We surveyed retailers to come up with two lists of dorm necessities and accessories you might want to consider as youre shopping: the requirements and the electives.
Take notes on whats right for your room.
Bedding. A comforter is usually one of the first dorm purchases. Your bedding will define your style, says Jessica Joyce, spokeswoman for Bed Bath & Beyond. Its where you study, eat, sleep and hang out, and it reflects your personality. The Orla Kiely Stem Mini Bed Set in the accompanying picture is in one of the Irish designers signature prints and includes a comforter and sham. $149.99, www.bedbathandbeyond.com
Storage. Add more space for stuff with lightweight portable chests. They have fabric drawers and are equipped with swivel casters for easy transport. Two wheels are lockable. Studio 3B Z Drawer Carts come in pink or black. $39.99 for 3-drawer; $49.99 for 4-drawer; www.bedbathandbeyond.com
Upgraded desk chair. Replacing the institutional desk chair makes good sense. Most dorm rooms come with a standard desk chair, but its usually very plain and not the most comfortable, says Olescia Hanson, spokeswoman for the Container Store. She suggests adding color and comfort with the Bungee Office Chair.
The straps are supportive and a pneumatic lift makes it easily adjustable. In green, blue, black, chocolate or pink berry. $139, www.containerstore.com
Lamps with personality. Bring some style to the table. Dont just get a lamp thats beige and boring, says Sabrina Soto, Targets style expert for home. Injecting some color with your lamp is important because your desk will be full of books and papers.
Its a Guy Thing. Finding dorm lamps for guys can be a challenge. The bold Walking Man Lamp series, available in blue, yellow or red, features a base in the shape of a dude walking. $15.99, www.target.com
Technology organization. With so many devices to keep track of and charged, it is wise to designate a multi-tasking home for them. In the iHome App-Enhanced Triple Charge Dual Alarm Stereo Clock, you can charge your iPhone and iPad at once and wake and sleep to either your own playlist or the radio. $129.99, www.bedbathandbeyond.com
Trash can. An inexpensive accessory that adds personality: Melamine Threadless Wastebaskets are available in five colorful designs. The Threadless global design community, originally known for its innovative T-shirts, now produces unique designs for many products. $9.99, www.bedbathandbeyond.com
Shower tote. A waterproof carrier for all those hair and body products is a must for trips to the shower down the hall. The Flexible Shower Tote, available in blue/aqua, orange/pink, pink/orange or aqua/blue, has drain holes and a divider inside.
Hooks for a nail-free zone. Create a home for your purses or towels without nailing or screwing anything into the wall with sleek Command Adhesive Nickel Modern Hooks from The Container Store. The hooks adhere to almost any surface and wont damage paint or wood. $8.99 to $13.99, www.containerstore.com
Wall decals. Stylish decals bring personality to a boring white dorm room. And they dont take up any space. This removable accessory is best when it makes a bold statement, such as the Chain Chandelier Decal, measuring 28 by 23 inches. It resembles a black crystal chandelier dripping with facets. Its a fashion statement and you dont damage anything in the room, says Karen Zuckerman, president and founder of Dormify, a source for dorm gear. Available in black and five other colors. $40, www.dormify.com
Extra drawers. No room for workout clothes or sweaters? Invest in a White Elfa Mesh Start-A-Stack. Four drawers and a 21-inch depth make it possible to fit in many tight dorm closets for extra storage. While mesh allows you to see whats inside, small items wont fall through. $119, www.containerstore.com
Reminder to phone home. Your parents will miss you.