The Perfect Dorm Room Gifts To Surprise College Students With
These are the gifts for dorm room life that literally all college students LOVE to get.
Coming up with gift ideas for future college students and current college students can be a struggle.
What kind of dorm room essentials do they need? Which tech gifts do they want? What stuff is actually useful for students at college these days?
To save you the guesswork of wondering what to get someone for their dorm:
I rounded up all the best ideas into one ultimate wish list guide. I included all the most useful gifts for college students living in the dorms. You’ll find everything from day-to-day necessities to the cool nice-to-have extras, all available at different price points that suit your budget.
Here are the top 68 dorm room gifts that you just can’t go wrong with.
The Most Popular Picks
Comfy Dorm Room Essentials
I like this Huanuo lap desk because it has a built-in wrist pad and it’s wide enough to comfortably fit everything a student needs to hunker down for a productive study session.
- Fit up to 17“ laptops
- Built-in mouse pad
- Slots to prop up a tablet and phone
- Padded wrist rest and cushions underneath for added comfort
The best gifts for dorm rooms right now? Wedge pillows!!
Not only does it function as a stylish headboard, but it also helps with posture issues because it gives great back support. This underrated college must-have makes dorm beds way more comfortable. The Wowmax Wedge Pillow is big improvement compared to just propping yourself up with a regular bed pillow.
Dorm essentials include a sturdy, oversized laundry bag. One with a carry strap is an ideal choice because makes the trek to laundry room easier.
These laundry bags from EmbroideryStation1 on Etsy are awesome personalized dorm room gifts for guys and girls!
Keeping hydrated is vital for busy college students which is why a nice water bottle is always a good dorm gift!
Hydro Flasks are a pick that will not only last all four years of college, but also well into their first post-grad career and beyond. A 20 oz water bottle is an ideal size because it conveniently slides into the side pockets of a college backpack without any fuss.
- Pro-grade stainless steel for durability, pure taste and no flavor transfer
- Durable powder coating, sweat-free and colorful
- Double-wall vacuum insulation
- Leakproof flex cap
Often cramped, it doesn’t take much for dorm rooms to start smelling funky. An air purifier is a great option for improving the air quality in a college dorm. It really does wonders for keeping the room smelling fresh and clean!
I like this Aeroeve Air Purifier because it’s a compact size and quiet, yet still powerful. Plus it even doubles as an essential oil diffuser for those who like to want to add a touch fragrance.
The college students with allergies and/or asthma I know say this is the best dorm gift they’ve gotten.
Getting up for 8am classes can pretty rough. But waking up early isn’t so bad when you have a sunrise alarm clock to gently transition you from slumber into consciousness.
Their college roommates would definitely prefer a soothing sunrise simulation instead of dealing with multiple annoying phone alarms in the morning, among other things. Trust me, it's a much nicer way to wake up and start the day for everyone! I use to have the hardest time getting my day going until I got an alarm clock like this.
It’s important for college students to get quality rest to do their best at school. Student housing is hub of hustle and bustle, and it’s not unusual dormmates to be on different schedules.
A sleep mask that blocks out all the light is a total lifesaver for college students living in dorms!! They’ll be able to easily nap whenever they need and roommates keeping lights on will become a non-issue.
People of all ages can be afraid of the dark. And college is usually the first time young adults are out on their own in the world.
A couple of night lights can go a long way for helping freshman feel more comfortable in an unfamiliar space. Besides, a motion sensor night light is just plain practical to have for those times when they need to get up to use the restroom in the middle of the night.
A fan is an absolute dorm room essential for non-air-conditioned dorms — it’s miserable in the warmer months without one!
Vornado fans are terrific dorm gifts and a popular way to stay cool on campus. Able to move a lot of air while staying quiet, this idea makes dorming a much more comfortable experience for college students.
