What to Look For When Buying Dorm Bedding

College is exhausting, but having the right bedding can make the difference between a restful night and an unintentional all-nighter. This is especially important because dorms generally offer a uniquely sized mattress that may not match the mattresses at home. Make sure you’re getting the right sheets before setting off for school.




Packing for college is a daunting task that can be made less stressful by knowing that you have the right size bedding for dorm life. Most dorm beds have XL Twin mattresses, which are about four to five inches longer than a standard twin bed, but not all companies make this specific size. Here’s what to look for when shopping for new sheets.

Standard Twin (39” x 76”)

Many high school students are familiar with this size mattress and already own the appropriate bedding for a standard twin mattress. For schools that offer this size mattress, a dorm-specific set of bedding is probably unnecessary.

XL Twin (39” x 80”)

To accommodate tall students, most college dorms only offer extra long twin mattresses. However, this is not the case in all dorms. To check the mattress length at your school, consult the admission material or contact student housing. Longer sheets and comforters are increasingly easy to find, but there are inconsistencies in the dimension of XL Twin bedding. Be sure to check the dimensions before purchasing long sheets.



Bedding Pieces

Schools with long mattresses usually include a catalog for dorm-specific bedding, but investing in these sets can be expensive and limiting, since students aren’t in dorms for very long. Before investing in an entire set, determine what pieces of bedding you need.

Fitted Bottom Sheet

Of all the parts of standard bedding, the fitted sheet is the most particular because the sizing is so specific. It's difficult to stretch a standard twin fitted sheet onto an XL mattress, so consider buying at least one XL fitted sheet for your dorm bed. Sheets with higher thread count are more expensive, but are generally softer and more durable. Flannel is a warmer option for dorms in cold climates.

Mattress Pad

Many dorm mattresses have obnoxious plastic covers, which makes a mattress pad indispensible. Thick mattress pads will add height to the bed and will provide more comfort than thinner pads. Like fitted sheets, mattress pads should match the dimension of the mattress.

Comforter and Duvet Cover

Comforters are a great choice for college because they’re warm and the duvet cover makes cleaning easy. However, for students in warm climates, like Hawaii or Florida, a fleece blanket may provide enough warmth. One downside to comforters is their price. Luckily, twin size comforters can be used on the longer mattresses if they aren’t tucked in at the end. For people who prefer tucking the comforter in on all sides, consider buying a longer comforter and duvet cover.

Bed in a Bag

The Bed in a Bag makes things easy because it contains an entire bedding set. Most come with a comforter, a sheet set (fitted and flat), and a pillow case. With this option, there’s no need to match colors or styles of separate pieces because everything is made by the same company. In addition to being the simplest option, the Bed in a Bag is also the least expensive choice. However, the quality of the fabric is usually lower than the quality of bedding that comes separately. If thread count or sheet material (flannel, jersey knit, cotton) are important to you, the Bed in a Bag may not be the best option.

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