For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jul 24 2016
by Kat Roth

13 Must-Haves for Your Dorm

By Kat Roth - Jul 24 2016

Living in a dorm can be new and stressful. Make the most of your time in this new surrounding by stocking up on essentials so your room can be the cutest on the floor and your first year can be a breeze!

1. Bedding with your favorite print or colors.


Your bed will be the main focus of your room, so establish your favorite color scheme with a bold bedding! This can really transform the feel of your room. If you have a roommate, consider picking similar colors so the entire room looks a bit more coordinated. Also, note that many dorm beds are Twin XL, so look out for bedding in that size. This bedding would be great for a boho vibe.

2. A cozy rug. 

Society 6

The floor is often overlooked in a dorm, but a pop of color there can really bring the room together while also adding a touch of cosiness. Some dorms even have cold tile flooring, so a rug is essential on those chilly winter mornings. This rug can be found at Society 6, which has countless other designs.

3. Storage for under your bed.

The Container Store

Dorms are so small and closet space can be limited, so utilizing every inch of your room is a must. Storage can be hidden under your bed, especially if your bed can be lofted. These drawers can be stacked and the drawers make for easy access.

4. A storage cube.


Storage cubes are straight from the organization gods. They can hold extra bedding or supplies, act as seating and even be a step-stool onto a lofted bed. The uses are endless and they are pretty affordable, like the ones here.

5. A mini-fridge.


If your school has an option to rent a fridge and microwave, do it. These are so great to keep perishable snacks so you don't get hangry when the cafeteria is closed. You can even keep a couple yogurts for a grab-and-go breakfast or ice cream for late-night studying. You can even buy your own if you can't rent. 

6. A water filter.


Some dorms have water fountains in the hallway, but if yours doesn't, a water filter is so important so you can have clean water throughout the day. Hydration is super important, so don't skimp on this! Brita filters are really popular.

7. A shower caddy.


Other than shower shoes, a shower caddy is a necessity when sharing a bathroom. You can carry all your toiletries easily in one trip. This one even has a removable section if you only need to haul around small things like your tooth brush. 

8. A laundry basket.

Bed Bath and Beyond

Yep, you need to do your own laundry. Make that easier with a hamper that can be carried around easily. Ones like this are great because it has sections to separate your lights from your colors.

9. Thin clothes hangers.


Let's face it. Your closet will be small. Make the most of that space by getting space-saving hangers so you can fit more clothing. These hangers are great because the velvet prevents clothing from slipping off. They can even hang off each other so you can literally double or triple your space.

10. A floor-length mirror.


Some dorms already come with this, but if not, definitely pick one up! These are great to make sure your entire outfit is on point and you can even sit on the floor to do your makeup if you don't have space for a desk mirror. This one is great because it can hang over your door when you can't drill into your walls.

11. Extra outlets.


Between you and any roommates, there are not enough outlets in a dorm. Everyone's phones, laptops and tablets all need charging and to prevent fighting over that last outlet, get this surge protector. Bonus points for being able to swivel to fit around awkward spaces.

12. A fan.

The Home Depot

Some dorms don't have air conditioning (RIP), so in that case, a fan is an obvious necessity. Even if there is air conditioning, a fan is nice in case you like a different temperature than your roommate. Try to get one that has an adjustable height so it can be used whether you are sitting at a desk or on a lofted bed.

13. Pictures of friends and family.

Urban Outfitters

Admit it, you'll miss everyone you will be leaving behind when you go off to college. Try to print out as many pictures you can of your family, friends, hometown and pets. These memories can really help lessen some of the inevitable homesickness you'll experience. Hangers like this are a nice way to display all these pictures in a decorative way. 

There is a fine line between function and aesthetic, and a dorm adds the additional challenge of a limited space. Hopefully, with these suggestions, dorm living won't seem so intimidating. 

Lead ImageCredit: Nataly A via Flickr Creative Commons

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Kat Roth -

Kat goes to UC Davis and studies Food Science.

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