The New Guide on Dorm Mattresses and Sets

Leaving the comfort of the childhood bedroom, filled with mementos and dear memories, to move to a bare college dorm room can be a scary idea.

However, having a dorm that feels just like a home can make a tremendous difference.

When you dwell on campus, a comfortable bedding becomes one of the imperative college essentials, as it can make a huge difference between an involuntary all-nighter and a peaceful night.

Your bed is your haven after an exhausting day of classes and socializing, and that is why a comfortable and good looking bed is indispensable for your dorm.

After all, you will be spending a massive amount of time in your dorm room, every single day.

And while dorm mattresses may not feel like the bed one enjoyed for several years growing up, bedding sets do exist to bring additional comfort to the mattress.

And since a restful night’s sleep is imperative for students for their academic performances and healthy mood, you must make finding the appropriate mattress a priority.

beds in a campus roomFrom cozy comforters to mattress toppers, dorm bedding’s take on both a decorative and soft bedspread, so students feel comfortable right at home from the very first day they sleep in their new room until the day they leave.

And if you are lucky enough to be able to select your own bedding in college, there is a wonderful news for you- dorm mattress shopping just keeps getting better, more convenient, and cheaper for college students.

So here is a comprehensive buying guide for dorm mattresses and sets.

What are your Bedding Requirements in College?

Your mattress requirements will immensely depend on your living situation. Dorm rooms usually come with a mattress and bed, however, you shall be responsible for getting your own bedding including, a pillow and sheets.

Your bedding must include, comforters, blankets, pillows, sheets, pillowcases, and a protective mattress topper for hygiene and comfort.

So it is recommended to purchase at least 2 sets of pillowcases and sheets as you may not get enough time to wash them as often as required once college has begun.

Dorm bedding sets are a wonderful option for your dorm rooms as they include all the essentials in making college shopping, and coordinating colors that much easier.

Choosing the Right Size of Bedding

Your college will be able to inform you about the size of your dorm mattress, whether it is twin mattress or twin XL, also known as ‘extra long twin’ to accommodate taller students.

The measurements of a twin XL mattress is 39 inches wide and 80 inches long, and this is 5 inches longer than regular twin beds.

twin vs twin XL sizeA regular twin mattress is exactly what you will find in a home.

Some colleges may have double full or double beds, so it is worthwhile to inquire. At times the information is easily available online, or sometimes it is mailed to you in housing packets.

However, if no information is available, simply call the college accommodation office and ask.

It is indispensable to purchase the appropriate sized sheets as a twin fitted sheet will certainly not fit an extra long twin mattress. So it is suggested not to get the twin fitted sheets from your home.

This is because twin fitted sheets are a full 5 inches longer than the standard twin sheets you may use at home.

Since the extra long beds need specially sized comforters and sheets, these usually sell out promptly at large retail stores. So if you do not want to spend hours searching the local mattress stores for what you require, then you can order them online.

Also, when selecting your bedding, look for easy to wash, durable sheets.

In a Greek housing or a small dorm room, you will use your bed for several things, including, sitting, eating, studying- so consider purchasing darker prints or colors to better hide any small spills.

Depth of a Dorm Mattress

A dorm mattress is a standard 7 inches to 8 inches deep, and since it is not very comfortable, you will certainly want a memory foam topper or mattress protector.

This will make your bed undoubtedly more comfortable, and will make sure you have a good night’s sleep.

Since you will be spending all your college years sleeping in your dorm, so the additional expense of a protector is well worth your investment.

The depth of the protector will also affect the depth of the sheets you purchase, so you must beware of imported and expensive sheets.

They usually have around 8 inch fitted sheet pocket that won’t stay too long when sleeping, and there is absolutely nothing worse than getting up to sheets that have almost pulled apart from the mattress.

So the bottom line is that if you use more memory foam, or a 2 inch topper, you will require additional depth in your sheets.

The recommended size for college dorm bedding is 12 inches deep pockets in case of fitted sheets.

