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For many students, dormitory living is a defining characteristic of life as a college freshman. Your new surroundings can take some getting used to as you learn to live with a new roommate, manage chores that your parents typically handled, and acclimate to the academic rigors of college. Getting comfortable in college is challenging, but making sure your bases are covered when it comes to personal items can start you off on the right foot.
You may be thinking about the essential items, so let's get the basics out of the way: Yes, you will need twin XL bed sheets, towels, a shower caddy, shower sandals, a laundry bag, toiletries, and some snacks. For all these items and more, you can peruse Amazon's list of "College Dorm Essentials."
But beyond the basics, there are some other essentials that can help incoming freshmen decorate their rooms, increase their comfort, and enhance their dorm experiences. With that in mind, we've compiled a list of 15 useful accessories and decor items for your dorm room.
The Top 15 Dorm Room Ideas
Top 8 Accessories
Top 7 Decor Items
1. Noise-Cancelling Headphones or Ear Plugs
In the event that you're living on a floor where quiet hours are rarely respected or enforced, you should invest in a noise-blocking accessory. Noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs are easy solutions, with ear plugs being ideal for sleeping through the night. Popular bluetooth-enabled headphones include the Sony WH-1000XM series and the Bose Quiet Comfort. If you don't like over-the-ear headphones, try the Apple AirPods Pro or Sony WF-1000XM3, both of which are effective at blocking noise.
2. Electric Kettle
Electric kettles are great for ramen, tea, and all your other hot water needs. The Miroco 1.5 liter kettle heats up your water in a hurry and will also turn itself off once the water is boiled. Since most dorm rooms don't come equipped with a personal kitchen, an electric kettle makes preparing dorm room staples like easy mac or oatmeal possible without a microwave.
3. Bluetooth Speaker
An essential accessory for any music-loving college student, a portable bluetooth speaker allows you to take your music everywhere you go. Both Bose and JBL offer high-quality speakers, some of which are waterproof. The JBL Clip can even clip onto backpacks or other fixtures, making it convenient to carry. Just be considerate of your roommate, hallmates, and the dorm's established quiet hours.
4. White Noise Machine
This is an item that you might need to run by your roommate, but white noise machines produce a variety of soothing sounds that can make falling asleep a lot easier. Whether you like the sound of falling rain, wind blowing through the trees, or waves crashing on the beach, a white noise machine can block out hallway noise and help you fall — and stay — asleep.
5. Moleskin Notebook
Smaller than most standard subject notebooks, moleskin notebooks can be used as planners, or they can be a place to take notes during class or jot down reminders to yourself. The compact size makes them easy to carry and the flexible yet durable covers keep them from falling apart, even in a crowded backpack.
6. De-Wrinkle Spray
This is the shortcut to ironing your clothes that you never knew existed. Wrinkle release spray is a quick and easy way to rid your clothes of pesky wrinkles without bringing out the ironing board. Downy's spray is also an odor remover, static remover, and fabric refresher that will keep you looking and smelling sharp.
7. Mini Coffee Machine
If the coffee selection offered through your meal plan isn't cutting it, a single-serve coffee maker is a worthy investment. On mornings when you don't have time to swing by the dining hall but still want a cup of joe to kickstart your day, a personal coffee maker can't be beat. CHULUX and Black + Decker both offer inexpensive, single-serve coffee makers.
8. Heated Slippers
Do you suffer from impossibly bad circulation? There's good news. For feet that stubbornly refuse to warm up when the rest of your body is nice and toasty, heated slippers may be the solution you never know you needed. Volt Smart Heated Slippers feature a built-in, smart thermostat that keeps your feet at optimal temperatures. Volt also offers a heated slipper designed for indoor and outdoor wear, making cold January walks to class a little more bearable.
9. Wall Art
If you want to spruce up those drab dorm room walls with an eye-catching portrait, painting, or tapestry, there are plenty of websites that offer amazing artwork that won't break the bank. iCanvas, Society6, and Great Big Canvas all offer high-quality, affordable wall art with multiple size and framing options. If you're looking to inject some personality into your living space while staying within your budget, consider browsing the catalogs of the sites above or shopping around elsewhere.
10. String Lights
If you're not a fan of the artificial lighting that comes standard in many dorm rooms, you're not alone. Many students prefer the cozy glow of string lights, which provide a warmly lit atmosphere for studying, socializing, or napping. Fans of soft lighting should move this to the top of their must-purchase list.
11. LED Reading Light
A large part of the typical freshman dorm experience is learning to live with and accommodate someone who has a different sleeping schedule, social lifestyle, or cleaning habits than you. If you're a night owl rooming with an early bird, you should consider buying a small LED reading light. These lights are bright enough for you to study and read comfortably, and dim enough to not bother your sleeping roommate.
12. Bed Shelf
If you're looking for an inexpensive alternative to a bedside table, a bed shelf is the way to go. These small, attachable shelves clip onto your bedframe and allow you to keep your phone, water, glasses, or other small items within arms length of your bed. Most models include a cup holder and can be installed in under a minute.
13. Photo Collage Strings
It can be a struggle to make a dorm room feel like home, but personalizing your room with photos help your room feel like it's yours. Collage strings are a convenient way to hang photos of family, friends, fun times — whatever you like. Some products include LED clips that will hold your photos in place while serving as a light source. Alternatively, you could combine this idea with your lighting and clip photos to your string lights with wooden clothespins.
14. Bed Tent
Privacy can be hard to come by when living in a dorm. When you need to withdraw to read a book, nap, or meditate, a bed tent can provide the necessary solitude. It's also common for one roommate to be sleeping in or napping while the other needs to turn on the lights or open the blinds to get ready for class or study. The PrivatePod reduces outside sound and light, allowing your roommate to use the room without disrupting your sleep. Think of it as a human cocoon that comes in twin, twin bunk, full, and queen sizes.
15. Bed Rest Pillow
Part chair, part pillow, part cushion monster with arms, a bed rest pillow can make your bed a comfier place to read and study. Combining the back support of sitting in a desk chair with the comfiness of your mattress, this pillow can make your bed the ideal study spot.