Until you customize your dorm room with posters, bedding and electronics, it remains a bland, boxy space that you share with a stranger. Remove the unfamiliarity and anonymity from inside those walls, incorporating unique touches that make your square footage as close to home as it can be. Add practical devices to support the success of your school year and provide entertainment for the times when you get a break from your studies.
The time you spend poring over books equals time for a well-lit reading area. Keep your desk lamp cool with an LED bulb that makes better use of the energy it uses. Incandescents can generate heat you don't need in a room that may not feature the comfortable temperatures of the central-air system at home. Not only do LED bulbs outperform incandescent, halogen and even fluorescent alternatives, but their rated output lasts so long, you may be using the same bulb on commencement day.
Desktop or notebook system: Your choice depends on whether you need to carry your computer to classes, which in turn may depend on whether you can use a tablet device instead of a regular laptop. Scope out your college or university's wireless networking and plan to hook up your system accordingly. You also can sync your smartphone, tablet and computer once you're all connected. If you brought your digital camera or camcorder with you as well—for art classes, or just to document college life on a blog or Facebook—make sure you have enough memory cards for your suite of devices.
Whether you bring a sound dock or a bookshelf audio system, you can use it to play the tunes on your smartphone, tablet, media player or computer by networking your devices together wirelessly. You may prefer to listen through ear buds or headphones while you're going for a run or doing your laundry, but if you brought an HDTV with you to campus, your audio system can extend your sound options for watching the homecoming game or catching up on a favorite late-night show. A Smart TV can display Internet content and double as an online resource, too.
Check your school's dormitory rules before you invest in cooking appliances for your room. Some institutions allow microwave ovens, whereas others ban them in individual living spaces and expect you to use an appliance in a shared lounge area on your floor. If the rules allow for your own microwave, you can fix popcorn for study group sessions, supplement your meal plan with a tasty snack after you finish a demanding research paper, or—if you choose a model that also offers convection cooking and toaster oven performance—produce a complete-enough range of food items that you can opt for a less-expensive meal plan.
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