Best Time to Purchase College Dorm Bedding

Summer is considered to be the best time to shop for your dorm room bedding. This is because during summers, you will be able to find the best of college dorm mattresses and sets if you shop early.

In addition to this, it is a smart move to purchase your bedding before you purchase other dorm decor as a colorful bedding set can certainly set the decor theme for the rest of your room.

Since dorm beds are not very comfortable, it is recommended to look for a mattress pad as well to make your mattress easier to sleep on.

That being said, a memory foam mattress pad is the easiest way to turn your regular issue mattress into a luxurious retreat.

Dorm Bedding Items

College with long mattresses basically include a prospectus for dorm specific bedding’s, but investing in them can be limiting as well as expensive, since students do not stay in dorms for very long.

So before you invest in an entire set, you must find out what pieces of bed do you actually require.

Fitted Bottom Sheets

Of all the parts of regular bedding, the fitted sheets are the most particular as the sizing is very specific.

This is because it is arduous to stretch a regular twin fitted sheet onto your XL mattress, so consider purchasing at least one XL sheet for your bed.

Sheets that come with higher thread count are much more expensive, but are usually more durable and softer.

A fitted bottom sheet with handThread count is one of the most imperative points you must understand about sheets, and their manufacturing process.

It basically refers to the number of threads every square inch in both directions of the weave.

And the higher the count, the more extravagant the feel of a fabric.

It is recommended to buy a set of 300 thread count in soft 100 percent cotton for a soft and comfortable feel.

Usually a thread count which is between 200 and 800 is considered ideal, and most students find that sheets around 350 thread count are durable and comfortable.

Cotton is one of the most popular choices for sheet sets as it is comfortable, durable, easy to care for, and economical.

For dorms in cooler countries, Flannel is a warmer and nicer option.

Polyester sheets are usually found in dorm mattress sizes, and at economical prices, however, they tend to be scratchy and stiff.

Bamboo dorm sheets on the other hand, are soft and environment friendly, but may be a bit expensive.

In addition to this, there is a wide array of blends of each type of fabric, often combining polyester and cotton, or bamboo and cotton.

These fabrics are usually a great choice, as they are durable, comfortable and economical.

You must also pay attention to the fabric sheets fabric weave, as this changes the feel and finish of the sheets.

Furthermore, combed cotton sheets are soft and strong, while Percale is durable and crisp.

These sheets are chemically treated to avert shrinking and wrinkles, but some students prefer sheets with no or little chemicals due to sensitivities and allergies.

You can also seek pure finish sheets that have either removed chemicals from the sheets, or do not use chemicals at all.


A good quality comforter is a key item for the college dorm checklist. It is suggested to make sure you pick something that is made to last.

Purchasing a 100 percent cotton comforter will offer you softness, comfort, durability, and warmth on cold nights. Such comforters made in the U.S.A. are made to last, and are also washable in cold water.

a white dorm comforterOn the other hand, some polyester materials ball up post washing, and imported or inexpensive comforters found at big retail providers often do not hold up past initial semester, and have very low density fill which leaves bare spots post washing.

Furthermore, you will often find polyester fill not extending to all the four corners as the manufacturer scrimped on proper filling.

Remember, you spend about 11 hours every night in your bed, and you certainly want it to be comfortable, so in case you are attending college in the northern region where it is cold at night, keep in mind you will certainly need a comforter with additional fill or loft.

This is an imperative consideration while shopping for your dorm mattresses and sets.

For a plush, soft feel, few materials provide you with what microfiber comforters offer: simply slide under one during the night, and enjoy a great night’s sleep without the worries of a rugged blanket irritating skin.

In addition to this, you can buy reversible comforters as they add style versatility: two different colors contrast with each other, and all it takes you is facing a different side up every week to give a complete new look to the same old dorm.

Mattress Topper

Since dorm mattresses are not too comfortable, so several college students find that a mattress topper provides much more comfort and hygiene.

They come in a wide array of prices and materials, ranging from economical egg crate foam to expensive latex.

On the other hand, latex mattress toppers are comfortable, supportive, and firm, but can retain heat.

a good mattress topperMemory foam mattress toppers are expensive as compared to latex mattress toppers, and still offer support and comfort, though they also retain heat.

