College-aged kids know a lot these days. They've studied hard, they're driven, they're capable, and while they've had many experiences, they've never set up a home on their own. A dorm room is their first foray into domesticity. Luckily, with one quick trip to Target for stylish decor and lifestyle and tech items — plus Mom's knowledge of, well, life — outfitting a new college living space is a breeze, and it costs less than you think! Here are some must haves, plus a side serving of Mom's adulting wisdom.
Bed Risers Create Space
Dorm rooms are small; there’s no way around it. Getting some extra under-the-bed storage opens up more space in a snap.
Adulting tip: Without Mom around to pick up after you, stashing items out of sight is a quick and easy solution to make your space look tidy.
A Pinnable Board For Mementos
For photos, notes, and postcards from home, there’s nothing better than a pinnable board. It makes a blank room cozy and personalized.
Adulting up: This is also a perfect place to hang a to-do list so you stay organized (hint, hint).
The Right Sheets
College dorm beds are extra long. Don’t ask why — they just are. You need special sheets, and these are soft and comfy even after lots of washes in the communal laundry room.
Adulting tip: Don't forget to separate whites from colors and use fabric softener to keep these extra snuggly.
Jersey Sheet Set - (Twin Extra Long) True White - Room Essentials™ ($18, originally $20)
A bare mattress is pretty unwelcoming, but add sheets and a few pretty pillows for instant warmth.
Adulting tip: The support pillow is great for late-night studying in bed, but you can also use it for better posture during those inevitable binge-watch sessions.
Faux Fur Throw Pillow - Maroon - Room Essentials™ ($19, originally $20) and Support Body Pillow Nighttime Blue - Room Essentials™ ($13, originally $15)
A Rack to Keep Shoes Tidy
It’s all about floor space, and this rack keeps a closet organized and shoes in shape.
Adulting tip: Keeping your cutest pairs on display will look pretty and make you take better care of them.
Tapestry For an Instantly Cool Vibe
Dorm rooms aren’t the place for fine art, but blank walls are not a good look either. Tapestries bring soft texture into a space — and just one will fill the room with color!
Adulting tip: If you spill something on your comforter, this can become a cool bedspread between washes — and you can toss it right in with your sheets and detergent when the time comes. (Every two weeks, please.)
Wall Tapestry (11"x8") Cloudy Turquoise - Room Essentials™ ($13, originally $15)
A Fridge For the Essentials
Leftovers, sodas, and perishable snacks need to stay cool so you can grab them during study sessions.
Adulting tip: Get yourself some fruits and veggies so there's always something fresh and healthy to nibble on. This one has a little freezer for ice cream, too — now there's no need to go out late at night and make your parents worry!
A Comfy Chair
If there’s room, it’s nice to have something to sit on besides a standard-issue desk chair and that extralong twin bed. One plush seat will turn a dorm room into your room.
Adulting tip: This extra chair can quickly become a dumping ground for dirty clothes or outfit discards. Remember to use that laundry bag, hang things so they don't get wrinkled, and keep your seat free for sitting.
A Simple Set of Dishes
Sometimes you’ll want some real food that doesn’t come with packaging, and you need one little set of dishes to contain it.
Adulting tip: A bowl and a spoon can help you eat just about anything. And if you haven’t started drinking coffee yet, college is the right time.
Reality check: A dorm room comes with one industrial light on the ceiling. Extra lighting makes a room brighter and homier.
Adulting tip: Adjust the settings on these two lamps to change the vibe from dank to swank. And remember to keep it bright enough when reading.
A Full-Length Mirror All Your Own
Shared dorm bathrooms don’t usually have full-length mirrors, and if they do, they’ll be crowded. Get your own mirror and survey your outfit in private.
Adulting tip: Your busy schedule won't always allow for all the morning outfit changes. When in doubt, just reach for favorite pieces and wear them with confidence.
An Extension Cord and Nonscary Bulbs
Your cords won’t be able to reach all of the outlets, especially if you’re in an older dorm. You’ll need this — trust us.
Adulting tip: Sure, you can run to the store when a bulb burns out, but keeping a box handy means you can continue whatever you're doing without interruption. Whether for your lamp or your roommate's, being prepared might just save the day.
A Pillow That Doubles as Seating
Bringing big furniture into a dorm room doesn’t make sense, but this floor pillow can make guests comfortable and provide an alternate sitting spot for roommates too!
Adulting tip: Remember to vacuum or sweep your floor regularly so your rooms looks nice for spontaneous hangouts.