At the risk of dramatic generalization, we think it’s pretty safe to say that most college students have limited space and work with a limited budget. Meaning that finding stylish decor or everyday essentials isn’t necessarily the easiest thing for them. Enter, holiday gifting. Help out a university student by giving them one of these chic pieces they’re sure to love—and actually use.
For the Instagram generation, what better way to immortalize their avocado toast or group selfie than in a chic frame they can mount on their wall or prop on their desk? At just 5×5″, these cute frames don’t take up much space and are a great way to incorporate mementos into dorm room decor.
As dorm room bathroom mirrors can get crowded (especially in the mornings), a small mirror they can keep to get ready in their room will prove undeniably useful. This one is also a candle holder, which turns this mirror into an on-trend decorative piece as well as a functional gift.
Given that they use it for literally everything from taking notes to writing papers to buying plane tickets home, a laptop is probably a college student’s most-needed item. Help them keep it safe from scratches and spills in a sleek case; this one made of wool felt with leather detailing is elegant and so much more unique than the synthetic ones you see everywhere.
A speaker that actually looks like a decorative accent piece and not a clunky bit of technology is hard to find, which is what makes this audio “pillar” such a great purchase. With 360-degree sound, a 15-hour rechargeable battery, and Bluetooth capabilities, its technical features match up to its contemporary design.
For the college student who lives and dies by her to-do lists, a sturdy notebook is a must. We love this colorblocked option that includes a graph paper interior to keep everything looking streamlined and tidy.
You know the plastic organizers people buy in bulk during back to school season? This beautiful ceramic dish is a far prettier option. For the jewelry-loving college student, a handmade bowl made from an actual sea biscuit perfect for storing rings or earrings is a thoughtful gift.
Cuyana Leather Backpack, $350
We love a good tote bag, but after carrying heavy books and a laptop around all day, one shoulder will definitely be feeling the strain. Opt for a leather backpack with a timeless design they’ll be wearing long after graduation. This leather one by Cuyana was made in Italy and includes a detachable top strap.
College students read a lot (theoretically), and a stylish bookmark helps preserve the book pages—which is particularly useful if they’re planning on returning the textbook at the end of term. Get these handmade leather bookmarks personalized as a stocking stuffer.
Smeg 50s Retro-Style Electric Kettle, $149.44
Make their dorm feel a little more like home with an electric kettle. Having the ability to make tea in the comfort of their room is a little luxury that can make long nights (or cold early mornings) a little more bearable.
This solid marble block holds cards or photographs to add a personal touch to desk decor. It’s a much better option than tacking pictures on the walls—which, if the aforementioned walls are cinder block, is pretty difficult to do anyway.
For the over-21 college student, try these upscale shot glasses. They’re reusable, and due to their himalayan salt composition are particularly perfect for tequila. They’ll never have to salt the back of their hand again.
Madewell Leather Card Case, $24.50
Student ID cards are necessary to get into pretty much every school building, but can sometimes be costly to replace. Help ensure they keep track of theirs in a sleek leather card case that’s so small it even fits perfectly inside most wallets or small bags.
Spruce up dorm room bedding with a cozy throw, particularly useful if your college student attends school somewhere where the temperatures are chilly year-round.
So much more eco-friendly than disposable water bottles, and so much trendier than plastic ones. Everyone knows they should be drinking more water, but remembering to actually stay hydrated is an entirely different story—having this S’well bottle around will serve as a visual reminder to do so. It can even hold hot beverages, so if they have a coffee dependency this is an equally useful gift.
Hillhouse Naturals Reed Diffuser, $49.99
Since candles are generally not allowed in dorms, you’ll need to turn to plan b. Citrusy and clean, this “cashmere” scent is one that everyone is sure to love.
When in doubt, go with a mug. To be used for tea with their electric water heater (see earlier slides) or even eating cereal on those mornings when they’re rushing.
Urban Outfitters Firefly String Lights, $20
Fact: Absolutely no one looks good in the fluorescent lights that tend to grace dorm rooms. Soften harsh lighting with accent lights, which also work to dress up an empty wall. These string lights are particularly great because they can be personalized and turned into whatever shape they want.
This article was originally published December 9, 2017. It was updated December 20, 2017.
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