The dorm room is a quintessential part of college life. It is where friendships are formed, homework is done and sleep is had (if you are lucky). It may be roughly the size of a closet, but it is home all the same. As such, care should be taken when choosing what to fill it with.
First off, it is important to comply fully with dorm regulations, which will vary from school to school. If your contract says “no candles”, saying “I wasn’t going to light it!” won’t get you out of trouble after an inspection. I was actually written up and given a few hours of community service for having a decorative piece of fabric tacked to my cieling. On that note, if anything listed here is termed illegal for the dorm in question, for God’s sake, leave it at home.
I found it greatly helpful to have bed risers. Bed Bath and Beyond is a great place to get them. The higher your bed, the more space you have under it. If you want a higher bed, but, like mine, your dorm won’t allow you to boost it up with cinder blocks (apparently a few years back there were problems with people chucking them out windows at the end of the year), buy multiple sets of risers. They stack, and each additional set will give you another couple inches. By putting my bed on two sets stacked together, I was actually able to fit my mini-fridge (one of the tiny cube ones was all I needed) under my bed! A huge space saver.
The mini-fridge is an essential in and of itself. The convenience of having food in your room is indespensible. In this same regard, I also reccomend that if your contract allows, you have a microwave or a hot pot. This would allow any number of hot beverages or meals. If you don’t have room for a microwave or if it isn’t allowed, the hot pot can still be used to make things like tea, oatmeal or easymac.
Some sort of organization is also going to be necessary. A couple of stackable plastic drawers for under the bed worked great for me. Desktop organizers also helped because our desks didn’t have a lot of drawers. Closet organizers are also important as most closets are going to be annoyingly small. Hangers, maybe a hanging compartment for shoes or folded things are all important. You will also benefit from having a shower caddy to carry shampoo, conditioner, razor, bodywash, etc. to and from your room to the communal showers, and a hamper/laundry bag that would be easily hauled to and from the laundry facilities.
Dorm room lighting is usually bland and flourescent, so you will also find it very helpful to have a desk lamp or other softer lighting to make a more comfortable atmosphere for yourself. You would be surprised at how much the harsh lighting will get to you after awhile. Also, a desk lamp becomes indespensible when you need to be up late working on something and your roommate decides to hit the hay at 10:00.
It is also nearly impossible to do the dorms, or really college, without a computer. I highly reccomend a laptop as opposed to a desktop because it is great to be able to go someplace else if the dorm gets too noisy or annoying to facilitate study. Sometimes it is also good to bring it to class for note-taking or presentations. If possible, a printer would be a good idea because printing in campus computer labs can be inconvenient and expensive.
The other important thing to remember is to bring plenty of flair to your room. Personalize it, or it will depress you. Bring pictures of family and friends, things that remind you of home, and decorative items just because you like them. The dorm is home for nine months, so make the most of it!