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Where to Buy Dorm Furniture: A Short Guide to Budget-Friendly Design

Written by Jaeme Velez
Updated: June 12, 2024
6 min read
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not reflect the view of Pathward®.

New room, new city, new friends, and... no dorm furniture! Choosing and buying the right furniture is vital to balancing comfort, style, and functionality. From room-saving beds and desks for efficiency while studying to cozy chairs and futons for relaxation and socializing, the right parts can transform your place into a peaceful retreat dorm room.

In this blog, you will discover tips on how to design the interior of a room, create a budget, and find the best places to buy dorm furniture. Create a unique and comfortable living and learning environment that matches your personality and taste and makes college life more enjoyable.

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Dorm Room Essentials: What You Need

Start by rearranging your dorm room furniture (if you already have one) to maximize room. For example, shifting the bed towards the wardrobe can form a cozy little space. Place a small couch by the window, a coffee table, and a soft rug beneath to add to your chill-out zone. A bookshelf can work as a room divider to organize belongings, offering an area to put a lamp to do your readings.

Other things to consider are curtains or black-out window blinds. A good comforter will also help you be comfortable in your new home. And a couple of plants can bring life into your space, making your dorm room more like home.

College Dorm Room Dimensions

  1. Establish a focal point: Choose a window, a specific wall with an artwork, a couch... Once you establish your focal point, you can use it as an inspiration for colors, adding light to it, or arranging the furniture to face it.
  2. Layout: Make sure there's enough space to comfortably move around.
  3. Proportion: Depending on the size of the room, pick the correct size for a matching scale. If you have a small dorm, don't choose a huge couch that will take up all the room.
  4. Color: Light colors make a room feel larger. Darker colors make a room feel cozy.
  5. Storage: It is essential to have enough storage to keep the dorm room organized. Look up for multi-functional furniture.

Browse our Scholarship Blog for more college dorm essentials, scholarship opportunities, and budgeting tips!

dorm room essentials

Budgeting for Your New Dorm Room

Consider Your Needs: What furniture do you truly need? Prioritize important items like a bed, sofa, or dining table.

Establish a Realistic Budget: Determine how much you can spend on furniture without wasting your finances. If you have a low budget, consider free or shop for used furniture.

Consider Multi-Functional furniture: In smaller spaces or on a tight budget, look for furniture that serves multiple purposes, like chairs, a sofa bed, a coffee table with storage, or stackable shelves.

Shop Smart and not impulsively: Look for sales, discounts, and deals at different stores. Take your time and compare prices.

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The Bold Debit Card is an excellent choice for students seeking to enhance their financial rewards, especially those gearing up for dorm life. What makes our debit card unique is its innovative feature, which is designed to help you tackle student loans.† 

By accumulating Bold Points with every purchase, you can redeem them for direct student loan payments, making progress in reducing your debt with each swipe. Moreover, if you’re not interested in student loan payments or need some money, you can also redeem your Bold Points for cashback.*

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Earning Bold Points is simple – you get 1 Bold Point for every $2 spent.* Whether you're stocking up on groceries, enjoying your favorite coffee, or upgrading your living area for dorm essentials, every transaction contributes to accumulating these Bold Points.

Level up your dorm experience! Sign up for the Bold Debit Card and start earning Bold Points* on every dorm room purchase. Use points for student loan payments or extra spending for that cool painting to hang in your dorm.

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Places for Shopping on a Budget

Explore different options from online platforms like OfferUp and MarketPlace to the community-driven finds in Facebook Groups or in-store options. Don't forget that in addition to leveraging the Bold Debit Card for savings, think about integrating budgeting apps and adding automatic savings plans into your financial strategy.

Online Stores for College Furniture

OfferUp: You can find everything from vintage pieces to modern furnishings at competitive prices. You can also negotiate the prices with confidence and look by proximity.

MarketPlace: This a convenient platform to buy and sell items locally. Lots of other college students come and go, and this could be one of the best options to furnish your dorm room.

Facebook Groups: Join local Facebook Groups dedicated to sales. You'll be surprised by what you can find. One example is "Buy Nothing." This title serves as a Facebook group all over the U.S. and is organized by specific locations. For example, if you live in Morningside Heights in New York, the group would be called "Buy Nothing Morningside Heights." This group is a great place to discover free options within your community.

