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What’s the first step to making your dorm room feel homey? Bedding, of course! Your bed will most likely take up the most space in your dorm room, so the items you choose will set the tone of your entire living space and establish a color scheme right off the bat (no pressure!). 

College bedding can be tricky to figure out, especially when it comes to twin vs. twin XL and all of the bedding accessories that go along with college dorm rooms. Your college website will have a section about housing where you can find out the exact dimensions of the beds in your dorm. 

In terms of what “bedding” entails, you should check with your specific school, but these are the items most freshmen will need: 

  • Comforter
  • Fitted sheet (x2)
  • Flat sheet (x2)
  • Pillows (x2)
  • Shams (x2)
  • Throw/blanket
  • Mattress pad
  • Mattress protector

Of course, pack accent pillows, extra blankets and quilts and anything else you usually have on your bed (stuffed animals included). Keep in mind that twin is not the same as twin XL, so pay attention when picking out bedding online. A twin comforter might work on a longer bed, but you’ll definitely need your sheets to be XL!

Also, if you love snuggling up in a big comforter, check out a full-size comforter rather than a twin. If your bed is several feet off the ground, the overhang from the bigger mattress can actually look really pretty and hide all of your boxes and storage under your bed!

Enough with the logistics: let’s get into the actual bedding. Bedding sets, or bed-in-a-bag sets, are super popular because they include almost everything you could need. We’ve rounded up our seven faves for decking out your dorm room!

1. Patriotic Patterns

If you want a patterned comforter that isn’t too obnoxious and won’t clash with your roommate’s, this 4040 Locust American Flag Twin XL Bed-In-A-Bag Snooze Set ($169 at Urban Outfitters) is a perfect choice. The gray-and-washed-out-navy American flag pattern is adorable and fun but still understated. We love that the comforter is reversible (stars on one side, stripes on the other), so if you feel like mixing things up, all you have to do is flip it over. Plus, you’ll probably be the only one on your floor with a laundry bag that matches your sheets!

What it comes with: One reversible comforter, one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, one pillow case and one laundry bag

2. Mix It Up

When it comes to bright colors, mixing and matching prints is the way to go. We’re obsessed with this Kenzie Reversible Dorm Comforter Set ($79.99 at Bed Bath & Beyond) because you’ll get some serious bang for your buck. It also has some seriously gorgeous colors, so you’ll have tons of options for mixing and matching throw pillows and blankets! The fuchsia-and-aqua-striped side of the comforter reverses to a more subtle white-and-blue pattern if you want to tone things down or just feel like changing things up. 

What it comes with: One comforter, one sham, one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, one pillowcase, one throw blanket and one hanging storage bag

3. Black and White

This adorable Dot Chic Essential Value Bedding Set in Black ($149 at PBteen) is the perfect foundation piece for a chic college bedding set. The black-and-white polka dots are classic and fun but also give you the freedom to accessorize with brightly colored sheets and accent pillows (we would pair this comforter with hot pink or a Tiffany-blue color for a sweet yet sophisticated look)! With a neutral comforter, you can change out your sheets and pillows for each season to completely change the look and feel of your dorm room with minimal effort.

What it comes with: One comforter, one sham cover and one white twin XL sheet set

4. Girly and Romantic

If you love pinks and purples but don’t want your room to be sickly sweet, try a soft, patterned comforter paired with more neutral sheets, like this Plum & Bow Phoebe Block Twin XL Bed-In-A-Bag Snooze Set in Pink ($169 at Urban Outfitters). The bubblegum-pink color is girly and fun, but the cool pattern and delicately printed sheets give it an effortless vibe.

What it comes with: One comforter, one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, one pillow case and one laundry bag

5. Prints that Pack a Punch of Color

You will undoubtedly be heading to Victoria’s Secret for some back-to-school clothing basics, like bras, underwear and comfy PJs, but don’t forget to check out VS PINK’s new bedding! There are different patterns, but our fave is this VS PINK Bed in a Bag in Blue Ikat ($129 for the full-size set at Victoria’s Secret). This bedding set has a fully reversible comforter, which makes changing up your look super easy (and makes it easier to hide that stubborn makeup stain!). We especially love this tribal pattern, and the sunny colors remind us of vacation!

What it comes with: One comforter, one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and pillow cases

6. Soft and Sweet

If you’re looking for a statement comforter but bright colors aren’t your thing, try this Sophie Floral Deluxe Bedding Set ($299 at PBteen). The comforter is intricate, but the colors are soft and muted, making this set the perfect centerpiece for your dorm-room oasis. This particular set from PBteen has 12 (!) pieces, meaning you won’t need to buy another bedding-related thing before move-in day (unless you want to, of course!). We’re especially fond of the lavender fleece blanket for cozy movie nights or picnics on the quad. 

What it comes with: One comforter, one standard sham, one light gray twin XL sheet set (one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, two pillow cases), one white Twin XL sheet set (one flat sheet, one fitted sheet, two pillow cases), one lavender fleece blanket, two standard pillow inserts and one mattress pad

7. Bright and Sunny

After a long day of classes, it’s nice to be able to come back to a cheery and welcoming dorm room, and this Xhilaration Paisley Bed in a Bag in Yellow ($59.99 at Target) certainly fits the bill. We love that the color is so sunny and bright but can be toned down with neutrals like gray and made a bit more modern with the addition of chevron pillows and sheets. A pop of yellow can brighten up even the gloomiest of days, and this bedding set will definitely put a smile on your face.

What it comes with: One comforter, one fitted sheet, one flat sheet, one sham, one pillow case and one decorative pillow

Picking out your bedding can be one of the most exciting and time-consuming parts of preparing for college. They may seem like little things, but your comforter, sheets and pillows can actually make a huge difference in how you feel when you walk into your dorm room, and it’s important to make sure your home away from home reflects your personality. Happy shopping, collegiettes!

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Sophie Dodd

Middlebury

Sophie is currently a senior at Middlebury College in (very) rural Vermont and loves it. In addition to majoring in English and double minoring in Classics and Film, Sophie loves watching makeup tutorials, buying magazines in bulk, obsessively repainting her nails and catching up on The Vampire Diaries. Oh, and she's completely obsessed with Christmas, coffee, and her two kittens, Luna and Zuzu.
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