PxPixel
College Dorm Room Shopping Part 2: Furnishings [Updated 2018] - College Fashion

College Dorm Room Shopping Part 2: Furnishings [Updated 2018]

Tips & tricks for buying furnishings for college, plus a shopping guide full of cute dorm room pieces.
Author:
Publish date:

This is part two of College Fashion's "College Dorm Room Shopping" series. For the first part of the series, I focused on Dorm Room Bedding. Today I'm going to focus on Dorm Room Furnishings.

Furnishing a dorm room is easy because most of what you need will come with your room (desk, closet, bed, dresser). At the same time, it can also be tricky because you will be working with a very small space. 

Here are my top tips for shopping for dorm room furnishings:

  1. Talk to your roommate. You will save yourself a lot of time and money if you talk to your roommate about who's bringing what for your room. You don't want to get to school on move in day with two of everything. Trust me, there won't be room for it all.
  2. Check your college's website. They will list what is going to come with your room as well as any items that are off-limits, so you will have a good picture of what's missing and what you need to buy.
  3. Invest in storage bins. You won't realize how much stuff you have until you try and pack it up. Buy some good quality plastic storage bins and moving will be easier - plus, you'll have a place to put everything!
  4. Don't get heavy furniture. It may seem obvious, but truly: the lighter the better. Don't bring a huge hand-me-down wooden dresser that takes 3 people to lift. It's much more of a hassle than you're going to want to deal with.
  5. Get lamps. Dorm rooms usually come equipped with one big fluorescent light that is supposed to provide lighting for the entire room. First of all, it's usually not bright enough. Also, when your roommate wants to sleep but you have a paper to write, you'll be happy to have a small desk lamp on your side of the room.
  6. Buy a rug. There's nothing cozy or homey about linoleum floors! I recommend investing in a good quality, durable rug for your floor to make your room more livable.

Cute Dorm Room Furnishings

Now that you know what to look for, here are some of my picks for some great dorm room furnishings you should consider.

Simple bronze triangle nightstand from Urban Outfitters.

Triangle Side Table from Urban Outfitters.

Chances are, your dorm will need a little nightstand. This triangle one is made for unusual or tricky-to-furnish spaces. Plus, it's super hip and will add some much-needed life to a basic space.

Umbra skinny blue dorm room trash can with handle.

Umbra Skinny Trash Can from Amazon.

When you're working with a small space, you won't want a big trash can taking up valuable real estate. This colorful little gem from Amazon will do the trick and it's just over $5!

Citron yellow and white woven flat weave rug from Target with fringe edges.

Safavieh Bettina Rug from Target.

This woven rug from Target can take a beating. Plus, it will brighten up your entire space and make your dorm feel like home! 

Target wooden midcentury modern butterfly chair with padded seat.

Wood Butterfly Chair from Target.

If you've got room for a chair, this well-designed, collapsable butterfly chair will do the trick. Trust me, you're going to get very tired of sitting on your uncomfortable bed, so having a cozy alternative is great. 

Bright yellow task lamp, work lamp, clip-on desk lamp from IKEA.

TERTIAL Task Lamp from IKEA.

You're going to need to buy some secondary lighting for your dorm, so why not make sure it's colorful? This bright yellow task lamp is everything you could ever want.

White shabby chic nightstand with top drawer and space for bins.

Wood Night Stand from Amazon.

Utilizing your space in the most efficient way possible is so incredibly important in a dorm. This white nightstand has character and charm... and an abundance of storage!

Mosaic medallion rug in shades of navy, light blue, orange, and cream from Rugs USA.

Mosaic Medallion Rug from Rugs USA.

This busy, detailed rug is exactly what any dorm room needs; it's colorful, funky, fun, and won't show stains from spilled beverages and food!

Weathertight clear storage bins for closet organization.

Clear Weathertight Totes from The Container Store.

Invest in quality storage bins. They may not be the most exciting things you'll buy for your dorm adventure, but they will probably end up being your most cherished items. An organized life is a happy life.

Umbra over-the-door hook organizer for jackets, bags, scarves, and purses from PB Teen.

Umbra Over-the-Door Organizer from PB Teen.

Get creative with your space! Who knew using a door could be such a fantastic place to hang scarves, jackets, purses, and bags? An over-the-door hanger is a necessity.

Collapsible Shoe Storage Ottoman from Dormify. 

Collapsible Shoe Storage Ottoman from Dormify

This multi-purpose ottoman can act as shoe storage, a mini coffee table, and seating for your friends when they come visit. Basically, it's perfect in every way.

Macrame and wood simple wall shelf from Urban Outfitters.

Elie Macramé Wall Shelf from Urban Outfitters.

This simple shelf will add a little flair to your space. Think of all the cute things you can put on it! Why not get two? Or three? 

More Information

Check out the rest of the posts in the College Dorm Room Shopping series to get everything you need for a fabulous dorm:

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2007; it was completely updated and revamped in 2018 with new photos, products, and information.

Related Stories