Dream Dorms

Although we’re in the peak of summery weather, that doesn’t mean your minds aren’t thinking ahead to that blissful (?) time known as back-to-school. It’s a particularly poignant time for those who are heading to University for the first time, even moreso if they’re staying in residence. Today’s picks are five great sources for dorm room essentials. As with last week’s Potter post, not everything here is necessarily the be all and end all for gift choices, but the *sources* certainly are excellent. Snap up a goodie for your bestie or kid that’s studying abroad, or consider these as fun options for your friend’s first apartment or home.

Butterfly Chair in Faux Fur – $79.99 (Bed, Bath & Beyond)
Room is in short supply in a dorm, and therefore, so is seating. If someone wanted to host a study date, they’d be SOL unless they use the often-noisy, overcrowded common areas. That is, unless you snap up one of Bed, Bath & Beyond’s foldy chairs, available in a huge range of styles from pastel pink bucket chairs to sporty blue lounge chairs, they can easily squeeze into a corner of your room and expand when you’ve got company, or if you just want a break from highlighting your notes on your bed. Be sure to check out their entire ‘Off To University’ collection for tons of fun, frugal ideas.

Laundry Bags – $60 (PBTeen)
Moms: give your teen the gift of laundry service when they come home for a visit with this cute way to sort your whites from your darks from your please-mom-I-have-no-clue-how-to-get-grease-out-of-silk items, complete with tips and tricks to preserve clothign. Unlike baskets, these puppies take no space, can be slipped under the bed when guests are visiting, and are easy to throw over your shoulder en route to the laundry room – plus the bags themselves are washable, if say, your darling doesn’t think to wash their clothes all that often and a certain odor builds up. PBTeen also has a fantastic ‘PBDorm’ section – be sure to check out their inspiration rooms!

Mixed Media Shag Rug – $28 (Urban Outfitters)
We all know the amount of customization in a dorm room is kind of limited…while the walls can often be off-limits, the floors are free range, so take ownership of your space with a beautiful, fun throw rug. These fun mixed media rugs from Urban Outfitters come in a rainbow of colours – from pretty pink to sunny yellow to moody blues – and are the perfect size to go beside your dorm bed. Most of Urban’s collection of home decor does ship to Canada, but if you fall in love with an item that doesn’t, there are a handful of stores across the nation for you to peruse.

Mini Robot Vacuum – $25 (Fred Flare)
In all the thinking and planning parents do for their kid’s dorm lifestyle, cleanliness if oft-overlooked. After all…how messy can one room be when your proto-typical messy areas (kitchens and bathrooms) are cleaned by some higher power? The answer is: pretty damn messy. This little mini robot makes for great desk eye candy, but it also serves a practical purpose, sweeping up pencil shavings and crumbs indiscriminately. It’s so cute, your kids might not even notice they’re doing something grown-up…

Floral Embroidered Pillow – $30 (Pier 1)
Nothing brightens up a dreary dorm room quite like a pretty pillow, and Pier 1 has some of the best ever-changing styles out there. You can’t buy them online, but you can easily check and see if your nearest store (and there are plenty across the nation) is stocking whatever fancy piece catches your eye.

Finally a caveat. Obviously the items I’ve picked here are little luxuries for a dorm room. Typically speaking kids will need their own bathroom organizer & flip flops, desk gadgets and school tools, techy equipment, and laundry stuff. If you want to be a hero, figure out what essentials your dorm-bound baby is in need of and scoop up one or two basics with one or two pretty extras for a fun little gift set. I avoided wall art, but I know most dorms will let you hang pictures using 3M sticky tack – figure it out before your kid is college-bound, and consider buying them a gift card at AllPosters.ca for some finishing frugal touches.

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