moving into my dorm room with just my clothes, a few toiletries, and bedding I ended up purchasing a few of these items.

All in all, all these dorm room essentials made my college life so much easier.

I actually used every single item on this list. Plus many of these dorm room essentials lasted throughout my college years.

So here are all the doom room essentials that will make your life so much easier and more organized in college.

Dorm Room Essentials You Will Actually Use

  1. Drawer carts
  2. Microwave ovens
  3. Mini refrigerators
  4. Sandwich makers
  5. Tablewares
  6. Coffee makers
  7. Mattress covers
  8. Mattress toppers
  9. Bed rest pillows
  10. Fuzzy blankets
  11. Fuzzy slippers
  12. Bedside shelves
  13. Laptop bed desks
  14. Mesh Shower caddies
  15. Towel wraps
  16. Shower shoes
  17. Hair tools organizers
  18. First aid kits
  19. Desk organizers
  20. Command hooks
  21. Sticky phone pockets
  22. Long charging cords
  23. Power strips
  24. Ottomans with storage
  25. Laundry hampers
  26. Mini steamers
  27. Non-slip hangers
  28. Shoe organizers
  29. Foldable storage drawers
  30. Compact vacuums
  31. All-purpose cleaners

Dorm Room Essential 1: Drawer carts

I honestly can imagine what my dorm room would be without these 3 drawer carts.

They are so affordable and make organizing your dorm room easy.

Related: 13 Easy Ways To Organize Your Food

All my college friends had at least one 3 drawer cart. Some use it to organize their clothes, books, and stationery.

However, I mainly used these drawer carts to help me organize my food in my dorm room.

Dorm Room Essential 2: Microwave oven

If you’re a foodie, buying a microwave oven for your dorm room is a must!

This isn’t up for debate foodies!

My microwave oven kept me feed when the cafeteria food sucked.

Or when I wanted a midnight snack and didn’t want to risk it all going to the vending machines around campus.

So get you a microwave oven – your tummy will thank you.

Dorm Room Essential 3: Mini refrigerator

A mini refrigerator is another must-have college item. There wasn’t one dorm I went to that didn’t have one.

Thankfully, when I started college the student who occupied my side of the room left hers behind, so I go a mini-refrigerator for free.

However, if you are not so lucky, but you still want to save money consider purchasing a used mini-refrigerator.

Dorm Room Essential 4: Sandwich maker

While some student living halls won’t allow a toaster they allow sandwich makers!

However, before you do a happy dance find out if you’re allowed to have a sandwich maker.

Thankfully, we were allowed to have sandwich makers in the dorms, and let me tell you this was a lifesaver.

On days, I didn’t want noodles and a Kraft cheese sandwich with some juice got the job done.

All in all, if you’re allowed to have one in your room, I say go for it. Plus these bad boys last a while – mine lasted throughout my time in college.

Dorm Room Essential 5: Tableware

When I was buying dinnerware and flatware for my dorm room I considered disposables.

However, after realizing how much money I would be saving over a few years in college by buying reusable dinnerware and flatware I quickly changed my mind.

Now that doesn’t mean getting disposables isn’t a good idea.

In fact, depending on your dorm room’s living situation using disposable dinnerware and disposable flatware might be your best bet.

So, all in all, I recommended packing a few disposable tableware from home – just enough to last you a few days.

Then after accessing your living situation you can then decide whether to continue using them or to purchase reusable tableware.

Alert! Don’t forget your microwave-safe coffee mugs.

Now coffee mugs will not only help you save your GPA and keep you warm, but they will also help you create delicious mug meals and mug desserts right in your dorm room.

Thus, remember to pack a set of microwave-safe mugs.

Dorm Room Essential 6: Coffee Maker

During exams and during the cooler months a cup of coffee will keep you grounded.

Plus, it will save you money and time!

Related: College Dorm Room Kitchen Essentials

Before I got my mini Keurig, Starbucks was almost my send home – yeah ridiculous, I know. But that’s how often I went to Starbucks to purchase coffee drinks.

But once I got my mini Keurig, making cold and hot coffee drinks was super easy and convenient.

All, in all, it’s a game-changer if you enjoy coffee drinks.

Dorm Room Essential 7: Mattress cover

A mattress cover is a must, and it’s actually one of the items I bought for college along with my other bedding items.

Mattress covers are great because it protects the mattress from dust mite and bedbugs.

Now you may not have to worry about dust mites and especially bedbugs being in your college dorm room.

However, if you have allergies you should definitely consider bringing a mattress cover for college.

Dorm Room Essential 8: Mattress topper

A mattress topper is another item that should be packed even you start packing your clothes. I kid you not.

When it comes to getting a comfortable night’s rest, most mattresses in dorms are not fit to do the job.

