Back To School: Everything You Need To Elevate Your Dorm Room Experience

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Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.

Back To School Shopping -- four words that have been like music to my ears for as long as I can remember. Whether it was for pencils and crayons or locker shelves and magnets, you could count on me being the first to start shopping (practically the second we got out for summer vacation). But once you graduate high school, it becomes time to trade in the little-locker-luxuries for delightful-dorm-adornments. And if you’re anything like me, the functionality of a piece is just as valuable as its beauty. With that, I introduce to you: everything you actually need in your dorm room (with both functionality and beauty in mind).

Matching Mini Fridge ($250) & Microwave From Galanz ($80)

Credit: Galanz

This one may come off as a little “extra,” but if you’re wanting to decorate your dorm room with cute pieces that are truly functional, this minifridge/microwave combo is it. Galanz has a retro line that is such a fun addition to any space. The fridge is the perfect size to slip under your bed with both refrigeration and freezing capabilities. Plus, the microwave is so cute and compact- late night study break snack anyone?

Room Spray from P.F. Candle Co. ($18)

Credit: P.F. Candle Co.

Dorms are notorious for being a collection of… interesting smells. Needless to say, we were constantly spraying Febreze Hawaiian Aloha in our little 9’ x 9’ room. Most room sprays on the market are overpowering and smell artificial. I wish I had something like P.F.’s Room Spray to help freshen the place up. Golden Coast is my favorite scent and something I could smell over and over and never get tired of. I’ve never lived on the west coast, but this scent makes me feel like I do. Bonus -- this spray works as a linen spray too! So you could have fresh smelling pillows and blankets for the entirety of your freshman year (something I’m not sure many people can say they experienced…).

Handheld Iron Press From Nori ($120)

Credit: Nori

No, this isn’t your average mini iron or steamer. Nori’s Iron Press is almost like…. A straightener that is actually designed to be used on your clothes. With a built-in steamer and 6 settings, it’s a lot safer for your clothes than a single-setting hair straightener. Between us -- I’m the first to admit I’ve used a straightener on my clothes more than a few times. This Iron Press is both easy to use and store (only 14”), making it the perfect addition to a small space. With Nori in hand, I’ll never turn down an alternative to ironing my clothes that keeps without having to pull out the ironing board.

Rug From Ruggable (starting at $109)

Credit: @classycasita

Two words: Machine Washable. Ruggable has a variety of rugs, in a variety of sizes, that are gorgeous and machine washable. I love the idea of getting to pick out a really beautiful rug your freshman year, then getting to repurpose it the following years. With a machine washable rug, you won’t have to worry about tossing it at the end of your first year because of food, drinks, or other things, spilling on it and making it unsalvageable. Just toss it in your laundry bag, head down stairs, and let the washing machine do the hard work for you. Plus, a gorgeous rug really ties a room together. Bring in some key colors from your decorations and you’ve got a dorm style that everyone will be jealous of.

A Sheet And Duvet Set From Sijo ($260)

There are few things I’m quick to drop money on. I find myself mulling over most of my purchases for quite some time before they actually happen...bedding notwithstanding.There’s nothing better in this world than hopping into a clean bed after a long day of studying and socializing. Especially a clean bed with luxurious sheets like Sijo’s. Sijo has sheet + duvet bundles in both twin and twin XL sizes that allow you to mix and match your colorway. The brand’s eucalyptus sheets are game changing with their temperature regulating technology. Compromising on a sleeping temperature will be just a little bit easier when you can count on Sijo to keep you cool! 

Diffuser from Vitruvi ($119)

Credit: @kaitlinmeagan

Something my roommate and I loved our freshman year was getting to experiment with different essential oils blends depending on our mood. If we needed to focus, we would add some peppermint. Winding down for the night? Lavender is the go-to. If the trash was starting to stink up the place, lemon was necessary. It’s even better when your diffuser almost acts like an art piece or another piece of decor. This diffuser from Vitruvi is that perfect example of functional art. And the size is so perfect that it is something you can, and will want to, display on your shelf.

