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

Spend your money on items you'll actually keep beyond your first year at college. From bedding to small kitchen appliances, find even more editor-approved college products in our Dorm Essentials Amazon Checklist.

Keep in mind: Price and stock could change after publish date, and we may make money from these links.
July 24, 2019

Photo By: Cassidy Garcia

Photo By: Faith Blakeney

Duvet Cover

Comforters seem like a good idea at first, but trust us on this one: duvets are the way to go. 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. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $38.99

Storage Ottoman + Table

From books to blankets, there's nothing a stylish storage ottoman can't hide. This 3-in-1 ottoman from the company called Kvell ships and packs flat and serves as storage, an extra seat and, by reversing the lid, a side tray table as well. Unlike the cheaper versions of cube ottomans found in big box stores, this sturdy ottoman will look "adult" enough for your first real apartment post-dorm living. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $80

Rolling 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. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $53.49

Throw Blankets

Throw blankets are a no-brainer for any home, and dorm rooms and college apartments are no exception. They come in handy when friends come to visit and crash on your futon. With regular wash and care, throw blankets can last you far beyond four years. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $19.99

Machine-Washable Area Rug

An area rug is one of the easiest ways to cozy up the drab tile floors of dorms and add a pop of color, but you'll really only be able to use it past freshmen year if it can stand up to inevitable spills and heavy foot traffic. Say hello to Ruggable! Ruggable makes an innovative two-part rug system that includes a grip pad and a machine-washable rug cover. So when spills happen, spot clean it and then toss even the largest 8x10 size into a standard washing machine. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $149

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. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $26.99

Memo Board

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

Buy It: Amazon, $34.99

Shower Curtain

If you're lucky enough to not have communal bathrooms as a freshman and need your own shower curtain, this all-over peach number is basically built-in artwork, don't you think? Note: A shower curtain can last you a long time, but a shower liner is a whole other story. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Urban Outfitters, $34 (Originally $39)

Storage Basket

Use them for your shoes, use them for blankets, use them for your dirty clothes — whatever it is, we know you'll get some serious mileage out of woven storage baskets. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: World Market, $34.99

Desk Chair

While most dorms provide students with desk chairs, they're often far from stylish. Choose one in a neutral hue, and you'll be able to carry that chair from your dorm straight into your first apartment. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Target, $59.99

Full-Length Mirror

Every college kid can benefit from self-reflection. Reflect on your ensemble du jour and your life choices in tandem by investing in a full-length mirror. Opt for an over-the-door mirror made from durable material in a hue that goes with everything. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Kirkland's, $26.99

Bathroom Accessory Set

Solid vanity-top accessories (toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, etc.) are great items to invest in for the long haul. 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. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Overstock.com, $16.68 and up

Coffee Mugs

College requires a copious amount of coffee. Make your mugs count, because you're going to be seeing a lot of them. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Crate & Barrel, $18.95 (Set of 4)

Houseplant

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're 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. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Target, $22.99

Bookends

With the stacks and stacks of books you'll be accumulating during your college career, bookends become such a necessity. We love this playful yet sophisticated brass bird set for the dorm room and beyond. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Target, $29.99 (Set of 2)

Photo Display

Choose a sleek way to display your photos throughout your college career. This gold, hanging metal grid is perfect for clipping up and arranging your favorites (then changing them on a whim). Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: World Market, $19.99

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. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Society6, $24.99 - $70.99

Catchall Tray

A catchall will always be useful, so you might as well purchase one that you absolutely adore. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $15.14

Beverage Rack

A beverage dispenser will come in handy for all types of drink storage while in college (think: La Croix). And you'll be ready to swap out water for beer once you move into that first apartment (assuming you're officially 21). Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist

Buy It: Amazon, $15.69

Coffee Table Books

Hit up local bookstores and use your student discount while you can! Coffee table books (and books, in general) are such essential 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 college read 10, 15 and even 30 years later. Find More Editor Picks in Our Amazon Checklist