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Top 10 College Dorm Essentials

college dorm essentials

Every year a new crop of freshmen head to college, towing minivans packed to the brim with stuff they need to make their dorm rooms their own. Blow-dryers, notebooks and brand-new hampers filled with brand-new clothes tumble out onto the asphalt parking lots of colleges around the nation. Here are the top 10 college dorm room essentials that every student needs.

Mattress Topper

If you’re going to spend big on anything in your dorm, it should be this. Mattress toppers are no joke. Most college mattresses are about as comfortable as a slab of concrete. The mattress topper is the last line of defense between you and four years of insomnia.

college dorm essentials

Amazon Basics Cooling Gel-Infused Firm Support Mattress Topper

A cost-effective mattress topper option is the Amazon Basics Cooling Gel-Infused Firm Support Mattress Topper, which is a latex foam mattress topper that contains cooling gels to help regulate your bed’s temperature. Buy it here.

college dorm essentials

Subrtex 3-Inch, Gel-Infused Memory Foam Bed Mattress Topper

Want to invest a little bit more in a good night’s sleep? The Subrtex 3-Inch, Gel-Infused Memory Foam Bed Mattress Topper has a high-density memory foam pad in a washable, soft bamboo cover. It’s durable, comfortable and ergonomically-designed. Buy it here.

Bed Risers

When a bed sits right on the floor, it can make a small room feel even smaller. If you raise your bed, you have more room for storage and the whole room will seem bigger. Some dorms come with beds with legs that can be hitched up as-needed, but for those that don’t, bed risers are a handy substitute.

college dorm essentials

Bed Riser Set

This set of four, 7.25-inch Bed Risers will give your bed a noticeable boost, and they also come with two electrical outlets and two fast-charge USB outlets. Outlets can be hard to come by in a dorm room, so that’s a huge plus. Buy them here.


Printers are essentials for college dorms because they greatly reduce the stress that comes with printing an assignment. When the time comes to print your term paper, you don’t want to be waiting in line down the hall or racing to print it at the library before class. Printers save lives. Well, academic lives at least. Use your AAA discount to get up to 35% off and free shipping on select HP products.

essentials for college dorms

Canon Pixma Inkjet Color Printer

This compact printer packs a punch. The Canon Pixma Inkjet Color Printer is the perfect printer for someone who needs to print full-color photos as well as essays. It’s a high resolution printer that prints fast. It also comes with a 6-foot cable. Buy it here.

essentials for college dorms

HP DeskJet 3755 Compact All-in-One Wireless Printer

The small and stylish HP DeskJest 3755 Compact All-in-One Wireless Printer is simple to set up and can connect wirelessly to your computer. It can even work with your Alexa devices. It also comes with four free months of HP Instant Ink, which delivers printer ink directly to your home so you’ll never run out. Buy it here.

Board Games

Nothing brings a new group of friends together quite like a board game. Even a pack of playing cards can be entertaining. It’s best to keep the games short-form and lighthearted. Competitive games are fun, but they’re not the best relationship-builders.



If you’re looking for a quick, low-stress game with almost no setup, Bananagrams is the way to go. It’s a fun game that’s easy to learn but endlessly entertaining, as you race against other players to build a word grid and get rid of all your letters first. Buy it here.



Scattergories is a great game for relaxing with friends and laughing at the words everyone has come up with. It’s the rare game of skill that doesn’t require a cutthroat attitude. You roll a dice marked with the letters of the alphabet, then fill out the categories on your sheet with items that begin with that letter. It’s a simple game, but it’s a lot of fun. Buy it here.


Blokus Family Board Game

Blokus is a game where you place your tiles on a board, connected only by their corners, and try to get rid of as many of your tiles as possible. It could be described as “collaborative Tetris” and it has endless replay value. Buy it here.

Hanging Shelves

These accordion-like cloth shelves can be hung in your closet, instantly doubling the amount of clothes you can fit in there. The thinner shelves made for shoes are also incredibly useful for freeing up your floor space and minimizing clutter.

college dorm essentials

StorageWorks Six-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer

The StorageWorks Six-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer is a simple, sturdy set of hanging shelves. It hangs using two metal hooks, so it can easily be placed in a closet. It also features mesh pockets and high-duty, durable shelves. Buy it here.

essentials for college dorm

Six-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer

Looking for something a little more versatile? This Six-Shelf Hanging Closet Organizer is two sets of shelves that can either be connected or hung separately, with three shelves each. It also comes with four side pockets and three cloth drawers that can be used for extra organization. Buy it here.

