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10 Small Appliances and Accessories to Help you Survive Dorm Room Living

For college students, dorm life is about more than just living. Sometimes it's about survival. Maybe that's a bit overdramatic, but depending on your school or location, your dorm room can be anything from a spacious two-bedroom loft to a cramped and dull concrete cell. It's hard to imagine that anyone can live in the latter, but those of us unlucky enough to experience it know it can be done. While difficult, someday you may even consider it a home away from home - thanks to a little help from some small appliances and other accessories.

This list covers everything you'll need in order to survive the dorms, no matter how big or small. Who knows, these appliances may even make you a few friends along the way. Do you need all of these? Probably not - and chances are you wouldn't be able to fit them all in your concrete cell anyway.

 Mini Fridge

One of the most essential appliances for dorm room living, a mini refrigerator is a must-have. Smaller than your typical kitchen refrigerators, mini fridges are excellent for storing cold drinks and that leftover pizza from the night before, both of which are of vital importance to the modern college student. Plus, how can you hope to entertain any guests without having a cold beverage available to offer? The most popular dorm room is always the one with the fully-stocked fridge.  minifridge

Water Filter

No, we're not saying the water from your dorm room in undrinkable. But if you prefer bottled water, the cost can add up pretty quickly. A water filter can give you almost the exact same thing at a much lower cost. There are several kinds of filters available that will do the trick. Either a filtered pitcher that you can store in your fridge or even better a filter that attaches directly to the faucet can be a huge asset for dorm living.

Coffee Maker

For one reason or another, we all stay up way too late in college. Whether you're hanging out with friends, playing video games or (maybe) studying for an exam, coffee is an essential part of college life. There's no substitute for coffee the morning after those late nights, but the nearby coffee shop can wreak havoc on your student budget. A coffee maker in your dorm can give you that same boost at a fraction of the cost, and can also save you a trip across campus. Your may even have friends trekking across campus just for a free cup of your home brew.  


A microwave is a wonderful tool to have at your disposal, if your dorm allows it. You can easily reheat that leftover pizza you tossed in the fridge or make a quick dinner when you just can't handle another night of dining hall food. Just be careful on movie night because the smell of burnt popcorn can linger for days. 


toasterStaying with the food theme, a toaster oven is another appliance that won't take up a lot of space and is another useful weapon in the ongoing battle against the cafeteria. In addition to simply toasting up a piece of bread in the morning or a sandwich at lunchtime, a toaster over can cook almost anything - it's like having a real oven in your dorm, only smaller and easier to clean.

George Foreman Grill

Unfortunately, not everyone can have a microwave or toaster oven in their dorm room. But a George Foreman Grill can be the next best thing. Imagine grilling in the middle of your dorm, but without having to deal with the open flames or dirty charcoal. You're not going to get gourmet food from it, but the electric grill will certainly make do in a pinch. You're really only limited by your imagination with the Foreman Grill, and its size is ideal for storing in a dorm room. After all, you'll need somewhere to point other things, like books.

Hot Pot

Along the same lines as the George Foreman Grill, the hot pot is another great backup for dorms that outlaw the microwave. Hot beverages and soups can make life that much better on a cold day, especially when cramming for that last final before break. A hot pot is also the perfect appliance for cooking Ramen noodles and instant mac 'n' cheese, both mainstays for college students living on the cheap. 

 Portable Air Conditioner


By now your food needs seem to be covered, but what's the point of cooking and entertaining in your dorm room if you can't be comfortable? That's where a portable air conditioner comes in. Dorm rooms can get pretty hot, especially in the spring and summer months. Unfortunately, most dorms do not have central air, and a window unit is either not allowed or just not a feasible given your available space.

Luckily, a portable air conditioner is smaller and doesn't require permanent installation. Venting is also simple and does not require as much space as a window unit. Above all, portable air conditioners are easy to move from room to room so it can go wherever the party is.

Vacuum Cleaner

Cleaning supplies are probably the most overlooked dorm necessity - and for good reason. Cleaning is never fun, but chances are if you're using any of these other appliances to cook meals, you've made one or two messes in your room over the year. A vacuum cleaner is a quick and easy way to get your dorm room back into acceptable shape before your parents or friends come to visit. If your room has mostly hard flooring, check out an electric broom - basically a vacuum made especially for floors. 

Stereo System

Ok, so it's not really an appliance or accessory, but a working stereo is absolutely essential if you want to survive in a dorm. Music can be the center of a party or the perfect background noise while you study. And while nice if you can afford it, you don't need the huge expensive systems with the multiple speakers and surround sound. Just some speakers and an iPod hookup will do the trick.

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