In-Store Dorm Room Furniture

Walmart: The store has a selection of budget-friendly furniture, including shipping options.

Target: Target offers a stylish range of furniture and items that can add a fun touch of refinement to your dorm room.

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dorm room needs

Frequently Asked Questions About Where to Buy Dorm Furniture

What are the best seller furniture items for a dorm room?

Popular best sellers for college dorm rooms typically include compact desks, versatile futons, and practical storage solutions that double as places to sit.

How can I choose a desk suitable for study and small living spaces?

Look for a desk with a compact design yet enough surface area for your study materials. Added features like shelves or drawers with wheels are a bonus for extra storage.

Where can I find affordable yet comfortable seating options for my college dorm furniture?

 Futons are a great choice as they provide flexible seating and can be used as an efficient extra bed when friends visit. Stores like Walmart and Target often have a range of affordable options.

Are there multifunctional furniture pieces that can help with storage and seating?

Yes, consider ottomans with plenty of internal storage or bookshelves that can serve as seating areas when adding cushions.

How can I make my college dorm room comfortable to study and relax with friends?

Combine functional furniture like a sturdy desk and comfortable seating with personal hints like pillows, dorm chairs, photos, and plants to create a welcoming space for study and socializing.

What should I look for in a futon for my dorm room?

Choose a futon that's sturdy yet easy to convert. Look for one that matches your room's aesthetic and offers comfortable seating and sleeping options.

Can I find good quality, budget-friendly furniture for my dorm online?

Online platforms like OfferUp and MarketPlace often feature a variety of furniture suitable for dorms, including best sellers and unique finds.

What are some creative storage solutions for small college dorm rooms?

 Utilize vertical space with tall bookshelves, under-bed storage containers, and over-the-door organizers to maximize your storage options without taking up too much floor space.

How can I ensure my furniture choices fit nicely in my dorm room?

Before shopping, measure all your dorm furniture and room and plan your layout. This will help you understand the size and type of furniture that will best fit your space.

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Jaeme Velez
Content Writer

About Jaeme

Jaeme Velez is an exceptionally dynamic writer, researcher, and avid enthusiast for science and technology. He brings a deep understanding of securing scholarships, obtaining student loans, and navigating the transition from community college to university.

As a first-generation college student, Jaeme began pursuing the dramatic arts and made a significant transition to pursuing academic studies at L.A. Valley College, focusing on Communication and English. He graduated cum laude with a B.A. in Creative Writing at Columbia University in the city of New York. His academic excellence has been recognized through the Casdin Family Scholarship Award and his membership in the Columbia University Honor Society.

Jaeme's academic path is marked by a profound passion for literature and storytelling, particularly in exploring the confluence of diverse cultures and languages while addressing social disparities. Alongside his literary interests, Jaeme maintains a keen curiosity for science and technology, actively engaging in research and projects related to Artificial Intelligence, Design, and human-computer interaction.


Balancing work and full-time studies as a first-generation college student has endowed Jaeme with a wealth of experience and insights. In his role as a Content Writer at, Jaeme shares invaluable wisdom and advice, drawing from his personal journey to provide the guidance he wishes he had received at the start of his academic journey. 

His work is fueled by the desire to equip the next generations of students with the knowledge and tools necessary to navigate their unique academic paths. From financial literacy to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, Jaeme strives to contribute to the ongoing discourse on education and support the next generations of scholars, regardless of their age, background, or current stage in life, as they traverse the complexities of higher learning.

Since joining the team in 2023 as a Content Writer, Jaeme has employed his distinctive background as a first-generation student alongside his familiarity with scholarships and student loans to guide students through the intricacies of academic life, emphasizing that every student's journey is distinct and worthy of recognition. 

Through his writing and advocacy, Jaeme leverages his personal and professional experiences to provide comprehensive support to students. He is dedicated to empowering students and addressing the challenges they encounter in their pursuit of higher education. 

Quote from Jaeme

“Who is the person? What's their problem? Do your research. Offer solutions.”

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