Going off to college is a daunting experience: leaving home for the first time and entering a new and unfamiliar world—there’s a lot to think about.
Aside from the emotional and mental stress, heading to college also involves a lot of logistical planning. Making lists of everything you need to buy and prepare for your dorm can be just as nerve-wracking.
One thing that you should not take for granted is your choice of bedding. After all, your dorm bed will be your haven when you’re not in class or socializing with friends. You will spend at least ⅓ of your college years on your bed, so you must set it up to be as comfortable as possible.
Read on for a list of all the bedding you will need to stock up on:
Back to School Bedding Essentials
The right bedding is crucial to transforming your dorm room into a cozy haven. Here’s how you can create a home away from home:
When living in a dorm, your bed will likely become a multifunctional surface—you will not just sleep on it. It will likely double as a primary seating area when you study, relax, and hang out with friends.
This means you should also think about durability on top of comfort. Your sheets should withstand the wear and tear of college life, such as late-night study sessions and weekend hangs.
Do not settle for cheap sheets that can get torn up by a stray toenail. Choose high-quality fabric made of soft, durable, breathable material for all-weather use. Bamboo, cotton, sateen, percale, and linen are the best and most affordable choices.
Choose colors that soothe you and suit your preferred aesthetic. You can go plain or choose prints that bring you joy and show off your personality. Darker colors are relatively low-maintenance as they hide stains well. They last longer, too.
Getting the size right is also important, as dorm beds often have unusual dimensions. Call the housing department to confirm standard mattress sizes before going on a shopping spree.
Pillows and Pillow Covers
Good pillows are crucial for a good night’s sleep. A comfortable pillow can prevent neck aches and muscle cramps no matter how much you toss and turn in bed—no waking up with a stiff neck!
Firm and supportive pillows with side gussets are best if you sleep on your back or side. If you sleep on your stomach, get softer down pillows.
Many bed sheet sets include standard pillowcases that should fit any type of pillow you choose. But before you purchase anything, double-check the measurements.
You can also invest in separate pillowcase sets if you have material preferences or if you want to mix and match designs.
In fact, we advise getting an extra pillow with a sham set on it to go in front of your sleeping pillow, thus to keep the pillow you sleep on more sanitary. Sleep with your regular pillow at night and set aside in the morning. This is because your pillow is regularly exposed to dirt and dust throughout the day, especially if you have company over or use your bed to study. Sleeping on a dirty pillowcase is very unhygienic; this way, your sleeping pillow will always have a clean surface to sleep on!
Consider a satin finish for your spare pillowcase, as the smooth material is excellent for your skin and hair. It also feels very luxurious.
Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you can’t pamper yourself in little ways, right?
Mattress Topper and Protector
Dorm room mattresses usually aren’t optimized for comfort. This is why a mattress topper is a worthy investment for maximum support when you sleep. The additional layer of soft plushness will help keep you comfortable, so you wake up each morning feeling rested and ready to take on the day.
A mattress protector is also a valuable addition to your bedding set as it keeps allergens away while maintaining comfortable breathability. If you’re sensitive to dust, pollen, and other common respiratory allergens, this is a must.
Thin and thick blankets are essential to bring so you are prepared for all kinds of weather conditions. Thicker blankets can be warm and comfortable during winters, but they can feel extremely stuffy during the warmer months. You can switch to relatively thinner blankets for covering without being too hot and stifling.
Bringing both may seem over-the-top and redundant, but you’ll realize their value months into life as a college student when you face sudden drops or peaks in temperature. Local weather can be very unpredictable, and it’s better to be prepared!
Getting the right size is also crucial: too long, and it’ll sweep over the floor, which is very unhygienic. Too short, and you’ll be tossing and turning around for coverage all night.
Investing in duvet covers is also a good idea. They will prevent you from needing to wash your duvet multiple times, as you can simply slip off the cover and wash that instead.
Having spare covers on hand also means that you’ll always have backups in case of spills and stains.
Duvet covers are great for promoting hygiene and also making your space look aesthetic and welcoming.
Throw Pillows & Decorative Pillows
Throw pillows are a great addition to your dorm bed for those cozy afternoons spent studying or socializing. They provide homely warmth to the room and make for a cozy, comfortable, and simple way to decorate.
Anyone entering your dorm room will be impressed by how inviting throw pillows make it look!
Throw pillows aren’t just decorative; they’re also functional. They will provide extra support as you find the best position to maintain a proper posture as you work. You can snuggle into them when watching films to relax. And at night, they can double as body pillows for extra support while you sleep.
Your dorm room is the perfect place to express yourself, but if space is a factor, then multifunctional decorative pieces are always the best option.
Decorative pillows can elevate your interior decor and be used for sleeping and relaxing.
Dorm beds are often not very high, with very little space underneath. However, storage is always limited in dorm rooms, and creating space is essential for organization and maintaining an airy space.
Bed lifts will raise the bed, adding vertical space beneath the bed and instantly adding to your storage options. You can keep baskets of clothes, books, linens, towels, and other essential items under your bed. They are all easily accessible but still out of the way, so your living space remains neat and tidy.
You can use oversized bedding to drape over the area to keep everything out of sight.
Portable Bed Desks
Though bed desks aren’t technically part of your bedding, they should be a part of your bed-related list when purchasing things for college.
A foldable, portable bed desk can be easily moved around and stored out of reach, so it doesn’t get in the way when not in use. Available in various sizes, materials, styles, and colors, you can definitely find something to suit your needs.
Bed desks are great for when you want to study and make notes or work on your laptop from the comfort of your bed. They often have glass or bottle holders and grooves for pens, so you can stay hydrated and keep your stationery handy while you work.
If you’re relaxing and watching your favorite film over the weekend, you can put your laptop on the desk and enjoy your screening in a comfortable position.
