Ultimate Dorm Essentials List: Practical (and Fun!) Items for College

Back to School, College, Deals, Parenting, Teacher/Parent Resources | 0 comments



July 8, 2023

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Are you a new college student (or parent of one laughing) looking for the perfect dorm essentials list? Look no further! Here, you will find the ultimate list of must-have items for any dorm room. This list covers bedroom, bathroom, technology, and decor items that will make your transition to college life easier & more comfortable. You may have read my post from 3 years ago when my son entered college; well, now it is my daughter’s turn! She just graduated as Salutatorian of a class of over 500, and I am still beaming with pride a month later! Shopping for her will be very different since my son is at school an hour away and she will be going to CA - a 4+ hour plane ride! Since I had to do all new research for myself, I figured a new post was in order! Read on to find out what dorm essentials you need!

Dorm Room Essentials

Primary Dorm Room Essentials

College Dorm Essentials ListWhen it comes to college dorm rooms, they can often feel like small, cramped spaces. But with the right essentials, you can transform your dorm room into a comfortable and functional living space. For first-year students, it can be tough to know exactly what you need to bring. That’s why I’ve compiled this must-have dorm room essentials list.

First and foremost, a comfortable bed is essential for getting a good night’s sleep. Most dorms provide a twin XL bed, so bring sheets, a comforter, a mattress cover, and pillows that fit that size (tip: click on any of these for many great options!). Additionally, investing in a mattress topper can make all the difference in the world. There are many great options to buy bundled sets of these items; some, like the one shown to the right, even include towels! This is a fabulous way to cross several things off your dorm room essentials list simultaneously (and save money)!Β 

Storage solutions are also crucial in maximizing space. Consider purchasing under-bed storage containers, hanging organizers, or shelving units to help keep your belongings organized and out of the way. A bedside caddy can also be useful for keeping small items like your phone and glasses within reach. The one shown to the right was my son’s favorite freshman-year gift!

A good lighting source is important for both studying and relaxing. Bring a desk lamp for studying and a bedside lamp for reading. A clip-on light is great, especially for a lofted bed.

Remember, your dorm room should feel like your own little slice of home, so make it as cozy and inviting as possible with these first-year dorm room essentials. When it comes to the dorm essentials list, there are a few more items to consider. Don’t forget a sturdy laundry hamper, a fan for those warm days (the one pictured is a favorite of many college students!), and a first-aid kit to prepare you for any small injuries or illnesses. And last but not least, a small tool kit can be a lifesaver for any unexpected repairs or adjustments.

All of these first-year dorm room essentials can make a big difference in your college experience. With the right tools and decor, you can make your dorm room feel like home and create a comfortable living space. And if you’re on a budget, check out some of the amazing Amazon Prime Day deals for dorm room items that won’t break the bank.


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OCM Complete Dorm Essentials Value Pack
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BedShelfie Bedside Shelf
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WOOZOO Oscillating Fan
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Dorm Room Essentials:Β  Bathroom

Ah, college bathrooms…a true rite of passage. If you’ve ever had to share a communal bathroom with an entire dorm floor, you know the struggle is real. But fear not! I’ve got you covered with the essential items you’ll need to make your college bathroom experience as bearable as possible.

For private bathrooms (lucky you!), you’ll still need some basic supplies. First on your dorm room supplies list should be a shower caddy. This is essential for transporting all your toiletries to and from the bathroom. It’s also a good idea to have a bath mat to prevent slipping and a set of towels that you don’t mind getting mixed up with everyone else’s in the laundry.

Now, for those of us with communal bathrooms, the dorm room packing list expands significantly. You’ll need a robe or shower wrap for walking to and from the shower, a pair of flip-flops to protect your feet from germs and shower grime, and a small bag to carry your toiletries in. A set of hooks or a hanging shower caddy (such as the one shown to the left that even lets you use your phone in the shower!) can also help keep your items off the communal floor.

Finally, don’t forget to include cleaning supplies on your dorm essentials list! It’s important to do your part in keeping the bathroom clean for yourself and your fellow students. Keep a small bottle of disinfectant spray and some cleaning wipes in your bathroom tote. The value packΒ shown here is a perfect way to save money and grab everything all at once!

