The Best College Dorm Room Essentials for 2024

Here are some college dorm room essentials and ideas on what you really need to bring for 2024.

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This post is all about college dorm room essentials for 2024.

Your dorm room may be tiny, but it’s the space that you have to live in for 9 months or so of the year while you take classes, study, participate in student activities, eat, sleep, drink another round of coffee, meet up with friends, and more.

Learning what to bring to college can make the difference between having a well appointed room that can meet your needs and finding out that you brought all the wrong things or that you need a last minute fix or solution that is hard to find.

Talking to family or friends who have been through or are in the same situation of deciding what to take to college, and reading lists like this one can help you find the best college dorm essentials and dorm storage and organization ideas to help you maximize your space.

While you probably won’t need everything on this list, it can be a good place to get some ideas on college dorm essentials. You may also find that there are items that are not on this list, that you add to your own list, specific to your situation.

For many students, finding the best dorm room arrangement ideas comes down to choosing exactly what you need to make a tiny living space fill like home. This list includes some of our best college dorm room essentials finds for 2024.

College Dorm Room Essentials and Must Haves

Mattress Topper.

A mattress topper is a must have for making a dorm bed sleeping situation more comfortable.

Mattress Protector.

Use a mattress protector to cover your mattress before sleeping on it.

Duvet Cover.

Using a duvet cover can help to customize the look of your dorm bed by switching the cover out over time to match seasons, style trends, or your interests. A duvet cover set makes it easy to customize your dorm room style. This set is available in a variety of colors to fit your dorm room.

Duvet Insert.

Don’t forget to get a cozy duvet insert to fit inside the duvet cover.


Or, if you want to keep things simple, you could always just invest in a single comforter set that has all that you need in one place. Favorites include feather-light down alternative comforters for warmth, cool colors for minimalist style, and boho comforters that are great for showing off your style.

Silk Pillowcase.

Silk pillowcases may offer some benefits for skin and hair, plus they can be comfortable to sleep on. Some people find that they are also cooler to rest your head on while sleeping.

Bed Pillows

Bring your favorite bed pillows to sleep on. It can help to choose a bed pillow based on how you sleep. These pillows are durable and flexible, and they are also a popular set.

Bed Sheets

A quality bed sheet set is essential for making a dorm bed feel more comfortable. It can help to have two sheet sets, so that you can rotate them out when it’s time to do laundry. Many dorm room beds use size Twin XL for bed sheets and other linens, but you’ll want to confirm what size to buy with your college dorm management before you make a purchase.

Backrest Pillow

Many dorm rooms are too small to add a comfortable chair or sofa for seating, so adding a backrest pillow to your bed can be the next best thing. It’s flexible, too. You can lean the pillow against a wall to create a more comfortable seating situation while studying or relaxing on the floor or on a dorm bed.

Lap Desk

A lap desk with cushion can make it easier to hold and use a laptop while sitting on the bed or while you’re sitting on a sofa in the dorm’s common room or lounge. A lap desk with foldable legs makes it easier to store.

Bath Towels

Having a set of bath towels makes it easier to rotate towels before laundry day.

Shower Caddy

Use a shower caddy to store bath essentials like shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush and toothpaste, and so on, all in one place. Mesh shower caddies are great because they dry quickly when you are done using them.

Towel Wrap or Bath Robe

A towel wrap can be great to have for traveling from the dorm room to the shower.

If you prefer to wear a bath robe, then here is one that is extra cozy.

Lastly, a microfiber hair towel is great for helping your hair to dry after a shower.

Shower Shoes

Shower shoes are a must have for communal shower situations.

Laundry Tote

A laundry tote can be used to carry laundry and as a clothes hamper in between laundry days.

Handles make it easier to carry the tote down to the laundry room—just be sure not too overload the laundry bag with too many clothes when it’s time to carry it.

Wrinkle Release Spray

Wrinkle release spray can be the best thing ever when you need your clothes to look good and you don’t own an iron or ironing board because time and space.

Clothes Hangers

You’ll need clothes hangers to organize your clothes in that tiny little space that is known as a closet.

Pants hangers are also useful to have to keep your pants, skirts, and shorts organized if you prefer to hang them rather than fold them. Non slip velvet hangers can also be good to have.

Space saving closet hangers can make it easier to organize and fit more clothes into a space.

Under the Bed Storage

Under the bed storage bins are a must have when it comes to maximizing storage space in a small dorm room. Storage bins with wheels can make it easier to move your items around the dorm room.

Rolling Cart

A rolling cart can make it easier to store—and move—things around your dorm room. Carts can be useful for holding things like books, snacks, plants, and a coffee maker.

Shoe Rack

A standing shoe rack provides space to store shoes and the top surface may be used to hold other small, lightweight items, like books, speakers, an alarm clock, or accent decor.

