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Transform your dorm with these smart tech upgrades

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Collegiate studies are starting back up, meaning campus dwellers are thinking about how they'll personalize their dorm rooms for the ultimate comfortability and functionality. Furniture decisions are highly subjective and personal to every individual, but dorm room tech such as smart plugs and standing desks, are universally useful. These essential upgrades are immeasurably useful, and your wishlist of needs can stretch as long as a grocery list. 

To help get you started equipping the perfect dorm, we’ll highlight several products that can transform your campus living space into an efficient study hub and a cozy retreat. And you can do this high-tech back-to-school shopping on a relatively light budget. Start the school year right and dive into our guide on the best smart home devices and tech to create a practical dorm room for students.

Shop this article: Amazon Echo Show 5, Flexispot Height Adjustable Desk, Kasa Smart RGB Light Bulb

Understanding Dorm Living

Each student has unique needs. Before we dig into how tech can help, here are some common considerations to help you consider furnishing needs for any dorm room.

Maximizing your space

Dorm rooms are notoriously compact, requiring students to think creatively about organizing and utilizing their space. Multi-purpose, space-saving items can make a big difference, and you'd be surprised how many dorm-sized appliances you can find for cheap.

We're mostly discussing gadgets and electronics here, but generally, you should look for products that serve multiple purposes to make the most out of every square inch. Space-efficient items help you save room and simultaneously contribute to a more comfortable and manageable living environment.

Balancing work and play

A dorm room is both a place to study and relax. Creating distinct areas or employing products that can transition between these two functions is key. 

Consider using adjustable smart lighting to set the perfect color, tone and warmth for all your moods, from studying to a fun hangout ambiance. Ergonomic furniture like standing desks can help you stretch and work simultaneously during long study hours. 

Smart plugs and voice assistant speakers can offer hands-free control of all your gadgets, minimizing the need to access hard-to-reach switches, cables and plugs. The aim is to strike the best balance between efficient work and relaxation within one space.

Adding a touch of personality

Your dorm room is your home away from home, so adding your personal touch is essential. Choose products that reflect your personality and interests. This could mean posters of favorite bands, photos of family and friends, quirky alarm clocks or a selection of cozy cushions and rugs. Personalization isn't just about aesthetics; it also contributes to your well-being and comfort in a new environment.

Buying tips and considerations

Don't start chucking random things into your cart before you've made a list of key items. Prioritize necessity over nice-to-haves, and fill out the rest of your kit with cool items that don't exceed your remaining budget. Keep reading for tips to fill out your wishlist.

Assess unique needs and interests

When choosing products for someone else, consider the student's hobbies, study habits and overall lifestyle. A tech-savvy student may benefit more from smart gadgets, while a bibliophile might appreciate a quality e-reader. Think about the student's daily routine and tailor your choices accordingly.

Mind your budget

Your dorm room shopping bill can quickly spiral out of control. Find that balance between quality and affordability by setting a budget and prioritizing essential items. Look for deals and student discounts, and don’t shy away from refurbished or secondhand products if they meet your standards. It's all about finding that sweet spot between cost and functionality without compromising quality.

Save the planet (and your electric bill)

If you’re living in an apartment or your dorm has energy limits, consider the long-term running costs of electronics. Opting for energy-saving products such as smart plugs and LED bulbs can make a noticeable difference in utility bills. These choices are not only cost-effective but also environmentally friendly. Energy-efficient options can save money and take it easy on the power grid, limiting your chances of suffering blackouts.

Add comfort and personal style

Comfort should be your top priority in a dorm room setting. In addition to small sofas and other furniture fit for dorms, products such as ergonomic desks and chairs, soft lighting and personal charms contribute to a warm, inviting environment. Don't forget to add personal effects, such as wall art, family photos, desk mates and funky desk ornaments. These additions transform a standard dorm room into a unique space that feels like home.

10 Smart dorm room upgrades 

Amazon Smart Plug

These little wonders let you control power to any device remotely. Just plug it into an outlet, then plug in your device. You can use a voice assistant with your smartphone or smart speaker to control it with your voice, and you can automate your daily routine by toggling lights, fans, dehumidifiers and the like at specific times.

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Kasa Smart RGB Light Bulb

The beauty of these Kasa smart light bulbs is that they screw directly into ordinary light sockets and offer millions of shades and precise luminance controls to set the mood in your dorm room. Once socketed and synced to your Wi-Fi network, you can control the hue of these light bulbs individually using a smartphone or with voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant.

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Amazon Echo Show 5

With a smart display, you can connect and control compatible smart devices using your voice. This Echo Show 5 works great with Amazon smart plugs and supports most third-party smart home tech. Plus, thousands of useful Alexa skills can transform this digital assistant into your personal study buddy.

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Nanoleaf Light Panels Rhythm Edition

These decorative lights let you create dynamic lighting in any shape you want. They’re easily mountable on most walls, and this newer set detects audio, so the lights respond to your music and games. This starter kit has nine panels, and you can easily add more over time.

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Amazon Kindle Scribe

While a collection of books on a shelf is always a great aesthetic, your dorm room can’t hold all your favorite reads and curriculum textbooks. With the Kindle Scribe, however, you can always keep an entire library with you in one sleek device that doubles as a note-taking tablet. For many students, this e-reader could make the most significant difference in maximizing your dorm space and enhancing your study habits.

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AirPods Max

Every dorm room should have a comfortable, crisp-sounding pair of noise-canceling headphones to block out the party noise while you're supposed to be crunching on assignments, especially if you’re forced to have a roommate. The AirPods Max are the best premium wireless headphones, according to BestReviews testing experts, offering a transformative soundstage thanks to massive drivers and spatial audio.

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Satechi Multi Device Charging Station 5

Satechi’s charging dock can hold phones, tablets and more vertically. It has five USB ports and a wireless charging pad to charge your devices. This space-saving wonder helps declutter your workspace, which should contribute to better productivity and peace of mind in addition to keeping your desk or nightstand clean of excess wiring.

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Eufy RoboVac G30

A robot vacuum should be near the top of any student’s list. You’d think these smaller rooms would be easier to clean, but that also means there’s less room to store and maneuver a vacuum cleaner. This Eufy RoboVac can get into tight spaces you’d probably have difficulty reaching with traditional vacuums. It sucks up all the dirt and debris without your help, leaving more time for studies and fun. 

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Flexispot Electric Height Adjustable Desk

Flexispot makes some of the best standing desks for those who want an adjustable sit-stand desk that looks better than the price tag would indicate. This desk offers a roomy surface for your monitor, peripherals and other gadgets and adornments.

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ASUS ZenScreen Portable Monitor

This ASUS portable monitor is multi-faceted. It extends your screen real estate for productivity, and you can also use it for gaming and entertainment. The portable nature of this monitor lets you slip it into a backpack to have your multi-window work environment with you around campus, to coffee shops or wherever you fancy doing a day’s work. 

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Worth checking out 

  • If you already have a desk you love, this VIVO height adjustable riser will elevate your laptop or monitor to offer similar benefits.
  • This wall outlet extender increases your available plugs to five and has four USB ports (including one USB-C) to charge your other gear.
  • Add this dual-duty Lasko tower fan, which combines heat and cooling in one sleek unit.
  • The Ninja Foodi offers 5-in-1 cooking functions to make any meal you crave.
  • The JBL Flip 5 is powerful enough to fill a dorm with sound and small enough to carry anywhere.


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Quentyn Kennemer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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