Furnishings for a dorm room that will make the grade

Posted: August 04, 2012

We surveyed retailers to come up with two lists of dorm necessities and accessories you might want to consider as you're shopping: the requirements and the electives. Take notes on what's right for your room.

The requirements

Bedding. A comforter is usually one of the first dorm purchases. "Your bedding will define your style," says Jessica Joyce, spokeswoman for Bed Bath & Beyond. "It's where you study, eat, sleep and hang out, and it reflects your personality." The Orla Kiely Stem Mini Bed Set is in one of the Irish designer's signature prints and includes a comforter and sham. $149.99. www.bed bathandbeyond.com.

Storage. Add more space for stuff with lightweight portable chests. They have fabric drawers, and swivel casters mean easy transport. Studio 3B Z Drawer Carts come in pink or black. $39.99 for three-drawer; $49.99 for four-drawer. www.bedbathandbeyond.com.

Upgraded desk chair. Replacing the institutional desk chair makes good sense. "Most dorm rooms come with a standard desk chair, but it's usually very plain and not the most comfortable," says Olescia Hanson, spokeswoman for the Container Store. She suggests adding color and comfort with the Bungee Office Chair. The straps are supportive and a pneumatic lift makes it easily adjustable. In green, blue, black, chocolate or pink berry. $139. www.contain erstore.com.

Lamps with personality. Bring some style to the table. "Don't just get a lamp that's beige and boring," says Sabrina Soto, Target's style expert for home. "Injecting some color with your lamp is important because your desk will be full of books and papers."

It's a guy thing. Finding dorm lamps for guys can be a challenge. The bold Walking Man Lamp series, available in blue, yellow or red, features a base in the shape of a dude walking. $15.99. www.target.com.

Technology organization. With so many devices to keep track of and charged, it is wise to designate a multitasking home for them. In the iHome App-Enhanced Triple Charge Dual Alarm Stereo Clock, you can charge your iPhone and iPad at once and wake and sleep to your own playlist or the radio. $129.99. www.bedbathandbeyond.com.

Trash can. An inexpensive accessory that adds personality: Melamine Threadless Wastebaskets are available in five colorful designs. The Threadless global design community, originally known for its innovative T-shirts, now produces unique designs for many products. $9.99. www.bed bathandbeyond.com.

Shower tote. A waterproof carrier for all those hair and body products is a must for trips to the shower down the hall. The Flexible Shower Tote, available in blue/aqua, orange/pink, pink/orange, or aqua/blue, has drain holes and a divider inside. $9.99.

Hooks for a nail-free zone. Create a home for your purses or towels without nailing or screwing anything into the wall with sleek Command Adhesive Nickel Modern Hooks from the Container Store. The hooks adhere to almost any surface and won't damage paint. $8.99 to $13.99. www.containerstore.com.

The electives

Wall decals. Stylish decals bring personality to a boring white dorm room. And they don't take up any space. This removable accessory is best when it makes a bold statement, such as the Chain Chandelier Decal, measuring 28 by 23 inches. It resembles a black crystal chandelier dripping with facets. "It's a fashion statement, and you don't damage anything in the room," says Karen Zuckerman, president and founder of Dormify, a source for dorm gear. Available in black and five other colors. $40. www.dormify.com.

Extra drawers. No room for workout clothes or sweaters? Invest in a White Elfa Mesh Start-A-Stack. Four drawers and a 21-inch depth make it possible to fit in many tight dorm closets for extra storage. www.containerstore.com.  

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