Gifts For First Apartments for College Students

If your college student is getting their first apartment, they’re probably filling it with rickety used furniture and things that they can get for free on marketplace websites. Giving them a gift that’s a little nicer and made by one of our Artisan Shopping Directory members will brighten up their space and make them feel special.

These gift ideas for first apartments were suggested by our members, and will fit the bill when you’re looking for a thoughtful housewarming gift.


first apartment gift ideas for college students


Some of the links in this article are affiliate links that will pay me a small commission if they’re used to purchase something. To see the entire affiliate policy click here.


Removable window clings.

cloud window clings

For an apartment you need to make sure that your decor isn’t permanent so that your landlord doesn’t have a fit and charge you for repairs when you move out!

These window clings from Lil Fox DesignsOpens in a new tab. will bring light & happiness into your apartment, and they’re easy to apply without permanent adhesion.


Ceramic plant hanger.

ceramic plant hanger on a wall

This air plant pocket by Magpie MischiefOpens in a new tab. can easily be hung up with a small command hook, so it won’t damage the walls in an apartment.



Fridge decor.

Add a splash of color to your apartment fridge, filing cabinet, or white board with these champagne cork and artificial flower magnets from Corkies By StephOpens in a new tab.. And there’s no concern about damaging the walls with these!


Heavy-duty bookends.

colorful metal bookends

These heavy-duty metal bookends by Bent Design FurnitureOpens in a new tab. will add a splash of color to a generic apartment, and will help to corral all of those textbooks!

mirrored bookends with books reflecting in them.

These also come in a mirrored version for a more modern look.Opens in a new tab.




Monitor shelves and risers.

computer desk riser

Bent Designs Furniture also makes desk accessories like this computer monitor riser.Opens in a new tab. This would be a great gift that would upgrade an apartment and also be something that the student can use in the future.


Stylish bulletin boards.

decorated bulletin board

This linen fabric bulletin board from The Dezign ShoppeOpens in a new tab. is another portable object that will add a stylish flair to an apartment but will also serve a useful purpose.

hexagon shaped pinboard

Salina designs these and has a lot of options including decorated and plain pinboards,Opens in a new tab. so check the site out to see what’s available.


To see the full Artisan Shopping Directory sections, including signups for discounts, click here.


Self-care gifts for relaxation.

Heating pad set

Heading off to college can be a scary and stressful time and long night full of studies. Make sure that your student is taking care of themselves with a bit of self care. They can just “pop” this heating pad set from Natural Body ComfortOpens in a new tab. into the microwave and “boom”… A wonderful and natural way to help them relax and also feel a bit of a warm hug from home.


Reusable heating pad.

reusable heating pad with dragonflies pattern

Another wellness option is this thoughtful gift of a reusable heating pad by TKDz.Opens in a new tab. Let them know you are always thinking of them while they are making a new journey in their lives. Wellness is important and in the new trend for self care, the benefits a heating pad can offer are endless.



LP record stand.

metal LP stand to hold records

If your college student is into the vinyl resurgence, they’ll appreciate this record stand from Bent Design Furniture Opens in a new tab.that’s designed to hold old-school LPs.


Personalized name sign.

personalized wooden name sign

A custom name sign by Home BrandedOpens in a new tab. to put in their apartment can make it feel more like “their” space.



Shiny bead and sequin ornaments.

beaded ornaments

Send your college kid a gift box with a selection of hand beaded ornaments from Holidays LaneOpens in a new tab. so that they can decorate for Christmas, then have these hanging up in a window the rest of the year!


Cool dark artwork.

painting of a crow

If your kid is on the dark side, check out the artwork from ShadowMythsOpens in a new tab.. Each painting has a story behind it, or they can interpret it however they want to.



Vintage decor.

vintage ceramic planter pot with basket texture

If you want to support your college student’s passion for sustainability and repurposing, get some vintage planters and create a little indoor garden for their new apartment. This planter is one of the ones that Our Seasons Past vintageOpens in a new tab. has, and they’ll make a cute display that will work in a kitchen or living room.


Vintage style wall art.

vintage print of a cherry blossom branch

For kids who have a more classic aesthetic, a print from French Vintage PrintsOpens in a new tab. will help them to decorate. There’s a wide variety of subject matter in Anne’s shop, so you’ll be able to find something that fits their interests and decorating style.



Boho macrame wall hangings.

macrame wall hanging and a plant on a wall

College students love macrame…I made a macrame wall hanging with a kit from Wires and Knots DesignOpens in a new tab., and my daughter took it for her apartment. You can buy kits or the finished product and decorate an apartment, or buy a kit and let your kid DIY it.


Ceramic olive oil dispenser.

handmade ceramic olive oil dispenser

A handmade ceramic piece for the kitchen, like this olive oil dispenser from Hester’s Studio, will make your college student feel very “grown” and adult. And it’s something that’s both upscale and useful.



Painted wood sign decor.

home definition painted on a wooden sign

A painted wood sign from Leann LovettOpens in a new tab. will be a cute decor piece for an entryway or a living room in a first apartment.


Cute kitchen linens.

vintage tea towel

If you’re looking for unique linens to give, Linens and Things has them.Opens in a new tab. This vintage tea towel is one example of the kitchen decor and home decor items that you can find in this cute vintage shop that specializes in linens.



Cute shower curtains.

An easy way to personalize a generic apartment is to buy a unique shower curtain for the bathroom. Opens in a new tab.Motor City Design Works can provide unique designs that will give some personality to a bland bathroom.

Kara Buntin

Kara Buntin has run a profitable home-based business since 1999, and has a background in art, theater design, and cake decorating. She's a top Etsy seller with over 51,000 sales on Etsy and her own website, and helps other home-based business owners with their business goals and SEO. She founded the Artisan Shopping Directory website to promote the artisans who are members of her EShop Success marketing program.

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