Whether you're going to college for the first time or returning to campus, check out this list of 15 essential items to help make a dorm room feel like home.

Top 15 Dorm Essentials You Never Knew You Needed

Advertising Disclosure: Our team independently selected these products. If you purchase a product through one of our links, we may collect compensation. Pricing and availability are accurate at the time of publication.


While dorm size varies by university, incoming college students can expect their room to be about 180 square feet. With the right appliances and decorations, you can transform this relatively small space into a functional and comfortable home away from home.

If you're sharing a space, it might be a good idea to talk with your roommate and coordinate what you each bring to school. Additionally, consult your college's specific dorm policies before making any purchases. Some schools may limit the types of furniture or appliances you can bring or have rules about hanging items from your walls.


Price Legend

$ = Under $10 | $$ = $10-$25 | $$$ = $26-$50 | $$$$ = Over $50


White Noise Machine


Our Recommendation:

Homedics Soundspa White Noise Sleep Machine

This low-cost, lightweight white noise machine helps you relax into a study session or fall asleep. Choose from six ambient sounds, including rain, thunder, and white noise. The machine also comes with an auto-turnoff timer in 15-, 30-, and 60-minute increments, as well as a 30-day, money-back guarantee.

$$ on Amazon

Garment Steamer


Our Recommendation:

Hilife Handheld Garment Steamer

This handheld steamer gets wrinkles out of clothes, linens, and even certain pieces of furniture. With a 700-watt charge and a 9-foot power cord, the steamer is powerful and maneuverable. Additionally, the steamer only weighs 1.7 pounds, making it an ideal travel companion for your summer internship or semester abroad.

$$ on Amazon

Laptop Lock


Our Recommendation:

Kensington Combination Cable Lock for Laptops and Other Devices

Protect your electronics with this four-digit combination lock made from 6 feet of carbon steel cable. The lock is compatible with most laptop brands and devices like televisions and hard drives. The manufacturer also provides a two-year warranty and a registration program that lets you access a forgotten combination code.

$$ on Amazon

Reading Pillow


Our Recommendation:

ComfortSpa Pillow Bed Wedge

This large backrest wedge pillow enables you to maintain proper posture while reading in bed, and it may also help reduce the severity of acid reflux and heartburn. Made from shredded memory foam, the pillow comes with pockets attached to both 11-inch arms, allowing you to store your phone, glasses, or tablet.

$$$ on Amazon

Hanging Photo Display


Our Recommendation:

TWING Clip Photo Display

Show off postcards, art, and photos of loved ones with these 30-inch-long photo displays. Each set comes with five strings and 30 clips made from recycled and other environmentally conscious materials. With strong self-adhesive hooks, you do not need to drill any holes, making installation dorm-friendly.

$$ on Amazon

Foldable Chair


Our Recommendation:

Mainstay Faux-Fur Saucer Chair

This comfy saucer chair requires no assembly and folds in an instant, making it easy to use and store. You can choose from several colors, including black, red, and pink.

$$$$ on Amazon

Monogrammed Blanket


Our Recommendation:

Personalized Berry Bebe Sherpa Throw Blanket

This reversible blanket, made from microfiber, offers comfort both indoors and outside. With your name emblazoned across each side, would-be thieves will think twice before stealing the blanket if you accidentally leave it in your dorm's common area. The blanket is 50 inches wide and 60 inches long, and comes in several colors.

$$$$ on Amazon

Tapestry Wall Hanging


Our Recommendation:

EMMTEEY Thin Tapestry Wall Hanging

Personalize a generic dorm room or new apartment with this vintage-inspired tapestry of a fir forest landscape. The machine-washable tapestry comes in six sizes and three color combinations. It also offers a full refund/replacement guarantee. You can use the seamless nails provided or your own double-sided table to affix the tapestry to the wall.

$$ on Amazon

Adhesive Wallpaper


Our Recommendation:

Wenmer Geometric Hexagon Peel and Stick Wallpaper

Improve the style of your accommodations with a roll of peel-and-stick wallpaper featuring a hexagonal design. The adhesive is strong but easy to remove, making it suitable for flat walls and furniture. Composed of vinyl PVC, the wallpaper is not only water resistant but also easy to clean using a damp cloth.

$ on Amazon

Artificial Plants


Our Recommendation:

MoonLa Artificial Succulent Plants

This set of five artificial succulents lets you add greenery to your space without needing to worry about upkeep. The realistic plants are made from a resilient polymer and sit in artificial soil in gray wooden pots. The manufacturer promises top-notch customer service, including a full money-back guarantee.

$$ on Amazon

Storage Headboard


Our Recommendation:

Prepac Astrid Twin Headboard

Add utility to your twin bed setup with a storage headboard made from nontoxic engineered wood and MDF that comes in white, black, or brown. The headboard offers two compartments on either side and an overhead shelf for additional storage. Assembly requires a hammer and both flathead and Phillips screwdrivers.

$$$$ on Amazon

Echo Dot


Our Recommendation:

Echo Dot, 4th Generation

The fourth-generation Echo Dot is Amazon's latest smart speaker. In addition to balanced sound output, the speaker comes with Alexa to let you stream music, get news and weather updates, and control compatible lights and doors using your phone. The Echo Dot comes with an easy installation process and several layers of privacy protection.

$$$ on Amazon

Smart Plugs


Our Recommendation:

Gosund Mini Wi-Fi Outlet Smart Plugs

These smart power plugs enable you to use Google Home Assistant or Alexa to voice-control compatible appliances through any 2.5 GHz Wi-Fi network. The devices also come with functions like a timer/schedule application and group sharing capabilities. Furthermore, these plugs let you program customizable smart scenarios to control multiple devices simultaneously.

$$$ on Amazon

Battery-Powered String Lights


Our Recommendation:

Brightown LED Fairy Lights

Bathe your bedroom in an ambient glow with mini LED fairy lights that come in white, soft white, or a rainbow array of colors. Spanning 7 feet and made from flexible wire, the lights are durable, waterproof, and heat-resistant. They're also energy efficient, boasting a 72-hour battery life.

$$ on Amazon

Essential Oil Diffuser


Our Recommendation:

Pure Daily Care Ultimate Aromatherapy Diffuser and Essential Oil Set

Because your university probably prohibits candles in the dorms, this ultrasonic diffuser is the best way to fill your room with therapeutic essences. The diffuser offers state-of-the-art atomization capability and 14 ambient light combinations. The package also includes 10 vials of essential vials in fragrances like tea tree, orange, nutmeg, lavender, and jasmine.

$$$ on Amazon

Related Pages

The 50 Best Gifts for College Students The Best Christmas Gifts for College Students

Feature Image: Arial Skelley / DigitalVision / Getty Images