Back to Campus Time – 20 College Dorm Room Essentials

Article Posted By: Home Depot Staff

No matter what school you’re heading off to or what part of the country, there are some basics that you just can’t live without on campus.  Here are 21 dorm room essentials that will help keep you fed, functional and fabulous:


Padlocks – Lock it down to keep your valuables protected.  Great for locking storage trunks, drawers, etc.  As dad always says, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Dorm or Apartment Door Alarm – This is a very easy alarm that you can alert you to unwanted guests in your room or apartment.  Protect your laptop and other valuables by setting this simple alarm when you and roommate aren’t around.

Flashlights–  This is one that a lot of students forget about.  Grab a mini for your purse or backpack and have a decent size flashlight for your room.


Surge Protectors – Sometimes it’s best to have at least two to keep your phone, laptop and other communication essentials charged and ready.

Food Prep

Dorm-Sized Fridge– Probably the number one essential in my book, but then again, I’m always hungry. Don’t rely on what they have available on campus, have your own fave foods at the ready in your personal refrigerator.

Microwave – Probably a close second for me, having a microwave is perfect for those all-nighters and when you need nutrition on the go.

Coffee Maker– You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good coffee maker anymore.  There are some really good ones for under $50.  Find the one you want because good coffee is going to be essential.

Mug and Thermos– Coffee, tea or hot cocoa on the go. The thermos keeps another cup or two warm for those long days around campus.

Toaster Oven– Because some things just need to be toasted and there’s never a need for squishy bagels when you’re running late for your 8:00am class.

Hot Plate – Great during those cold winter months for keeping your coffee or food warm.

Electric Grill– Who says you can’t eat like a king or queen in the dorms? With a George Foreman you can whip up a great meal in no time.

Personal Fan– Just in case something stays in the toaster oven a bit too long, a personal fan is a good thing to have on hand.  A fan is also great for when things get a bit stuffy.

Clean Laundry, Clean Room

Iron– Yes, sometimes you need to iron your clothes. You’ve got to look good around campus!

Laundry Basket– It’s essential to keep your dirty socks and skivvies under wraps until laundry day. Your roommate will thank you!

Aluminum Blinds– Blinds are great for keeping your closet concealed if you have an open closet in your dorm room. If you are going to be in an apartment, you can cover your windows within your budget.

Stick Vac– Keep your dorm room or apartment clean with an easy to use and store stick vac.

Functional Style

Desk Lamp– You really need good task lighting to study comfortably but you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort.  There are all kinds of options for you to choose from. In addition clip lights are easy to stick anywhere for additional light.

Floor Lamp– Depending on your space, a floor lamp can really make a fun style statement and give you good lighting at the same time.  Just make sure it doesn’t overwhelm your space.

Area Rug– You can add color and style by covering up that bland, industrial-grade carpeting in your room.  Choosing a pattern and colors that you love can really make you feel more at home.

Carpet Tiles– This is a really affordable way to create some unique style in your space.  Pick and choose your colors to make your own patterns.  Easy to clean and each tile is cheaper to replace than an entire rug if it gets stained.

These 20 campus essentials will certainly get you started, for our entire selection of campus essentials visit our Campus Essentials page. Also be sure to check out Back to Campus Style – Stylish Essentials for Your Dorm or Apartment for tips on how to make your dorm room or apartment reflect your own style.


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