The Dos and Don’ts of Dorm Room Shopping

We’re sharing our favorite tips and tricks so you can have the best dorm room ever.

Whether you’re an incoming freshman or a seasoned senior, you probably know that shopping for your dorm room can be a daunting experience. So, this week, we’re sharing the tips, tricks, and general advice every dorm-dweller needs to know.

Read on to discover the 5 dos and don’ts of dorm room shopping and decorating.

1. DO buy an inexpensive, all-in-one bedding set.

In a dorm room, your bed is not only where you sleep, but also a makeshift couch, desk, and kitchen table. So needless to say, it’s going to see some smudges, stains, and rips by the end of the year. 

That’s why we suggest opting for a less expensive comforter set that includes a bedspread, sheets, and pillow cases.

An all-in-one set costs less than buying each piece separately, plus it’s already color-coordinated. Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and JCPenney all carry super-cute comforter sets that ring in at under $ 50

Stick to this price point and you won’t be totally devastated when a greasy pizza slice lands cheese side down on your bedspread.

2. DON’T overspend on storage.

Though dorm room layouts vary from college to college, one thing is certain: there’s never enough storage. 

That’s why it’s necessary to buy organization for your closet, desk space, and even under your bed. While there are stores that specialize in organizing, we say go the inexpensive route. (ily Container Store, but you’re pricey.)

Big box stores, like Walmart, carry all the must-have storage you need at low, low prices. We’re also big fans of the storage found at Target’s Dollar Spot section, though the selection varies from store to store. And, if you have one nearby, IKEA is a mecca for sleek, chic, and ridiculously inexpensive organization products.

3. DO consider easy, space-saving solutions everywhere. (And we mean everywhere.)

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This one goes hand-in-hand with our last point. To really make the most of your tiny living space, always look for items that either save space or have multiple uses.

Personally, I’m a huge fan of non-slip/slimline hangers. Not only do they keep your garments in place, but they also take up much less space than traditional hangers, so you can fit way more clothes in your tiny dorm closet. And that’s always a good thing. 

Some other favorites? A desk light/pencil cup combo, this bed lift/outlet hybrid, and a storage ottoman.

4. DON’T buy everything before you head to campus.

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This may sound silly after we just told you things to buy, but hold off on purchasing every single item you think you’ll need

Honestly, you won’t truly know what kind of storage, organizers, and other small items you need until after you’ve lived in your dorm for a few weeks.

For example, I realized shortly after move-in day that I needed somewhere other than a doorknob to store my purses and tote bags. (Solution: over-the-door coat rack.) I also discovered I couldn’t actually close my closet door because of the shoe rack I brought from home.

So, yes, pack your must-haves, but wait and see on the non-essentials. You’ll probably end up buying extra items and ditching others, and that’s 100% okay.

5. DON’T forget to have fun!

Being able to decorate a dorm room exactly how you… well, how you and your roomate(s)… want to is the absolute best. So have fun with it!

Frame photos of friends, family, and pets, create or buy cool wall art, accessorize your space with funky pillows and cozy throw rugs. The possibilities are truly endless. 

Not sure how to get started? Here are three decor themes we love. (Also, check out our Dorm section for even more ideas!)

Your turn!

What are your dorm room shopping dos and don’ts? Where’s the best place to shop for dorm decor? Want to see more posts like this? Share your best dorm room shopping tips in the comments down below.


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