41 Dorm Room Must Haves for College Students

This post is all about dorm room must haves for college students. We may earn commission on links used in this post at no cost to you. Full disclosure can be found here.

If you’re moving in on campus for the first time you probably aren’t sure what you need to get. Even if this is not your first time on campus you still may not have all of these college dorm room must haves!

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re shopping for your dorm room. You’re most likely going to get a lot of stuff.

It’s always great to go all out to make your dorm room feel cozy but sometimes we forget to get the basic college essentials.

This post will show you all these dorm room must haves you need for the semester.

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Dorm Room Must Haves for Bedroom

1. Memory Foam Mattress Topper

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Spoiler alert – college dorm beds are probably one of the most uncomfortable things you’ll ever sleep on. I highly recommend getting a mattress topper to make your slumber more enjoyable.

2. Comforter/Duvet set

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Your comforter/duvet set is gonna set the tone for your dorm room. It’s one of the most important items you need to get for your college dorm room. This gorgeous duvet set also comes in blue, pink, and white and includes 2 decorative pillows.

3. Sheets

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I recommend getting basic sheets for your bed since they aren’t going to be visible anyway. I always stick to neutral colors because they go with just about anything. This sheet set also comes in 22 other colors and patterns.

4. Fleece Blanket

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This is one of the best investments you’ll ever make! These fleece blankets are so handy for movie nights in your dorm living room (if you have one) or even great to sleep with. They feel absolutely incredible!

5. Bedside Shelf/Organizer

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Remember when you lived at home and you had a nightstand next to your bed? Well, you don’t have that luxury in college. Having a bedside shelf or organizer makes it easy to store things like your laptop, iPad, and other items without getting out of bed when you need them.

6. Mattress protector

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Your dorm room mattress has probably been through hell and back and then some. It’s not at the top of your residence hall’s list of things to invest in.

It’s probably been used by hundreds of students before you so you definitely need a mattress protector.
This not only helps with spills but it also traps in all that bacteria.

7. Throw pillows

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These definitely help make your room feel a little homier but they’re also very comfortable. 

Throw pillows are great for decorating your dorm room and adding that extra ‘oomph’ to your room. 

Related: 13 Essential Items Every College Student Needs to Get Through the Semester

Dorm Room Must Haves for Bathroom

8. Shower Caddy

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If you have communal bathrooms in your residence hall, or you just want to keep your personal items in your room – opt for a shower caddy. These mesh ones are perfect because they allow water to drip through so it doesn’t collect at the bottom like the plastic ones.

9. Shower Curtain + Liner

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This one is a no brainer. You’re definitely going to need a shower curtain and a good shower liner for your bathroom. 

P.S. If you need some inspiration – here are some amazing dorm room ideas to copy this semester!

10. Bath mat

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You definitely need a bath mat for your dorm room bathroom. I had these one senior year and it was sooo comfy! You may not think it makes a difference to get a memory foam one but it’s definitely worth it!

11. Towel wrap

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I got one of these my junior year in college and it was hands down one of my best investments. This is a total lifesaver!

I tend to do a lot in my towel after I shower so I constantly had to pull up my towel to prevent it from falling. These completely eliminate that inconvenience because it’s stuck on. I guarantee you’ll love this!

Related: 30 Must-Haves for the Best College Dorm Room


Dorm Room Must Haves: Electronics

12. Desk lamp

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Spoiler alert – your dorm room most likely doesn’t have overhead lighting or enough overhead lighting. My dorm room light was so dull I had no choice but to get a lamp. This one is great because it also comes with a USB charging port for your iPhone!

13. Clip-on light

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Speaking of lighting, while it’s great to get a desk lamp, I’ve found clip-on lights to also be another great life saver! Picture this – it’s late at night and you want to use your phone or read a book before bed but your desk lamp is too far or you’re too lazy to reach over and turn it on. Having a clip-on light on the edge of your bed makes it sooooo convenient to do these things! Plus, when you’re ready to go to bed and you’re tired and lazy you don’t have to get up to turn off the light!

14. Flexible Power Strip

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Chances are you have a lot of electronics that need charging or plugging in. Don’t struggle to find the outlet under your bed every time your laptop needs to charge. Get a power strip to make it easy to charge and use multiple devices at once. This one is great because it’s flexible!

15. 10ft iPhone charger 

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iPhone chargers are terribly short! If you need to use your phone while it’s charging you’re forced to stay nearby because of the cord. With these chargers, you don’t have to! They’re way more convenient because they give you a lot more wiggle room when you’re charging your phone.

16. Battery operated clip-on fan

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There will definitely come a time when you’ll wish you had one of these on campus. I had one similar to this and it was an absolute lifesaver when it was extremely hot. Since it’s battery operated you can also take it on the go with you!


Dorm Room Must Haves for Your Closet

17. Multi-layer Pants Hanger

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You’re not going to have much space in your dorm room to store all your clothes. But the trick is to get items like these to maximize your space! This pants hanger allows you to hang multiple pants vertically to save on space and prevent wrinkles!

18. Space Saving Hangers

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Speaking of hangers – these are also amazing for saving space in your dorm room closet! If you’re a “just in case packer” you’ll definitely appreciate it! 

