Best College Dorm Room Essentials 2019

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. Having two daughters graduate college in recent years, I feel more prepared in knowing exactly what my son needs when he leaves in the next few weeks. If you’re looking for elaborate decor, this isn’t a post about that. Instead, it’s about items I have found or plan to purchase for my son’s room.


It’s difficult to make an XL twin size bed comfortable. My number one essential is bedding. First of all, I recommend getting The Original bed bug blocker mattress protector. I know. It’s scary. After staying with a group of cheerleaders in dorms one summer and coming home with bed bugs, I’m a believer in this essential item! Amazon’s zippered mattress encasement is another option. And, finally, one more, in case the others are sold out! I don’t want any critters coming home with your child: 100 Percent Bed Bug Proof Mattress Protector.

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. These Mellanni bed sheets come in a variety of colors for such a great price. My daughter has them and loves them! These classic black and white striped sheets from Nordstrom are another great option. Marshall’s and TJ Maxx always offer a good variety as well.

For my son’s bedding, I picked up a set at Marshall’s similar to the Garrett Comforter Set from TJ Maxx. My son’s friend wants the UGG Comforter set, which looks like such a cozy option, and this Sherpa Duvet Cover from Urban Outfitters looks amazing! 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), and the bedding is set! Pottery Barn Cozy Pom Throw


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! I have also seen nice sets at Marshall’s and TJ Maxx like this Kensie 6 piece Drying Towel Set. Better Homes and Gardens Plush towels are also a good choice.


A rolling 3 drawer cart comes in so handy whether for extra storage or for beauty essentials. My daughter and her suitemates kept one in the bathroom, and each girl filled a drawer with her own beauty products since there was no storage in the bathroom.

Number 4. 

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.

Number 5.

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. I love the option this Divided Pop Up Hamper allows and that you can fold and put away when not in use.

Though not a necessity, the Stainless Steel Portable & Digital Washing Machine would be a wish list item if I were back in school! Another wish list item would be the Opal Nugget Ice Machine. Of course, my child won’t have either of these, but maybe your child will!


This is a true story. My niece’s college roommate was a nightmare. At the end of the school year, my niece found that her roommate had stolen all her textbooks, sold them, and left. Thus, I highly recommend this Lock and Roll Portable Under-Bed Personal Safe for added protection. You just never know!


Everyone needs snacks! A dorm refrigerator/freezer is a must! I love this Retro mini fridge. For someone more practical, 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.


I guess it depends on where your child goes to college, but my daughter needed a Dehumidifier for her dorm room. 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:

Number 10.

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

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. I did, however, add a few items below not mentioned 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!

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