Obvious, perhaps, but crucial, is a small refrigerator. Most students snack, and some regularly eat one or more meals each day in their room. Unless your diet consists of all packaged foods, you'll need a little fridge to store your perishable food and drinks. Typical mini fridge sizes for dorm rooms are the cube, with 1.5 to 1.8 cubic feet (0.14 to 0.17 square meters) of storage capacity, and the mid-size, with 2.5 to 2.7 cubic feet (0.2 to (0.25 square meters). Costs range from about $90 to $150 [source: Consumer Search].
The fridges come equipped with small freezers, although the freezers don't perform that well because they typically share air space with the fridge, and can't keep items frozen without also freezing the food in the fridge. It's best to purchase the largest mini fridge you can afford. The larger fridges perform better and are more energy efficient, not to mention they hold more. Luckily, larger fridges have roughly the same footprint as mini models; bigger models are taller, not wider [source: Consumer Search].
What if your roommate also intends to bring a refrigerator along? That's fine. It's best if you each have your own. You can easily keep your food separated that way, plus it's amazing how quickly you can fill a mini fridge. Check with your college or university before purchasing one, however, because sometimes there are restrictions on the size or number per room [source: Beginner's Guide].