Dorming is far from luxury living. The temperature swings are extreme. As such, student housing can be pretty drafty during the colder months!! 🥶
That's why electric blankets are great gift ideas. This Beautyrest Heated Blanket Shawl will make sure they stay warm and cozy on cold winter days. Designed as a wrap, they can wear it and still have their hands free for other activities, such as writing an essay on their laptop or studying for an upcoming test.
Any college girl who runs cold will be especially appreciative of a dorm present to keep her warm!
Help them get comfortable exploring all that their college years have to offer with a copy of 175+ Things to Do Before You Graduate College. From tips for thriving in the dorms to rounding out academics and cultivating your best self, this college-themed bucket list is chalk full of terrific ideas for incoming freshman through senior year undergraduates.
Dorm Kitchen Essentials
This Denzin Electric Cooking Pot is easily one of the best gifts for dorm room living. I think this review captures everything you need to know—
“This is an absolute college lifesaver!!! I live in a tiny dorm and have very restrictive rules as to what I can use for cooking appliances; hence this is the Superman to my Lois Lane!” writes one 5-star reviewer. “Can I fry an egg in it? Yes. Can I heat up soup? Yes. Can I make Mac & cheese? Yes. This magic appliance has absolutely saved my life while allowing me to keep some semblance of a healthy diet. Initially, I was worried I wouldn't use it that much, but it truly does everything and it does everything well - I use it at least once a day. I was immediately surprised by how high quality it is, especially given the price - this bad boy can easily last for years! Best of all, it boils water and soup in like 3 minutes so it's super speedy if you're in a rush and quickly need to heat something up or throw together some scrambled eggs! If you're a college student, this will absolutely make your life easier - just buy it, you won't regret it!”
Coffee drinkers everywhere know that there’s nothing better than a hot cup of coffee. Zojirushi Insulated Travel Mug is thermos that actually keeps hot liquids hot, and all day long.
It’s no secret that coffee (and caffeine in general) is the lifeblood of many college students. A travel mug is a relatively cheap dorm room gift idea that any student will appreciate using on a daily basis.
Cheap, versatile, and satisfying, ramen is a staple food on college campuses. But when all you have in to cook with in student housing is a microwave, you have to get creative.
The solution: this Rapid Ramen Cooker. It makes cooking ramen so easy! It’s a great budget-friendly dorm room gift idea.
While a college student can get by without a mini fridge, it sure is nice to have one in a dorm room! Being able to keep leftovers cold and refrigerated snacks on hand will save a student a lot of back and forth trips to the dining hall.
There’s no shortage of mini fridges options out there, which is why I did my own research to find the absolute best dorm mini fridges. The Euhomy 3.2 Cu.Ft Mini Fridge is the one I recommend most for college students. It’s combination of features and reliability for the price point, not to mention the separate freezer (which is a BIG plus), is what makes it a standout winner.
Dorms don’t have much in the way of square footage, so it’s a must to make good use of the available living space. These Elfa Mini Fridge Rolling Carts make excellent gifts for new students and current college students in dorms.
It’s something they probably didn’t think to get when doing school shopping, but it’s SO useful. Strong enough to support the weight of a mini fridge with a microwave on top and then some, it’s a smart way to organize food and appliances in a dorm room.
Keurigs are cool, but k-cups? Yeah those are pretty spendy on a broke college student budget.
However, this Mixpresso Single Cup Coffee Maker is the next best thing and it’s downright perfect for dorm life. It’s compact and surprisingly fast at brewing. The best part – no coffee pods needed, it works with any ground coffee making it much more economical choice for college kids.
My brother got this exact coffee maker for his dorm room as a freshman and he loves it!
Sure, having a microwave in a college dorm is pretty common, but it's not always guaranteed. An electric kettle is another convenient way to cook ramen noodles. Not to mention, hot water on demand comes in handy for making coffee, tea, instant soups, oatmeal, boiling eggs, and more.
The size and features of this Cosori Electric Kettle make it a perfect dorm warming gift.
