10 Dorm Room Items Every College Student Needs

So you're moving out. Here is a list of items that most college students say make college dorm life much better.

10 Dorm Room Items Every College Student Needs

This article has several links to recommended products on Amazon. These products were chosen to help you out and give students a budget-friendly starting point.  We do this because Amazon can be a great place for students to save money, especially on textbooks.

Moving into an apartment for college can be daunting.  Things get lost or forgotten process of buying/finding/borrowing everything you need to live on your own.  Besides the essentials, we’ve compiled a budget-friendly list of items that will help you get started right.

1. Headphones

Although this is a common item that many people have, we still bring this up.  Having a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be a lifesaver when dealing with roommates, cramming for a test, and taking the time to relax and unwind.  In addition, headphones help keep people from bothering you when you really need to study.  Here are some stats from a survey in 2014 about music:

  • 81% say they NEED to listen to music to get going in the morning
  • 62% say they’d rather go a day without ANY human interaction than a day without their music
  • 48% wear headphones every day at work or school
  • 40% would skip a workout if they got to the gym and realized they left their headphones at home

If you don’t have a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, get some! Here are the three highest rated pairs for under $100 that we recommend.  If you happen to have a little more money to spend, check out the top selling headphones on Amazon.

Eonfine Wireless Earphones
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COWIN E-7 Series Bluetooth Headphones
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Bluedio Turbine T2s Wireless Headphones
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2. Portable Wireless Speaker

If you’re a music lover, a portable speaker will help you enjoy your apartment much more. Rather than having a full size sound system, portable speakers will allow you to listen to music in from several different rooms without driving your roommates crazy or having your neighbors complain about the loud noise.  You can keep the speaker in your room, move it into the bathroom while you’re getting ready, have it near you while cooking in the kitchen, enjoying music while watching the stars with a romantic interest, and provide music while you’re chilling in the living room with friends.   Whatever you choose to do, a portable wireless speaker provides the needed flexibility.

There are lots of portable speakers out there.  Use caution before buying one under $20 as they are often times not worth it.  If you’re in the market for a speaker, a great place to start is Amazon’s list of best selling portable speakers.

3. Hammock

Couple sitting in an ENO hammock on the beach

Whether your need a place to take a nap on campus, wanting to go on an adventure, or read a book in the park, owning a hammock can be a lifesaver in college.  Although a hammock isn’t necessarily a part of your dorm, campus could be considered an extension of where you live, seeing how you’ll spend so much time there.  We suggest getting a double-nested camping hammock.  Camping hammocks are durable, compact, and lightweight. Plus they are the easiest to set up.  Grand Trunk and ENO are well-known brands that make quality hammocks.  Make sure to get a strap kit for easier setup.

4. Blackout Curtains

Life gets crazy as a college student.  Often time you’re sleep schedule gets messed up from studying, partying, night jobs, and other random things.  To be able to get through college, you’re going to have to take naps.  One of the best tools to be able to do that is utilizing a blackout curtain to block all the afternoon light that’s not letting you sleep.  In addition, the curtains with thermal reflectors could save you on utilities.  The amount of light that you want to block to be comfortable is up to you. Here are a couple different curtains to get you started:

Deconovo Fashion Flower Foil Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtains
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Room Darkening Curtains Panel Drapes
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Deconovo Thermal Insulated Blackout Curtain Panel
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5. Bathroom Tote / Shower Caddy

For both guys and gals, this is a must have is you don’t have your own private bathroom, especially if your dorm has a communal bathroom that more than four people share.  For girls who share a bathroom, this becomes even more handy. Most guys likely didn’t even know that these exist.  

There are dozens of styles and functions of different bathroom totes.  Choose one that fits your budget and style.  For most guys, an oversized toiletry bag usually works great (featured on the right).   Unless you need something heavy duty, the most important factor is choosing one that will organize everything how you want it. If you’re still not convinced that these are useful, search “what’s in my shower caddy” in YouTube.

6. Media Streaming Device

Are you addicted to Netflix or Hulu?  Whether you’re a Netflix lover or just like watching movies with friends, you need something in order to watch it on your TV.  Often times you and your roommates will have access to either Netflix, Hulu, Dish, Amazon Prime, or some other movie/TV streaming service.  Instead of worrying about streaming everything through your laptop, you can buy a device such as the Amazon Fire Stick, Roku, or a Chromecast.  This has many advantages to it.  The main advantage is that you can still be doing homework on your laptop while watching a TV show that you love.  In addition, you don’t have to worry about your expensive laptop being bumped off the chair because you don’t have long enough of an HDMI cable.  Trust me… it happens!

7. Ear Plugs

There is nothing worse than trying to get good sleep the night before an important test while there are loud friends having a good time in your living and a party blasting music next door.  Without a good pair of earplugs, you’re simply not going to sleep some nights.  If you do decide to use earplugs, make sure that you’ve got a device that vibrates to wake you up.  As a backup, have a roommate, friend, or classmate come over and wake you up if you’re not out of bed in time.

Not all ear plugs are created equal.  Some will be uncomfortable while sleeping.  Others will block too much noise.  Here are three ear plugs that have been rated as comfortable for sleeping.

Moldex 6800 Pura-Fit Soft-Foam Earplugs
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Liberty DuraPlug Disposable Foam Earplug
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Ohropax Wax Ear Plugs
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8. Febreze

This common household item can help you deal with the strange smells that occur in both your room and apartment.  Living in a small space with several roommates is a recipe for odors to occur.  You never know when your roommate is going to cook and burn a strange meal just before a group of friends is coming over.  It’s also very likely that you’ll have at least one roommate that doesn’t do any cleaning and smells up the apartment while you’re out of town for the weekend.  In addition, you’ll notice that different apartments tend to develop a certain smell that is always there.  Febreze is a quick and easy way to freshen up the smell and feel of your apartment.

9. Electric Kettle

Whether you love tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, it’s nice to have very quick and easy access to hot water.  During cold winter mornings, this can be a lifesaver!  It can be hard to get your day started without a cup of hot chocolate or coffee when it’s cold outside and you stayed up late “studying” the night before.  In cases where you have a communal kitchen or don’t have one at all, an electric kettle becomes extremely useful.  Most models start at around $40 and move swiftly up from there.   If you have a little extra money in your budget, an electric kettle may be a great addition to your dorm room kitchen. 

Hamilton Beach 40865 Glass Electric Kettle
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Secura SWK-1701DB Stainless Steel Double Wall Kettle
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BELLA 1.2L Electric Ceramic Tea Kettle
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10. Bed Risers & Vacuum Bags

Most apartments have little closets and even less storage space.  Bed risers and vacuum bags are great solutions to help you fit a lot in a little space.  During the summer, store all your winter clothes in vacuum bags until it get’s cold again. Do the same with your summer clothes during winter. Bed risers are pretty cheap and can add a lot of space under your bed.  Vacuum bags, however, can sometimes get a little pricey.  Decide which clothes you will want to keep in storage and then figure out about how many vacuum bags you’ll need to get the job done.

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