Laundry Bag From The Laundress ($18)

Credit: The Laundress

I will say it first, this isn’t the most exciting item I have to recommend, but it is practical. If you’re a shoe person, you could be wasting precious floor space if you choose to have a laundry hamper that takes up a good bit of your closet floor. This laundry bag from The Laundress is perfect because you can hook it on a command hook or hanger and get it off the floor. But, the biggest win (or wins) for this bag is that it doesn’t have any holes, which prevents anything from falling out (read: not finding your underwear in the middle of your dorm hallway) and it’s completely opaque so that no one can see your laundry. These may be small things, but I wish I would’ve known them ahead of time. Trust me.

Desk Lamp From Article ($69) 

Credit: Article 

I will applaud anyone who can proudly say they love shopping for lighting. Even with so many options now, it still seems like everything is either too big, too small, too childish, too expensive… nothing is just right.  However,  this Article Fila lamp is a sweet happy medium. It’s minimally designed which is good for saving desk space, but also good for life past graduation. This lamp isn’t just one you’d find at Target during back-to-school season-- it’s a style that will last you for years to come. Plus, the shape of the shade allows for a perfect spotlight over whatever exam you’re cramming for.

Water Filtering Pitcher by LARQ ($148)

Credit: Larq

Listen-- nothing is worse than having to leave your room to fill up your water bottle from the water fountain in the hallway. Not only is it an inconvenience, but I can almost guarantee that your dormitory water is not the best tasting, nor the best for you. A water filtering pitcher was my saving grace my entire freshman year. This LARQ pitcher is just the right size and has a 2-step filtration system that is sure to give you a clean glass of water at your disposal. (Hot Tip: don’t be the roommate that leaves an empty pitcher in the fridge. Always. Fill. The. Water. Pitcher.)

State Scented Candle From Homesick ($34)

Credit: @whatsstoppingyoupodcast

Can you tell that scents are really important to me yet? There’s something so beautiful about the feelings and emotions that certain scents can evoke. Homesick has mastered its fragrance blending techniques to match the assumed scent of each state (and even some of the big cities, like Dallas and Los Angeles!). If you’re moving away from home for college and are one of the select few that are allowed to burn candles in the dorm (or not allowed… I won’t tell), you need a Homesick candle. Light it when you’re feeling… *ahem*... Homesick, and let the scent take you away. For a few states and cities, Homesick offers reed diffusers that will also do the trick for all you rule followers.

A Mattress Topper From Leesa (starting at $199) 

Credit: @leesasleep

Not a super sexy dorm room tip, but it has to be acknowledged. If your college is providing the mattress, odds are it’s cheap and rather uncomfortable. The only way I figured out how to get around that was by buying a thick mattress topper to help cushion (pun intended) the blow. Without a doubt, it was so worth the investment. Leesa is a company that has mastered the mattress game, thus making them a great resource when searching for a topper (especially since the brand offers both twin and twin XL!). Don’t compromise your quality of sleep your freshman year-- I promise that you’ll need as many solid nights of sleep as you can get.

A Portable Speaker From Marshall ($150) 

Credit: @maevvo

Is a portable speaker ever a bad idea? It’s small enough that it doesn’t waste valuable space in a dorm room, but if you get the right one, the sound is good enough that you’ll never have to wish you got a bigger one. Plus, the portability, of course. This Marshall Emberton speaker is the perfect addition to your new college life. Whether you need to play some lo-fi beats while studying or want to get hyped up for a night out, a good speaker is a must. I’ve used mine on summer trips with my friends, on picnics, in the community showers (oops). It has been so reliable and was one of the best investments I made while in college.

Art Print From House Of Spoils (starting at $165)

By this point, you’ve probably realized that I truly value things that last for more than just one season of life. To give you a tangible example, I didn’t want to decorate my dorm room with cliche college decor that I would only use for one year then donate, trash, or sell. Thus, any art print from House of Spoils is right up my alley. With so many different prints, you’re sure to find one that complements your style and personality. And they are so timeless that you can use these prints for years to come, really making it worth the purchase.

The Greatest Time of your Life

As we’re reaching the end, I’m starting to miss dorm life (yes-- even the community bathrooms and long walks to the laundry room). Though, if I were to do it again, I would be sure to come prepared with each of these items just to make my freshman year a bit more comfortable. If I could offer you a few pieces of advice, it would be this: meet your hallmates by inviting them to come over and get ready while you're on aux, never leave the water pitcher empty, and always remind yourself that it’s normal to feel homesick. The year will fly by, so soak it up while it’s here.

Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.

Back To School Shopping -- four words that have been like music to my ears for as long as I can remember. Whether it was for pencils and crayons or locker shelves and magnets, you could count on me being the first to start shopping (practically the second we got out for summer vacation). But once you graduate high school, it becomes time to trade in the little-locker-luxuries for delightful-dorm-adornments. And if you’re anything like me, the functionality of a piece is just as valuable as its beauty. With that, I introduce to you: everything you actually need in your dorm room (with both functionality and beauty in mind).

Matching Mini Fridge ($250) & Microwave From Galanz ($80)

Credit: Galanz

This one may come off as a little “extra,” but if you’re wanting to decorate your dorm room with cute pieces that are truly functional, this minifridge/microwave combo is it. Galanz has a retro line that is such a fun addition to any space. The fridge is the perfect size to slip under your bed with both refrigeration and freezing capabilities. Plus, the microwave is so cute and compact- late night study break snack anyone?

Room Spray from P.F. Candle Co. ($18)

Credit: P.F. Candle Co.

Dorms are notorious for being a collection of… interesting smells. Needless to say, we were constantly spraying Febreze Hawaiian Aloha in our little 9’ x 9’ room. Most room sprays on the market are overpowering and smell artificial. I wish I had something like P.F.’s Room Spray to help freshen the place up. Golden Coast is my favorite scent and something I could smell over and over and never get tired of. I’ve never lived on the west coast, but this scent makes me feel like I do. Bonus -- this spray works as a linen spray too! So you could have fresh smelling pillows and blankets for the entirety of your freshman year (something I’m not sure many people can say they experienced…).

Handheld Iron Press From Nori ($120)

Credit: Nori

No, this isn’t your average mini iron or steamer. Nori’s Iron Press is almost like…. A straightener that is actually designed to be used on your clothes. With a built-in steamer and 6 settings, it’s a lot safer for your clothes than a single-setting hair straightener. Between us -- I’m the first to admit I’ve used a straightener on my clothes more than a few times. This Iron Press is both easy to use and store (only 14”), making it the perfect addition to a small space. With Nori in hand, I’ll never turn down an alternative to ironing my clothes that keeps without having to pull out the ironing board.

Rug From Ruggable (starting at $109)

Credit: @classycasita

Two words: Machine Washable. Ruggable has a variety of rugs, in a variety of sizes, that are gorgeous and machine washable. I love the idea of getting to pick out a really beautiful rug your freshman year, then getting to repurpose it the following years. With a machine washable rug, you won’t have to worry about tossing it at the end of your first year because of food, drinks, or other things, spilling on it and making it unsalvageable. Just toss it in your laundry bag, head down stairs, and let the washing machine do the hard work for you. Plus, a gorgeous rug really ties a room together. Bring in some key colors from your decorations and you’ve got a dorm style that everyone will be jealous of.

A Sheet And Duvet Set From Sijo ($260)

There are few things I’m quick to drop money on. I find myself mulling over most of my purchases for quite some time before they actually happen...bedding notwithstanding.There’s nothing better in this world than hopping into a clean bed after a long day of studying and socializing. Especially a clean bed with luxurious sheets like Sijo’s. Sijo has sheet + duvet bundles in both twin and twin XL sizes that allow you to mix and match your colorway. The brand’s eucalyptus sheets are game changing with their temperature regulating technology. Compromising on a sleeping temperature will be just a little bit easier when you can count on Sijo to keep you cool! 

Diffuser from Vitruvi ($119)

Credit: @kaitlinmeagan

Something my roommate and I loved our freshman year was getting to experiment with different essential oils blends depending on our mood. If we needed to focus, we would add some peppermint. Winding down for the night? Lavender is the go-to. If the trash was starting to stink up the place, lemon was necessary. It’s even better when your diffuser almost acts like an art piece or another piece of decor. This diffuser from Vitruvi is that perfect example of functional art. And the size is so perfect that it is something you can, and will want to, display on your shelf.

