There are a few essentials when it comes to outfitting a dorm room. This space that will be your home away from home is just a few square feet, consisting of a bed, a desk and a place to stash your clothes. You really have room only for the barest essentials, and yet you want to make sure this small corner of the universe feels warm, cozy, halfway home-y and conducive to resting and studying. Bringing a well-edited supply of bedding, necessary appliances and clothing, as well as a few key items that will make it feel like home is a great start.
The most important thing to remember when purchasing dorm room bedding is that pretty much all dorm room beds are twin-sized and extra long. Retailers such as Target carry lines like this, labeled 'Twin XL' or 'Twin Extra-long.'
Sheet sets, 2 sets - Sheet sets contain a fitted sheet, a flat sheet and a pillowcase. Invest in a good quality set, preferably 300 thread count 100% cotton or higher. They are softer and not scratchy, and will hold up longer than cheaper ones.
Pillows, at least 2 - Down and feather-filled pillows are always a better buy. They are washable, and last forever, unlike polyester-filled ones that lose their cushiness after a few months. Down and feather filled pillows regain their shape after each fluffing and maintain it indefinitely.
Extra pillowcases, at least 4 - Since a twin sheet set only contains ONE pillowcase, you will need extra ones. Since this is the surface you rest your face one, it collects dirt and oil faster than any surface on your bed, so you might want to change them more often.
A quilt or light comforter - This comes in handy on cold nights as well as make for quick bed making in the morning. All you need to do is throw a quilt or comforter over the bed and you've got it made during rushed mornings.
Above, l-r, top to bottom: Palms Organic Twin-XL sheet set, $24-59, Oceanside Patchwork Quilt and Sham, $35-$199, www.pbteen.com, Room Essentials Southwest Ikat Bedding, $50-$60, www.target.com
Standing file organizers
Cork board or magnetic white board
Chair - Bring an ergonomic, study-conducive desk chair if not provided.
Above, l-r, top to bottom: Task chair, $90, www.target.com, Shine-on Task Lamp, $59, Madison Desk Organzers, $9-$29, www.pbteen.com
Flip-flops for the shower
Portable shower caddy
Hanging closet organizers - Maximizes closet space. Use for folded items, shoes, etc.
Rolling drawers - for school supplies or small items such as underwear.
Laundry basket or bag
Laundry tablets - are easier to take to the laundry room than cartons or jugs of detergent
Full length mirror - to hang behind a door or closet door
Small fridge - If you can stock a fridge with healthy food options such as fruit, you just may avoid gaining the freshman 15!
Small coffeemaker - Save money on your caffeine fix and brew your own java.
Above: Emerson Compact Fridge with Dry-erase door, $89, www.target.com
Make your space feel like home by bringing items that personalize your space such as:
Wall art or wall mural
Small throw pillows
A small area rug
Above: Wire Wall Loop, $9, Nouveau Wall Decal, $49, www.pbteen.com
Where to buy
The first stop is your home and your garage. Look for spare items that you can bring so you don't have to buy a new one. For bargains, head to Bed, Bath and Beyond, Target and IKEA, but do check out stores such as TJ Maxx, Ross and Marshalls for great deals on better quality items. If you have more budget to spare, you may want to browse online and get a few items from Pottery Barn Teen or PBTeen and CB2 by Crate and Barrel.