A dorm room is a college student’s home away from home. But let’s be honest: Even the nicest dorm room tends to lack style, with blank white walls and generic furniture. Turn a bland box into a cozy, comfortable space for sleeping, studying, and socializing with these eight essential items that no college student should head to campus without.
1. Platinum Huggable Hangers from The Container Store ($8.99)
Keeping a closet organized (and clothes off the floor) is a breeze with these hangers from The Container Store. They’re available in a 10-pack of either shirt or suit hangers for $8.99, or for $19.99, you can buy a value pack that includes 14 shirt hangers, 10 suit hangers, 6 finger clips, and 4 cascading hooks. The surface of the hangers keeps clothes from sliding off, plus the slim quarter-inch profile means more clothes can fit in that tiny dorm room closet.
2. The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker ($69.95)
Yes, the price is a little high for a dorm-room appliance (especially when you can buy a drip coffee maker for less than $20) but the convenience of The Scoop Single-Serve Coffee Maker by Hamilton Beach makes it worth the investment. This easy-to-use coffee maker brews either a standard 8-ounce mug of coffee or a 14-ounce travel mug size — perfect for on-the-go college students. The reusable filter eliminates the need for paper filters and allows you to use ground coffee rather than expensive coffee pods.
3. Lasting Color Cotton Bath Towel by WestPoint Home ($5.99)
You don’t need to spend upwards of $20 to get quality towels. These affordable bath towels by WestPoint Home measure 30 by 54 inches and come in 12 different colors, including hot pink, royal blue, and tomato. Matching washcloths and hand towels are also available, as is a jumbo-sized bath sheet (35 by 68 inches). The Lasting Color Towels were highly rated by the experts at Good Housekeeping, who noted that they did a good job of absorbing water and dried quickly.
4. Honest Company 4-in-1 Laundry Packs ($15.95 for a pack of 50)
Doing laundry is a pain, but single-use laundry packs or pods make the job easier, especially for college students who may still be learning their way around a wash cycle. Rather than having to haul around heavy bottles of detergent and deal with messy spills, simply throw one of these all-natural detergent packs from the Honest Company into the washer and you’re done. Each pack cleans, fights stains, brightens, and softens and is safe for all washers and fabrics. Those with allergies and sensitive skin will also appreciate that this product is free of dyes, fragrances, and chemicals like chlorine. In fact, the Honest Company’s laundry pods are one of the few products in the laundry pods and pouches category to earn an “A” rating from the Environmental Working Group.
5. Ikea Format Work Lamp ($19.99)
An overhead fluorescent light shouldn’t be the only source of illumination in a dorm room. Invest in a desk lamp for proper lighting when pulling an all-nighter. The Format Work Lamp from Ikea fits the bill. The head and arm of this 15-inch-high, nickel-plated lamp are adjustable, so it’s easy to redirect the light where it’s needed. For additional dorm room lighting solutions, consider the matching Format Floor Lamp.
6. Power It! 6-Outlet Power Strip ($24.95 at Amazon)
Dorm room outlets may be in short supply or located in inconvenient corners or behind furniture. A simple power strip provides space to plug in numerous devices and appliances, from a laptop to a mini-fridge. The Power It! 6-Outlet Power Strip from Tripp Lite has a 15-foot cord, making it easy to find a convenient spot for it in a cramped dorm room. It even features a switch cover to prevent accidental power shut-offs.
7. The Residence Hall Linens Reversible Comforter ($39.95)
This extra-long comforter from Residence Hall Linens is specifically designed for dorm room beds. It’s available in eight different colors and patterns and is reversible, giving a room a whole new look when it’s flipped it over. Even better, this was one of the top-rated products in Good Housekeeping’s review of dorm room bedding, receiving an “A” rating. Reviewers specifically praised the size and durability of this made-in-America comforter.
8. Clorox Disinfecting Wipes ($5.89 for 3-pack of 35 at Target)
College students aren’t exactly renowned for their cleanliness, but keeping dorm rooms dirt- and germ-free is easier with disinfecting wipes from Clorox, which were rated one the of best cleaning products of 2014 by All You magazine. Use these wipes to clean up messes big and small on desktops, tables, floors, and more, as well as to disinfect doorknobs, light switches, and other non-porous surfaces. They also kill bacteria like E. coli, salmonella, and strep.