There is definitely something to be said for the Spartan way of life - simple, clean, no-fuss, and (most importantly) easy to transport from home to school and back again.
While I am all for decking out dorm rooms and apartments to the nines, I inevitably feel a creeping sort of dread when the end of the year rolls around and I have to take down every last tapestry, poster, and photograph I've adhered to the walls.
However, with every living situation, the ability to pare down to the absolute essentials is a great base for either keeping your room purely minimalist, or for building on the basics to create a totally luxurious space.
In this article, we'll talk about five things every dorm room needs, helping you to group your college or post-grad life essentials into categories and starting to shop from there. Let's get started!
1. Somewhere to Sit (Besides the Bed!)
Anyone who loves the idea of crisp white sheets has had the same nightmare: you invite your friends over for a night of binge-watching Netflix and pizza, and to your horror, someone drops their slice, sauce-side-down, on your beautiful comforter.
Prevent this and other bed-as-a-seat mishaps by investing in some sort of dual-function seating that accommodates groups. Storage ottomans are a good solution for those pressed for space, and everyone loves a good old bean bag that makes for a comfortable gaming seat. If you have the space, futons and small sofas are a wonderful invitation for folks to stop by your room for a chat.
2. Body Pillow
Chances are, you've got your bed right up against your wall, which creates a whole host of problems, the chiefest being that it's absolutely impossible for you to make your bed without either pulling out your mattress or struggling to fit your sheet over that last back corner.
Propping a long body pillow against the bed-wall edge is a simple but wonderful game-changer: it allows any bed to become more daybed-like when you need urgent seating (See #1), it's the best thing for a good night's sleep (especially if you're a side-sleeper!), and it makes the bed look instantly more cozy.
3. Mattress Topper
It goes without saying that the quality of your night's sleep directly correlates with the quality of your next day. Dorm beds were never meant to be comfortable, and mattress toppers come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and prices.
A simple foam egg crate is a great mattress topper if you're on a budget. There are also inexpensive mattress pads that double as mattress protectors, available at places like Target, which fit onto your bed like fitted sheets. For maximum comfort, opt for a pillowtop mattress topper, sold at stores like IKEA, which go right on top of your mattress with a fitted sheet over them.
If your dorm or apartment doesn't come with a nightstand, these are absolute essentials that make your morning routine that much easier. We've covered how to pick from the different types of nightstands on CF before - all you need to do is figure out what you need from your nightstand, and then shop accordingly.
In the past, I've used bookshelves with lamps on top, filing cabinets, and even the surface of a dresser placed next to the bed. You can even use ladders or wooden chairs!
5. Something from Home
Yes, photos of your family are wonderful, but think bigger. After a long day, the best thing in the world is to curl up in your bed surrounded by mementos from home.
It could be a painting that a friend or sibling made for you, a blanket that you kept on your bed when you were younger, or a favorite stuffed animal that's only gotten cuter with age. Not sure what to choose? My go-to is always a giant state flag from where I call home. You could also try our state painting DIY to create some nostalgic wall art.
What do you think?
What are your top 5 dorm essentials? What do you think of our tips? Anything you have in your dorm or apartment right now that you couldn't live without? Let us know with a comment!