The 20 Best Dorm Room Essentials of 2021

Shop the essentials every college student needs before heading back to school

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Our Top Picks
"The gel-infused memory foam will cradle your body with cooling comfort."
"Show off your unique style while making your dorm room extra cozy."
"This 2-in-1 model can be used in the upright position or as a hand vacuum."
"Unlike thick plastic hangers, these take up less closet space."
"This lamp will come in handy for late-night study sessions."
"This pick has just the right amount of filling to support your head and neck."
"Soft, easy to wash, and affordable? This is the perfect set for college students."
"A practical purchase that will help keep your dorm room looking neat and organized."
Best Headphones:
Cowin E7 at Amazon
"Focus while you're studying in the library or in your room—no matter what's going on around you."
"Express yourself in style on your wall or your dorm room's door."

Best Bed Topper: Dreamfoam Bedding 2" Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper

Very Good

Most dorm room mattresses are not very comfortable. Luckily, this two-inch thick topper will make your bed extra cushy. It’s available in eight different sizes including Twin and Twin XL, and the gel-infused memory foam will cradle your body with cooling comfort. Worried about off-gassing? Getting a good night’s sleep shouldn’t involve breathing dangerous chemicals that can harm your health and the environment. This topper will help you rest easy because it’s CertiPUR-US certified, meaning it’s low VOC.

Best Bedding: AmazonBasics 5-Piece Light-Weight Microfiber

Show off your unique style while making your dorm room extra cozy with beautiful bedding. This five-piece set available in full/queen and twin/twin XL is made of incredibly soft, polyester microfiber that’s machine washable. It includes a flat sheet, fitted sheet, comforter, pillowcase, and sham.

Best Vacuum: Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Vacuum Cleaner

Keep your room clean with this lightweight stick vacuum by Dirt Devil. You can use it in the upright position like a canister vacuum or detach the hand vac for use in hard to reach places (in between couch cushions or shelves). Another great feature? This lightweight vacuum can be used on both carpet and hard floors.

Best Hangers: AmazonBasics Slim, Velvet, Non-Slip Clothes Suit Hangers


These hangers combine a non-slip velvet surface with notched shoulders to stop clothing from sagging or falling. Unlike thick plastic hangers, these take up less closet space because of their slim profile. But don't interpret their thin design as flimsy, because each one can hold up to 10 pounds. The hangers are available in packs of 30, 50, and 100.

Best Lighting: Pottery Barn Shine-On Task Lamp


Having a reliable desk lamp will come in handy for late-night study sessions. We love the Shine-On Task Lamp from Pottery Barn because it's bright and easy to adjust thanks to the flexible metal joints. It's also a a timeless and stylish accessory for a desk or study space.

Best Pillow: Xtreme Comforts Pillows for Sleeping


Having a comfortable pillow (or two!) is essential when you're moving into a dorm, so be sure to stock up on this comfortable and adjustable bamboo pillow. Whether you sleep on your back, stomach, or side, you can adjust the amount of filling to make it the right thickness for your sleeping needs.

Best Towels: Pinzon 6 Piece Blended Egyptian Cotton Bath Towel Set

Dry off with these incredibly affordable and wonderfully soft, 100 percent cotton towels. They don't skimp on absorbency or durability since they're a blend of heavyweight, Egyptian cotton. Of course, they’re machine washable and dryable. The towels come in a set of six that includes two 30 x 56-inch bath towels, two 18 x 30-inch hand towels, and two 13 x 13-inch washcloths.

Best Underbed Storage: ZOBER Underbed Storage Bag Organizer

Granted, spending money on under-the-bed storage isn’t exactly fun. But when it comes to saving space, it’s a practical purchase you’ll never regret. Sold in packs of two, these breathable polypropylene storage bags that are also both puncture and tear-resistant are perfect for keeping seasonal items, like your expedition parka or down comforter, out of sight and clean until the temperature drops. So you don’t forget what you stored, they have a clear vinyl top for visibility. The bags are available in your choice of black or java.

Best Headphones: Cowin E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Bluetooth Headphones

Lock in your focus and block out the noise with these best-in-class noise-canceling headphones from Cowin.

The Cowin E7 Bluetooth headphones are equipped with active noise reduction technology to minimize commotion around you. Pair the Cowin E7 with your device using either Bluetooth or NFC technology and enjoy up to 18 hours of wireless listening. The long battery life is a major plus whether you plan to take these headphones on a spring break trip or just trips back and forth from the library. While the noise reduction and sound quality aren’t necessarily equal to the most high-end Bluetooth headphones, they're an affordable alternative and a definite dorm room essential.

Best Letter Board: Felt Like Sharing Gray Felt Letter Board

Express yourself in style with a felt letter board. The 10 x 10-inch board from Felt Like Sharing is a perfect way to give your dorm room personality.

