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College Dorm Furniture Essentials

Updated on August 31, 2015

Sleeping may not be the most important activity for a college students but when it comes to furnish a college dorm sleeping comes first. 

Never buy used furniture, specially mattresses, even if you trust the seller. Also never buy a mattress that has been used as a floor model. You never know what else you may be "attached" to the furniture.

Beds - twin extra-long mattress, air bed, bunk bed or loft

The most important piece of furniture in a dorm is the bed. The usual size for a dorm room bed is a twin extra-long (also called twin xl). This bed is narrow and is longer then a usual twin which makes it perfect to fit in small places while accommodating an adult body (and sometimes two bodies).

A twin size bed can be ordered for almost all kinds of mattresses. The prices reflects the comfort level of the mattress with ultra-plush being the most expensive and the firm being the cheapest.

It is recommended that a twin extra-long bed to be ordered as a set composed of a mattress and a box spring for the warranty purposes. If the box spring is different then the mattress then the warranty is voided. Also, this set needs a bed frame in twin extra long also. Some people prefer bed risers because they leave extra room for storage underneath the bed.The bed frame can be skipped though some sets may come with a free frame if the bed set exceeds a certain dollar amount. Although the common mattress set in twin extra long is the most popular type of bed for college dorms, there are other options as well when it comes to sleeping solutions.

Futon beds are the next in popularity, their major advantage is versatility: a bed at night time and a sofa at day time. Some of them can be also turned into a lounge position. Futons can be more expensive then a mattress set and they may also be hard to find. Also they become bigger when open as beds so they will take up extra room. If not used properly, the expanding system can break.

Futon can be used as a bed without a opening them though if there is a sleep over this won't do it. Futons can also use a twin mattress which is shorter then a twin extra long and may be inconvenient for tall students.

There are some other choices for sleeping like air beds which are great for a short periods but do not provide the comfort of a mattress, bunk beds, preferred by students that share a room or use the space for storage and lofts, that can free up storage or working space. Some mattress retailers offer free shipping in certain cases.

A College Dorm Room

User Raul654 on en.wikipedia
User Raul654 on en.wikipedia


Choosing the bedding is either a matter of personality either one of practicality. From dark color sheets that won't embarrass the students ofter a month of use without washing, to elaborated patterns that reflect one's individuality, the bedding selection is only limited to size. Complete the sheet set with a matching comforter, a blanket or throw, and two decorative pillows and that it. Add some cool gadgets like a bedside organizer or a bed-rest and the whole sleeping arrangement is ready.


Solving the sleeping issue is just one piece of the great puzzle that is the college dorm room. Students need a place to do their home-works and store their books and PCs. The next important piece of furniture for a dorm room is the desk.

Choosing a desk could be challenging. The market offers lots of models that fit every need. There are desktops desks, laptop desks, workstations, wall mount desktops, laptop tables and hutches that can be placed in top of a desk or a table. Besides functionality, there is color, material and style to select. The best dorm desks are both functional and decorative. Usually, they are made for laptops, have shelves to store office necessities, are light weight and small. Some of them have wheels that allow to be moved around the room. Every retailer that offers back to school furniture has one or more desks on its show room. But the online market is richer and sometimes cheaper.


Pairing the desk with a desk chair should be a simple task. There is a wide variety of ergonomic chairs in bright or dark colors, with adjustable seat and arm rest for that long nights of study. A simple wooden folding chair may not be so comfortable but it is easier to store.

Butterfly chairs are very popular, though cannot be used as a desk chair but more for relaxing, while reading a book or have a chat with fellow students. They are light weight, cushioned or not and can be folded and stored in their own case.

The very popular bean bags are also a good choice. They come in a large diversity of colors and sizes making them perfect to fit in the college dorm room. Lately, ottoman chairs are in vogue. Cushioned, in many colors and patterns, ottomans have the advantage of providing storage space.

The bed, the desk and the chair are the three essential pieces of furniture for a college dorm room. Other items like electronics, small appliances, decoration are a matter of personal needs, lifestyle and budget. The most useful of them can be found in the kitchen department. Other popular items includes bookcases, baskets and drawers fore storage, rugs, mirrors and lamps, picture frames and wall decor.

Small kitchen appliances for the college dorm room

Fridge -  if not stuffed with beer, could be actually used to store food, so necessary after a midnight party.

Microwave oven - so convenient, some people can't live without it.

Coffeemaker/coffee grinder -  turns into gold when study is required. It can be replaced by caffeinated soda from the fridge but the beer won't do it.

Electric hot pot - cheap and versatile,  makes instant soup, good for cold winter days.   Sandwich maker - easy to store and use.


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    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 6 years ago

      Great idea Beverly. Hope the reader will find it useful. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      Beverly 6 years ago

      One great type of bedding for dorm beds is a bunk bed hugger. It's perfect on many types of beds. Available in twin XL and many fabrics, this fitted comforter is easy to make and it stays in place. Add a few throw pillows and you have a makeshift couch.

    • profile image

      Val Garner 7 years ago

      Great tips and resources!!! Never heard of a bed bug proof cover before.