Some desks even have holders for your phone or tablet! Add a small lamp and book holder to the mix, and you can create a portable study table.
Throw blankets and quilts add a cozy feeling to the room, and they are charming and functional pieces of decor to liven up your space. Plus, it’s always nice to have extra blankets on hand!
You can choose throws in different colors, prints, and materials. They are fantastic additions for your bed or to drape over a chair to add a pop of color and warmth.
Weighted blankets are a great way to cope with the challenges of college life. Their deep pressure stimulation helps boost serotonin and reduce stress so you can sleep soundly without being plagued by nightmares of submission deadlines and exams.
You can also get decorative blanket covers for your weighted blanket to further elevate your mood and mitigate anxiety.
Comforters are cozy, warm, and super soft—the perfect combination to make you feel comfortable and snug. You can use this as your primary bed cover or store it away for the colder months, depending on the climate in your location. Besides, it is easy to care for. It replaces having a duvet and a top sheet - it is one piece you have to wash only. Also, you don’t have to hassle trying to remove the duvet cover and putting it back on. You’ll have that extra time to spend studying…
Lumbar pillows are extremely important for maintaining good posture while you sit and supporting your body as you sleep. They will keep you comfortable as you work at your desk or bed.
Shower Essentials for Dorms
You should invest in at least two sets of basic towels when heading off to college. This includes a full-sized towel and a hand towel.
A shower curtain will keep your bathroom neat and tidy, and should definitely be added to your list of essentials. Showers come in many different prints and materials—cotton, linen, and hemp are the best choices. Don’t forget to purchase a plastic liner to go with it!
Whether you have a private bathroom or a shared one, a shower caddy is essential to keep all of your products organized.
You can’t do without flip flops in college. Whether you’re simply walking down the dorm hallways or heading to the bathroom or pantry, they will protect your feet and they’re easy to slip on and off.
Loungewear for College
Loungewear is essential as they are practical and comfortable items that can also be worn out.
Your loungewear essentials should include the following:
A hoodie is the perfect loungewear item as it is super versatile and can be worn just about anywhere. If you’re just hanging out in your dorm and need to head out with little notice, you can pair jeans with your hoodie, and you’re good to go!
A robe is a comfortable and practical cover-up whether you’ve just stepped out of the shower or in your pajamas and have an unexpected visitor.
You should invest in a few pairs of comfortable shorts that can be worn with different tees. They’re great to wear when it’s warm out, and you can just put a jacket on top when the weather turns.
Joggers and sweatpants are everyday articles of clothing that belong in any closet, especially when you’re in college. When it’s cool out, but you don’t want to wear a pair of jeans or other pants, joggers or sweatpants are ideal as they are soft and comfortable yet still quite stylish.
Putting on shoes and other complicated footwear can be a hassle if you just want to head out to pick up a parcel or have a quick chat with your friend. Slippers are great as they are light and don’t require any effort!
Here are some additional items you should consider investing in to make the college dorm experience more pleasant:
- White Noise Machine
- College dorms are noisy even late at night, which can make it difficult to sleep. A white noise machine will reduce distractions and help you fall asleep no matter what is happening outside your room.
- Sleep Mask
- If you happen to share a space with a roommate or your sleeping area does not get completely dark, a sleep mask is the best solution to let your eyes rest.
- Investing in a sturdy rug with a unique pattern is a fun way to liven up your space and create optional seating on the floor.
- Meditation Pillow
- With a meditation pillow and rug, you can create a comfortable nook for when you need to destress with a few minutes of meditation.
- Bolster Pillow
- Bolster pillows are great for yoga, meditation, and stretching. These mindfulness activities will help you mitigate stress and reduce anxiety.
- A table or floor fan is a great room accessory if indoor ventilation is a bit lacking.
- Noise Canceling Headphones
- Whether you’re studying, trying to sleep, or listening to your favorite tunes, noise-canceling headphones should be on your college electronics list. Blocking out the background noise of college life will make a world of difference.
- Study Lamp
- A study lamp will make life so much easier when you’re trying to cram on the night before finals. You can get all your revisions done without bothering your roommate!
- A cozy chair to lounge in is something every college student needs. You can’t just rely on your bed and floor pillow after all!
- Scents are a great addition to your college packing list for relaxing aromatherapy sessions. Diffusers and room sprays are great alternatives to candles - as these aren’t always allowed in dorms.
Tips for Maintaining Your Dorm Bed and Bedding
- Wash your bed linens as often as possible. This will prevent stains from hardening and becoming difficult to remove later on.
- Use the right detergents and fabric softeners for your linens so they will last as long as possible. Follow manufacturer instructions to the letter.
- Make your bed every morning to give your dorm room a neat appearance.
- Use a spare pillow cover and spare bedspread to sit on during the day to keep your actual bed sheet and pillows clean and hygienic for sleep.
- Avoid wearing footwear on your bed.
- Keep a tiny vacuum or brush handy to clean up crumbs if you tend to snack in bed. Cleaning up after yourself will keep bedbugs and dust mites at bay.
- Fluff your pillows to keep them soft and squishy. Switch sides regularly so you don’t wear out one side more than the other.
College can be overwhelming, but you’ll soon be settled in. A comfortable, warm, cozy bed will make the adjustment much more manageable.
When you head off to college, pack one set of bed linens where they will be easy to retrieve, so the first thing you can do when you arrive is make your bed. This way, you can snuggle in for a nap when the exhaustion of traveling, setting up your dorm room, and attending to your college duties.
Now that you know everything you need for your dorm, you’re all set to wake up fresh and energized for orientation day! Shop with Sunday Citizen for high-quality yet affordable linens made with custom fabric that’s breathable, comfortable, and will last for years.