Unique and super practical, these Microwave Bacon Cookers are awesome dorm room gift ideas for guys. It quickly cooks CRISPY bacon in the microwave while minimizing cleanup, and it’s even dishwasher safe.
Really, any college student who loves bacon will love this piece of cookware! Gift a package of bacon with this for maximum delight.
Dish towels are affordable dorm gifts that any college student will find extremely useful. During the rush to pack for college it’s not uncommon for freshman year students to overlook basic items like this.
Aside from drying dishes, they can be used as potholders, for quick spills cleanup, and even to keep cutting boards steady while prepping food. Plus, they're easy to clean - just toss them in the wash! A stash of basic cotton dish towels are a must-have for any dorm kitchenette.
College students living in dorms that have communal bathrooms will find a shower caddy to be EXTREMELY useful. It’s an efficient way to carry all their toiletries to and from the bathrooms.
Mesh shower caddies work best as they dry quickly!
Shower shoes are must-have when sharing public showers!! No one wants foot fungus or any of the nasty germs on the floor touching their feet.
These Bronax Non-Slip Shower Slides are a very popular style with college students and good gifts for dorm room life.
A robe definitely makes the walk back to your dorm room after a shower feel more comfy!
Pottery Barn’s Quick-Dry Organic Bath Robe is a nice dorm room gift for guys that can be customized with his name or a monogram.
Towel wraps are a popular style with college girls. These Quick-Dry Organic Bath Wraps that you can customize with a name or monogram are amazing gifts for dorm life!
They’re great quality and the fast-drying material is very advantageous for small spaces.
Storage Space Solutions
With limited space, being smart with how you arrange your stuff is crucial in college dorms.
These stackable storage containers are a handy gift idea for dorm rooms. A college student can use them for storing shoes, snacks, clothes, and more. What I really like is how you can stack and arrange these clear bins in a variety of ways to fit your particular needs.
Whether collaborating on group projects or socializing with friends, extra seating is a nice bonus to have in a college dorm room.
A folding storage ottoman is a great two-for-one gift idea. It's more than just a stylish piece of furniture; it's also a secret storage solution that keeps their space organized. Additionally, it can be used as step stool.
Unlike other flimsy ottomans, this Songmics Folding Storage Bench is solidly constructed and very sturdy (able to support up to 660lbs). Easy to collapse and reassemble in seconds, a college student couldn’t ask for more from a piece of dorm furniture!
These Storage Drawer Towers are one of the best ideas for dorm room gifts! The narrow width makes it an ideal way to add some extra storage in a tight space. Plus it’s at the perfect height to work as a nightstand for lofted dorm beds.
They’re really popular on campus, especially with college girls. If you’ve ever browsed dorm room decorating ideas, you probably instantly recognized this piece of dorm furniture.
Speaking of lofted dorm room beds —taking advantage of the space underneath is a great strategy for keeping a college dorm tidy.
These dorm underbed storage bins make it easy for college students to keep all their things organized while also being convenient to access.
Want to give a luxury gift for dorm room life?
Pottery Barn Dorm Trunks are an idea that will WOW any college student. They’re beautifully crafted. It's something guaranteed to be appreciated for their entire college career and well after graduation!
The lighting situation in college dorms is less than ideal. Fluorescent lighting feels harsh on the eyes, and college kids often stay up late in the night. A good desk lamp is essential for dorming comfortably.
Providing soft lighting at three different levels, this O’Bright Desk Lamp is a great lighting option for dorm room desks.
Making use of the available vertical space is KEY for college students in dorms.
This Tangkula Desk Storage Shelf is a wonderful addition to a dorm desk. It gives them more space for storing study materials, makeup items, or even for adding some decorative touches to their room. Desk organizers are seriously great dorm room gifts!
The desk chair provided in dorm rooms is not the greatest. Luckily, it's easy to upgrade for a more comfortable (and productive) experience.
