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Back-to-school shopping? Check out these dorm room essentials

Furniture, bedding, kitchen supplies, and more

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A small gray foldable sofa with two pillows sits next to a stack of magazines and a houseplant.
This saucer sofa ($60) features a sturdy steel frame and foldable design that makes it easy to store when not in use.

Summer is winding down and college students everywhere are faced with the inevitable: It’s time to go back to school. And whether students are headed to a dorm room or a first apartment, they’re going to need some supplies.

The best back-to-school essentials often serve double duty and don’t take up too much space. They’re also affordable—student budgets are a real thing. To help you figure out which products get an A+ and which don’t pass the test, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite products, below.

From whimsical sheets to laundry baskets to affordable furniture, here are the top dorm room essentials to shop right now.


Dorm room twin beds may not be the most comfortable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spiff them up a bit. Bed-in-a-bag and sheet sets help with affordability, and a good mattress topper can make any bed a bit more restful.

Ultra-Soft Micromink Sherpa Comforter Bed Set

  • $41

This ultra-cozy comforter has white faux sherpa fleece on the interior side and is stuffed with a fluffy alternative-down filling so you stay nice and warm, even on cold winter nights. The set also includes two pillow shams to complete the look.


College students need a few bath basics to get through the year, and it all starts with a good towel set. We’ve picked out two options, below, as well as a helpful shower caddy, laundry basket, and a top-notch toothbrush.


You may not be able to fit much in a college apartment or dorm room, so opt for compact furniture that can fold away and also be used for storage.

Kitchen and cooking

There’s a reason the Instant Pot has invaded kitchens throughout the country, but consider its helpfulness for students: The ability to make meals without dirtying a few pans makes this an easy choice for dorm life. And don’t forget the caffeine; our picks for tea and coffee lovers prioritize portability and function.


Even serious students need to take a break sometime, and these outdoor supplies are perfect for picnics, porch gatherings, and late-night lounging.


The little things that make college life easier.