Laundry Bag From The Laundress ($18)

Credit: The Laundress

I will say it first, this isn’t the most exciting item I have to recommend, but it is practical. If you’re a shoe person, you could be wasting precious floor space if you choose to have a laundry hamper that takes up a good bit of your closet floor. This laundry bag from The Laundress is perfect because you can hook it on a command hook or hanger and get it off the floor. But, the biggest win (or wins) for this bag is that it doesn’t have any holes, which prevents anything from falling out (read: not finding your underwear in the middle of your dorm hallway) and it’s completely opaque so that no one can see your laundry. These may be small things, but I wish I would’ve known them ahead of time. Trust me.

Desk Lamp From Article ($69) 

Credit: Article 

I will applaud anyone who can proudly say they love shopping for lighting. Even with so many options now, it still seems like everything is either too big, too small, too childish, too expensive… nothing is just right.  However,  this Article Fila lamp is a sweet happy medium. It’s minimally designed which is good for saving desk space, but also good for life past graduation. This lamp isn’t just one you’d find at Target during back-to-school season-- it’s a style that will last you for years to come. Plus, the shape of the shade allows for a perfect spotlight over whatever exam you’re cramming for.

Water Filtering Pitcher by LARQ ($148)

Credit: Larq

Listen-- nothing is worse than having to leave your room to fill up your water bottle from the water fountain in the hallway. Not only is it an inconvenience, but I can almost guarantee that your dormitory water is not the best tasting, nor the best for you. A water filtering pitcher was my saving grace my entire freshman year. This LARQ pitcher is just the right size and has a 2-step filtration system that is sure to give you a clean glass of water at your disposal. (Hot Tip: don’t be the roommate that leaves an empty pitcher in the fridge. Always. Fill. The. Water. Pitcher.)

State Scented Candle From Homesick ($34)

Credit: @whatsstoppingyoupodcast

Can you tell that scents are really important to me yet? There’s something so beautiful about the feelings and emotions that certain scents can evoke. Homesick has mastered its fragrance blending techniques to match the assumed scent of each state (and even some of the big cities, like Dallas and Los Angeles!). If you’re moving away from home for college and are one of the select few that are allowed to burn candles in the dorm (or not allowed… I won’t tell), you need a Homesick candle. Light it when you’re feeling… *ahem*... Homesick, and let the scent take you away. For a few states and cities, Homesick offers reed diffusers that will also do the trick for all you rule followers.

A Mattress Topper From Leesa (starting at $199) 

Credit: @leesasleep

Not a super sexy dorm room tip, but it has to be acknowledged. If your college is providing the mattress, odds are it’s cheap and rather uncomfortable. The only way I figured out how to get around that was by buying a thick mattress topper to help cushion (pun intended) the blow. Without a doubt, it was so worth the investment. Leesa is a company that has mastered the mattress game, thus making them a great resource when searching for a topper (especially since the brand offers both twin and twin XL!). Don’t compromise your quality of sleep your freshman year-- I promise that you’ll need as many solid nights of sleep as you can get.

A Portable Speaker From Marshall ($150) 

Credit: @maevvo

Is a portable speaker ever a bad idea? It’s small enough that it doesn’t waste valuable space in a dorm room, but if you get the right one, the sound is good enough that you’ll never have to wish you got a bigger one. Plus, the portability, of course. This Marshall Emberton speaker is the perfect addition to your new college life. Whether you need to play some lo-fi beats while studying or want to get hyped up for a night out, a good speaker is a must. I’ve used mine on summer trips with my friends, on picnics, in the community showers (oops). It has been so reliable and was one of the best investments I made while in college.

Art Print From House Of Spoils (starting at $165)

By this point, you’ve probably realized that I truly value things that last for more than just one season of life. To give you a tangible example, I didn’t want to decorate my dorm room with cliche college decor that I would only use for one year then donate, trash, or sell. Thus, any art print from House of Spoils is right up my alley. With so many different prints, you’re sure to find one that complements your style and personality. And they are so timeless that you can use these prints for years to come, really making it worth the purchase.

The Greatest Time of your Life

As we’re reaching the end, I’m starting to miss dorm life (yes-- even the community bathrooms and long walks to the laundry room). Though, if I were to do it again, I would be sure to come prepared with each of these items just to make my freshman year a bit more comfortable. If I could offer you a few pieces of advice, it would be this: meet your hallmates by inviting them to come over and get ready while you're on aux, never leave the water pitcher empty, and always remind yourself that it’s normal to feel homesick. The year will fly by, so soak it up while it’s here.

Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.

