Beyond Bedding and Mini-Fridges: 12 Dorm Furnishings You May Not Have Thought Of

There is no shortage of lists of dorm-room essentials. Almost every store or website will offer you a myriad of suggestions.  And the list can get longer and longer as the summer progresses. Packing the car for move-in day can be one of the biggest challenges your family will face.

Rather than add to the already steady supply of suggestions for bedding, laundry hampers, storage solutions, and shower caddies, we thought we’d include a list of a few things you may not have thought of but that can be great additions to your student’s dorm furnishings. You won’t want them all, but adding one or two of these items to your list could be just the thing to make life easier for your student.

USB Bed Lift

Some dorm rooms have beds that bunk or loft and that can be a great way to save space. Underbed storage is essential in maximizing space in relatively small dorm rooms. If your student’s bed isn’t designed for lofting and they just want to raise it enough to make use of the space underneath, bed risers are a common tool. The difference with these risers is that they double as USB chargers. In a small space, getting double use from something is a bonus!

Personal Humidifier

Dorm rooms can get dry in the winter months. Consider a personal sized humidifier to help keep the air more comfortable.

Bunk Buddy Beside Shelf

Space is at a premium in dorm rooms.  Just a little place next to your bed for that ever-present phone or other essentials may seem like a luxury — especially if you happen to sleep in a top bunk! Great place, too, to keep your phone if it’s your alarm so you won’t roll over on it and turn it off!


Clocky alarm clock on wheels

This item was on our earlier list of fun dorm things, but we’ve included it here as well because you might not think of an alarm clock as a necessary item. Students often use their phones as an alarm, but too many times that fails or the student turns it off.  This might be just the thing for your college student who has a tendency to sleep through that early morning class.  Built on wheels, this clock emits a beeping sound when it first goes off.  Then — after a snooze cycle, it rolls off the nightstand and starts scooting out of reach.  To turn it off, your student has to get out of bed and chase it down.  It works!

White Noise Machine

Dorms can be wonderful, social places — and that means that sometimes they can be noisy as well.  A little white noise may be just the thing for shutting out the chatter in the hallway when it’s time to sleep or study.

Noise Cancelling Headphones

Not only will your student be better able to hear her music without bothering others, but she’ll be able to use these to cancel out unwanted sounds.  Great for studying or sleeping in a noisy residence hall.


Most colleges offer printing to students that is either free, included in tuition, or available at low cost. Many students don’t bother bringing their own printer to campus since they can use the college service. However, printers located in the computer center or library are not always convenient — especially if  you need something in the middle of the night or on your way to class. (Oh, those last minute papers!)  And printers in common areas are notorious for breaking down when you need them most. So having a personal printer can help your student remain stress free about printing that paper. (Unfortunately, it can’t do anything about the stress of writing the paper!)

Handheld vacuum

Most dorms have cleaning supplies available, including vacuum cleaners.  But finding time to get that vacuum going may not be high on your student’s priority list. Having a portable, charged, hand vacuum available can go a long way toward cleaning up those cookie crumbs and crushed Cheez-its on the bed!

Over the chair pocket organizer

Every inch of space counts in small dorm rooms. What about using the back of the desk chair as storage space? Brilliant!


Storage stand for mini-fridge

If your student plans to have a mini-fridge in their dorm room (Of course they do!) that takes up floor space. What if you could also use that space for some extra storage? You can.


Personal Security Safe

Dorms should be safe places, but it pays not to take chances. This small safe is an ideal place for your student to secure valuables — anything from cash, passport, credit cards, or medications. Don’t take chances with those important things that might be easily picked up.

Portable Personal Air Cooler

OK, some dorms are air conditioned. But those that are not can be uncomfortable at certain times of the year. And some dorms can actually be uncomfortably hot during the winter heating season! This little air cooler can sit on your student’s desk and make studying and sleeping more comfortable. Who doesn’t want to make studying more comfortable?

Note: Some links in our post are for affiliate products. If you use our links, College Parent Central receives a small percentage of your purchase price. This does not change the cost to you.  We think it’s only fair to let you know that.

Check out our other gift and dorm suggestions!

Non-Essentials (But Fun) for Your Student’s Dorm Room

Gift Ideas for Your High School Graduate

Gift Ideas for Your College Graduate

Holiday Gift Ideas for Your College Student

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