Get honest reviews on top products & services — delivered weekly to your inbox.
When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.
Whether it's your first year at university or your last, it's every college student's dream to make their dorm feel like a real home. This can be especially challenging if your dorm room is on the tiny side, forcing you to consolidate as much space as you can.
That's why, whether you're a current college student (or just shopping for one), you can't go wrong with getting a dorm upgrade that makes a cramped room feel more like a chic apartment. To help, we've rounded up some of the most versatile, compatible items to elevate a dorm space, from infallible kitchen appliances to ambient lamps.
27 products that will make a tiny college dorm room feel like a real apartment:
A programmable pressure cooker
When it comes to cooking in the dorm, there's hardly an easier or cleaner way to do it than with a trusty slow cooker. This XL express Crock-Pot makes pressure cooking easy as pie with simple button controls, a nonstick interior, and countless cook settings. The best part? It's like a mini kitchen that can be stored beneath a bed or desk.
Read our full review here.
An ambient sunset lamp
From viral TikToks to aesthetic Instagram pics, these glowing lamps have been all over the internet. Swap the harsh overhead fluorescents for one of these romantic projectors, perfect for a lowkey study session or a casual hangout.
A mini single-serve coffee maker
One of the best parts of an apartment is not having to leave it to get your morning cup of joe, so why not bring that luxury to a dorm room? This miniature coffee maker is just small enough to fit on a desk or end-table and comes in six different colors for optimal color coordination. Plus, it'll be nice to have on-demand caffeine for those late-night cram sessions.
A helpful over-the-door hook rack
One definite way to make an already small dorm feel like an apartment is to avoid "the laundry chair" at all costs. This over-the-door hook system adds a place to hang hoodies, bags, and more without taking up any more precious space. Hanging up some clothes can put a little more personal style on display as well.
This funky and fluffy duvet cover and sham set
No matter how cluttered a room is, a nicely made bed makes it look a million times better. This fluffy comforter and sham add a dimensional pop of paisley green, teal, and gold, turning a dorm room into a sunshine-y, boho chic oasis. Bonus points: it's super soft!
This cheeky bath mat
If you're sharing a bathroom with roommates, make sure you call dibs on bringing the bath mat. This shag mat brings some much-needed razzle-dazzle, with tufted text and a bright pop of color. Subtle but timeless, it's sure to bring an extra touch of luxe to the dorm, especially if you pair it with a matching bath curtain.
An aesthetic bookshelf organizer
For the bookworms that could never trade their favorite novels for some extra space in the dorm, this shelved organizer will come in handy for accommodating both. Lightweight, adjustable, and desk-friendly, this shelf is a formidable step toward a functional dorm-style library.
A budget-friendly essential oil diffuser
Give yourself or the college student you're shopping for the gift of zen with this aromatherapy essential oil diffuser. Besides diffusing one's favorite natural scents, this diffuser releases moist, comfortable air into smaller dorm rooms that might not have a lot of ventilation. It also doubles as a night light with seven different colors, an auto shut-off feature, and programmable cycles.
Read our full review here.
This ultra soft and fluffy area rug
Nothing says "comfort" more than warm, cushioned feet. Whether you're covering up hardwood or carpet, this fluffy area rug is enough to make you forget that you're standing in a dorm at all. Ultra-soft, easy to clean, and perfectly dorm-sized, this rug adds an essential touch of restfulness and serenity to a living space.
A chic dinnerware set to cover all the roomies
This durable stoneware set can make any dorm-style meal (instant ramen, I'm looking at you) feel like dinner back at home. Microwave-safe and adorned with an etched medallion pattern, each bowl, plate, and mug in this sleek set adds sophistication to feasting in the dorm.
A stackable pouf that detaches into seating cushions
One of the biggest challenges of amplifying a dorm room is finding a comfy place to sit that isn't a bed or desk –– without taking up the entire space. This stackable gradient pouf is as functional as it is stylish, offering a plush seat for leisurely reading or detachable seating for a night of Cards Against Humanity with friends.
An adorable mini rainbow throw pillow
A little bit of color and softness can go a long way when it comes to turning a dorm room into a comforting sanctuary. This tiny tufted rainbow throw pillow is a great place to start, adding extra layers of saturation, texture, and dimension.
Darkening curtain panels to truly sleep in
While you probably won't want to be spending the majority of your time at school sleeping, there will definitely be days you'll need to catch up on sleep. These solid, insulating room darkening panels can add a more restful atmosphere to nights spent in the dorm by keeping any disturbing light out.
A set of ethereal celestial mirrors
When it comes to dolling up the dorm, wall decor is an absolute necessity. These glamorous sunburst-shaped, different-sized mirrors are a bold choice, adding glowing gold accents and a cohesive sparkle while checking "mirror" off of the shopping list.
A foolproof mini terrarium kit
If moving into the dorm is your calling to become a plant parent but you're worried about watering and sunlight, these DIY mini terrariums deliver all the fun of real plants without the fear of…well, killing them. Build your own artful garden from chalk, felt, and stone to brighten up a desk or bedside table.
A portable, programmable ice maker
If there's one thing that we all enjoy, it's iced beverages. Iced coffee? Check. Iced lemonade? Check. The possibilities are endless, and you can have them all right in your dorm room. This Insignia's icemaker can comfortably store up to one and a half pounds of ice at one time. Tack on the built-in water recycling system and compact size, and you've got everything you need for icy drinks anytime.
A heavy-duty pair of adjustable dumbbells
Do you always feel the need to get in an extra rep? These high-quality weights give a whole new definition to "home gym." This compact strength training system combines 15 sets of weights into two, allowing would-be gym sharks to adjust their lift with a turn of a dial in the comfort of their own dorm. While pricey, these are an investment that'll last far past college.
A refillable fragrance plug when candles aren’t an option
While most dorms don't allow heated fragrances like candles or wax burners, these reusable classics from Bath & Body Works make an exceptional replacement. From scents like pumpkin pecan waffles to limoncello, there are countless different plugs to make a dorm room smell like whatever you want.
A portable, waterproof Bluetooth speaker
For a lot of people, music is the way to their heart and happiness. This small, clippable Bluetooth speaker allows them to transport their favorite tunes to their dorm room – no bulky speaker required. Say hello to rich audio, punchy bass, and up to 10 hours of beats on a single charge.
A rad glass coaster set
These crystalline coasters not only add a touch of home to a dorm (and eliminate the mess), but are also uniquely handcrafted with an organic interaction of stoneware, glass, and glazes. Warning: prepare to answer "Where did you get those?" on a daily basis.
A smart picture frame to save on space
One of the best ways to make a dorm feel like home is to add some photographs. This Wi-Fi-connected digital photo frame allows countless photos to be displayed on one 10-inch touch screen, making it the perfect accent for a dorm room that doesn't have much space. It can also be a heartwarming gift for those prone to homesickness, so they can have their favorite people with them even while they're away.
A multipurpose bedside shelf
When you're living in a dorm, any extra storage or shelving is appreciated. This BedShelfie can slide between a mattress and a box spring or foundation, safely holds up to 15 pounds, and has a cup holder for all those (un)caffeinated beverages. Especially with the minimalist wood finish, you've got a high-end shelf that looks the part.
A super cute wireless keyboard
While a dorm is meant to be a living space, it more often than not becomes a workspace, too. This trendy Logitech wireless keyboard can make a desk workplace feel like an established office nook. Between deep colors, swappable emojis, and a uniquely bouncy typing experience, this dorm room staple will have any student ready to get to work.
A programmable electric tea kettle
For students who wake up looking forward to their morning cup of tea, this programmable electric tea kettle is an absolute must-have. Besides adding a pop of color, this kettle can be easily stored, won't take up much room on a desk, and is safeguarded by a 360-degree stay-cool base and auto shut-off function.
An ultra-comfy, aloe-infused memory foam mattress topper
If you want to turn their dorm into a relaxation station, this memory foam mattress topper can help. While its cooling gel infusion helps to dissipate body heat and the aloe vera keeps the sleep space fresh, the memory foam alleviates the aches that come with a too-firm mattress. Talk about beauty sleep!
An ergonomic active sitting stool
If there's anything those of us have learned from working at home, it's that finding a good place to sit for however many hours a day is harder than it first seems. This "active sitting" stool keeps core muscles awake and puts them at desk height for better posture and circulation. Kick the standard desk chair to the curb, or keep this to the side for work days or extra seating.
A super-soft chenille throw blanket
This uber plush throw adds an extra layer of coziness to a bed, seating area, or desk chair, making it an ideal accessory for year-round comfort. The knitted chenille construction gives this blanket a subtle sheen, keeping it lightweight, layer-able, and neutral next to other decor.
Sign up for Insider Reviews' weekly newsletter for more buying advice and great deals.
You can purchase logo and accolade licensing to this story here.
Disclosure: Written and researched by the Insider Reviews team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our partners. We may receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.