Back To School Shopping -- four words that have been like music to my ears for as long as I can remember. Whether it was for pencils and crayons or locker shelves and magnets, you could count on me being the first to start shopping (practically the second we got out for summer vacation). But once you graduate high school, it becomes time to trade in the little-locker-luxuries for delightful-dorm-adornments. And if you’re anything like me, the functionality of a piece is just as valuable as its beauty. With that, I introduce to you: everything you actually need in your dorm room (with both functionality and beauty in mind).

Matching Mini Fridge ($250) & Microwave From Galanz ($80)

Credit: Galanz

This one may come off as a little “extra,” but if you’re wanting to decorate your dorm room with cute pieces that are truly functional, this minifridge/microwave combo is it. Galanz has a retro line that is such a fun addition to any space. The fridge is the perfect size to slip under your bed with both refrigeration and freezing capabilities. Plus, the microwave is so cute and compact- late night study break snack anyone?

Room Spray from P.F. Candle Co. ($18)

Credit: P.F. Candle Co.

Dorms are notorious for being a collection of… interesting smells. Needless to say, we were constantly spraying Febreze Hawaiian Aloha in our little 9’ x 9’ room. Most room sprays on the market are overpowering and smell artificial. I wish I had something like P.F.’s Room Spray to help freshen the place up. Golden Coast is my favorite scent and something I could smell over and over and never get tired of. I’ve never lived on the west coast, but this scent makes me feel like I do. Bonus -- this spray works as a linen spray too! So you could have fresh smelling pillows and blankets for the entirety of your freshman year (something I’m not sure many people can say they experienced…).

Handheld Iron Press From Nori ($120)

Credit: Nori

No, this isn’t your average mini iron or steamer. Nori’s Iron Press is almost like…. A straightener that is actually designed to be used on your clothes. With a built-in steamer and 6 settings, it’s a lot safer for your clothes than a single-setting hair straightener. Between us -- I’m the first to admit I’ve used a straightener on my clothes more than a few times. This Iron Press is both easy to use and store (only 14”), making it the perfect addition to a small space. With Nori in hand, I’ll never turn down an alternative to ironing my clothes that keeps without having to pull out the ironing board.

Rug From Ruggable (starting at $109)

Credit: @classycasita

Two words: Machine Washable. Ruggable has a variety of rugs, in a variety of sizes, that are gorgeous and machine washable. I love the idea of getting to pick out a really beautiful rug your freshman year, then getting to repurpose it the following years. With a machine washable rug, you won’t have to worry about tossing it at the end of your first year because of food, drinks, or other things, spilling on it and making it unsalvageable. Just toss it in your laundry bag, head down stairs, and let the washing machine do the hard work for you. Plus, a gorgeous rug really ties a room together. Bring in some key colors from your decorations and you’ve got a dorm style that everyone will be jealous of.

A Sheet And Duvet Set From Sijo ($260)

There are few things I’m quick to drop money on. I find myself mulling over most of my purchases for quite some time before they actually happen...bedding notwithstanding.There’s nothing better in this world than hopping into a clean bed after a long day of studying and socializing. Especially a clean bed with luxurious sheets like Sijo’s. Sijo has sheet + duvet bundles in both twin and twin XL sizes that allow you to mix and match your colorway. The brand’s eucalyptus sheets are game changing with their temperature regulating technology. Compromising on a sleeping temperature will be just a little bit easier when you can count on Sijo to keep you cool! 

Diffuser from Vitruvi ($119)

Credit: @kaitlinmeagan

Something my roommate and I loved our freshman year was getting to experiment with different essential oils blends depending on our mood. If we needed to focus, we would add some peppermint. Winding down for the night? Lavender is the go-to. If the trash was starting to stink up the place, lemon was necessary. It’s even better when your diffuser almost acts like an art piece or another piece of decor. This diffuser from Vitruvi is that perfect example of functional art. And the size is so perfect that it is something you can, and will want to, display on your shelf.

Laundry Bag From The Laundress ($18)

Credit: The Laundress

I will say it first, this isn’t the most exciting item I have to recommend, but it is practical. If you’re a shoe person, you could be wasting precious floor space if you choose to have a laundry hamper that takes up a good bit of your closet floor. This laundry bag from The Laundress is perfect because you can hook it on a command hook or hanger and get it off the floor. But, the biggest win (or wins) for this bag is that it doesn’t have any holes, which prevents anything from falling out (read: not finding your underwear in the middle of your dorm hallway) and it’s completely opaque so that no one can see your laundry. These may be small things, but I wish I would’ve known them ahead of time. Trust me.