Plus, if you have trouble fall asleep at night the mattresses in the dorm room is going to be your worst enemy because it’s not comfortable at all.

Now me knowing how important it is for me to get enough sleep to function, I didn’t take any chances – I ensured I brought a mattress topper for college.

So if you’re on the fence about bringing a mattress topper to college, I say go for it! Your, body will thank you.

Dorm Room Essential 9: Bed rest pillow

Space in a dorm room is tight – there isn’t much space for things like couches.

So most of the time you will either be on your bed or at your computer desk. Now better your bed and your computer desk can you guess which one is comfortable?

Yes, your bed! So you will be doing a lot on there which includes watching reading, watching movies, studying and more.

Thus, it’s important, for you to make your bed as comfortable as possible and a bed rest pillow rest helps you do just that because it provides support for your back, so definitely get one.

Dorm Room Essential 10: Fuzzy blanket

A nice warm fuzzy blanket is everything!

Forget college, you need one in your life. These types of blankets are super soft plus during the cold winter months, these fuzzy blankets keep you warm and comfortable.

Related: 13 Dorm Bedding Essentials For College Students

A fuzzy blanket is a top college essential! This kept me warm and comfortable in my cool dorm room.

Dorm Room Essential 11: Fuzzy slippers

Before I purchase my fuzzy slippers I used stocks to keep my feet warm and comfortable, and they work okay.

However, after trying my roommate’s fuzzy slippers  I just had to get a pair.

Fuzzy slippers are just the best! They are so comfortable!

However, I must admit, I replaced all my fuzzy slippers yearly because they didn’t last over a year of heavy use.

In fact, up to this day I have yet to find a pair of fuzzy slippers that lasts more than a year with heavy use.

Therefore, if you do get a pair of fuzzy slippers just bear that in mind.

Dorm Room Essential 12: Bedside shelf

One thing, I quickly realized after entering my dorm room is how small and empty it was.

I mean there was barely any furniture apart from the bed, dresser closet combo, desk, and chair.

Thankfully bedside shelves are a thing!

A bedside shelf is a great alternative to a traditional nightstand.

You can easily place, your cellphone, bottled water, a book for easy access during the night.

Dorm Room Essential 13: Laptop bed desk

In college, if I wasn’t in the library reading, completing assignments, or studying for exams I would be in my room on my bed reading, completing assignments, or studying for exams.

All in all, I spent a lot of time on my bed so, it was very important for me to be comfortable on my bed.

Now I must admit, the bed isn’t the best place for studying for some college students.

However, for me, it worked. Plus, using a laptop bed desk and bed rest pillows made it easy and practical.

So if you plan on reading, completing assignments, watching movies, or studying on your bed a laptop bed desk is a game-changer.

Dorm Room Essential 14: Mesh Shower caddy

I had suitemates! So my roommate and I shared our bathroom with two other students!

Now because the space was small, personalizing the bathroom wasn’t an option so we all had a mesh shower caddy and it just made life easier.

Dorm Room Essential 15: Towel wrap

One thing you will quickly realize is there is very little privacy when you share a dorm room.

Plus, when you add suitemates to the equation, privacy diminishes even more.

Thankful things like towel wraps exist. A towel wrap allows you to comfortably walk around hand-free.

So basically you don’t have to worry about your towel slipping down while you move around.

Overall it’s a great bathroom essential for college especially when you share a bathroom with other college students.

Dorm Room Essential 16: Shower shoes

Still, on the subject of taking showers in college, another necessity is a pair of shower shoes.

If you share your bathroom, using a pair of shower shoes is a must.

Your shower shoe doesn’t have to be anything fancy. In fact, a pair of flip-flops will get the job done.

Dorm Room Essential 17: Hair tools organizer

One thing about living in small spaces like dorms it forces you to find smart ways to organize and maximize the space.

Related: 15 Great Dorm Bathroom Essentials

While it can be a hassle at first, it pays off in the end because it helps you find things faster and declutter the space faster too.

A hair tools organizer helps you keep all your hair tools and other hair products in one place for quick and easy access.

Dorm Room Essential 18: First aid kit

This is one item you shouldn’t leave for college without, but I did.

Hehe … it happens.

In general, packing for college can be so overwhelming that you forget to pack important things like a first aid kit.

My first aid kit lasted throughout my time in college. The only thing I replaced was the painkillers when they expired.

All, in all, having one on hand was very useful.

Dorm Room Essential 19: Desk organizer

With limited space, your desk can quickly become cluttered.

Thankfully, a desk organizer can help you easily organize your desk in your dorm room.

Dorm Room Essential 20: Command hooks

In general, dorm room policies don’t allow you to use nails to hang anything. So if you want to hang anything you must use command hooks.

Personally, a set of command hooks came in handy when I wanted to hang my wall tapestry.