Back Rest Pillows

Otherwise known as a husband pillow or a reading pillow, a back rest pillow looks like the top half of a chair, with a cushioned back and stumpy arms. Seating is limited in dorms and students wind up sitting on their beds from time to time. Make sure it’s a comfortable place to study or surf the web.

reading pillow

Milliard Reading Pillow With Shredded Memory Foam

If you’re looking for a standard back rest pillow, look no further than the Milliard Reading Pillow With Shredded Memory Foam. This pillow has stuffing that can be adjusted and removed to suit your comfort needs, and the cover can be removed and washed. It’s an easy way to transform your bed into comfortable seating. Buy it here.

reading pillow

Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow With Neck Support

Want something even bigger? The Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow With Neck Support is extra large, with added height and longer arms. It even comes with a removable neck support pillow. Buy it here.

Surge Protectors

It can be difficult to find enough outlets in your dorm room, especially if the dorms were built more than a couple of decades ago. Surge protectors can help you plug your necessities in, while also protecting your electrical devices from a high-voltage power surge.

power strip

Surge Protector Power Strip

Want a surge protector that can handle a lot? The Surge Protector Power Strip has eight outlets, four USB ports and a 6-foot power cord. Buy it here.

Wall Decor

Wall decorations might not seem like college dorm essentials, but nothing is more forbidding or depressing than a plain white room. Brighten up and personalize your space with posters, art, DIY projects and pictures of friends and family.


Emfogo Picture Frames Collage

The Emfogo Picture Frames Collage is a fun and simple way to display photos of your friends and family. The strings easily attach to your wall and come with tiny clothespins to hold your pictures in place. Buy it here.

college dorm essentials

Hexagon Cork Board Tiles

Cork boards don’t have to look ugly! These Hexagon Cork Board Tiles can be arranged on your wall in any pattern you want, adding some visual interest to your dorm. The best part? They’re self adhesive, meaning you don’t have to buy any extra adhesive strips to stick them to your wall. They also come with push pins. Buy them here.

college dorm essentials

Finduat Boho Vintage Sun Tapestry

Tapestries are a great way to instantly add some color to your room. This Finduat Boho Vintage Sun Tapestry will cheer up any space with its simple, retro sun design. And if the sun isn’t for you, there are a variety of other designs to choose from! Buy it here.

Mini Fridge

Food storage can be difficult when you don’t have a kitchen. If you’re living in a dorm room, you need a mini fridge to store any perishables you might have. For added convenience, try to get a mini fridge with a freezer component.

mni fridge

Midea Compact Refrigerator

The Midea Compact Refrigerator feels almost like a full-size refrigerator, even though it’s only 33 inches tall. The compartments inside are well thought-out and can help to make the most of limited space. It also includes an actual freezer, not just a freezer compartment. Buy it here.

Dry Erase Board

The dry erase board is the staple of the freshman experience. Students might all have smart phones, but they don’t want to use those to communicate in a freshman hall. No, they want to write on your dry erase board. Stick that dry erase board right onto your door and become part of the conversation. For lists and reminders, it can also help with productivity.

dry erase board

Magnetic Dry Erase Whiteboard

This Magnetic Dry Erase Whiteboard comes in a variety of sizes, so you can choose the one that’s right for your door. It also comes with a magnet and six magnetic markers in different colors. Buy it here.

What are some college dorm essentials that you wouldn’t leave home without? Share them in the comments!

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3 Thoughts on “Top 10 College Dorm Essentials

  1. Add in a multi led bulb pole lamp, a throw rug ( con rete and tile floors are cold, northern climates) Extra chargers,cat 5 cable if no wifi and a million other things.start your list now, move in days are usually end of August. Also bring a full size hand truck, the schools often run out of carts on move in days. Also, make sure all will fit in your car as soon as possible. My first 2 had to fit all in a 85 toyota van. my youngest had to fit all in a subaru forester. I needed a too mounted cargo box.

  2. Command strips or poster strips…to be used for hanging posters, art decor, lighting, hooks and everything under the sun! I send my college kids off with a package and inevitably always have to buy more. Other must haves are cold, flu, sinus meds to include allergy, dairy and digestive reliefs. First package of the year is always a feel better package which includes the above with tissues, cough drops and freeze dried chicken noodle soup! You will eventually get the thank you call for sending it❤️

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