ON OR AROUND THE BED
All students are required to bring their own bedding. So try adding some color and style to simple solid sheets with a fun comforter. Remember to buy twin sheets or extra long twin - depending on the dorm bed. Then, top off the bed with a fun fuzzy bed rest pillow, also known to some as a "husband." Pillow rests give great support to students itting up and studying. And although they've been around for some time, they now come in new colors and textures like a shaggy purple. (Target, $19.99).
Also, add fun accents throughout the room like an inexpensive multi-colored (Target, $24.99) or cream-colored shag (Target, $29.99) throw rugs.
Instead of the usual wall posters, why not try hanging decorative dot string lights (Target, $9.99).
ON OR NEAR NIGHT TABLE
Speaking of lights, Target sells crazy glow lights. The colored bulbs ($3.99) are screwed into a silver base ($5.99) providing a dim light that will allow you to study and will not disturb your roommate's sleep.
In fact, sharing space won't be easy. Most likely, tastes in music vary, so it's best to bring a portable CD player with a good pair of headphones to listen to tunes in private. Earplugs (available at any drugstore, $4/box) are also a must -- especially for light sleepers. Remember habits and schedules may differ.
Aside from the standard alarm clock, consider a large digital wall clock (Target, $39.99) that not only gives you time, but temperature - to clue you in on how to dress for the day. Other items to help personalize a dorm room include: frames to hold photos of family and friends from back home, and smells. Scented sprays, drawer liners and sachets not only help keep a dorm room smelling fresh, but can, in the case of certain smells, transport you back home.
BATH ITEMS stored at foot of bed
Another shared area includes the bath. A must is a shower caddy, which hold products like toothbrush, soaps, and shampoo. The caddy helps you keep bath stuff organized and allows you to transport the products back and forth from the showers with ease. Also don't forget to buy flip-flops. Walking on public floors (dorm rugs and bathroom floors) barefoot is not hygienic. Flips flops are not only practical, but easy and fun. They're manufactured in a multitude of colors and styles.
College is after all place to learn. A good backpack or bag to tote books to and from class is essential. Trendy messenger bags look great and serve this function. For the extra heavy loads, there's the unisex storm blue Jansport backpack (Jansport Meteorite: Air Zuit line, $99.00). It's expensive because of its high-tech suspension system, which makes it easier and more comfortable.
For the hours spent studying in the dorm room, organization is key -- particularly when living in a small shared space. A supply caddy for classroom items or CD tower organizers can help keep a desk neat and in order. Consider a mini tape recorder for personal notes, reminders or recording lectures.
And for fun, bring some of your favorite games. They're fun and a cheap way to hang out with friends.
Last but not least, school food is notoriously bad. To spice up bland foods bring spices, sauces and dressings.
© MMI The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed