8 Dorm Room Extras Worth the Investment

Do you really need a giant flat-screen TV in your tiny dorm room? What about a mini fridge? A massaging lounge pillow?

Dorm room purchases can add up. A 2017 survey from the National Retail Federation found that the typical college student, with a little help from mom and dad, spends roughly $970 on clothes, electronics and dorm supplies.

Use our list to figure out which dorm room items give you the best return on investment and which items might not be worth the extra dough.

1. High-quality bedding

Invest in soft sheets, a cozy comforter and a supportive pillow. These items will help keep you well rested for daily classes and big exams. Springing for a good mattress pad can make an unfamiliar bed feel more like home, too. 

2. Coffee maker

Even a high-end coffee maker offers a good return on investment if it replaces a few trips to the coffee shop or convenience store each week. With a little luck, you’ll still be using it when graduation rolls around.

3. Surge-protecting power strip

Many dorm rooms run short on outlets. When power-strip shopping, look for a model that includes surge protection. This safeguards your pricey electronics from potentially damaging power surges. For a little extra money, you can find one that offers battery backup, giving you time to save your work even after the power goes out.

4. Basic microwave

Skip the fancy extra features. They’re wasted on reheating leftovers and making popcorn. A basic countertop model costs less and saves money on late-night snack runs. This is another item that will likely last post-graduation.

5. Headphones and earplugs

You want to study but your roommate is watching TV. Resist the urge to buy expensive noise-canceling headphones and opt instead for simple foam earplugs. What about when you want to watch TV or listen to music? A pair of basic headphones will do the trick and keep you on good terms with your roommate.

6. Mini refrigerator

Investing in a small refrigerator allows you to eat basic meals and snacks in your room and potentially downgrade to a less expensive meal plan. Plus, it’s easy to sell your gently used mini fridge to an incoming freshman once you’re ready to move off campus.

7. Laptop computer and streaming service

You will likely need a laptop for academic pursuits while in college, so why not let it serve double duty? Skip the flat-screen TV and sign up for a streaming service instead. There are several inexpensive options for watching shows and movies directly from your computer.

8. Desk or bedside lamp

Choose a lamp that combines style and function to make this investment count. A colorful lamp can brighten up a dorm room and make it easier to study while your roommate snoozes. Ambient lighting can also do wonders for your mood and productivity.

Want to prepare yourself financially before heading off to school? Learn 5 money terms to know before college.


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This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and irs.gov for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.