All, in all having a few of these when you’re decoring your dorm room makes things easier and keeps you out of trouble.

Dorm Room Essential 21: Sticky phone pocket

I was always digging in my backpack looking for my dorm room keys and student id until I got a sticky phone pocket!

This is so simple and honestly isn’t a need but it just made my dorm room keys, student id, and my other cards easily accessible.

So it was totally worth it! Plus it was very affordable and what a difference it made.

Dorm Room Essential 22: Long charging cords

A long charging cord is so convenient especially in dorm rooms with limited outlets.

I know for me it made a big difference because my bed was on one side of the room and the outlets were on the other side.

So when I wanted to use my phone while it was charging it was easy!

All I had to do was connect the charger to my phone – I didn’t even have to walk over to the other side of the room.

Yes, I was that lazy. But honestly, when assignments start to pile up every bit of energy you can conserve makes a difference.

Dorm Room Essential 23: Power strip

A power strip is another college essential that just makes charging your electronics easy.

I personally know the struggle – I only had two outlets and both outlets were on my side of my bed.

Related: Dorm Electronics Essentials For College Students

So after the mini-refrigerator and microwave oven is plugged in I only had one outlet left.

Now for me alone, I made it work, but when friends came over it was a hassle. So, eventually, I caved in a purchased a power strip.

But honestly, I really should have purchase one from the very beginning.

Dorm Room Essential 24: Ottoman with storage

An ottoman with storage can help you create a sitting area plus provide extra storage.

In college, I used mine mainly to store snacks and canned foods and it worked great!

Some of my college friends used their ottomans to organize their clothes and bedding. Overall, really helps upgrade the look of a dorm room.

You can use it just the way it is or you can place a piece of faux sheepskin on the top to make it more comfortable.

I added the faux sheepskin to my ottoman and it looked great!

Related: 30 Genius Dorm Storage Ideas

Dorm Room Essential 25: Laundry hamper

A laundry hamper is a must-have for dorm rooms – it’s durable, it’s affordable, it’s foldable, and it doesn’t take up too much space.

This laundry hamper, a set of mesh clothing washing bags, and a laundry bag lasted me throughout my time in college.

Now, if you don’t have to leave your residence hall to do laundry you probably don’t need a laundry bag.

All in all, this laundry hamper and a few mesh clothing washing bags will get the job done.

Dorm Room Essential 26: Mini steamer

These mini steamers help you get ready faster! In fact, they help you get wrinkles out of your clothes easier and faster than traditional irons.

Related: Dorm Room Laundry Supplies

Plus, they don’t occupy a lot of space or need maintenance unlike an ironing board, an iron, and an iron holder.

You can also easily travel with a mini steamer. Overall they’re a win-win for college students who want to maximize their dorm room space.

Dorm Room Essential 27: Non-slip hangers

Velvet hangers keep your clothes hanged – they don’t slip off.

Plus, they allow you to add more clothes to your dorm room closet and they’re prettier than plastic or wire hangers.

Related: 10 Top Dorm Room Closet Essentials

So if you want hangers that keep your clothes hanged, look sleek and allow you to add more clothes to your closet, velvet hangers are your best bet.

Dorm Room Essential 28: Shoe organizers

A door shoe organizer can help you organize your shoes and anything else that will fit in there.

Related: Dorm Room Organization Essentials

I have seen college students use shoe organizers to store snacks, organize socks, organize hair and body products, organize pens, pencils, and highlighters plus more.

Dorm Room Essential 29: Foldable storage drawers

In general, there isn’t much space in the dresser closet combo in dorm rooms. Therefore, you must maximize your space in order to get the most out of it.

Thankfully a set of foldable storage drawers help you do just that! All in all, they are great for storing things like undergarments, hand towels, bras, and socks.

Dorm Room Essential 30: Compact vacuum

In general, when it comes to vacuums you want one that works and is affordable. But for college, you also need one that does not take up too much space.

I find for dorm rooms small compact vacuums like these are suitable. However, once I moved off campus and had more area to vacuum I need something more robust.

Related: Best Dorm Room Cleaning Supplies

So if you don’t plan on moving off-campus, then a small compact vacuum will most likely work.

However, if you intend to move off-campus then consider getting a vacuum that’s suitable for vacuuming larger areas.

Dorm Room Essential 31: All-purpose cleaner

A clean and organized dorm room creates an inviting and comfortable space. This all-purpose cleaner gets the job done, it smells good, and it’s affordable.

In fact, a few a bottle of this can easily last you months. All you need is a spray bottle, water, and some Fabuloso – your room will actually be clean and smell amazing!

Find More Dorm Room Ideas:

Subscribe to A Dose Of College!

Get the best college tips delivered straight to your inbox.