20 Dorm Essentials That Will Last You All 4(+) Years of College

Some stuff is worth the investment.

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August 08, 2017

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Shower Curtain

A proper, quality curtain can last you a long time. This indigo ombre shower curtain is basically built-in artwork, don’t you think? Note: a shower curtain can last you a long time. A shower liner is a whole other story, people.

Table Lamp

A good lamp will stand the test of time and light your way through the trials and tribulations of your college years. Find a metallic or neutral based fixture and take that good lighting with you, wherever you go.

Storage Basket

Use 'em for your shoes, use 'em for blankets, use 'em for your dirty clothes — whatever it is, we know you’ll get some serious mileage out of woven storage baskets. We love the lived-in, easy look of this blanket basket, overflowing with throws and patterned pillows.

Area Rug

Love your small area rug from the dorm but not sure that it works in your new, bigger apartment? No need to fret. Jump on the layered-rug trend and continue to love your rug through the coming years.


With the stacks and stacks of books you’ll be accumulating during your college career, bookends become such a necessity. We love this playful, yellow puppy option for the dorm room and beyond. For a more sophisticated look, coat your bookends with a gilded gold or brass finish.

Dorm Plant

Do you have what it takes to keep a plant alive for four(+) years? Are you up for the challenge? If so, we salute you in your efforts and if not... you are not alone. One way to ensure that your dorm plant makes it is to cheat the system with a fake plant. No shame in that gardening game.

Versatile Cart

While in the dorms, a bar cart creates ideal storage for snacks, toiletries or even school supplies. As the years pass and you grow older, you can graduate said bar cart to bigger, better and boozier things. It’s a cart of all trades, really.

Coffee Table Books

Hit up local bookstores and use your student discount while you can! Coffee table books (and books, in general) are such important staples in a home, and freshmen year is a prime time to start building your collection. Prepare for all the nostalgia when you flip through your favorite freshman-year read 10, 15 and even 30 years later.

Beverage Rack

A wine rack will come in handy for all types of drink storage while you're living in a dorm. And you'll be ready to swap out water for wine once you move into that first apartment (assuming you're officially twenty-one that is).

Desk Chair

While most dorms provide students with desk chairs, they are often far from stylish. Make a late-summer project out of refurbishing a chair, and bring it along to get you through your late-night (or in some cases: all-night) studies. Use quality fabric and neutral colors and you’ll be able to carry that chair from your dorm straight into your first apartment.

Catch-All Tray

A catch-all will always be useful, so you might as well purchase one that you absolutely adore. This vintage tray adds an extra-special and stylish touch to the bedside table.

From: Gen Sohr

Wall Art

Add a new, one-of-a-kind piece every semester, and before you know it, you’ll have a visual display that represents the various stages of your life while in school. Freshman year is the best time to start, don’t you think?

Coffee Mugs

College requires a copius amount of coffee. Make your mugs count, my friends, because you're going to be seeing a lot of them.

Memo Board

Memo boards are timeless additions to any workstation, so why not invest in one that will last? This minimalist wire board is such a sophisticated, sleek option, and it doesn’t give off that "fresh-into-college" vibe whatsoever. You can graduate and bring this puppy straight into your first cubicle, no problem.

Full-Length Mirror

Every college kid can benefit from self-reflection, no? Reflect on your ensemble du jour and your life choices in tandem by investing in a free-standing, full-length mirror. Want to avoid breaking the bank? Opt for an over-the-door mirror made from a durable material and use glam spray paint to dress it up a little.

Storage Ottoman

From books to blankets, there’s nothing a stylish storage ottoman can’t hide! Be sure your ottoman is made of sturdy material that is easy to wipe down from time to time. This cognac leather beauty is the perfect place to store your goods and rest your feet after a long day studying away at the library.

Throw Blankets

Throw blankets are a no-brainer for any home, and dorm rooms and college apartments are no exception. This ruby red number is gorgeous and ensures your space will be bright and cozy, 365 days out of the year. With regular wash and care, throw blankets can last you far beyond four years! Our tip? Go for darker, more neutral colors. Doing so will ensure you face fewer visible stains, and you’re blanket will be more likely to withstand your ever-evolving interior design taste.

Picture Frames

Frames are small personal touches that make any space feel like a home. Grab a gilded set or opt for sleek black, instead. Either option is timeless. Better yet, just grab a set of both. Why not?

From: Amy Zolin

Bathroom Accessories

Solid vanity top accessories (toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, etc.) are great items to invest in for the long haul. Join us in our obsession with this gorgeous, rosy stone set pictured here. You could purchase a neon green set for the year, but if you buy a sturdy, sophisticated set, it will last you beyond your collegiate experience.


Comforters seem like a good idea at first, but trust us on this one: duvets are the way! Invest in a proper duvet insert and a simple-yet-stylish cover, and you’ll be set for slumber for the next four years. Tip: Go ahead and purchase a queen-sized duvet instead of a twin or full. If you plan to move on to a larger bed, buying a smaller duvet is just money down the drain.

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