Dorm Room Essentials That Won’t Break The Bank But Give The Comfort Of Home

by Amanda Gates
Gates Interior Design

In my experience, helping parents get their kids prepared for their college dorm room is both liberating and, well, depressing. The rooms are uninspiring, dated and small. But this of course is coming from an ancient dinosaur who appreciates her creature comforts. Ask any college student and they are so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed about getting away from home they’d probably agree to live in a smelly closet; which is essentially what a dorm room is…. before I get a hold of it.

College is all about newfound freedom. It dog ears the high school years and catapults kids into a new chapter in their life. Most students are so focused on their curriculum they don’t realize that mom and dad are about to leave and it’s their responsibility to cook, clean and bathe within their new space. Luckily, I have cut out some of the guess work for the bigger must-have items to help keep you organized.

This is typically what I find in the basic dorm room when I arrive:Dorm Room


13 essentials I recommend for every college dorm room:

 1) Bedding – I suggest these Target Options


2) Area Rug – I suggest Overstock or Ikea

3) Compact fridge – Heres a great one for $89 bucks

4) Microwave or hot plate- This one from Wayfair has been student approved

5) Coffee maker- I suggest this one from Target

6) Drapes – I suggest Ikea

7) Parson’s desk – I suggest this one from Target

8) Floor cushion or Bean Bag – I suggest these from Walmart

9) Cork Board- This one from Staples is great

10) Shower wrap – Target, see link below

11) Lamps- Pier One has some great options

12) Blanket – anywhere

13) Small Vacuum – Target has a great one that is small

Before and After:

I always recommend moving their furniture around to maximize the space. It provides more personal space and privacy. Not all colleges allow a microwave but most will allow a hot plate. A bean bag is inexpensive and provides the student a place to hang out and read in comfort. According to most college students having a compact fridge is essential. It allows them to keep water and soft drinks cool and store small food items. I’ve also had several girls tell me that a shower wrap is a must-have since most dorm facilities have showers located down the hall.Dorm Room Layout

Drapes are something that can be purchased inexpensively and help control light. Many dorms however, will not allow you to attach things to the wall permanently, so I recommend command hooks. You will need to use them for everything – hanging artwork, cork boards, drapes and coat hooks. Buy a boat load – you’ll need them!

The ultimate goal is to try to add the comfort of home as much as possible. Bedding, a soft rug and lighting all help make a student feel at home and is easy to move at the end of the semester. As much as it is exciting it’s also strange the first few days. Help them create a cozy environment to make the transition easy, so they can focus on the more important things – their school work!

Amanda Gates
Interior Designer


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Andrea has always loved the written word. She holds a B.A. in Journalism and a Masters in Creative Writing, both from Belmont University. Both sides of her family have lived in Williamson County for generations, so writing for Williamson Source is the perfect fit. She loves to hear stories of what Williamson County was like when her parents and grandparents were young and to write about this ever evolving county is truly special for her.