11 Dorm Room Essentials You Didn’t Know You Needed

College move-in day is around the corner! Whether you’re an in-coming first year college student or a returning one, you are no doubt in need of some things for your dorm room or apartment. There are lots of great lists out there to get you started, but they are often missing some super helpful items. Here is a list of 11 Dorm room essentials you didn’t know you needed.

Affiliate disclosure: Some of these items include in this post are affiliate links or products from my own Etsy shop. If you choose to purchase from the linked items recommended in this post I will receive a percentage of the profit at no extra cost to you. These are all legitimately items that came in handy when I was in college or that I wish someone had recommended to me back then! These are all things I would send to college with my own children.

1. Step Stool

College roommates come in all sizes. My dear friend and college roommate was (and still is) 4 foot 11 AND – she would want you to know – 3/4 inches! Lucky for her she was roommates with me – 5 foot 10 …okay, 5’9″ on a good day, but I maintain that if I have to get weighed at the doctor with my shoes on then I get to tell you my height with my shoes on too! Anyway, we had a deal that I would take all the high shelves and storage spaces and she would take the lower ones. If you are on the shorter side and don’t have a taller roommate to make a deal with, a step stool is the perfect companion. It also comes in handy when hanging all of your stylish and affordable dorm decor! (See #9)

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
This folding step stool is the perfect addition to your dorm room essentials list. Folds away for easy storage but convenient when you need to reach high shelves or when hanging decor.

2. Bed Risers

Dorms are notoriously short on storage space. Bed risers are the perfect solution. Create extra space underneath your bed for storage with adjustable height risers. Need help getting up on to a higher bed?See dorm room essential #1.

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
Bed risers are perfect for creating extra storage space in a dorm room or apartment.

3. Earplugs

Your roommate will snore. (You probably do too.) Your roommate will play loud music when you need to study. Dorms have thin walls . . . Your next door neighbor will engage in … activities… you may not want to hear. (Your roommate might too but hopefully you’ll have already worked out some kind of signal when one of you needs the dorm room to yourself…) Point is: you need earplugs. Let’s not waste our time or the environment with single use pieces of neon colored foam that fall out in the middle of the night. I have found the holy grail of earplugs. I am super sensitive to noise when I’m sleeping and I HATE have a totally irrational reaction to the sound of snoring. I am a connoisseur of ear plugs and I have found the perfect pair.

Loop Quiet Noise Reduction Earplugs

These earplugs come with 8 Ear Tips in XS/S/M/L and feature 27dB Noise Cancelling. You can get them in a variety of colors. They are BY FAR my favorite ear plugs.

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
Noise cancelling ear plugs are a dorm room essential You didn’t know you needed.

4. Stain Remover Pen

First, please learn how to do laundry before you leave for college. But in a pinch, a stain remover pen will also be a helpful tool. Sometimes you have that shirt or pair of pants that isn’t quite ready for the hamper but might have a small stain. Or you are rushing out to class when you spill coffee on your shirt with no time to change clothes. A stain remover pen will come to your rescue. Keep one in your room, one in your backpack or purse and one for backup or to share. You never know — removing their stain could be a great way to make a new friend…

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
Add a stain remover pen to your list of college essentials.

5. XL Twin Mattress Cover

If dorm room mattresses could talk . . . Mattress covers should be common sense yet I hardly ever see it on lists of recommended dorm room supplies. You do not know where that dorm room mattress has been. You’ll need size XL Twin. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk.

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
an XL Twin Waterproof Mattress Cover should be a MUST on all dorm room essentials lists!

6. Personalized Mug and/or Water Bottle

In a (sort of) post-Covid world, a personalized mug or water bottle is a must. If you’re looking for a great gift for a student about to go off to college, a custom travel mug is perfect!

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
A personalized travel mug makes a great gift for a student going off to college!

7. Shower Shoes

Again, should be common sense, but. . .

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed
Shower shoes are a MUST for dorm living!


8. Portable Speaker

You’ll be able to bring the party with you wherever you go.

We use this Oontz Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker at the pool. The sound is excellent — Plenty of bass and no tin-can effect. And it has a 100ft wireless range. This would be another great gift for a recent grad who is off to college.


9. Affordable Decor

You’re on a budget, but you still want your dorm room to show off your personality. Here are some great options for affordable decor:

Printable Decor

Wall Art on Society 6

Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed

10. Desk Mat or Stylish Mouse Pad

Protect your desk top while also giving it some style.


11. Nail Care Set

Manis and Pedis are expensive. Learn how to do your own manicures and pedicures with Olive & June’s mani/pedi 101 classes (click on the “Learn” tab or watch their videos on Instagram) and grab yourself a mani system, pedi system (or both!) so you can indulge in some self care in the middle of all that studying or host a mani/pedi night in your dorm with your BFFs.

New Olive & June customers can use code RACHELBOYER20 for 20% the purchase of a mani, pedi or complete system.


I hope this list of 11 dorm room essentials you didn’t know you needed has been helpful as you consider all of the things you’ll want or need while away at college. What’s your favorite on this list? Is there something not listed here that you would recommend? Leave a comment and let us know!

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11 Dorm Room Essentials You Didn't Know You Needed

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