College Dorm Furniture Essentials

empty dorm room

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Campus life can be crowded. These items of dorm room furniture will save space in any dorm or room-share, allowing greater freedom and less stress.

College Dorm Furniture Essentials

When living in a college dorm or other cramped student housing, it’s important to conserve space, and not all furniture is created alike. In fact, the design of the furniture in the room is absolutely key to living comfortably. While some colleges furnish their own dorms, in others students can provide beds of their own; and even in pre-furnished dormitories, adding space-saving furniture can provide an extra edge on storage and comfort. Find out how to furnish a dorm room for maximum space.

Classic Dorm Loft Beds

A loft bed is a must for any student who needs to acquire a bed for his or her dormitory. Loft beds are like the top bunk of a bunk bed without the bottom bunk: they create some privacy above and below. Students can use the space below a loft bed for a computer or study desk and, by positioning the desk in the space between the middle and end of the bed, still have room for bookshelves or a dresser.

Loft beds can be expensive. However, for a dorm or room-share with high ceilings, IKEA offers several affordable models to be assembled at home. For even more dedicated do-it-yourself students, loft bed plans are available from several companies, such as OP Loftbed.

Storage Ottomans

A storage ottoman is just what it sounds like: an ottoman with storage inside, “ottoman” being the name of that funny piece of furniture that’s like a footrest. Even if a footrest doesn’t seem like the most essential piece of furniture, the right ottoman can double as seating, and the hideaway storage inside can function as a place to store laundry. Voila – it’s easier to sit down in the cramped space of a dorm room, and no one sees the dirty laundry. This is a win all around.

Dorm Desks and Hutches

Some desks have a built-in hutch; with others, it’s possible to add the hutch around a computer. A hutch is basically a shelf that goes over the desk, creating space for books and school materials and sometimes even filing.

A desk hutch is not always compatible with a loft bed, but for a student whose housing has its own dorm beds or built-in high sleeper beds, a hutch can create more storage space without taking up a lot of valuable floor space.

Dorm Furniture Tips

Acquiring a set of cool dorm furniture isn’t limited to the options above. When selecting furnishings for new campus housing, remember these dorm room design tips:

Think vertical. Floor space might be limited, but few room layouts make sufficient use of their walls.

Also remember to look behind, around, underneath, and within. Overlooked storage options might be hiding under other pieces of furniture – coffee tables and desks, and non-folding chairs, usually have some room underneath or can be replaced with ones that have this room.

Dorm Decoration Idea: Letter Boards

letter board

Letter boards are a fun and creative way to decorate dorm rooms for a unique touch. Whether you choose to display inspirational quotes, messages from friends, funny letter board quotes, or favorite memories, letter boards can add a personal element to any space. Letter boards come in various sizes, colors and materials, so you can select one that will best match your own dorm room’s style. Plus, they are easy to install and make a big impact on the overall look of the room. Not only do letter boards show off your creative side, but they also give you an opportunity to express yourself and start conversations with other students in the dorm.

College Dorm Furniture Essentials


Finally, even though it’s often hard to choose, it’s always a good practice to consider all items carefully before keeping them. Ask whether any given possession will still be enjoying a few years from now and whether it really belongs in college life, before deciding to make space for it.

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