Coffee Maker

If your college dorm allows small appliances, then a coffee maker can be great to have for making coffee for late night study sessions, or for making it easier to brew your favorite coffee any time of day. Just be sure not to leave the coffee maker unattended while it’s in use.

Travel Mug

A travel mug can be useful for carrying coffee and other hot drinks from place to place.


It can be good to have some plates, bowls, cups, and flatware for times when you want to eat and drink in your dorm room. Durable wheat straw dinnerware can be a good option when you’re looking for dinnerware that’s lightweight yet tough enough to handle dorm room living.

Water Pitcher

A water pitcher with filter makes it easier to store filtered water in your dorm room, especially if you have a compact fridge to put it in.

Compact Refrigerator

If your college dorm allows them, then a compact refrigerator can be great to have in a dorm room. They make it easier to store your favorite snacks and drinks and leftovers, if you have them.

Insulated Lunch Box

An insulated lunch box or snack box makes it easier to carry your food on the go. This is especially great when you have study sessions, meetings, or activities to attend around meal time. Use freezer packs to help keep your food cold.

This insulated snack box is perfect for carrying small snacks on the go.

Insulated Water Bottle

An insulated water bottle is a must for carrying water around campus to help keep you hydrated.


Dorm rooms are notorious for being dim and poorly lit. Bringing your own desk lamp allows you to add style and light to your dorm room.


Having a rug can help to soften up a hard dorm room floor and it can also absorb sound, making a dorm room a slightly quieter place to be. Choosing a rug in a unique style or color can also be a great way to jazz up your dorm room.

A rug pad can be used to add even more body and comfort to a rug, while rug grippers can be used to help rugs stay in place.

Wall Art and Decor

Whether you choose art prints or a tapestry, or both, good wall decor is a must have for the dorm room. Keep in mind that when choosing wall art, often you must purchase art prints and frames for the prints separately.

Macrame wall decor is also a popular wall art style for dorm rooms.

Other ideas include making a collage of your favorite photos and sayings, or making a photo collage of family and friends.

A hanging photo collage display is a great way to get your favorite photos organized and displayed, so that you can show off your favorite photos of family and friends, of places that you’ve been or want to go, style inspiration, and more.

And string lights never seem to go out of style.

Desk Organizer / Display Shelf

A desk organizer / display shelf helps to keep you organized.

Alarm Clock

An alarm clock may be just the thing that is needed to help you wake up and get to class on time.

Some alarm clocks come with a sound machine installed. If you have trouble falling asleep, then a sound machine can help. It produces white noise to help drown out other sounds around you.

Charging Station

A charging station helps to keep personal electronic devices—like your cell phone, AirPods, and fitness tracker, charged and organized.

Air Purifier

An air purifier can help to improve the air quality in a space by removing allergens from the air.


A standing fan is great for improving air circulation, which can be a big thing in a small dorm room.

A desktop fan can keep you cool while you study, plus some fans can be a great source for white noise when you are trying to drown out other sounds, unless the fan is designed to be really quiet.

Galaxy Projector

A galaxy projector is pretty way to watch the ceiling at night while you’re counting sheep.

Computer Monitor

Having an extra computer monitor can be helpful when it comes to trying to do two or more things at once, like watching lectures and taking notes at the same time. If you subscribe to a streaming service, then having a second monitor can make it easier to watch your favorite shows.

Power Strip / Surge Protector

Dorm rooms are known for not having enough outlets to plug in all of your devices. A power strip with surge protector is a must have for providing extra charging power to the many devices that you have to keep up with, like your laptop, cell phone, tablet, and more.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling headphones can help to reduce ambient sound while you are trying to study.


Find out if your dorm room comes with a wastebasket. If it doesn’t, choose a wastebasket with a space saving design and don’t forget to bring your own trash bags.

Cordless Vacuum

A cordless vacuum cleaner is a must for keeping your rug clean and for doing spot cleaning around the dorm, like vacuuming up those cookie crumbs from your last late night study session.

Chalkboard Calendar

A chalkboard calendar is a great way to stay organized, plus it looks good, too. A small amount of cork board at the bottom can be used to pin important reminders and notes.

Command Hooks

Command hooks, clips, and strips are a must have when it comes to decorating your dorm room walls. The hooks can also be used to hold items like coats, bags, and scarves, just be sure to check the weight limit of the items that you are using.


If you have a lot of furniture to assemble, then you’re going to need tools to put it all together.

Artificial Plants

Artificial plants make it easy to green up your room without having to worry about watering. Plus, they can give a peaceful vibe to a room.

These college dorm essentials can help you organize and arrange your dorm, maximizing your space and making your living area much more comfortable and enjoyable at college.

Looking for snacks to eat while studying or in between classes, check out these easy snack ideas for college students.

This post was all about college dorm room essentials in 2024.

  • Photo by Teona Swift / Pexels
  • Photos are for illustration purposes only.

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