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.
Add some whimsy to your bedroom with these crisp, fruit-patterned sheets.
Make bed time simple with this affordable set that includes a comforter, flat sheet, fitted sheet, sham, and one pillowcase. Bonus: It’s available in an array of colors and patterns.
Pair this plush topper with an older mattress for an instant upgrade, or add to a new one for next-level comfort, thanks to the four-inch layer of memory foam with a ventilation design to help circulate air flow.
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.
More cushy than firm, this set of pillows is an affordable option, especially for those who sleep on their stomachs and backs.
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.
Over 1,000 customers on Amazon love this mesh shower bag thanks to its helpful handle, eight outer compartments, and the versatile large compartment in the center.
This fabric laundry basket boasts a zipper pouch and four built-in handles to make carrying laundry a cinch.
Instead of lugging around a bulky toothbrush, opt for this sleek, lightweight, and waterproof electric toothbrush. Sensitive sonic vibrations make for optimal brushing, and a built-in two-minute timer ensures a proper cleaning.
Summon laid-back seaside vibes with this three-piece set featuring a subdued color scheme.
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.
Add some sophisticated extra seating with this saucer sofa. A sturdy steel frame is complimented by a foldable design that makes it easy to store when not in use.
With clean lines and minimalist flair, this compact desk features adjustable shelves and a low profile for tight spaces.
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.
The cult-favorite pressure cooker is versatile in function and this compact size is great for small, easy-to-make meals for burgeoning cooks.
This sleek pitcher carries seven cups of water, fits in most refrigerator doors, and filters unwanted contaminants like bacteria, parasites, micro plastics, and heavy metals.
This 100 percent stainless steel infuser can brew any type of tea and features a variable temperature control from 105 degrees to 212 degrees.
Easy to operate, the Nanopresso uses finely ground coffee, hot water, and a few pumps to produce richly flavored, top-notch espresso. It feels like you’re at a high-end coffee bar, but on-the-go.
Even serious students need to take a break sometime, and these outdoor supplies are perfect for picnics, porch gatherings, and late-night lounging.
Whether you like camping or just need a picnic blanket, the Rumpl Puffy Blanket is a go-to option that’s lightweight, durable, waterproof, and machine washable. Available in a plethora of prints and colors.
This lightweight camping and backpacking chair packs down smaller than a bottle of wine—making it the go-to chair for picnics, impromptu porch gatherings, and more.
Perfect for summer adventures, this machine-washable, take-anywhere throw comes in a simple color-blocked design. It’s available in blue, gray, and red.
This hammock’s extra large size can support up to 500 pounds, and the unique strap design is twice as strong as most competitors.
The little things that make college life easier.
Make life a bit easier with this smart home device that lets you check the weather, add things to shopping lists, and play music. Comes with a built-in speaker and the ability to make voice and video calls to other Echo devices.
No small apartment or dorm is complete without a strong dustbuster, and this handheld features a wide mouth design to suction large crumbs and dirt as well as smaller dust particles.
The best office supplies do double duty, and this desk lamp features a helpful organizer, a regular AC outlet, and a USB port—all at a reasonable price. Bonus: It comes in several colors.