With these bathroom essentials, you’ll be ready to tackle any college bathroom situation with ease.


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NOVA Luxury Linen - Hotel Quality Turkish Towel Set for Bathroom
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Shower Shoes With Holes
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Attmu Portable Shower Caddy
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Dorm Room Multipurpose Cleaning Kit
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EUDELE Mesh Shower Caddy
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Bthiner Toilet Brush and Plunger Set, 2 in 1

Dorm Room Essentials


Fun Fact: Did you know that in a recent survey, over 90% of college students reported using technology in their academic lives, from taking notes on a laptop to accessing online course materials? Clearly, technology is a must-have for any college student!

As you create your first-year dorm essentials list, be sure to include these necessary technology items:

Laptop: A good laptop is essential for college. It allows you to take notes, complete assignments, and even attend virtual classes from your dorm room. Since different schools (and majors) require different computers, I would highly recommend checking with the school/department before buying such an expensive item. Both of my kids have MacBook Pros (this model) and love them, but I know certain majors require PC’s.

Printer: Although many professors allow for digital submissions, there are still times when you’ll need to print papers. Having your own printer in your dorm room can save you a lot of time and hassle. You can actually get a great printer for not a lot of money - the HP model shown below even comes with 3 months of free ink!

Surge Protector: There’s no question you’ll need multiple outlets - so why not protect your devices while gaining more? My son loves the one shown below - perfect for sitting on a desk or window sill.Β 

Ethernet Cable and Adapter: It probably won’t surprise you that most dorms don’t have the best wifi, especially with so many people trying to use it simultaneously. The good news is that most dorms do have ethernet outlets - but if you don’t have the right cable and way to plug it into your devices, the outlet won’t help much. So be sure to grab an ethernet cable (in my experience, get a long one since you never know where the outlet will be in relation to the desk/bed) and an adapter such as the one pictured below!

Portable Charger: Don’t get caught with a dead phone during a busy day of classes. A portable charger will keep your devices charged and ready to go. Check out several by clicking here.

Headphones: Whether you’re studying in a noisy environment or simply want to listen to music without disturbing your roommates, a good pair of headphones is a must.

Flash Drive: Keep all of your important documents and files backed up and easily accessible with a flash drive.

By including these technology essentials on your dorm room supplies list, you’ll be setting yourself up for success in college. And don’t forget to take advantage of any Amazon deals on these items to save yourself some money!


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SanDisk 32GB 3-Pack Ultra USB 3.0 Flash Drive 32GB
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USB C Hub, UtechSmart USB C Ethernet Multiport Adapter, 6 In 1 USB C to HDMI Dock Compatible for Macbook Pro/Air, Chromebook, Dell XPS, HP and Type C Devices
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Power Strip Tower
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HP DeskJet 2755e Wireless Color All-in-One Printer with bonus 6 months Instant Ink (26K67A)

Dorm Room Essentials


Now that you have all the necessary bedroom and bathroom essentials, it’s time to spruce up your dorm room and make it feel like home. Here are some decor essentials that should be on your dorm room packing list for the upcoming back-to-college season.

Wall Art: Blank dorm walls can make the space feel impersonal and dull. So, add some wall art that showcases your personality and style. Posters, tapestries, and picture frames are some affordable options that can make a big impact.

Throw Pillows: Adding throw pillows to your bedding or futon can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere in your dorm room. Plus, they can also serve as extra seating for your friends when they come to hang out.

A small area rug can add warmth and color to your dorm room while also making the space feel more comfortable and homey. Choose a rug that matches your bedding or adds a pop of color to the room.

String or LED Lights: String lights are a popular dorm decor essential that can make your room feel magical. You can drape them along your walls, across your ceiling, or around your bed to create a warm and inviting ambiance.

Adding some greenery to your dorm room can make the space feel more alive and less sterile. Plus, plants can help purify the air and improve your overall well-being. Choose easy-to-care-for plants like succulents or snake plants (and there’s nothing wrong with some fake ones such as this adorable set)!