Desk Lamp From Article ($69) 

Credit: Article 

I will applaud anyone who can proudly say they love shopping for lighting. Even with so many options now, it still seems like everything is either too big, too small, too childish, too expensive… nothing is just right.  However,  this Article Fila lamp is a sweet happy medium. It’s minimally designed which is good for saving desk space, but also good for life past graduation. This lamp isn’t just one you’d find at Target during back-to-school season-- it’s a style that will last you for years to come. Plus, the shape of the shade allows for a perfect spotlight over whatever exam you’re cramming for.

Water Filtering Pitcher by LARQ ($148)

Credit: Larq

Listen-- nothing is worse than having to leave your room to fill up your water bottle from the water fountain in the hallway. Not only is it an inconvenience, but I can almost guarantee that your dormitory water is not the best tasting, nor the best for you. A water filtering pitcher was my saving grace my entire freshman year. This LARQ pitcher is just the right size and has a 2-step filtration system that is sure to give you a clean glass of water at your disposal. (Hot Tip: don’t be the roommate that leaves an empty pitcher in the fridge. Always. Fill. The. Water. Pitcher.)

State Scented Candle From Homesick ($34)

Credit: @whatsstoppingyoupodcast

Can you tell that scents are really important to me yet? There’s something so beautiful about the feelings and emotions that certain scents can evoke. Homesick has mastered its fragrance blending techniques to match the assumed scent of each state (and even some of the big cities, like Dallas and Los Angeles!). If you’re moving away from home for college and are one of the select few that are allowed to burn candles in the dorm (or not allowed… I won’t tell), you need a Homesick candle. Light it when you’re feeling… *ahem*... Homesick, and let the scent take you away. For a few states and cities, Homesick offers reed diffusers that will also do the trick for all you rule followers.

A Mattress Topper From Leesa (starting at $199) 

Credit: @leesasleep

Not a super sexy dorm room tip, but it has to be acknowledged. If your college is providing the mattress, odds are it’s cheap and rather uncomfortable. The only way I figured out how to get around that was by buying a thick mattress topper to help cushion (pun intended) the blow. Without a doubt, it was so worth the investment. Leesa is a company that has mastered the mattress game, thus making them a great resource when searching for a topper (especially since the brand offers both twin and twin XL!). Don’t compromise your quality of sleep your freshman year-- I promise that you’ll need as many solid nights of sleep as you can get.

A Portable Speaker From Marshall ($150) 

Credit: @maevvo

Is a portable speaker ever a bad idea? It’s small enough that it doesn’t waste valuable space in a dorm room, but if you get the right one, the sound is good enough that you’ll never have to wish you got a bigger one. Plus, the portability, of course. This Marshall Emberton speaker is the perfect addition to your new college life. Whether you need to play some lo-fi beats while studying or want to get hyped up for a night out, a good speaker is a must. I’ve used mine on summer trips with my friends, on picnics, in the community showers (oops). It has been so reliable and was one of the best investments I made while in college.

Art Print From House Of Spoils (starting at $165)

By this point, you’ve probably realized that I truly value things that last for more than just one season of life. To give you a tangible example, I didn’t want to decorate my dorm room with cliche college decor that I would only use for one year then donate, trash, or sell. Thus, any art print from House of Spoils is right up my alley. With so many different prints, you’re sure to find one that complements your style and personality. And they are so timeless that you can use these prints for years to come, really making it worth the purchase.

The Greatest Time of your Life

As we’re reaching the end, I’m starting to miss dorm life (yes-- even the community bathrooms and long walks to the laundry room). Though, if I were to do it again, I would be sure to come prepared with each of these items just to make my freshman year a bit more comfortable. If I could offer you a few pieces of advice, it would be this: meet your hallmates by inviting them to come over and get ready while you're on aux, never leave the water pitcher empty, and always remind yourself that it’s normal to feel homesick. The year will fly by, so soak it up while it’s here.

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Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the web’s best products. If you purchase through our links, we may receive a commission. Our editorial team is independent and only endorses products we believe in.