Wool is comfortable and soft with good temperature regulation.

Down and feather mattress toppers are luxurious and soft, though they may require fluffing to keep their shape.

Cotton mattress toppers also offer a wide range of materials, softness and prices, however, they usually compress faster, and are also not very durable.

Egg crate foam mattress toppers are economical, transportable and light weight, and may retain heat. However, they are less durable as compared to other type of toppers.

So you can select a mattress topper that basically contours to your body shape, and also provides customized comfort and support all night long.

For additional softness to sink into, you can choose a down feather topper, and if on a budget, select a regular egg crate topper that creates a plush barrier between your body and hard mattress.


Of course you must also buy a pillow along, and can choose from wool, latex, cotton, latex, foam, feather, cotton, and down pillows.

Wool, cotton, latex, memory foam, and foam tend to be adjustable and firm, and may even be resistant to dust mites and mold.

bunch of white pillowsFeather and down pillows are easy to adjust and softer, remain firm, but may lead to allergies.

On the other hand, luxurious and large body pillows offer both security and comfort, as well as decor. You can hug your body up against this firm pillow, while you sleep.

And during the day, it easily takes on a throw pillow appearance. So you can find them in shades of burgundy, royal blue, coffee brown and emerald green.

Most students buy pillowcases that coordinate well with their sheets. While some of them come in sheet sets, others are available separately.

In addition to this, you may want to consider a decorative pillow, or study pillow to add to your dorm bed.

Bed in a Bag

This makes things easy as it contains a complete dorm bedding set. Most of them come with a sheet set (flat and fitted), pillow case, and a comforter.

So with this option, there is absolutely no need to match styles and colors of separate pieces as everything is made by the same company.

It is not only the simplest choice, but also the least expensive option. However, the quality of the fabric may be lower than the quality of bedding that comes in separate pieces.

If sheet material (cotton, jersey knit, flannel), or thread count are imperative to you, this may not be the best option.

Dorm Bedding Sets

A bedding set is a one-and-done way to have your dorm bedding in style, and usually includes, a sheet, mattress topper, mattress cover as well as pillows.

Parents love the comfort of getting their child’s bedding items in one box, which is also a good storage option.

We identified On Campus Market (OCM) as the best dorm bedding set supplier, so here are some of their most popular sets:

Complete Campus Pak- Twin XL Bedding & Bath Set

This is the best and fastest way to prepare for your college offering $100’s in savings. It comes in varied colors and you have an option to pick a color of your choice.

The pack is also one of the best sellers among college students for the past 10 years.

You have the option to even personalize this value set according to your needs and preferences by choosing the patterns you like the best.

In addition to this, you will get 2 changes of linen in your choice of pattern or color so that you won’t be jostling on laundry day.

The sheet sets included are 200 thread count, and you will also get options to upgrade it to 300 thread count, based on availability in your chosen color combo.

The new OCM Complete Pack overviewThe Complete Campus Pak includes:

  • 2 extra-long flat sheets
  • 2 extra-long fitted sheets
  • 2 standard pillowcases
  • 2 extra-fluffy machine
  • washable pillows
  • 1 extra-long reversible comforter
  • 1 extra-soft fleece throw
  • 1 extra-long quilted mattress pad
  • 1 extra-long egg crate pad
  • 1 extra-long thermal cotton blanket
  • 2 all-cotton bath towels
  • 2 matching cotton hand towels
  • 2 matching cotton wash cloths
  • 2 oversized bath sheets
  • 1 pop-open hamper
  • 1 underbed storage solution
  • 1 bedside buddy

At the time of this writing, OCM is running a promotion and the set costs just $209 instead of $310. Plus, they offer a further 15% discount for a limited time!

Starter Pak- Twin XL Bedding & Bath Set

This is a 16 piece set that ideally fits Twin XL beds, and has everything you require to get settled in your new dorm.

In addition to this, it will fit a Twin bed with a little additional material that can be easily tucked under your bed.

