Back-to-School Dorm Room Essentials

I was lucky enough to have lived in two really great dorm situations. While I never lived in the much lauded historic dorm building at my school, both of my rooms were quite beautiful with high ceilings and enormous, arched windows. In both situations, I went into campus move-in day with very distinct aesthetic visions for how I wanted my room to look and feel. The first room (see below---yes, those are photos of Alexander Skarsgard and James Dean, thank you) was to have a vaguely preppy vibe with little elements of contemporary art and European travel posters thrown in. Yes, I was that girl.  

For the second room (see above), I veered away from the nautical prep theme and into purely, classical collegiate territory with a Persian rug, leather bound notebooks, several stacks of books, and needlepoint pillows set against stark white bedding. 

I always loved my dorm rooms. They felt like home and were super cozy, which helped with my academic performance and also created the kind of collegiate atmosphere and experience that we all tend to crave after years of watching Gilmore Girls, Harry Potter, and other campus-based shows and films. The way your dorm looks and feels really, truly makes a difference when it comes to what kind of college experience you have.

I'm happy to have experienced what was my dream dorm decor at the time, but tastes change every so often and there are a few tweaks I would make if I had the chance to decorate my dream dorm now that I am a year and a half out of college. 

It can be hard to find tasteful, good quality bedding that fits the Twin XL dorm mattresses. So, I'd start with a clean, white comforter from Crane & Canopy as well as their Luxe Mattress Pad to help make those ungodly dormitory mattresses more comfortable. I regrettably never invested in a proper mattress pad and often took refuge in my roommate's bed because she layered two mattress pads on top of one another and created the most comfortable dorm bed ever. I would also stock up on of lavender-vanilla linen spray to help make the ungodly dorm bed feel more like a high-end hotel.

To keep things cozy, I'd have a nice cable-knit throw to keep warm on cold nights or to cover up with while studying at my desk. In addition, my dream splurge item would be an orange Avalon blanket from Hermes to hang on the back of a chair or lay flat at the end of the bed. Can you imagine? I would then replace the needlepoint pillows with white Mongolian lamb pillows to add a little bit of Scandi flair.

The desk accessories would be copper or rose gold and, of course, monogrammed. I would add a few whimsical accessories like this bunny wine stopper. The art would likely still consist of old European travel posters with a few antique portraits thrown in for good measure to help create the academic feel of an historic library. To create a cozy mood, try out a few flameless candles. These always made my space feel relaxed and allowed us to turn off the fluorescent lights.

To cover the supplementary essentials, I would start with an electric tea kettle (specifically the mint green one from KitchenAid). These are great for making cups of tea and coffee, but are also helpful when cooking meals like couscous, steamed vegetables, and ramen. It's also wise to begin accumulating a collection of mugs that are monogrammed or funny or swiped from the diner across the street. 

Stock your desk drawers with healthy snacks from Sakara, Moon Juice or the packaged food sections of Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Erewhon. 

Finally, it's important to add in a few decorative details to pay homage to your school. At the very least, hang a pennant and be sure to save it to later incorporate into your post-grad space.

This post was created in collaboration with Crane & Canopy, who offer a great selection of really cute Twin XL bedding for your dorm.