Best College Dorm Room Essentials 2020

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College dorm living is a home away from home. With limited space, it’s important to purchase only the essential and necessary items to feel comfortable but not too cramped. Since Shalia and so many of you have been through this before, I relied on you all to help me with suggestions. If you’re looking for elaborate decor, this isn’t a post about that. Instead, it’s about items you have helped me find or what I plan to purchase for my son’s room.

Must-Have Dorm Room Essentials


It’s difficult to make an XL twin size bed comfortable. My number one essential is bedding. First of all, I recommend getting a zippered mattress encasement that is 100% bed bug proof. I know. It’s scary. Shalia told me this is a must.

Once you have a protector, a Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper is nice, and this is the one I purchased. I look for toppers that offer “cooling comfort” because some can be quite hot. This one from Walmart is another good option at a good price.

Next on the list…extra-long sheets. I think these printed sheet sets would be so cute in a girl’s dorm room. These classic black and white striped sheets from Nordstrom are another great option.

For Jono’s bedding, I’m ordering this one from Target. I think this three-piece shaggy faux fur set would be so cute in a girls room! Add in a great cozy throw like this one from Pottery Barn Kids (it’s identical to the one sold at Pottery Barn for half the price). I ended up ordering this fun throw for Jono’s dorm room.


Towel sets are a dorm essential. Notice I said sets? Let’s be realistic? How often do you think your child is going to do laundry? It’s important to have a few sets of towels. The Mainstays Basic Solid (18) piece towel set is a great price! If you wanting some really nice towels, the Southern Tide performance bath towel is a good choice.


A rolling 3 drawer cart comes in so handy whether for extra storage or for beauty essentials.


A Shower Caddy or mesh Shower Tote is a dorm must-have. This plastic Shower Caddy is another great option as well as this TERRA Home Portable Shower Caddy.


A Deluxe Mesh Pop Up Laundry Hamper with a carry handle to haul all that dirty laundry home or to the laundromat needs to be on the checklist. I like these that stand up.


Everyone needs snacks! A dorm refrigerator/freezer is a must! This stainless steel two door mini fridge with freezer is a great price as well as this 3.1 cubic foot mini refrigerator with freezer portion.


A mini dehumidifier fights musty odors and absorbs excess moisture in the air to eliminate mold and mildew growth and will aide in keeping your child healthy!


Rules about small appliances vary among schools, so check to see if microwaves or coffee makers are allowed. If they are, here are some great options:


A Table Air Circulator Fan helps drown out the noise and keep you comfortable. Add it to the list along with some of these items:

Other Items To Create A Cozy Dorm Room

I wanted to keep the list to a minimum because college is expensive enough. The other items I have linked are certainly useful but not necessary. The Ikea Storage bags work great for move-in day and pack away nicely beneath the mattress. If you don’t have an Ikea nearby, this set of 4 Extra Large Storage/Moving Totes is a great option. Of course, headphones, and televisions and backpacks and laptops are all useful items, I did not bother linking those because everyone has his or her own personal preference for those items. Below, I linked all the items, including the items above. Click on any picture for a direct link to shop. I hope you found this post helpful. Good luck to you or your student this school year!



  1. Gina Youngs
    July 25, 2020 / 1:29 pm

    Not enough THANK YOU’s for all this info! My college freshman to be daughter is moving into her dorm at Boise State mid August so I am in the middle of buying and packing!!! I had never seen the mattress encasement. So much better than just a cover. Thank you again and good luck to your son! FYI …. Love Love Love your insta and blog. You ladies would be my BFF’s if you lived in California!

    • Sandi Johnson
      July 26, 2020 / 10:27 am

      Hi Gina! Thank you so much and I’m so glad it was helpful!

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