5 Essential Dorm Room Accessories You Must Have

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Dorm Life

Moving into a dorm room is exciting, but it can be challenging to decide what you need versus what you want. However, having the right accessories can make your dorm room feel like home. According to the National Retailers Association, students and parents spend an average of $808.71 on dorm furnishings, electronics, apparel, and food items during their back-to-school shopping. To help you save money, here are five essential dorm room accessories that you must have for a comfortable and productive year.

5: Mini Fridge

A mini fridge may seem like an obvious accessory, but it is essential for storing perishable foods and drinks. Most students snack and eat meals in their dorm rooms, so having a mini fridge is crucial. Cube mini fridges have a storage capacity of 1.5 to 1.8 cubic feet, while mid-size fridges have 2.5 to 2.7 cubic feet of storage capacity. Prices range from $90 to $150. It is best to purchase the largest mini fridge you can afford because they are more energy-efficient and hold more. Check with your college or university before purchasing one, as there may be restrictions on the size or number per room.

Even if your roommate also intends to bring a refrigerator, it is best to have your own. This way, you can keep your food separate, and you may be surprised at how quickly you can fill a mini fridge.

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While most dorm rooms come with basic furniture, such as a bed, desk, chair, light, and garbage can, they lack storage space. Students love to personalize their rooms with decorative linens, futons, rugs, and personalized accents. Therefore, it is essential to choose accessories that are functional and necessary.

4: Storage Containers

Dorm rooms are notoriously small, but you can maximize your space by using storage bins and containers. Stack containers with drawers in a tall column and place them in a small nook for easy access. If you have space under your bed, slide long and flat containers there for items you don’t need every day. You can also use a trunk to store bulkier items, which can double as a table or extra seating. Every bit of open space counts, so be creative in your storage solutions. Staying organized with storage containers is also beneficial for college students.

3: Shower Shoes and Tote

Keep your feet safe from fungi and bacteria by wearing shower shoes in communal showers. After showering, dry your shoes with a towel or let them air dry. A shower tote is also useful for carrying your toiletries to the showers. You can make your own tote using a plastic ice-cream pail.

2: Laundry Hamper

A laundry hamper or basket is essential for keeping your clothes off the floor and preventing rodents from nesting in piles of clothes and papers. Hampers can also be used as laundry baskets, storage bins, and even small tables.

1: Power Strip

The majority of dormitories were constructed several decades ago, before the current era of technology. At that time, students only used to plug in a lamp, clock-radio, small fridge and a TV. There were no laptops, printers, cell phones, X-boxes, or i-anythings. Also, three-pronged cords were not prevalent. Many students come to college and find out that they cannot plug in half the devices they want to use. Even if you bring a power strip, it is not unusual for a computer component or other device to have an adapter that covers many outlets in your strip, even if it’s only using one. So carry some power strips, plug adapters, and extension cords.

After you arrive in your room and determine how many power strips you will need to use, verify with your floor advisor to make sure it’s allowed. In some dorms, only a certain number of power strips are permitted, and it may vary by dorm.

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Author’s Note: 5 Dorm Room Accessories You Really Do Need

Last year, my three kids were all in college, so I had a good idea of what the top ten or fifteen dorm room accessories would be. However, it was fascinating to discover the genuinely essential items and to realize how much things have changed since I was in college. Who else remembers the long-gone hot pots being cool? And I’d rather eat popcorn made in a hot-air popcorn maker than a microwave any day!

Other Articles You May Find Helpful

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  • Decorating a Dorm Room on a Tight Budget
  • Test Your Dorm Decor Knowledge
  • What to Pack for College?

