College Checklist: 20 Popular Freshman Dorm Extras (2023)

College is expensive and getting kids ready for school can be a strain on any budget. We have looked at the basics that are on each college checklist to see what every student needs, the items most teens cannot live without. If your budget can stretch to it, here are the things that students love and use all year long.

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Favorite Dorm Extras for Your Freshman’s College Checklist

1. Extra Big Pillow

Dorm beds have no headboards so adding an extra pillow will create a little bit of luxury for your freshman. We love oversize pillows, like these backrest pillows, that our teens can use to lean against the wall when they sit in bed and study. These are available in 8 pretty colors.

Pottery Barn pillow

2. IKEA Frakta Bag

 These are not only incredibly helpful for move-in day, but they are all excellent to use as under-bed storage for bulky sheets and towels or off-season items.

IKEA bag

4. T-Shirt Quilt

Ordering a quilt from Project Repat is one of our favorite ways to bring a little bit of home to a dorm room as there is nothing that is more personal than a blanket stitched from memories. Take all the shirts from camps, class days, family trips and ship them to Project Repat – they do the rest.

T-shirt quilt

4. Hydro Flask Water Bottle

Hydro Flask water bottles and tumblers are the PERFECT gift for your student as they head off to college! They are made of stainless steel and keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot for hours. Try customizing it if your teen wants something unique and trendy that only they will have. You can choose different cap, strap, bottle, and boot colors to make a cool and creative combination!
Hydro Flask bottles

5. 10 FT Lightning Cable

Your student will appreciate the 10 foot cable to charge their phone as outlets in dorm rooms are scarce and not always conveniently located.

Anker 10 ft cable 2022

6. Safe or Lockbox

This is well worth the expense for any student but more so if your teen wants to take a passport, valuable jewelry or has prescription meds that they need to keep secure.

master lock

7. Clothes Steamer

If your teen is used to looking neat and prefers clothes that have been ironed, consider a steamer rather than an ironing board and iron since there is little room for these bulky items.

clothes steamer

8. Dimmable Desk Lamp with Wireless Charger and USB Port

Roommates rarely go to sleep at the same time and, when your student is up late studying (we can hope!) turning the light down with this lamp’s dimmer switch will be greatly appreciated. This one also has a USB port, which is a super-useful feature.

desk lamp


Dorm rooms without air conditioning are roasting hot during the first and last months of the school year and a desk fan can help when your kid is trying to finish a paper, study for a test or sleep.  WOOZOO fans have become very popular.

woo zoo

10. Utility Cart

This is one of those dorm purchases that could easily be used in many different ways. Great for storage in a dorm room, or bath room, it could also hold snacks and supplies, or be used as a night stand between two beds. Available in white or grey.

utility cart

11. Plastic Dishes

Students will want to have some way to heat food in a microwave or pour themselves a bowl of cereal. This set comes in cute colors and is microwavable and dishwasher safe.

target dishes

12. Refrigerator Cart

There is nothing quite as filthy and disgusting as the floor of a college dorm room. Putting a refrigerator that holds food on that floor, well, yuck, just yuck. Here is the answer. This Mesh Compact Fridge Cart,by The Container Store, will be one piece your freshman can use for four years.

Dorm extras to add to a college checklist

13. Extra Seating

When friends get together in a dorm room, the is often no place to sit besides one desk chair and the beds.  A folding chair like this lounge chair is a good solution to the problem and can also be a more comfortable place for reading. Available in multiple colors and finishes.

sling chair

14. Wireless Earbuds

Having a good set of headphones can help to block out the noise that even the quietest roommate makes. Choosing what to buy depends on how your teen will most use them and how much you want to spend. Jabra Elite are some of the most highly-recommended wireless earbuds.

Jabra earbuds

15. Bose Headphones

Bose has always been known for their excellent audio products and their over-the-ear headphones are among the top noise-cancelling ones on the market.

bose headphones

16. Shower Speaker

One of our sons roomed with five other boys and shared a bathroom – yikes! They installed a speaker like this one, a Water Resistant Bluetooth Shower Speaker,and listened to the music from their phones while showering. shower speakers

17. Extra storage

This ingenious Storage Ottoman from Dormify also doubles as extra seating when the top flips up to create a chair. It comes equipped with dividers for shoes and folds flat when not in use.

18. Area Rug

Cold and dirty dorm floors can be vastly improved with area rugs but make sure you select one that is durable and won’t show stains. Here are machine washable area rugs that we think could be a great addition to a dorm.

pottery barn rug

19. Lingerie Bag

Freshmen need to master the art of laundry in college and using Mesh Laundry Bagscan be a practical and inexpensive way to take care of delicate undergarments and to keep track of used face masks that need to be washed.

lingerer bags

20. Closet Storage

If your teen has a closet in their dorm room, outfitting it with bins, hanging storage and other ways to maximize the space could be a big help.

closet inserts

All students, and parents, will need to have face masks and these are the most popular ones in our Grown and Flown community.

You Might Also Enjoy Reading:

College Move-in Day: 12 Items That Will Save Your Life These are the things that the Grown and Flown community told us made all the difference on move-in day.

Bestselling Dorm Essentials for College Freshmen  If you’re making a list of other nice-to-have dorm supplies, this is a great place to look.

Chances are you have your college checklist for your college freshmen all ready, but if you can stretch your budget a tiny bit more, these are the most popular dorm room extras your teen really wants. #teens #teenagers #collegelife #dormchecklist #dormroom #dormlife #collegekid #college #dormdecor

About Grown and Flown

Mary Dell Harrington and Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan are the co-founders of Grown and Flown the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. They are writers (Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author), moms, wives and friends. They started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and are co-authors of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

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