Summer is coming to an end, and it’s time to start thinking about heading back to college. From textbooks to dorm decor, there are countless items you’ll need to make your college experience a success.
The question is: where to start?
IKEA is undoubtedly the go-to place for dorm room essentials, though we’re a little biased. In the yellow and blue box, you’ll find affordable items for your dorm room, bathroom, and common spaces like the kitchen and living room.
But don’t take our word for it. We searched TikTok for the most relevant back-to-college recommendations and IKEA hauls tailored for dorm life.
So whether you’re moving into a college dorm or an off-campus apartment, read on for the top recommendations, according to TikTokers, on what to pack for college.
Dorm Room Essentials from IKEA
1. Get new curtains
Curtains can immediately liven up a standard all-white dorm room. Sara has a handy IKEA hack for hanging new curtains on the old dorm curtain rail system which are often tracks with sliding rings. She recommends using IKEA curtain hooks like the SYRLIG or RIKTIG to hook onto the rings and clip on the new curtains.
2. Create a makeup station
Every morning you’ll need a space to prep before heading out the door. Ruthie repurposes the ELLOVEN monitor stand with drawer as a compact makeup vanity. The drawer already has compartments so it’s easy to keep primers, pencils, and everything organized. For larger items, she uses a plastic box from Target behind the IKEA TYSNES mirror. With the combination of the ELLOVEN stand and TYSNES mirror, she got herself a functional compact vanity that works beautifully.
3. Add a headboard
Elevate your dorm bed with this easy headboard hack. Discovery of Design took two IKEA rattan doors, painted the frame, and hung them up behind her bed using Command Strips. Instant cozy! IKEA has also introduced a new version of the IVAR doors. It has felt panels instead of cane webbing, which will be so cool as a headboard or hung above the desk as an inspiration board for notes, photos, and to-do lists. Use Command hooks to hang them up if your dorm has a no-drilling into walls policy.
4. Gather lots of storage organizers
Since storage space is always an issue, Kylie prepared for the many possibilities. She’s moving into the college dorm armed with lots of organizers, baskets, and bins. And we took notes:
NOJIG organizers: Smaller ones as desk and drawer organizers. The larger ones will go under the bathroom sink for shampoos and body wash.
SAMLA boxes: One as a medicine box and the other for cleaning products
RINNIG kitchen utensil rack repurposed as bathroom holder for toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, hand soap, etc.
SKUBB hanging organizer and SKUBB shoe boxes to organize the closet space.
FNISS trash cans: Get two – one for your room and one the bathroom shared with your roommate.
5. Don’t forget to eat well
Some good utensils, ceramic bowls, and flatware will make eating in your dorm feel a lot more posh. Ditch plasticware for the affordable OFTAST series. The smaller bowl is best for cereal. The plate and serving bowl is great for salads and pasta.
Complete your common kitchen with other necessities like a cutting board, 365+ drinking glasses, and cleaning tools like a scrubber and a NYSKÖLJD drying mat.
6. Take a deep breath
According to Kalia, the air in dorms is usually bad. With so many people living in close contact, indoor air quality can quickly deteriorate. Will the UPPÅTVIND air purifier help? We don’t know for sure, but IKEA claims it can minimize harmful allergens like tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen.
7. Easy to haul Laundry Bag
The laundry room is often never near your room. Enter the PURRPINGLA bag — a toughie made for hauling dirty clothes to the washing machine. It holds a ton and has a draw string to keep things out of sight. When not in moving mode, it can stand on its own and serve as a laundry hamper.
8. SUNNERSTA rail and containers
Holly’s idea is to hang the SUNNERSTA rail with hooks and containers to the door to create an entryway catch-all. She and her roommate each get a container for keys and all.
9. Shower caddy
The RÅNEN is a simple plastic basket that works well as a shower caddy, making it easy to store bathroom essentials in one convenient basket. Sturdy enough to hold large bottles of shampoo, body wash, and more.
10. Tech support
Don’t forget to add a laptop or tablet stand to your #ikeahaul. Get a KLIPSK bed tray to add a bit more style to lounging in bed. Slot your tablet or phone in the groove and have a dinner and movie night. The BERGENES phone stand is also a must-have to prop up your mobile. One more thing to add to your tech list — power strips with USB ports.
11. Creature comforts
A self-care session may be just the thing you need after a long day in college or after pulling a series of late-night study sessions. Wrap up in a ROCKÅN bath robe, bunch your freshly shampooed hair in the STJÄRNBUSKE hair towel, slip on a face sheet mask and sink into soft plush pillows. You’ll feel miles better after that.
12. IKEA tool set
Be sure to grab the IKEA FIXA 17-pc tool kit before you leave the store. It will come in handy in case you need to assemble furniture and fix things around the dorm.
Jules Yap started IKEAHackers.net in 2006 as a personal blog to showcase the most impressive IKEA hacks from all over the world. Since then, she has learned a lot more about power tools and DIY. Her site has helped thousands modify IKEA furniture with step-by-step tutorials, craft projects and home styling.