Back to school: Five small-space essentials for your dorm room

Live large with these smart buys


The key to dorm decorating? Splashing your personality all over the place while still making your low three figures’ worth of square feet do triple duty for studying, socializing and sleep. Here are some locally available products that will add both function and form to your little concrete box.

1. Aluminum wireless charging mat

Show of hands: Who among us has woken up to an empty phone battery because you were too lazy to cross the room/lean an extra two feet out of bed/move your arms six inches and grab your phone charger before passing out? Luckily, this wireless charging mat from Indigo is here to save you from yourself. It’s compatible with all wireless charging-enabled phones (including later-model iPhones), takes up little space and looks space-age chic on a bedside table. 

$24.95, 220 Yonge and others, indigo.ca

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2. Eneby speaker

We know what you’re thinking: “Since when does IKEA make speakers?” Since July! And true to modular, Swedish form, the minimal-yet-retro Eneby speaker is adaptable to any space. You can hang it on the wall, set it on a stand ($10), stick it in a Kallax shelf (the cube-shaped one that fits records) or take it with you to a party or the park if you throw down $20 for an extra battery. The fabric grille even comes off if you’re not feeling the tweed.

$59.99, 1475 the Queensway and others, ikea.ca

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3. Felt letterboard

PSA for amateur Instagram prop stylists: felt message boards are this year’s lightbox with slide-in letters. The Drake General Store offers budget-friendly versions in pink, heather grey, black and teal that come complete with 145 characters. A larger size ($34) is available to accommodate longer messages, such as “Greg stop leaving tubs of congealed Pizza Pizza ranch dip out or I will put them in your shoes next time I swear to god.”

$24, 1151 Queen West, and others, drakegeneralstore.ca for locations

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4. Window cling film

There seem to be two types of dorm room windows: the ones that overlook a quad full of strangers or the ones that face directly into someone else’s dorm room. To avoid any awkwardness between you and whomever’s on the other side, some privacy window film might be a smart buy. It’s pretty cheap, easy to install and even easier to remove – and if you pick one with a subtle prism pattern, like this one from Lowe’s, you might get the extra bonus of tiny little slivers of rainbow light showing up in your room a few times a day.

$21.99, 3003 Danforth and others, lowes.ca

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5. Stash clothing hanger

Space brain: using the empty space under your bed or behind a door to create extra storage. Galaxy brain: using the empty space inside your coats and jackets. This ingenious closet organizer from Umbra sits on a hanger and slips inside clothes so you can stash scarves, gloves and mittens without taking up any extra room. 

$25 for two, 165 John, umbra.ca

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