A simple chair cushion is an inexpensive dorm gift idea that's honestly so useful to students.
A mattress pad is one of those college dorm room essentials that’s worth spending more on. Treat them to upgraded sleep and comfort with the Sleepyhead 3-inch Mattress Topper. It’s a top-rated pick for dorm size beds.
Out of all the gifts for dorm room, a high-quality mattress pad will make the BIGGEST difference in a college student’s dorming experience.
Having a place to set your things is something you don’t fully appreciate until you’re in a situation without a bedside table.
This Modern Innovations Bedside Shelf is a convenient solution and an excellent add-on for dorm beds, but especially lofted dorm beds. It’s surprisingly sturdy and the cup holder is a great feature!
- Instant bedside storage, no tools required
- 3" cup holder to prevent spills
- Available in a variety of colors
A plush, cozy blanket is a dorm room gift you can’t go wrong with! College kids are always thrilled to receive a nice blanket.
I love this Amélie Home Throw Blanket because in addition to being stylish, it’s just so darn warm and soft. Furthermore, this lovely blanket comes in neutral colors that will go well with any dorm decorating style.
When freshman college students first move in, dorm rooms feel quite sterile and dreary. Thankfully it's easy to brighten up any dorm with some decorative pillows. They're great way for college students to add some personal style and make their space more comfortable all at the same time.
I mean, just look at how cute this sunshine retro throw pillow cover is!🌞 Honestly, the new student or current college student you have in mind probably wishes they could afford more. That’s why throw pillows and pillow covers are amazing dorm gift ideas.
Carrying a heavy backpack can quickly become a real pain in the back (and neck) for college students. So don't underestimate the impact of a quality backpack: it can truly elevate a student’s college experience.
I recommend the Dakine 33L Campus Backpack!
- it’s DURABLE
- it fits up to a 17” laptop
- it has plenty of storage space and organizational pockets for school supplies
- it comes in great selection of colors and patterns
- it's waterproof
- and it has a two-year warranty
It’s truly an ideal backpack for college and grad school. This is a fail-proof dorm gift that they’ll find endless uses for— in school and even long after graduating.
If you’re willing to splurge, the Windows Surface 5 Laptop is one of the very best dorm gifts. Between online classes, testing, homework, group projects, and more, a laptop is crucial for college these days.
With an i7 processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, you can’t go wrong with a Windows Surface 5 Laptop. This thing is seriously versatile and perfect for all majors! No matter if they've just graduated from high school or are still in college, this gift is guaranteed to make a significant difference in their everyday life.
🍎 Gift shopping for an Apple enthusiast? Go with the Macbook Air!
💰 Looking to gift a less pricey alternative? The Lenovo Flex 5 is a great reasonably priced laptop!
The key to achieving success in college without feeling stressed all the time? Good time management skills!
Give them a leg up with the gift of a planner that makes managing their time and efforts a breeze. After comparing the top academic planners for college, the Class Tracker Ultimate Student Planner emerged as the all around BEST planner for undergrads.
With a focus-driven and easy to understand layout, this agenda simplifies the most challenging parts of college life—organizing and prioritizing.
Slim water bottles are great for squeezing into those handy side pockets of a college backpack. But let's face it: bigger water bottles just don’t fit and sometimes your backpack is too full for even a slim water bottle.
This water bottle sling is a hassle-free workaround for staying hydrated at school. These are awesome surprise dorm room gifts for college students who are never seen without their emotional support water bottle.
Meeting new people and socializing is a big part of the college experience. Having some extra seating in dorm rooms can really up the comfort level for hangouts.
With this Faux Leather Lounge Chair there will be no more awkward standing around. It's a simple addition that ensures everyone has a cozy place to sit and relax. The look of this lounger really puts a bean bag chair to shame. It’s a dorm room gift they can take with them to their first apartment too!
No matter if you're shopping for a college guy or girl, full-length mirrors are a useful item that you just can't do without.