This felt letter board comes with 300 letters and special characters that let you create custom messages for everyone to see. Use the felt board to display an inspiring message, a note to your roommate, or a quote to share on social media. We also love that this letter board comes in a ready-to-display oak frame with a sawtooth hanger on the back. Or lean it on your desk if you can’t put holes in the wall. The 300 letters and characters are easily stored in the included drawstring pouch.

Best Closet Organizer: StorageWorks 6-Shelf Hanging Closet Shelves, Hanging Closet Organizer

Most dorm room closets are incredibly small, so maximize the space you do have with a handy closet organizer. This set of hanging shelves can handle 40 pounds of clothing, so you can stack heavier items (like winter sweaters) with ease.

Best Wall Art: Umbra Hangit Display-DIY Frames Collage Set

 Umbra Hangit Display

Decorate your dorm room wall with this cute display by Umbra called Hangit. It will turn all of your favorite cards, sketches, and printed photos into a one-of-kind piece of art. Each DIY kit comes with everything need to get started including 40 mini clothespins and hanging hardware. When fully assembled it measures 30 x 26 inches. Not allowed to bolt stuff to the walls? Pick up a pack of Command Picture Hanging Strips. Command strips are easy to use and won't damage the walls after you remove them.

Best Lounge Pillow: Linenspa Shredded Foam Reading Pillow

Watch TV, read, or do homework in bed without straining your back. This reading pillow is covered in soft velour and filled with memory foam to ensure a comfortable position no matter what you're doing.

Best Shower Caddy: Attmu Mesh Shower Caddy

Make getting in and out of the dorm showers easier with this rustproof shower caddy made of durable, quick-drying mesh. It’s available in five different colors: black, blue, pink, green and orange and features nine separate compartments for keeping your products and gear organized. For easy carrying and hanging, the lightweight caddy comes equipped with a handle. Even better, if you’re not 100 percent thrilled with this item, it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. 

Best Hamper: Smart Design Deluxe Mesh Pop Up Square Laundry Hamper

Washing clothes is drudgery—but this pop-up hamper that holds up to two loads makes the job a little easier because it’s also an easy to carry laundry bag. The durable mesh frame can hold up to 50 pounds thanks to a unique patented design. Side pockets for laundry products add to this bag’s convenience. When the hamper is empty, it folds flat for easy storage. Available in four different colors.

Best Lap Desk: LapGear MyDesk Lap Desk

Make using your computer while sitting without a desk more comfortable with this handy lap desk. It features soft, curved edges and cushions covered with microfiber that makes balancing a laptop up to 15 inches on your lap comfy. If your computer runs hot, this little desk will help keep things cool with its built-in airflow channel. It also has two deep storage trays for your smartphone and pens.

Best Fan: Vornado FIT Personal Air Circulator Fan with Fold-Up Design

Keep cool while creating a little white noise that masks annoying sounds with this compact fan by Vornado. It has a two-speed setting and an adjustable base for directing airflow. Its sleek design is available in your choice of aqua or pink. When this little fan is not needed, you can fold it flat for easy storage or travel. If you’re not happy with this appliance’s performance and quiet operation, it’s backed by a three-year customer satisfaction guarantee.

Best Surge Protector: Cable Matters 6 Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector

Turn a standard electrical outlet in your dorm room into a charging station with this handy surge protector. It installs quickly into a vertical grounded AC outlet. The two USB ports, which are compatible with both Android and Windows phones banish the need for proprietary chargers. The four electrical outlets increase your powering options while protecting your electronics from voltage spikes. Not sure if it’s working? A green LED strip at the top of this device verifies surge suppression at a glance. 

Best Microwave: Commercial CHEF Countertop Microwave Oven

This compact microwave is the perfect size for heating up quick meals like ramen noodles or mac and cheese. It has six, one-touch cooking options including settings for pizza and popcorn that take the guesswork out of heating some of your favorites foods. There is also a speed defrost, and 10 different power levels that offer more cooking flexibility—just set the timer and heat. The appliance’s LED display, which doubles as a digital clock, will chime when time runs out.

Best Mini Fridge: RCA IGLOO Mini Refrigerator

This 3.2 cubic foot mini refrigerator by Igloo is small enough for a dorm room but large enough to share with a roommate. It’s available in eight eye-popping colors: Purple, lime, orange, stainless steel, red, blue, white and black. Behind its chic exterior, you’ll find a built-in can dispenser, sliding tempered glass shelves and a small freezer. There’s even an adjustable thermostat so you can keep things chilled at optimum temperature. Need one more reason to buy? The fridge's door is reversible so it can open left or right.

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