Sources of Information

  • Beginner’s Guide. “Dorm Room Essentials.” (June 19, 2012) http://www.beginnersguide.com/college/dorm-room-decor/dorm-room-essentials.php
  • College and Finance. “18 Overlooked Things Everyone Should Bring to College.” (June 19, 2012) http://www.collegeandfinance.com/18-overlooked-things-everyone-should-bring-to-college/
  • College Bound. “Top 10 Dorm Room Must-Haves.” (June 19, 2012) http://www.collegebound.net/content/article/top-10-dorm-room-must-haves/19691/
  • Consumer Search. “How to Buy a Mini Fridge.” August 2011. (June 21, 2012) http://www.consumersearch.com/mini-fridges/how-to-buy-a-mini-fridge
  • Dorm Smart. “Dorm Storage Supplies Tip: Raising Your Dorm Bed + Storage Bins = Lots of Dorm Storage Space; A Great Underbed Solution For Organizing A Small Dorm Room.” (June 21, 2012) http://www.dormsmart.com/Storage-Organization-_c_1189.html
  • Grannis, Kathy. “Back-to-School Sales Expected To Be Flat As Parents Practice Restraint, According To NRF.” July 21, 2011. (June 19, 2012) http://www.nrf.com/modules.php?name=News&op=viewlive&sp_id=1157
  • PR Newswire. “Is There A Mouse In My … Dorm Room? d-CON(R) Offers Tips for a Mouse-Free Semester.” (June 20, 2012) http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/is-there-a-mouse-in-my–dorm-room-d-conr-offers-tips-for-a-mouse-free-semester-76721862.html
  • Rosenfeld, Laura. “The Ultimate Dorm Accessories Guide!” Seventeen. (June 19, 2012) http://www.seventeen.com/college/dorm-accessories#slide-1
  • Student Advisor. “10 Best Dorm Room Products.” Oct. 14, 2010. (June 19, 2012) http://blog.studentadvisor.com/StudentAdvisor-Blog/bid/46649/10-Best-Dorm-Room-Products
  • Switched. “10 Must-Have Dorm Room Gadgets.” Aug. 10, 2007. (June 19, 2012) http://www.switched.com/2007/08/10/10-must-have-dorm-room-gadgets/
  • Szewcow, Gabriela. “The Top 10 Things No One Told You to Bring to College.” Her Campus. Aug. 11, 2011. (June 19, 2012) http://www.hercampus.com/dormlife/top-10-things-no-one-told-you-bring-college
  • The Container Store. “The Dorm Room Basic Six.” (June 21, 2012) http://www.containerstore.com/tip/college/basicsix
  • The Dormitory. “What to Bring to College.” (June 21, 2012) http://www.thedormitoryonline.com/WhattoBringtoCollege.html
  • Wal-Mart. (June 21, 2012) http://www.walmart.com/search/search-ng.do?search_query=dorm+room+size+refrigerator
  • Xatal. “108 College dorm necessities to have on your checklist.” Aug. 11, 2008. (June 19, 2012) http://xatal.com/life/108-college-dorm-necessities-to-have-on-your-checklist/
  • Xatal. “Why you should wear flip-flops in college dorm showers.” Oct. 29, 2008. (June 21, 2012) http://xatal.com/college/why-you-should-wear-flip-flops-in-college-dorm-showers/


1. What are the must-have dorm room accessories?

When it comes to dorm room accessories, there are a few items that are essential for making your space feel comfortable and functional. A good quality mattress pad will make your bed more comfortable and help you get a better night’s sleep. A desk lamp is also a must-have, as it will provide you with proper lighting for studying and completing assignments. A mini-fridge is another essential item, as it will allow you to store snacks and drinks without having to leave your room. Lastly, a power strip with surge protection is important for keeping all of your electronics charged and safe.

2. How can I make my dorm room feel more cozy?

There are many ways to make your dorm room feel more cozy, even if you’re on a tight budget. Adding a rug to your room can make it feel more homey and comfortable, while also providing a soft surface for your feet. Hanging up some string lights or fairy lights can also add a cozy and relaxing atmosphere to your space. Decorative pillows and throw blankets can also make your bed or seating area feel more inviting and comfortable.

3. What kind of storage solutions should I consider for my dorm room?

Storage is always a challenge in a small dorm room, so it’s important to get creative with your storage solutions. Under-bed storage containers can be a great way to maximize your space, while also keeping your belongings organized and out of sight. Over-the-door shoe organizers can also be used to store a variety of items, such as shoes, toiletries, or office supplies. Finally, consider investing in some decorative storage baskets or boxes, which can be used to store and organize everything from clothing to snacks.

4. Are there any tech accessories that are particularly useful for dorm rooms?

There are many tech accessories that can be useful for dorm rooms, depending on your needs and preferences. A noise-cancelling pair of headphones can be great for blocking out distractions while studying or sleeping. A portable charger can also be a lifesaver, especially if you’re on the go and need to keep your phone or other devices charged. Finally, consider investing in a smart speaker or voice-activated assistant, which can help you stay organized and on top of your schedule.

5. What kind of seating options are best for small dorm rooms?

When it comes to seating options for small dorm rooms, it’s important to choose items that are functional and space-saving. A small folding chair or stool can be a great option, as it can be easily stored away when not in use. A bean bag chair or floor pillow can also be a comfortable and space-saving seating option. Finally, consider investing in a small desk chair that can be used for both studying and relaxing.

6. How can I personalize my dorm room without breaking the rules?

Personalizing your dorm room is important for making it feel like home, but it’s important to follow the rules and guidelines set by your school. One easy way to personalize your space is by hanging up some photos or artwork on your walls using removable adhesive strips or hooks. Adding some decorative accents, such as a colorful throw blanket or patterned curtains, can also help to make your space feel more unique and personalized. Finally, consider investing in some plants or succulents, which can add a pop of color and life to your room.

7. What are some budget-friendly dorm room accessory options?

If you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of options for dorm room accessories that won’t break the bank. Instead of buying a new desk lamp, consider repurposing an old lamp you already own. Adding some decorative washi tape to your walls can be a fun and budget-friendly way to add some color and personality to your space. Finally, consider shopping at thrift stores or garage sales for unique and affordable decor items, such as vintage posters or decorative vases.

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