This Full-Length Mirror With LED Lights is a huge step up from the flimsy over-the-door mirrors most students have in their dorms. Not only does it serve as a functional mirror, but with embedded LED lights it also add a unique touch to student’s room. If you want to give a practical yet cool gift for dorm room living, this one is guaranteed to impress!
Wooden monogram signs are a super popular wall decor choice in campus housing. Guys sometimes decorate their spaces with these signs, but they make especially good dorm gifts for girls.
If you want to give a gift she’ll be obsessed with, go with a Wood Monogram Sign!!
A cool neon light is wonderful addition to any dorm room. This LED Neon Sign is a perfect dorm gift idea for college girls who are fans of the movie, Mean Girls. It’s SO cute, all her college friends will want to know where she got it!
And the best part? The cost of this sign is actually pretty reasonable considering its size and quality, especially when compared to similar signs out there.
Let’s face it, the lighting in dorm rooms is the worst!! The majority of college students agree that the overhead fluorescent light feels hospital-like and just plain icky. Luckily, it’s easy to avoid ever having to use the dreaded big light.
Enhance the ambiance of their student housing with the perfect addition - a Sunset Projection Lamp. Gifts for dorm room life like this make every day feel like a relaxing oasis in a student’s home away from home.
Tech Gift Ideas
Sharing music and bumping tunes is a way of life for students on college campuses everywhere. Hook them up with an amazing portable speaker like the Ultimate Ears WONDERBOOM 3 Bluetooth Speaker.
It’s waterproof, dustproof and it floats! Rugged and drop-proof, you can be sure this a college gift that will last them for all their undergraduate years and then some.
If they don’t already own a pair of noise-canceling headphones, this is dorm gift idea is guaranteed to be majorly useful to a college kid! Sometimes you just need some peace and quiet, which can be hard to come by on campus. Being able to block out all the noise really helps with productivity.
College students absolutely love Apple AirPods Max Headphones – they have the best noise-canceling abilities on the market and the aesthetics are hard to beat. But let's be honest, the price can be a tough pill to swallow.
💡TIP: if you’re looking for something LESS expensive than Apple, the Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones are a very close second. All in all, they’re excellent noise-canceling headphones and especially so for the price. Check out this review for a detailed comparison of the features.
Freshman college students quickly learn that dorm rooms are lacking in outlets. No one wants to fight with roommates over who’s turn it is to charge their phone.
The work around? Outlet extenders!
The Addtam Outlet Extender is a great pick with its 8 outlets, 1 USB port, and 2 USB C ports. It even has a built-in surge protector. I recommend this item to college students all the time, it’s such an easy way to upgrade dorm room life!
An outlet extender is perfect for plugging in phones, laptops, tablets, and other small devices. However, appliances like mini fridges and microwaves require something with a beefier amp/wattage rating. As such, every dorm room needs at least one reliable power strip.
One of the best gifts for dorm rooms that you can give is protection for all their expensive gadgets. This Alestor Power Strip is a beast of surge protector. One reviewer raves, “[it’s] a powerhouse of convenience and versatility!”
While we’re on the topic of charging devices, I can’t go without mentioning a portable charger on this list of gifts for improving dorm room life and, well, college life in general.
There are outlets scattered across public spaces on campus and in classes. But for students with a full schedule, there simply isn’t enough time for them to be chained to an outlet! Compatible with both iPhones and Androids, the Taegila Ultra Compact Portable Charger gives them the freedom to charge their phone and devices on the go.
These little accessories are game-changers for busy students. It’s a thoughtful, useful gift they’ll never want to leave their dorm room without!
A key milestone in the transition from teenager to young adult is realizing the value of a good vacuum! Dorm carpets get so gross, a little vacuum is worth investing in.
While communal cleaning tools are available for student residents to borrow, it's honestly best to steer clear of them. Besides having inconsistent availability and often being broken, community vacuums are unreliable and suck at cleaning.
