Splurge vs Save: Dorm Bedding

Publish date:
Splurge or Save

Product Information (left to right): Royal Velvet, Donna Karan

When it comes to college dorm shopping, bedding nearly always springs to mind first. Obviously, your bed is where you're going to spend roughly a third of your four years in college (assuming you sleep enough). Health and wellness aside, it's the focal point of your dorm room or apartment, and has the important role of establishing your room's aesthetic.

I've always been on the fence about whether one should splurge or save when shopping for dorm room bedding. On one hand, good quality bed linens will last you a lifetime, and can be healthier for your skin and complexion than cheaper blends. On the other hand, I don't plan on having many twin XL mattresses when I'm out of college, so I'm really only buying bedding for around four years or so.

So which is it? Should we shell out cash for our bedding, or is it something we can cut costs on (so we can save money for textbooks and takeout)? Let's look at a few options from each category, and you can decide!

Bedding 101

There are a few key things to keep in mind when you head out to buy college bedding. (For even more tips, check out our tips on how to shop for dorm room bedding and the college dorm room shopping series.)

  • Check for the thread count by holding the bedding up to the light. Good-quality fabrics with high thread counts won't let any light through. Generally, the higher the thread count, the more durable the fabric is.
  • Fabric is very important. If you have allergies to synthetic fabrics, stay away from polyester and polyblend comforters and sheets, unless you want to be scratching all night.
  • Try your best to purchase your bedding in-person. The product lighting in online stores can be misleading about colors, and it can be difficult to tell if a fabric will feel scratchy or not.
  • Check for a good-quality fabric by scraping your fingernail across it. If it pills, it's not good quality.



Product Information (clockwise from top left): Pottery Barn, Lilly Pulitzer, 100% Silk, PoshLiving

To feel like a princess, look no further than luxury bedding. Silks, sateens, and ultra-high thread counts will make your bed fit for royalty, and their designs are absolutely gorgeous.

Why splurge?

  • Unlike a piece of clothing that you splurge on and wear only occasionally, your skin is in contact with your bedding for (hopefully) eight hours or more each evening. If you have sensitive skin, look for organic cotton sheets.
  • Sleeping on a silk pillow will do wonders for your hair and face.
  • When you get a better night's sleep on good-quality linens, you're more awake in the morning and will probably focus better in class.



Product Information (clockwise from top left): Ikea, Milanoo, Wal-Mart, Bed Bath and Beyond

Of course, we've got to be practical as well. Twin XL mattresses are pretty hard to find outside of a college dorm, so your sheets probably will be relegated to the back of the linen closet after four or so years.

Why save?

  • Keep in mind that in college, your bed is pretty much extra seating to your friends who come and visit. Some of them may harbor a liking for eating pizza (with extra sauce) while sitting on it...
  • College is your time to be absolutely ridiculous with your style and get away with it. Your big-girl self in a few years may look back at your pink zebra comforter and cringe at the very thought, but who cares? It's not like you're going to be using it again. Might as well save where you can.
  • You need at least two sets of bedding (one to put on the bed while the other is in the wash), and multiplying every price by two is a daunting idea.
  • Bed-in-a-bags are a college student's best friend. Purchasing bedding elements à la carte can get extremely pricey, so getting them all in a complete set saves you a ton of cash.

What do you think?

Should you splurge or save on bedding? Did you splurge or save on your college dorm linens? What else do you recommend splurging (or saving) on? Got any more tips for bedding shopping? Let us know with a comment!

Related Stories