Remember, these decor essentials are not necessary, but they can definitely enhance your dorm room experience. Be sure to check out lots more fabulous ideas on my personal Amazon page! And don’t worry if you’re on a tight budget; there are many affordable options out there. Look for back-to-college sales and deals on dorm essentials list items at places like Amazon. Happy decorating!


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Photo Clip 17Ft - 50 LED Fairy String Lights with 50 Clear Clips for Hanging Pictures
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Positive Good Vibes Only Decorative Throw Pillow Cover
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SHUIHAN Vintage Sun Tapestry Bohemia Wall Hanging Retro 70s Rainbow Sunrise Sunset
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97 Decor Preppy Room Decor
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Good Vibes Neon Sign for Wall Decor
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Hypebeast Custom Sneaker Poster – (12x16 Inch) Unframed

Dorm Room Essentials

Non-Essentials and Fun Stuff!

Let’s face it - college isn’t all about studying. It’s important to have fun and make the most of your first year on campus too! That’s why I’ve included a list of non-essentials you may want to consider adding to your what-to-buy college freshman checklist.

First up, games! Board games, card games, and party games are great for bonding with your new roommates and friends. Some great ones include Cards Against Humanity, Incohearent (my son and his friends loved this when they were stuck in the dorm during Covid!), and Jenga. And don’t forget about video games too! Just be sure to respect quiet hours in your dorm.Β 

Toys and novelties are another fun addition to your first-year dorm room essentials. Think silly string, stress balls, and a mini basketball hoop for your door. These items can provide a much-needed break from studying and help you relax after a long day of classes.Β 

Snacks and treats are also a must-have for any college student. Stock up on your favorite candies, chips, and cookies to have on hand when hunger strikes. Plus, sharing snacks with your roommates is a great way to make new friends and build relationships.Β 

Overall, adding some non-essential items to your dorm room can help make your college experience more enjoyable and memorable. Just be sure to prioritize your studying and responsibilities first. And, as always, check with your roommate(s) before adding any fun items to your shared living space.Β 

Lastly, keep an eye out for Amazon Essential Deals, where you may find some great deals on these non-essentials and other items you may need for your dorm room. Happy shopping, and have fun!


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Amazon Prime for Students

As a college student, Amazon Prime for Students is a must-have! With a 6-month free trial and 50% off after that, it’s the perfect way to get all your dorm essentials without breaking the bank. Not only can you get fast and free shipping, but you’ll also have access to tons of exclusive deals, promotions, and discounts on a wide variety of items. Since my daughter is headed to California for college (from Illinois), having something like this to ship everything is huge. Her college has an Amazon box (named Lizzie - isn’t that cute? smile), so we can ship everything there without worry. Definitely check to see if your school has one - odds are it does!

Looking for ideas on what to buy college freshmen? Check out Amazon’s dorm room supplies list for inspiration. From bedding and storage solutions to study aids and appliances, this list has everything you need to make your dorm feel like home. And the best part? Many of these items are on sale for Prime Day!Β 

In addition to the dorm essentials list, Amazon also offers dorm room inspiration through its curated lists. Take a look at the “Fabulous Classroom” list for some creative ideas on how to decorate your dorm and make it feel personalized. Plus, you can even shop by style, color, or brand to find the perfect items to fit your unique taste and preferences.Β 

Whether you’re shopping for must-have items or just looking for fun additions to your dorm room, Amazon Prime for Students has got you covered. So don’t miss out on all the great deals and discounts available during this upcoming Prime Day. Get your dorm essentials list ready and start shopping!

Here are some of my favorite items that are great for both dorms and apartments - click on any image to learn more! Since I obviously can’t post them all, be sure to visit my Amazon Dorm Room Ideas Page which I am constantly adding to! If you have things you love and think should be added, I would LOVE to hear about them so please leave the info in a comment below!

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Good luck with your college shopping, packing, and move-in days! I know from experience that it’s not easy, but also that it is so great for our kids. β™₯

All my best,



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