A dorm room, almost by definition, is a 10-by-10 utilitarian box for sleeping and studying, with a bed and a desk. It’s blank and ready for personalization.
While students are away from Mom and Dad for the first time, it will become a respite from the mental strain of testing, a setting for bountiful new friendships and a recovery room after all-nighters, whether for hard work or hard play.
Make it homey with these fun and functional items — and don’t spend a fortune in case you want to change your decor (or your major) next year.
Sleep might be underrated by students, but a comfy place to get a few winks shouldn’t be. Retailers offer plenty of items with high-end appeal for the collegiate set.
Dorm style doesn’t have to be dumbed down. Elevate your look with Kate Spade’s New York Harbour Stripe Comforter Set ($179.99, select Bed Bath & Beyond stores or BedBathBeyond.com). It’s available in the oh-so-important Twin XL size students have difficulty finding.
Hard, cold floors can give you a jolt in the morning. Make the introduction to your day softer with a cozy rug underfoot. The vibrant colors of Langley Street’s Olivia chevron rug ($99-$189, Wayfair.com) will help awaken your senses.
You’re going to want head support for all those books you’ll be reading. The headboard pillow ($179, LeighDeuxDorm.com) comes in nine fascinating color options — unlike your class syllabus reading list — and adds a shapely design to your boring, boxy bunk.
It’s your first place on your own! Embrace the dorm with a wool hook pillow ($36.99, Wayfair.com).
Can’t find a notepad when you come up with a brilliant late-night idea? Jot it down on your pillowcase and bedspread. The notebook-themed duvet (about $85, EatSleepDoodle.com) is washable and comes with a set of 10 double-ended wash-out pens, perfect for doodling.
Lighting is an essential component of any space, and dorm rooms never have enough. Get your lumens with the Rex gray desk lamp ($99.95, Crate & Barrel).
Deadlines are tight, but space is even tighter. Use these products to organize your life.
Display photos of your friends from back home with messages on a handy and stylish metal clip string set ($14, Urban Outfitters).
Stash small necessities in the Chelsea tray ($175, Stray Dog Designs) — stylish enough to transition from dorm room to first apartment.
You might be going to college in-state, but you can take a global attitude with you. Pack your e-reader, pens and paper in the Everything Pouch ($28, TheDharmaDoorUSA.com) made by artisans in Bangladesh. This fair trade purchase brings ethics to your style.
Close quarters and iffy college hygiene make for a gross factor. Keep your bathroom products clean and organized in a mesh shower tote ($12.99, select Bed Bath & Beyond stores or BedBathBeyond.com). And don’t forget the shower flip-flops!
There will be no room among your sorority T-shirts and yoga pants for bulky jackets. Hide a coat and hat rack ($34.99, Ikea) in a corner for grabbing and going.
Most of your work will be done on a computer, but it’s still a good idea to have old-fashioned paper on hand. Keep your notes organized with a Charleston desktop file ($19.99, The Container Store).
Technology for the tired
Who signs up for 21 class hours? You? Better stay on top of all that with these gadgets.
Don’t get stuck with a dead battery: Keep your smartphone, tablet and laptop charged with the Nordmarke single pad for wireless charging ($27.99, Ikea). Just place your devices on top. A USB port allows for a second device.
You don’t have the budget for $5 Starbucks coffee every morning, so make your own with the Flex Brew Single Serve K-Cup coffeemaker ($48.99, Wayfair). It also works with grounds or soft pods.
Sweating over finals? Keep cool with a single-speed personal fan ($103, DecoBreeze.com). Bonus: it has a chalkboard finish for doodles and notes to your roommates.
Those roommates might not appreciate your singing voice, but they might like what you’re streaming on the HMDX Neutron BT wireless Bluetooth suction speaker ($19.99, select Bed Bath & Beyond stores and BedBathBeyond.com). Whether you’re recharging your brain with some Bach or having a singalong with Taylor Swift, the device is splash-proof and rechargeable and syncs with Bluetooth-enabled devices as far as 30 feet away.