College Dorm Room Essentials for a Home away from Home

This college dorm room essentials post contains affiliate. We recommend only what we love.

Graduation season is almost upon us, and before you know it, your teenager will be heading off to college.  Chances are you’ll be spending most of your summer gathering all the dorm room essentials to make it more like home. Going away to college can be both exciting and terrifying for both teens and their parents! Give both of you a little peace of mind by making sure your college-bound kid has all the essentials to make it through the semester in comfort and style.

Must-Have College Dorm Room Essentials

    • Eating supplies. Your college student will be spending a lot of time eating in her dorm room, especially when cramming for exams or pounding out that research paper. While the cafeteria is great for actual meals, there will be times when she can’t take time away from her studies. Other times, she just may need a late-night healthy snack! At the least, she’ll need a few cups, plates, bowls, and utensils. Pick up inexpensive dinnerware that can stand up to a beating. Dorm rooms are small and stuff gets knocked over easily!


    • Bed linen. The college supplies a bed, but you have to supply the linen.   Dorm room essentials for the bed include at least two sets of sheets, pillow cases, a light blanket for warm nights, and a comforter for cold nights. Keep in mind that the beds are one of the main features of a dorm room, and dorm bedding is one of the easiest ways to create a personal decorating statement.  Reversible comforters are fun because they’re like two styles in one.
Credit: Residence Hall Linens
    • Small appliances. Before rushing out to get your college student a mini-fridge and microwave, check with the college to find out which small appliances are allowed in the room. Also, find out if they rent fridges and microwaves, as that may be cheaper than buying and hauling one to the dorm room. A coffee pot is one of the must-have dorm room essentials, even if your teen doesn’t drink coffee. They’re great for heating water for soups, tea, and other hot foods.
    • Snack stash. Send your teen off to college with a nice snack care package filled with healthy snacks that she can eat on the go or while studying. Energy foods like nuts, granola, and dried fruits can help get her through a rough day of running from class to class. Include drink mix packets that can be added to water bottles, coffee or tea for the morning and anything else that she typically eats at home for snacks.
    • Health and beauty supplies. Don’t forget the long list of bath and beauty essentials! Shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, body wash, wash cloths and hair styling products are all dorm room essentials for making  life more comfortable. Get a carry-all of some sort to help make transporting it to and from the bathroom a little easier.
Credit: Residence Hall Linens
    • Basic cleaning supplies. Face the facts now, unless she’s already a bit of a neatnik, your teen’s dorm room isn’t going to pass white-glove inspections any time soon. Dorm rooms can get really messy really fast. While she’s probably not going to be scrubbing down every surface every week, send her off with at least a few basics. A hand-held vacuum, dusting supplies, air freshener, and an all-purpose cleaner should do it. Don’t forget laundry soap and a tote!
Credit: Residence Hall Linens

With a little planning and careful shopping, you can help turn your college student’s dorm room into a real comfortable home away from home. Knowing that she has all the essentials will help set your mind at ease and make the transition easier for her.

13 thoughts on “College Dorm Room Essentials for a Home away from Home”

  1. When I went off to college I had a box full of basic medications and first aid supplies. Having cough syrup, dayquil, advil, bandaids, etc on hand was so nice (who wants to walk all the way to the drug store when already feeling like crap). It actually helped out a new friend on move-in day because he had just developed a bad cold. I became the go-to person and made some quick friends.

    Other good ideas: a small tool kit. You never know when you’ll need a hammer or screwdriver.

    A box of fun little toys (silly puddy, balloons, mind puzzles, rubix cube). My roommate brought balls to juggle and I brought balloons to make balloon animals. We have everyone in our room over the first few days.

  2. I was also unprepared when I went to collage. You should have seen me! I was a naive kid who knew nothing about packing for college:)

  3. Although it was a good 13 years ago, I still remember leaving for college. I’d add to your list, music and movie collection and a few keepsakes/pictures/etc from home. You still need to have a balance between work and play. Music and movies give a great down time when you aren’t out with friends. And the keepsakes, well that’s for when you are feeling homesick. Just to make it feel a little more like home.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *