10 Dorm Room Must-Haves for the College-Bound


In some ways, college hasn’t changed all that much in the past 20, OK … 23 years since I went away to school. Dorms still provide students with only the bare bones of necessities that include a bed, a desk, and access to a bathroom.

The rest falls on you, Mom, but don’t panic. Ya girl has your back! (That’s how the kids talk these days, trust me.) As I sit here rockin’ my 19-year-old daughter’s dorm t-shirt (Go Tharp Hall!), I want to assure you that I, a seasoned college mom, have the hookup for all the products your college-bound kiddo needs. So grab a latte or a smoothie, be chill, and scope out these 10 dorm room must-haves for the college-bound!

The Essentials

First, let’s talk about the essentials. You know the list is a mile long. The amazing peeps at Dormco.com have simplified life to the Nth degree for us. They have a 44 Piece College Dorm Essentials Set that is completely customizable. You get everything from bedding to toiletries to silverware and everything in between. You not only get to choose your colors and prints, you also get to choose what kind of accessories you want.

For example, you know your student is going to need something in which to carry his or her laundry. So, a laundry bag is one of the items in this kit, but you can decide if you want a laundry bag, a laundry duffle, a laundry backpack, a laundry duffle on wheels … the choice is yours. I have never seen such a complete set of dorm room essentials and definitely not one that you can customize to meet your student’s needs and individual taste. Well done, Dormco. Well done!

The best part? This entire kit is $168.98 on its website and usually ships within 24 hours. You would be hard-pressed to walk into store and find all of these items for anywhere near this price. This is a great way to buy the staples, so then you can splurge a bit more on the things that will make your kiddo’s dorm feel like home.

The Essentials Dorm Room Must-Haves

Dorm Décor 

Now, let’s talk about dorm room décor. This is a big thing. This is a huge thing. This is EVERYTHING, if you ask them. Achieving the perfect aesthetic requires research, planning, and hours on Pinterest. Or, you could just check out a few of these amazing retailers that have everything your college students wants and needs.

Forget posters! Tapestries are the trend in college dorm rooms right now, for guys and girls. You can find them just about anywhere, in every print from classic mandalas to world maps to pop culture references, sports teams, and more. We adore this Mandala Tapestry from Society 6. Rose Gold or Blush Pink paired with gray or a gray/white marble pattern is a popular feminine choice for dorm life décor. 

Rose Gold Tapestry Dorm Room Must-Haves

Comfy cozy headboards are also a must for dorm life. Secured with 6 Medium Command Hooks, we love the personal touch this Velvet Tufted Headboard adds from Dormify. Your student doesn’t have to lean against a hard wall, and you have the ease of transporting a small cushion versus a standard wooden headboard. It’s a win-win!

Velvet Tufted Headboard Dorm Room Must-Haves

No dorm room (in any era) would be complete without a bean bag chair! We love this Big Joe Smartmax Bean Bag available at Home Depot. It’s perfect for chilling, gaming, and (of course) reading and studying into the wee hours of the night.

Big Joe Smartmax Chair

One final dorm room must-have in the area of room décor is some method for displaying photos. Twinkle lights with clips are wildly popular with college females, but we love this Clothesline Photo Display from Dormco for both guys and girls.

Photo Clothes Line Display

This next college life necessity falls under “décor” as well as “storage.” Dorm rooms are notoriously cramped and roommates are notoriously nosy, but you can address both issues with one product. The Don’t Look At Me- Privacy Dorm Room Divider with Organization from Balfour helps put boundaries up for personal space and gives students extra storage space right where they need it most. This dorm room must-have is versatile, portable, and multi-functional. 

Privacy Screen Dorm Room Must-Haves

Bathroom Essentials

Whether your college student is sharing a bathroom with 4 suitemates or the entire floor, he or she is going to need something to carry toiletries in. We love this Mesh Shower Tote from Bed Bath & Beyond. It’s a great size with plenty of pockets, including a waterproof pouch for a cell phone. It’s easy to clean and easy to store, too. 

Mesh Shower Caddy Dorm Room Must-Haves

Few colleges allow candles in the dorms, so a good air freshener is important for the bathroom or the dorm room. We love this Love Heals Room Spray by Thistle Farms.

Not only do their light scents refresh and deodorize with natural botanicals and pure essential oils, but your purchase directly supports women who have survived trafficking, prostitution, and addiction.

Now, that’s a purchase you can feel good about. Check out their full line of bath, body, and home products.

Love Heals Room Spray


Other Must-Haves

If your student isn’t already a coffee drinker, chances are that he or she will be by the end of their first semester. Many colleges have restrictions on the size of appliances they allow in the dorms, so check with your campus guidelines first, but we absolutely love this Keurig K-Mini Single Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker from Amazon. It’s small, convenient, and my daughter loves that she can make hot chocolate, tea, or even hot apple cider in her Keurig, as well. I love that she’s not spending all of my money at the expensive local coffee shops.

Keurig Dorm Room Must-Haves

Last, but certainly not least, our final item on the list of dorm room must-haves that your student should never have to live without is …. a good power strip. Let’s face it, dorm rooms are a nightmare when it comes to having enough outlets for this high-tech generation. We love this Desktop Charging Station by Tessan available on Amazon. It offers 3 extra outlets and 3 USB ports, as well. The 5 foot extension cord makes it extra convenient. 

Power Strip Dorm

You’re going to worry about your kids while they’re away at college. You’re going to be worried about what they’re eating and whether or not they’re getting enough sleep; who they’re hanging around with; and how much they’re partying. You can’t help it- you’re a mom! But you can make life just a little bit easier on yourself by making sure they have everything they need to live happily, safely, and comfortably in their dorm.

Being a college mom is a brand new adventure that often makes you wonder why you ever complained about the toddler years. Embrace it, Mama. Your kids are going to thrive, and so are you.

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Heather Tabers
Heather is a writer and homeschool mama living the dream in Central Florida. Her greatest titles include Mother of 5, Wife of a Wounded Warrior, and Unashamed Daughter of God. She believes life can be messy and beautiful at the same time which is why she enjoys writing stories with a little bit of grit and a lot of grace. When she's not writing, Heather can be found playing with her two furbabies (Murphy & Maisy), spending hours at the dinner table laughing with her family, reading a good book, or binge-watching a good period drama. Heather also donates her time to a wonderful non-profit that shines light into the dark places. She serves as the Communications Director at Love Missions Global, an organization that fights human trafficking by empowering survivors and educating the community. To follow Heather's writing and her quest to publishing her first novel, visit www.heathertabers.com.