You can personalize the set according to your requirements by choosing from a wide array of motifs and colors to coordinate your dorm bedding.

The standard mattress pad and pillows are cotton/polyester blends, and include higher thread count.

the ocm starter value packThe Starter Pak includes:

  • 2 extra-long flat sheets
  • 2 extra-long fitted sheets
  • 2 standard pillowcases
  • 1 extra-fluffy machine washable pillow
  • 1 extra-long reversible comforter
  • 1 extra-long quilted mattress pad
  • 1 extra-long thermal cotton blanket
  • 2 all-cotton bath towels
  • 2 matching cotton hand towels
  • 2 matching cotton wash cloths

This value pack costs just $139 after discount.

Varsity Collection

This is a 27 piece dorm set that has everything you require to move into your new dorm.

You can also choose your favorite patterns and colors from a wide variety of designs- stripes, solids, florals, plaids, and much more.

The sheet sets are 200 thread count, and you can also upgrade it to 300 thread count, based on availability in your chosen color combo.

the ocm varsity dorm bedding setThe Varsity Collection includes:

  • 2 extra-long flat sheets
  • 2 extra-long fitted sheets
  • 2 standard pillowcases
  • 2 extra-fluffy machine washable pillows
  • 1 extra-long reversible comforter
  • 1 extra-soft fleece throw
  • 1 extra-long quilted mattress pad
  • 1 extra-long Memory Foam bed topper
  • 1 extra-long thermal cotton blanket
  • 2 all-cotton bath towels
  • 2 matching cotton hand towels
  • 2 matching cotton wash cloths
  • 2 oversized bath sheets
  • 1 pop-open hamper
  • 2 underbed storage solutions
  • 1 bedside buddy
  • 1 Clip Fan
  • 1 Clip Lamp

The bedside buddy, if you don;t already know it, helps to keep study-in-bed stuff and remote, phone and all your other necessities right at hand.

The Varsity Collection set costs just $249 after discount, but check out for any additional promotions.

Comfort Pak- Twin XL Bedding & Bath Set

The last set we want to highlight is the Comfort Pak, as it offers an ultimate mix of bath, bedding and storage items to make your dorm nights comfortable.

This is a smart option offering about 27 percent savings on all your dorm requirements in one affordable box. You can also upgrade your sheets based on availability.

OCM's comfort bedding & bath dorm setThe Comfort Pak includes:

  • 2 extra-long flat sheets
  • 2 extra-long fitted sheets
  • 2 standard pillowcases
  • 2 extra-fluffy machine washable pillows
  • 1 extra-long reversible comforter
  • 1 extra-long quilted mattress pad
  • 1 extra-long egg crate pad
  • 2 all-cotton bath towels
  • 2 matching cotton hand towels
  • 2 matching cotton wash cloths
  • 1 pop-open hamper
  • 1 bedside buddy
  • 1 extra-long thermal blanket

This set is a good compromise and it sits right in the middle with a price of $179 after discount.


Dorms generally offer an exclusively sized bedding that may not match your standard mattress at home, so it is indispensable to make sure you are getting the appropriate dorm mattresses, and sets before setting off for college.

Cheap dorm sheets and mattresses for students are easy to find, however, it is suggested to invest in a quality dorm set that will last all your college years.

You certainly do not want to think of this, but in a dorm several students have slept on the bedding you will be using, leaving bacteria, sweat, and who knows what else- even bed bugs which can be harmful for your health, so it is suggested to use a mattress cover as well to create a barrier between your dorm sheets, mattresses and you.

Remember, a great bedding and mattress is the foundation of good sleep, but there is much more to it than what you are sleeping on.

Since studies have found that two thirds of students report that they are sleep deprived, so helping to create a space that is without any distractions can help solve this problem.

So all that you need to do is follow this comprehensive guide on dorm bedding and sets, and get yourself one according to your personal preferences before your college begins.

A huge part of getting good rest is sleeping on good quality, and durable bedding that makes you feel secure and comfortable, and following these simple tips can be a start in helping to remedy any type of future sleep disorders.

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