Back To School Shopping -- four words that have been like music to my ears for as long as I can remember. Whether it was for pencils and crayons or locker shelves and magnets, you could count on me being the first to start shopping (practically the second we got out for summer vacation). But once you graduate high school, it becomes time to trade in the little-locker-luxuries for delightful-dorm-adornments. And if you’re anything like me, the functionality of a piece is just as valuable as its beauty. With that, I introduce to you: everything you actually need in your dorm room (with both functionality and beauty in mind).

Matching Mini Fridge ($250) & Microwave From Galanz ($80)

Credit: Galanz

This one may come off as a little “extra,” but if you’re wanting to decorate your dorm room with cute pieces that are truly functional, this minifridge/microwave combo is it. Galanz has a retro line that is such a fun addition to any space. The fridge is the perfect size to slip under your bed with both refrigeration and freezing capabilities. Plus, the microwave is so cute and compact- late night study break snack anyone?

Room Spray from P.F. Candle Co. ($18)

Credit: P.F. Candle Co.

Dorms are notorious for being a collection of… interesting smells. Needless to say, we were constantly spraying Febreze Hawaiian Aloha in our little 9’ x 9’ room. Most room sprays on the market are overpowering and smell artificial. I wish I had something like P.F.’s Room Spray to help freshen the place up. Golden Coast is my favorite scent and something I could smell over and over and never get tired of. I’ve never lived on the west coast, but this scent makes me feel like I do. Bonus -- this spray works as a linen spray too! So you could have fresh smelling pillows and blankets for the entirety of your freshman year (something I’m not sure many people can say they experienced…).

Handheld Iron Press From Nori ($120)

Credit: Nori

No, this isn’t your average mini iron or steamer. Nori’s Iron Press is almost like…. A straightener that is actually designed to be used on your clothes. With a built-in steamer and 6 settings, it’s a lot safer for your clothes than a single-setting hair straightener. Between us -- I’m the first to admit I’ve used a straightener on my clothes more than a few times. This Iron Press is both easy to use and store (only 14”), making it the perfect addition to a small space. With Nori in hand, I’ll never turn down an alternative to ironing my clothes that keeps without having to pull out the ironing board.

Rug From Ruggable (starting at $109)

Credit: @classycasita

Two words: Machine Washable. Ruggable has a variety of rugs, in a variety of sizes, that are gorgeous and machine washable. I love the idea of getting to pick out a really beautiful rug your freshman year, then getting to repurpose it the following years. With a machine washable rug, you won’t have to worry about tossing it at the end of your first year because of food, drinks, or other things, spilling on it and making it unsalvageable. Just toss it in your laundry bag, head down stairs, and let the washing machine do the hard work for you. Plus, a gorgeous rug really ties a room together. Bring in some key colors from your decorations and you’ve got a dorm style that everyone will be jealous of.

A Sheet And Duvet Set From Sijo ($260)

There are few things I’m quick to drop money on. I find myself mulling over most of my purchases for quite some time before they actually happen...bedding notwithstanding.There’s nothing better in this world than hopping into a clean bed after a long day of studying and socializing. Especially a clean bed with luxurious sheets like Sijo’s. Sijo has sheet + duvet bundles in both twin and twin XL sizes that allow you to mix and match your colorway. The brand’s eucalyptus sheets are game changing with their temperature regulating technology. Compromising on a sleeping temperature will be just a little bit easier when you can count on Sijo to keep you cool! 

Diffuser from Vitruvi ($119)

Credit: @kaitlinmeagan

Something my roommate and I loved our freshman year was getting to experiment with different essential oils blends depending on our mood. If we needed to focus, we would add some peppermint. Winding down for the night? Lavender is the go-to. If the trash was starting to stink up the place, lemon was necessary. It’s even better when your diffuser almost acts like an art piece or another piece of decor. This diffuser from Vitruvi is that perfect example of functional art. And the size is so perfect that it is something you can, and will want to, display on your shelf.

