For many people departing for college, it will be the first time they’ve ever experienced independent living. While there are plenty of exciting first-time experiences to look forward to, the practical considerations of setting up a home for the first time away from family can prove daunting.
You can make life easier for them by investing in functional housewarming gifts they’ll actually need. Below, we break down 25 of the best gifts you can buy for college students.
1. Dishes and Dinnerware
New dishes are essential for anyone setting up home for the first time. An inexpensive dinnerware set makes a great gift for college students. A decent set should include dinner dishes, bowls, and side plates. Ideally, you should be looking for dinnerware that’s microwave and dishwasher safe.
No kitchen is complete with a good selection of pots and pans. Although cookware can be picked up pretty inexpensively, it makes sense to spend a little more on a premium set that will hold up well for several years. Look for sets that include saucepans in various sizes and a frying pan.
It’s amazing how quickly the average home runs out of cutlery. A 16-piece cutlery set makes an ideal housewarming gift for college students flying the nest for the first time. Keep things simple with a hard-wearing stainless steel set that will hold up well to regular use and repeated cycles in the dishwasher.
4. Knife Sets
If you want to encourage a habit of healthy cooking, a high-quality knife set makes a practical housewarming gift. Knife blocks are a good option for a smaller kitchen, with most sets including everything from steak knives to utility scissors.
5. Coffee Makers
Most college students can’t function without their morning caffeine kick. A coffee maker is not only a practical gift but will also help recipients save a small fortune in the long run. If your budget won’t stretch to a programmable coffee maker, go for a French press instead.
A good set of mugs will make a welcome gift for college students setting up home for the first time. A coordinated set is always a good idea, although novelty designs also make great gifts. Just make sure you’re choosing mugs that are dishwasher and microwave safe.
Glassware makes a superb housewarming gift. If you’re looking to stick to a tight budget, keep things simple with tumblers and hi-ball glasses. If you can afford to spend a little more, add in some wine glasses and flutes.
8. Food Storage Solutions
Tupperware and food storage containers may seem like a boring gift, but they’re incredibly practical. College students can batch cook and store homemade recipes for the week, making it less tempting to abandon healthy meal regimens altogether and order in takeout.
9. Food Processor
This is another great gift idea if you’re looking to encourage healthy eating. A compact food processor can make quick work of meal prep or be used to whip up things like soups and salsas in moments.
A quality juicer is another kitchen staple no college student should be without. When choosing a bullet blender or juicer, look for models with at least three settings. Most compact blenders also include a drinking lid, so freshly blended shakes and smoothies can be consumed on the go.
11. Sandwich Maker
Sandwich makers are the ideal gift for college students who aren’t that proficient in the kitchen. With just a couple of slices of bread and a handful of ingredients, they can whip up a hearty breakfast or midnight snack in minutes.
12. Towel Bales
A new set of towels is essential for every new apartment or dorm room. Go for a 6-piece set that includes a good selection of bath sheets and towels.
13. Bath and Pedestal Mats
The average college bathroom is going to need some TLC. A deep-pile bath and pedestal mat combination can quickly transform an unloved bathroom or shower space.
14. Bathroom Storage
Even the largest bathroom is usually lacking in storage. Help college students overcome a shortage of storage with a handy shower caddy. If you’re buying for a particularly disorganized individual, a trolly storage unit is a good idea.
15. Laundry Hampers
If you’re a parent saying farewell to college-aged kids, a laundry hamper is a good going away gift. A collapsible laundry is a practical and inexpensive gift idea. It also reduces the chance of college students returning home with piles of dirty laundry for you to deal with.
16. Ironing Essentials
To ensure they’re always neatly turned out and looking their best, think about buying college students some ironing essentials. A reliable iron and compact ironing board or mat will ensure their clothes are always looking sharp. If you’re prepared to spend more, a garment steamer will go down a storm.
17. Cleaning Supplies
Cleaning products aren’t the most exciting of housewarming gifts, but they’ll come in handy. Put together a bundle of all-purpose cleaning sprays, brushes, and cloths and package them in a practical caddy.
18. Throws and Blankets
Good-quality textiles make a fine housewarming gift. A waffle weave throw can be used for curling up on the couch or making a bedspread more comfortable.
A selection of vibrant cushions can quickly transform any living space. If you want to add a personal touch, think about getting some bespoke cushion covers printed with novelty slogans or treasured photographs.
20. Bed Linen
Many college students settle for second-rate bedding that’s not only uncomfortable but quickly fades after a handful of spins in the washing machine. Treat someone you love to a premium set of linen so they’re counting down the hours until bedtime.
A sumptuously soft comforter will help transform any bedroom into a first-rate sleep sanctuary. Make sure you pick something that’s machine washable so it can be thrown in with the rest of the laundry.
22. Novelty Lighting
String lights are an easy way of adding some personality to a college dorm or drab apartment. Go for mains-powered lighting whenever possible, as battery-powered alternatives tend to offer inferior levels of illumination.
23. Photo Frames
Framed photo prints are the perfect gift for someone special. Sort through your digital photo albums and select a handful of your best snaps before printing them off. Once you’ve got your prints, bundle them with a selection of eye-catching frames and back them with wall-friendly adhesive strips so they can take pride of place.
24. Memo Boards
Every college student will benefit from study aids. Memo boards are particularly practical and will prove useful when it comes to cramming for finals. Combination memo boards that include cork board panels and magnetic sections are especially handy.
25. Gift Cards
If you’re still struggling to decide on what to buy someone departing from college, take the easy route and spend your money on gift cards. Opt for cards that can be used across multiple stores or online marketplaces so recipients have access to an extensive range of potential products.
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