Dorm flooring and carpets get SO gross, plus you wouldn’t believe how quickly dust accumulates. An inexpensive stick vacuum is one of the best dorm gifts you can give to a college student. The Bissell Featherweight 2033 vacuum is ideal for dorm rooms; it’s a stick vacuum and a cordless handheld vacuum all in one!
- 3-in-1 cleaning tool: converts from stick vacuum to handheld vacuum and stair vacuum
- Compact size takes up minimal space
- Lightweight design is convenient and user-friendly
If the college student you have in mind is a light sleeper, the LectroFan is a great dorm warming present. Even those who aren’t light sleepers can have a hard time adjusting during their first year in the dorms. But this little device is a total game-changer!
It comes with 20 different white noise sounds to will transport them to a world of tranquility. Plus, it even has a sleep timer so they can drift off without worrying about turning it off.
For majors that require a lot of printing, the cost of not owning a printer adds up over the course of a college career. Also, nothing beats the convenience of being able to print pages in your own room when you’re finishing a paper at the last minute. The gift of a printer is a highly practical college student gift that they’ll appreciate big time.
I recommend the Brother HLL2305W Compact Laser Printer with wireless and mobile device printing. It’s a great size for dorm rooms, and more importantly, it’s easy to setup and it’s RELIABLE.
This printer has all the capabilities a student will need. It’s a worthwhile investment that will provide them with long-lasting benefits, even after they graduate from college. Bonus points for including a pack of printer paper with this gift!
Unassuming in appearance, the Fuse Reel Side Kick Charger Organizer is an incredibly handy tech accessory. Tangled charging cables aren’t the end of the world but it is an ongoing annoyance for college students.
This gadget makes cable management hassle-free! It’s compatible with MacBooks and laptops with USB-C charging cables.
Here’s what one reviewer had to say, “I absolutely love this, it keeps my charger in a nice little compact space and contained in my backpack!”
ideas for guys
Many college students enjoy game nights which include playing board games and card games. It’s easy way to make new friends and to expand your social circle in dorm buildings.
A source of endless entertainment, the SEQUENCE Card Game is a fun dorm room gift idea for guys!
If he’s getting near graduation or is even a recent college graduate, a sophisticated leather messenger bag will help him look professional as he interviews for internships and jobs.
Leather goods make for quality gifts that college guys will treasure for years to come.
Slip-on shoes are the footwear of choice for most guys in college.
Hey Dude Loafers are very trendy among college students. With a wide variety of colors to choose from, they’re the perfect slip-on shoe for college boys of all kinds.
If he’s into vinyl records, this Cool Record Display will be the perfect addition to his dorm room digs.
He can use it as stand or hang it up with command strips, so no need to worry about damaging the walls!
ideas for girls
Barefeet are the last thing you want touching heavily traffic dorm room floors. You can’t go wrong with a dorm gift of UGG Tasman Slippers!
UGG slippers are simply the best and the Tasman slippers are the perfect college student shoe. Just slip on and go!
It's no secret that these slippers are a huge favorite among college girls. She'll be OBSESSED and will literally wear them 24/7! It's something that will last all four years of her college experience too.
With a huge variety of cute patterns and styles to choose from, Oodie Wearable Blanket Hoodies are amazing dorm gifts for girls. It’ll something that'll keep her warm and snug as a bug when it starts getting cold out.
I have a couple of Oodies, they’re my favorite way to stay cozy!
Crossbody bags are very popular with college girls. I know I prefer mine to carrying a purse these days. The North Face Berkley Crossbody Bag is a trendy college girl gift she’ll love!
It’s a great little everyday purse that’s sized just right for carrying the essentials like her phone, wallet, and keys.
Final thoughts on best dorm gifts
This concludes the list of best gifts for dorm room. I hope this guide helped you find an awesome gift to give to the college student in your life!
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