Laundry Bag From The Laundress ($18)

Credit: The Laundress

I will say it first, this isn’t the most exciting item I have to recommend, but it is practical. If you’re a shoe person, you could be wasting precious floor space if you choose to have a laundry hamper that takes up a good bit of your closet floor. This laundry bag from The Laundress is perfect because you can hook it on a command hook or hanger and get it off the floor. But, the biggest win (or wins) for this bag is that it doesn’t have any holes, which prevents anything from falling out (read: not finding your underwear in the middle of your dorm hallway) and it’s completely opaque so that no one can see your laundry. These may be small things, but I wish I would’ve known them ahead of time. Trust me.

Desk Lamp From Article ($69) 

Credit: Article 

I will applaud anyone who can proudly say they love shopping for lighting. Even with so many options now, it still seems like everything is either too big, too small, too childish, too expensive… nothing is just right.  However,  this Article Fila lamp is a sweet happy medium. It’s minimally designed which is good for saving desk space, but also good for life past graduation. This lamp isn’t just one you’d find at Target during back-to-school season-- it’s a style that will last you for years to come. Plus, the shape of the shade allows for a perfect spotlight over whatever exam you’re cramming for.

Water Filtering Pitcher by LARQ ($148)

Credit: Larq

Listen-- nothing is worse than having to leave your room to fill up your water bottle from the water fountain in the hallway. Not only is it an inconvenience, but I can almost guarantee that your dormitory water is not the best tasting, nor the best for you. A water filtering pitcher was my saving grace my entire freshman year. This LARQ pitcher is just the right size and has a 2-step filtration system that is sure to give you a clean glass of water at your disposal. (Hot Tip: don’t be the roommate that leaves an empty pitcher in the fridge. Always. Fill. The. Water. Pitcher.)

State Scented Candle From Homesick ($34)

Credit: @whatsstoppingyoupodcast

Can you tell that scents are really important to me yet? There’s something so beautiful about the feelings and emotions that certain scents can evoke. Homesick has mastered its fragrance blending techniques to match the assumed scent of each state (and even some of the big cities, like Dallas and Los Angeles!). If you’re moving away from home for college and are one of the select few that are allowed to burn candles in the dorm (or not allowed… I won’t tell), you need a Homesick candle. Light it when you’re feeling… *ahem*... Homesick, and let the scent take you away. For a few states and cities, Homesick offers reed diffusers that will also do the trick for all you rule followers.

A Mattress Topper From Leesa (starting at $199) 

Credit: @leesasleep

Not a super sexy dorm room tip, but it has to be acknowledged. If your college is providing the mattress, odds are it’s cheap and rather uncomfortable. The only way I figured out how to get around that was by buying a thick mattress topper to help cushion (pun intended) the blow. Without a doubt, it was so worth the investment. Leesa is a company that has mastered the mattress game, thus making them a great resource when searching for a topper (especially since the brand offers both twin and twin XL!). Don’t compromise your quality of sleep your freshman year-- I promise that you’ll need as many solid nights of sleep as you can get.

A Portable Speaker From Marshall ($150) 

Credit: @maevvo

Is a portable speaker ever a bad idea? It’s small enough that it doesn’t waste valuable space in a dorm room, but if you get the right one, the sound is good enough that you’ll never have to wish you got a bigger one. Plus, the portability, of course. This Marshall Emberton speaker is the perfect addition to your new college life. Whether you need to play some lo-fi beats while studying or want to get hyped up for a night out, a good speaker is a must. I’ve used mine on summer trips with my friends, on picnics, in the community showers (oops). It has been so reliable and was one of the best investments I made while in college.

Art Print From House Of Spoils (starting at $165)

By this point, you’ve probably realized that I truly value things that last for more than just one season of life. To give you a tangible example, I didn’t want to decorate my dorm room with cliche college decor that I would only use for one year then donate, trash, or sell. Thus, any art print from House of Spoils is right up my alley. With so many different prints, you’re sure to find one that complements your style and personality. And they are so timeless that you can use these prints for years to come, really making it worth the purchase.

The Greatest Time of your Life

As we’re reaching the end, I’m starting to miss dorm life (yes-- even the community bathrooms and long walks to the laundry room). Though, if I were to do it again, I would be sure to come prepared with each of these items just to make my freshman year a bit more comfortable. If I could offer you a few pieces of advice, it would be this: meet your hallmates by inviting them to come over and get ready while you're on aux, never leave the water pitcher empty, and always remind yourself that it’s normal to feel homesick. The year will fly by, so soak it up while it’s here.

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