Gift Ideas for Your Roommate That Are Secretly for You, Too
It's better to give than receive (unless you can do both).
Updated Oct 30, 2018 4:48 PM
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They say giving is better than receiving—and we’ve got the research to prove it: Social psychologist Elizabeth Dunn of the University of British Columbia discovered in a study that when she gave 46 students an envelope of cash, those that spent the money on others reported being happier at the end of the day than those who spent it on themselves.
But, what if you gave a gift to others that you could also enjoy? Giving while receiving. It might sound a bit selfish, but a gift that both you and your roommate or significant other can share just might be the best of both worlds because it gives you the opportunity to enjoy the item together, while spending time together.
Not convinced? Allow these gifts to speak for themselves: Here’s a list of ideas that will certainly please your roommate or live-in significant other, but are secretly for you as well.
Stendig Calendar, Need Supply, $28.99
A calendar might seem like a boring thing to give, but this iconic Stendig option is timeless and boldly graphic. Designed in 1966 by Massimo Vignelli, it works almost more like an interactive art piece than a traditional calendar. Did you just win Roommate of the Year award? Yep.
Echo Dot, Amazon, $29.99
This little guy does it all for you: plays music, controls smart home devices, make calls, sends and receives messages, provides any and all info, reads the news (who has time to read on their own anymore?!), sets alarms and timers, and reads audiobooks from Audible (again, who has time to read?!). Alexa is at her best in a public space, like the kitchen or living room, so more than one person can share and enjoy her time-saving brilliance.
12-Piece Dinnerware Set, Urban Outfitters, $99
Oh, what’s this? A 12-piece dinnerware set that will live in the kitchen cabinets, for all to enjoy? Oh, how convenient for everyone involved…
Not only is it on-trend, this gift even benefits your extended circle of friends when they come over for a dinner party. Truly generous.
Recycled Glassware Set, Hawkins New York, $72
Glass tumblers, handblown in Morocco. Wow, your roommate would really love this. And you might just get to enjoy these glasses, too. Perfect for everyday use, but also cocktails and special occasions. You are so very thoughtful.
Bump Teapot, Tom Dixon, $160
A gorgeous and unique teapot that they’ll treasure forever? Yep, a clear need for the avid tea aficionado in your life. And you’ll probably be able to grab a cup whenever you’d like, too. That’s what we call a win/win.
Salt and Pepper Grinder, Norway Says and Muuto, $74
This showstopping piece just so happens to also be a salt and pepper grinder. What a perfect gift for your recipient to proudly display on the kitchen table for everyone to admire and enjoy a little seasoning.
Waiter’s Knife Turquoise, Mociun, $65
The type of gift they’ll love forever, but can never seem to spring for themselves. This sleek bottle opener, handmade in Santa Fe, New Mexico, is bound to inspire them to buy more wine—and want to share the bottle. (Feeling extra generous? Pair with a wine club subscription, below.)
Hex Teak Wood Large Serving Board, CB2, $79.95
Maybe you’ll happen to have a selection of cheese and charcuterie at the ready as your roommate unwraps this gorgeous wooden serving board—what a coincidence…
Doodle Black Throw, Aelfie, $148.99
A throw so beautiful your recipient will want to display it in the living room for all to see and enjoy. Made in the USA, machine washable, and 100 percent guaranteed to be cozy.
Wine Club, Winc, $13 and up
Give them so much wine they can’t help but share it. Excessive wine gifting is already a really nice idea, but especially come spring and summer when picnic season begins.
Automated Diffuser, Aera, $150
The gift of an amazing smelling space without any effort is really the ultimate present, right? The Aera is so potent and powerful, it’ll scent your entire living space. Want something more subtle? The diffuser can be controlled from a phone, depending on everyone’s preferences.
Food Meal Plan, Martha & Marley Spoon, $48 and up
It just so happens that this gift makes two or four delicious meals per plan, so you should definitely offer to help your housemate when he or she is making dinner.
Monthly Subscription, Netflix, $10.99
If they are sharing on someone else’s plan, or haven’t had the joy of experiencing The Crown and all the custom programming that Netflix offers, this is a sure-to-please gift gift.
This story was originally published in December 2017, and has since been updated with new information.