Congrats, grad! You finally made it through high school, and now it is time to take your next step before entering the “real world.” Preparing for college can be stressful, but we are here to help you make the smoothest transition possible into your first dorm room!
Most colleges and universities provide you with a basic packing list of essentials that will let you know everything you will need to bring. But one of the best parts about college is that you actually get to decorate and furnish your dorm room with decor that reflects your personal style!
You can go all out with school pride, turn your room into the perfect study comfort spot, or even color-coordinate everything with your new roommate. This is your time to make your space your own.
With your dorm room as such a blank slate, it might be difficult to know where to even begin. We have your back, don’t worry! It's a breeze; we’ll walk you through dorm room décor basics, finding the best furniture for you, and even what to leave at home.
Dorm Room Basics
Before we dive in, we should make a little disclaimer: every college/university is different! They have different room sizes and setups, different rules, and different items and belongings they provide. Be sure to take a look at your future school’s website or student handbook to find out what your exact situation will be.
We will talk you through some common situations, but yours may not look exactly like this. Taking the time to prepare will be well worth it when you show up on move-in day like a pro!
How Big Is a Typical Dorm Room?
The school and dorm you choose will play a big part in what size your room will be. Some colleges and universities have spacious rooms with more than enough space, while the majority put you and your roommate in a space much smaller than you may be used to.
That’s where it will help to get creative with your dorm room furniture options! The average dorm size has 180 square feet of floor space.
How Do You Find a Roommate?
Finding a roommate can seem like the most stressful situation of all! We’ve all seen the scary movies and heard the horror stories. Your roommate can make or break your year. But now there are a lot more ways to find someone to live with!
Check to see if your school has a new college student Facebook group or a roommate matching app (like online dating, but for finding the perfect roomie!). If you can’t find the perfect match, most schools will assign you a random roommate for convenience, which can also be a rewarding new experience.
How Do They Separate Housing?
Each school is different, but there are a few common ways to separate student housing.
Freshman Housing. One great way to help build a community for the incoming freshman class is by providing separate housing for new students. This helps put everyone on the same level and allows students to get to know each other and bond more quickly than if they were spread out. (And it can help form study groups!)
Housing by Gender. Some colleges and universities offer single-gender housing for those who identify as male or female.
Co-ed Housing. Co-ed housing is typically done in one of two ways. Either the dorm is co-ed by floor or co-ed by room.
Many colleges and universities offer options beyond these traditional ones, so be sure to check out your campus and see if there are any other dorm option filters, such as requesting a quiet floor or a substance-free dorm.
What Does the College/University Provide?
Before you go off and buy yourself a whole new bedroom set, take a look to see what your school will already provide in your dorm room. Most schools provide at least the following college furniture:
- Dorm Beds: Twin Bed or Twin XL Bed
- Dorm Desk
- Desk Chair
- Bedside Table
This doesn’t have to cramp your style, though! There are plenty of great ways to customize your new place. Spend some time on Pinterest or other social media to gather design inspiration for dorm decor to upgrade what your school has provided and really make your room your own.
Best Dorm Furniture
Now that you know what is provided, it’s time to talk about all the fun extras you can bring along to upgrade your space! Grab some LED lights to customize the lighting in your room. Decorate with some area rugs or posters. Pick out a good TV for roommate bonding movie nights! The possibilities are endless.
Here are some of our top picks for the best dorm furniture for you.
Let’s be real. School-provided dorm chairs probably won’t be the most comfortable thing in the world. You’re going to spend a lot of time sitting in your dorm room, whether you’re studying, doing homework, watching movies, or even playing video games. You’re definitely going to want a chair that is comfortable and versatile!
Convertible chairs are the best addition to any college dorm room. We could give you a million reasons why, but we’ll stick to just a few.
Convertible chairs are extremely comfortable. Our chairs are plush and come in many different materials, so you can pick one out that is perfect for you. You can also get an extra cover if you ever feel like switching it up.
Convertible chairs save space. With options ranging from youth-sized to king-sized, convertible chairs take up only as much room as you want them to. Pick a size that works the best for your room.
Convertible chairs provide extra sleeping options. For the inevitable sleepover with new friends to your high school BFF stopping by for the weekend, a convertible chair gives an extra option for having a friend spend the night or just take a quick nap.
Convertible chairs are cozy bean bag chairs with an outside cover that unzips to reveal a mattress inside! They’re a great alternative to futons or air mattresses because they don’t take up as much space, and they can be used for more than just sleeping.
The average college student owns almost seven tech devices. That number may seem high, but consider what devices you’ll bring to school with you! Between smartphones, tablets, laptops, TVs, and gaming consoles, that number can add up pretty quickly.
PUKs can help when it’s time to find a place to put all these devices! On one side, they’re a simple coaster (which is also incredibly helpful in a college dorm room). On the other side, they turn into a great device stand or holder.
FaceTime your parents hands-free, film TikToks for fun, or just set your phone or tablet down to plug into a charger while you watch Netflix (or your class lectures, of course…) PUKs come in sets of three so you can use them however you see fit.
It’s time to take this party outside. One of the best additional items you can bring to your college or university is definitely a hammock. Not only are they super comfortable, but they also provide a great way to escape your small dorm room and study or chill outdoors.
Hammocking is a great activity that can also help you make friends! You’re bound to find other students who want to go set up hammocks and hang out together. We have several different types of hammocks, but our most college-friendly one is our travel hammock.
It’s easy to transport, extra sturdy, and comes in a few cool colors so you can choose the best fit for you. Just be sure to get any accessories you’ll need to hang it on trees or even on campus-provided hammock poles. (Be sure to check your campus rules to make sure hammocking is allowed! If not, you can always take this activity off-campus).
Extra Items to Consider
One great thing about having a roommate is that if you coordinate right, you’ll likely only be responsible for bringing half of the “big” items you might need. Have a brainstorming session to see what you and your roommate already have and what you’ll need to pick up before move-in day.
Some common dorm room additions are:
- Mini Fridges
- Gaming Consoles
- Electric Tea Kettle
In order to make your room even more convenient and comfortable, you might want to consider getting a bed protector for your convertible chair to cut down on laundry or a cooling pillow so that you can sleep soundly each night.
Different Styles: Ultimate Relaxed Feel or Party Vibes
College can be the best four years of your life, but preparing for dorm life can be a little tricky! Don’t stress out. Take a look at the size of your future dorm room, what the school will provide, and then decide what else you need to make it the perfect place for you.
Adding fun furniture like convertible chairs and hammocks is a great way to make yourself more at home and comfortable in a new environment!