What I Needed When I Lived In a Freshman Dorm

This is round two of living in a dorm for me. I did it my Freshman year, like most college-babies, and I’m doing it again this year while I intern in D.C. I chose it over an apartment because the dorm was set aside for students just from my program, and I felt like it’d be easier to get lost in the social scene if I lived in an apartment. And because dorms really aren’t all that bad if you do it right!!! Really it’s not that bad! They’re fun, and it’s like having a little community right at your fingertips.

2017 Gift Guide (17)

What You Need:


  • Mattress pad– you don’t need to go out and get a super expensive memory foam one. Stores will try to suck you in with those, but trust me, the one I had was $30 and I slept great on it. This is totally up to you though. Just try to save you or your parents a little bit of money (it’s an expensive four years for them)
  • Decorative Pillow (or two)
  • Sheets/Pillows/Duvet or Comforter- obviously. A big trend right now is white duvet inserts. If you’re messy, this might not be the best route for you to go with, but white would also be easy to bleach. Urban Outfitters also has really neat college bed sets. They come with sheets, pillow cases, a duvet, and a nice little bag that everything is stored in. They’ll start to be available over the summer.
  • Throw blanket for decoration, or for when it gets cold.


  • Plastic set of drawers for extra clothes space- you can usually fit these either in the closet or underneath your bed. If your bed isn’t tall enough, get some bed risers.
  • Skirt and pants tiered hanger– these are going to save you a lot of space because they hang vertically, saving you space horizontally.
  • Back of the door shoe organizer- for the inside of your closet door.
  • Full length mirror- for the outside of your closet door
  • Surge protector
  • 3M hooks (a lot of ’em)
  • Lamps/fairy lights/anything that can substitute those gross overhead lights that are in every dorm- those lights will give you headaches, and after a day of class/work/meetings you’re going to want to come back to a space that’s relaxing.
  • Mini plastic organizer– to go on top of your mini fridge where you can keep napkins/plastic utensils/etc.
  • A way to display your pictures (frames, clothespins on twine, mobile…)


  • Handheld vacuum– for crumbs, hair, dust, spills, what have you. This is a must (especially if you have carpet!!!), and will keep your floor from looking grimy.
  • Clorox wipes
  • Air freshener (with a light scent- linen, rain…)
  • Trash can

Maybe, Maybe Not

  • Diffuser– you can’t burn candles but you can have diffusers! I like the volcano candle one.
  • Clothes Steamer (portable size)- this isn’t a necessity unless you wear clothes that wrinkle easily, and are in a position where you need to not be wearing wrinkly clothes. I’ll probably use one a bunch this semester, but only used mine once freshman year.
  • Desk Calendar– you should absolutely get a good, quality agenda, but a desk calendar could be helpful for a more broad-view schedule.
  • Body pillow
  • Curtains (and spring curtain rod)
  • Plants (air cleaning plants, succulents, flowers, fake plants…)

What I Like

All of these were found on Pinterest, which is a great resource for you if you want decor inspiration. Here’s a link to my home board, which has all of these (and more!) if we have similar tastes in decorating.


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