Because off-campus life is quite different from dorm life.
Junior year just started, and that means that I have graduated from the dorms. It also means that I am my own roommate, and my room does not have a built in fridge, desk, or bed for me. In these last couple weeks, I’ve found there are different room essentials required once you get your own space.
I’m learning quickly that dorm life is very different from off-campus life. And having your own room in college is a new thing, considering I was so used to living with people. At first I didn’t know what I would need in my room, because I certainly was not used to having that much space to myself at school. But after a couple weeks, I’ve compiled a list of everything you need (and don’t need) in your own college room.
So whether you moved in recently but feel like you’re forgetting something, or you’re seeking inspo, check out these room essentials for your own college space.
In the dorms, you can get away with not having a nightstand, and there is barely any space for it. But in your own room, you certainly can have one. This white nightstand is from Magnolia. I have my books stacked on top, along with some flowers, a lamp, and some pens to annotate my books. For more on what to put on your nightstand, check out these nightstand essentials.
I brought this desk from home, and it has been a great addition to the room. For college, I would recommend bringing furniture from home, or buying some off a friend who is graduating. I use this desk for doing schoolwork and getting ready.
3. Cart for all your junk that you would stuff in your desk
These ikea-inspired carts are a gift from above. You know that one drawer at home where you stuff everything that doesn’t have a place? That’s the purpose this piece serves, but in a more organized way. I fit all my folders on the top shelf, books in the middle, and school supplies on the bottom. I also recommend putting your cart next to your desk for easy access.
Again, this is something not directly supplied by the school, so it makes the cut for room essentials. I got mine from Wayfair. I’ve found this is a great place for furniture because they have good quality pieces, but for affordable prices.
5. Wall art
Since you now have all of this wall space, it’s worth it to put up some art. I get a lot of my pieces from History in High Heels Etsy shop. I love this designer because she makes bright, preppy pieces that are bound to fill your room with color.
6. Cute bedding
I got this bedding in celebration of graduating from the dorm-twin-bed. I love having a white one because it makes the room feel airy and bright. I got my bedding from Nordstrom, and am absolutely in love with it. Sometimes I feel like I am falling asleep in a big, puffy cloud – and that is quite a wonderful feeling.
7. Fun pillows
I was going for a navy and pink theme, so that’s where these pillows were inspired from. I got the gingham pillow covers from Etsy, through ElemenOPillows (what a cute name). The floral one is from JolieMarche. She makes the most elegant, beautiful designs – and her pillow covers are made with pristine quality. I’d definitely recommend checking out both of these creative Etsy shops.
Spice up your room with a cute headboard. Mine is from Wayfair, but in the past years we’ve made our own. There are tons of helpful tutorials on how to make your own headboard, and it’s a great project to take on with your mom.
9. An inspirational nook
This tapestry is something I can look at first thing in the morning when I’m getting ready, and last thing at night when I’m about to hit the hay. It’s another reminder that I am secure, and that is a wonderful feeling. This one is from Modern Burlap, and her store sells the cutest wall decor with bible verses.
As for the wall of quotes, I accidentally printed out these screenshots in my Walgreens photo order. But because I printed out quotes of the same theme (trusting God, which I frankly suck at), I figured to start an inspo wall. If you’re a words person, I would really recommend making yourself an affirmation wall, so you can constantly remind yourself of truth.
I have a gray and white patterned rug from HomeGoods, and the key is to go fluffy. Seriously, sometimes I want to just lay on my rug because it’s almost like a bed in itself. The fluffier, the better.
11. String lights
String lights are a no-brainer. I got these from Bed Bath and Beyond.
It’s wonderful to have some real-looking windows when you have your own room. Gone are the days of sharing one small window for a dark dorm room. I got these curtains from HomeGoods for a really good price (HomeGoods saves lives). And if your shades let light through, I recommend getting opaque curtains so you can sleep at night.
13. Over-the-door hanger
I use my over-the-door hanger for my purses, and it saves a whole lot of closet space.
14. Pictures of your people
Of course you gotta get your people in there. Print out at Walgreens photos of your friends, family, or boyfriend. These photos might be some of the best accessories in your room.
What you don’t need…
It’s really hard to have time for television at school, unless it is in the living room with friends. I had one in my room for a solid week before I realized that it took up a lot of space, and I wasn’t using it at all. I ended up bringing it back home so my parents could find a nice spot for it, where it might actually get used.
You might think I am crazy for not having a TV in my room, but I found that it’s enough to only have one in the living room. That way you can bond with your roomies when you really want to watch that episode of the Bachelor, and it limits you from becoming a hermit. You only get one college experience, so make it count (without Netflix).
2. Stuff on every wall
I recommend not putting something on every wall, because it will make your room look a little clustered. It might look naked at first, but resist the urge. This way the star features of your room will be able to stand out more.
3. All your toilet tries
Finally, after two years, you have your own bathroom. That means you don’t need to keep everything in your tiny space – including face wash, towels, and curling irons. I keep all of those in our bathroom closet now, in whicker baskets organized by skincare, hair, and medicine. I recommend doing the same so you can keep all your products organized.
All in all, I hope this list has given you some clarity for your own college room. Having your own space in college is a gift – and it’s worth making that space special.
What are your college room essentials? Comment below!