Residence Halls

The cozy center of your Iowa State experience starts in your room! All rooms come with a lofted bed, desk, desk chair and wastebasket for each person. You’ll also have either a closet or wardrobe and drawer space. From there, chat with your roommate about how you’d like to set up the room and keep reading for tips on making the most of your space.

For a list of prohibited items, visit our policies section found here.

Setting Up the Space

  • Seating: Many roommates opt to bring a futon, comfy chairs, a small couch or some type of seating to set up their room.
  • Storage: Things like crates and boxes can double as end tables, ottomans with storage serve a dual purpose and flat containers fit well under your futon.
  • Rugs: All dorm rooms have hard-surface flooring. A 5×7 or 8×10 rug would fit well in your room if you’d like to bring a rug. Doormats are also a great idea – especially in the winter!
  • Decor: Our walls are your canvas – just make sure to use non-damage hanging strips. Floor/table lamps add nice lighting and plants bring in the outdoors. Need more ideas? Check out the Best Room on Campus photos via our Pinterest page.
  • TV: If you plan to bring a TV, you may want to also bring something to set it on. You could use your desk – but you might want that to study!
  • Power: Surge protectors (UL approved) with a long cord.
  • Fan: Whether you have AC or not, a fan helps circulate air and create white noise while you sleep. If you’re in a non-AC space, a rectangular fan fits best in the window or a small fan that clips to your loft can work well, too.


  • School supplies: Notebooks, pens, paper and anything else you like to use when you study.
  • Headphones: They’re a great way to ignore your friends when you need to focus.
  • Desk Lamp: A desk lamp is great, well – for your desk. And, a nice option to clip to your loft if you like to read at night.

Bed and Bath

  • Bedding: XL twin sheets, blankets, pillows, mattress pad
  • Bathroom basics: if you use it at home, bring it; towels and washcloths
  • Shower: A caddy is helpful to carry things back and forth to the bathroom. Bathrooms are cleaned by our staff every day but some people still like to bring shower shoes.
  • Robe: Great for walking to the bathroom and getting ready.
  • Suites: Toilet paper and a shower curtain if you want to add some fun to the space (Martin, Eaton, Buchanan)


Your ISU Dining meal plan gives you access to delicious, nutritious food with so much variety! You’ll spend a lot of time hanging out in dining centers and cafes with friends. A few items in your room can make late-night snacks a little easier.

  • Basic utensils: Plate, bowl, fork, knife, spoon, cup – you get the idea.
  • Fridge: Many students opt to bring a small fridge or fridge/freezer combo (4.5 cu ft and under).
  • Microwave
  • Storage: Things like zip-top bags or small storage containers are great to stash in your backpack when you need a snack on the go.
  • Appliances: Anything without an open flame is allowed. Coffee makers, Keurig-type (single-serve) coffee pots, electric water kettles, espresso machines, toasters, and microwaves can be used in residence hall rooms. All other appliances must be used in your hall’s kitchenette. What’s not allowed is listed here.


Iowa has all four seasons – sometimes in the same week! Plan your wardrobe knowing you’ll need both warm and cold-weather clothing. Think about storage space, when you plan to go back home (great chance to switch out clothes for the seasons) and what you’ll need on a daily basis. In addition to your favorite clothes, here are a few things that might be helpful:

  • Hangers – Every room has hanging space but hangers are not provided.
  • Slippers
  • Mittens, hat, scarf and boots 
  • Workout clothes including a swim suit – campus has some great pools!
  • A nice outfit or two for presentations, formal events, career fairs and interviews
  • Iron/steamer 
  • Laundry supplies – basket/bag, HE detergent, stain remover and anything else you typically use at home


Our custodians clean bathrooms every weekday (except in suites) and also keep dens and hallways clean. Cleaning your room is up to you and your roommate. Vacuums and other cleaning tools can be checked out from your hall desk. It’s also a good idea to have basic cleaning supplies for your room.

  • Dishwashing supplies – dish soap, sponge, dish towel
  • Cleaning supplies – basic wipes/cleaner for dusting and wiping down hard surfaces
  • Small vacuum if you do vacuum frequently
  • Small trash bags

Other Stuff that might be handy

  • Social Security Card / Valid Passport – If you plan to get a job while at ISU, you’ll need one of those to complete an I9 and begin working.
  • Bike helmet and lock if you plan to bring a bike
  • Documents – license, social security card, medical insurance forms, financial aid forms, vehicle registration if you bring a car and warranty information associated with electronics
  • First-aid kit
  • Tool kit – some tools are available for check out at your hall desk
  • Umbrella
  • Flashlight


Many of the things above also apply to apartments. Frederiksen is fully furnished and most SUV units are not. The apartment life will typically require a few more items than the halls, such as:

  • Vacuum and mop
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies and toilet brush
  • Cooking supplies – pots, pans, hot pads, knives, cutting boards, etc
  • Dishwasher detergent/pods (Frederiksen)
  • Full-size trash bags for the kitchen
  • Common area furniture (in SUV unfurnished)
Living in a hall? Check out this video for a few ideas on what to bring.