19. Velvet hangers

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Lastly, on hangers – you should definitely get velvet hangers for the space savers (and in general) instead of plastic hangers. They allow you to fit way more clothes in your closet than the traditional plastic hangers.

20. Portable steamer

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If you have a lot of nice clothes that you can’t really iron, you’re going to need a steamer. This also comes in handy when you need to press your graduation gown (little tip)!

21. Drawer Dividers

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So this doesn’t exactly go in your closet but it’s a great organizer for your underwear. 

22. Full-length mirror

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You definitely need a full-length mirror in your dorm room. I forgot to buy one my sophomore year and it was tragic. It’ll definitely be a struggle trying to get ready without a mirror (if you’re like me).

Related: 15 School Supplies for College You Can’t Forget


Dorm Room Must Haves for Decorating

23. LED Photo clip string lights

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Are you planning on bringing a lot of pictures of your favorite memories with family and friends to college? If so, don’t keep them in a photo album, get these string lights and hang them up!

24. Command strips & hooks

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You can’t put holes in your dorm room walls so you need an alternative. 

Command hooks are very popular for dorm rooms because they’re sturdy, easy to use, and easy to remove. Plus, they can carry your heavy items.

Use them to hang up your LED lights, tapestry, wall canvases, and pretty much anything!

25. Tapestry

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If you want to keep your wall minimal but cute, or just want a quick fix for your plain walls, tapestries are the way to go! Simply hang them up and add some LED lights around it for that extra oomph and you’re done!

26. LED lights

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No dorm room is complete without some LED lights. It’s sort of cliche but it does a great job of making your room stand out while providing some extra lighting.


Dorm Room Must Haves for Organization

27. Desk Organizer

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If you’re a super organized person like myself, you should definitely get a desk organizer to keep things tidy in your dorm room. It also gives you more room to work at your desk or store more things on your desk.

28. Desk Drawer Organizers

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You know how you have that one drawer that you just drop everything in? Yeah, you’re not the only one. 

With drawer organizers like these, it helps keep your drawers a little bit organized so you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for easier than rummaging through a mess.

29. Makeup Organizer

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You’re probably going to bring a ton of makeup to college! (It’s okay, we all do)

Get this acrylic organizer to keep your makeup organized. I love the acrylic ones because you can see through it so you can find what you’re looking for easier. 

30. Storage Bins!

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Every college student needs some storage bins. These are at the top of the list for college dorm room must haves because you can literally use them to store almost anything. Plus, they come in a lot of designs!

31. Vanity mirror

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A vanity mirror is essential if you wear makeup. It’s a lot harder to try to do your makeup in front of your full-length mirror, or using the bathroom sink. Since your makeup is most likely on your desk in your room, a vanity mirror will make life much easier!

Related: 10 Backpack Essentials Every College Student Must Have


Dorm Room Must Haves for Eating

32. Plastic Dinnerware Set

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You may think you don’t need this if you don’t have a kitchen – but you do. Even if you have a meal plan – you’re going to get tired of the dining hall food or you may not always want to leave your room every time you’re hungry. 

Plus, you’re more than likely going to buy food every now and then. This is great for those convenience foods and for when you’re using the residence hall’s communal kitchen (if you have one). 


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I know, tempting right! 

Whether you have an apartment style dorm or a regular dorm room, you should always have snacks on hand!

 34. Storage Cart

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With all those snacks you’re going to need somewhere to store them right? I’d highly recommend getting one of these storage carts to store your food, dinnerware, and other items in your dorm room. They can easily fit under your bed!


Dorm Room Must Haves for Cleaning

35. Small Vacuum 

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You absolutely need a vacuum cleaner for your college dorm room! You’re eventually going to spill someone on your carpet or in your kitchen (if you have one). Don’t waste your time trying to sweep up bits and pieces of rice or cereal or tiny foods – just get this mini vacuum! 

36. Trash Can

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You definitely need a basic trash can in your dorm room for things like paper and wrappers you’ll want to discard throughout the semester.

37. Clorox Wipes

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You absolutely need to get a few Clorox wipes for your dorm. You need them to disinfect your dorm room before you move in and to clean up during the semester. Getting a 4 pack should last you the entire semester.

Related: 30+ Dorm Room Storage Ideas to Maximize Your Space


Other Dorm Room Must Haves

38. Comfy Chair

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An extra chair is a great investment for your dorm room. You’re most likely going to have your friends over in your room at some point so they’ll need somewhere to sit. You only get one chair for your desk (which is usually uncomfortable) and the other option is your bed (which you probably won’t want everyone sitting on).

39. Futon

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While we’re on the topic, a futon is also another great investment to make in your dorm room. If you love having friends over but your living room only has about 2 chairs, a futon is absolutely essential!

40. First-Aid Kit

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Unfortunately, you may get hurt while you’re on campus. You don’t even have to be a clutz. Sometimes you just end up with a scar or cut you can’t explain. This is when your first aid kit is going to come in handy.

41. Northface Backpack

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Since we’re talking about college essentials – you absolutely need a good backpack. Northface backpacks are very common amongst college students because they’re both functional and durable. One of these will last you your entire college career!

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