Gifts for new university students under £100

Where have the years gone?

The years have flown by and now it’s time for your baby to fly the nest for the first time. We say for the first time because many WILL be back, washing in hand and a new appreciation for pasta. The transition to University is an exciting time, and often more daunting for the prospective parents than it is for our kids!


It only feels like yesterday when I left home for Preston Polytechnic as it was then to study Business. ( Now UCLan University of Central Lancashire ) . It ended a chapter of my life at home, and I never did return there to live, preferring to start the next chapter of my life in London.

I loved the freedom the Polytechnic gave me, and I was gifted an almost free education ( I didn’t get the full grant my Dad’s business earned too much the previous tax year )  and a black and white TV for my room. I adored it and whilst the gadgets to be taken to Uni may have changed, room sizes certainly haven’t.

Space at university?! Argh

So when space is at a premium, but your “grown-up” child feels the need to keep up to date with trends and life demands, parting gifts can be hard to come by. University means a lot of photos, lots of charging, lots of music, and possibly the chance of some studying! Here are just a few items that do not compromise on space nor fashion!


University Gift Ideas:

  1. The Gingko MI Square Pocket Speaker £45

Boomboxes have had their day and, as cool as they were, they weren’t very practical to cart about… The Gingko Mi Square Pocket Bluetooth Speaker takes all the volume of and depth of a traditional music speaker and reformulates it for music anytime, anywhere.

Check out the other Ginko products here.

Help out a fellow student when you but the Gingko Mi Square Pocket Bluetooth Speaker by using code fundraiseniamh see more about Niamh and her fundraising here.

MI SQUARE Pocket Speaker Cherry Design Essentials Gingko


2. MightyB Indoor Bean Bag White £95

The perfect solution for space-poor university students and style-conscious grown-up loungers, mighty-b is where design statement meets comfort-worshipper.

Use code mighty10 for £10 off your MightyB indoor Bean Bag.

Check out the other bean bags here.

Design Essentials, Saffron Walden, Beanbags


3. Mooni Cube Light By Koble Mini £40

Great for indoor and outdoor use, no wires required as Cube Mini has a built-in battery. Cube is completely waterproof and can be left in the rain or used by a pool. I am not saying there are pool parties galore. Far from it, but hey they are only 18/19, and very likely they will not be checking whether apps.

Check out the rest of the Koble range.

Design Essentials, Saffron Walden, Interior Design


4. “I’m Dead Posh I’m From Saffron Walden” mug £9

Don’t forget you home with this truly one of a kind mug with the slogan which will make them smile and remember you a little.

See the rest of the range here.

Design Essentials, Saffron Walden, gift idea


5. Never Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle Spoon £17

How true this is… A great motivational present that everyone should have to remind them just how special they are!
A perfect spoon designed for the sparkliest person you know!

We will personalise your spoon and deliver it to your chosen address for free. For further details and to find out more, please contact us.

See the rest of our range of vintage cutlery here.

Never Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle Dessert Spoon


We hope this blog has given you a little help and there are more ideas on our website. Whilst this year’s student their experiences may be entirely different from ours,  they are always going to remember their own ‘black and white TV. ‘

EVENT IN STORE! 20% OFF ALL hides, rugs & throws


We have so many amazing hides available in store, with colour ranges from classic cow hides to metallic tones too.

Pop in store to view them all, and we’ll be more than happy to lay them out for you to see and examine their great quality first hand.

All of our hides are completely unique so if you see one you love we can’t guarantee to have a smilier one back in, so don’t miss out on your favourite!

All hides on the website are subject to change because of the unique nature of them so we can’t guarantee that the images are true to all products now in store.

We also have lots of new colour ways in our sheep fur rugs in single and double sizes, shop the range on the website here.

They are the perfect accessory for any office, bedroom or sitting room; effortlessly thrown over a chair or as an accent rug, they’ll add a chic and lush feel anywhere!

University is just round the corner!

Where have the years gone?

The years have flown by and now it’s time for your baby to fly the nest for the first time. We say for the first time, because they WILL be back! The transition to University is an exciting time, and often more daunting for the prospective parents than it is for our kids!


It only feels like yesterday I packed my life into the back of my little Renault Clio and followed my parents (their car also looking like a knock off removal van!) all the way up to Middlesbrough to start a new chapter to my life.

I’m not sure if I was more shocked that Middlesbrough was the polar opposite of our quaint little Saffron Walden town (and they had “funny” accents) or, that despite my best efforts to unpack the cars, there was no possible way my worldly possessions were ever going to fit into my tiny dorm room – it was most definitely not the Tardis I had hoped for!

Space?! Argh

When space is at a premium, but your “grown up” child feels the need to keep up to date with trends and life demands, parting gifts can be hard to come by. University means a lots of photos, lots of charging, lots of musics and possibly the chance of some studying! Here are just a few items do not compromise on space nor fashion!

Gift Ideas


Speakers for all budgets, whilst being small enough to carry around to communal areas, wireless and with an awesome sound!

IBomb £25Mi Speaker £45


On the occasion students do study, if past experiences are anything to go by, it’s usually during the middle of the night and sponsored by energy drinks and coffee! Our desk lights can offer differing light intensities, built in speakers and built in wireless phone chargers!

smart book light large walnut part open design essentials gingkoBook light £65

octagon one desk light maple angled on design essentials gingkoOctagon Desk Lamp £65

Koble Arc Desk Lamp Design EssentialsArc Lamp with phone charger £64.99

Koble Puls Speaker Desk Lamp Design EssentialsPuls Lamp with bluetooth speaker £69

Photo Frames

There will be countless nights out and nights in with selfies galore! Let them save some off their memories off of the cloud and in their rooms with our simple and stylish frames.

Kiko Glass Frame Landscape SmallNkuku Frames £14.95-£22.95


Melting Messages – ‘Meet the Designer’

Logo inverted


Having grown up around the Saffron Walden area, it was inevitable that I would come across such a unique shop that Wendy and her team run. My design background has given me a keen eye for what looks good, and from the moment I saw Design Essentials I knew I wanted to sell my candles in this shop. Melting Messages started in February 2015, thereafter came a year of development and seeking out the hotspots to stock them. When I finally launched the business in February 2016, I felt it was time to drop in and meet Wendy herself. I gave her a mini pitch of the business which went a little something like this…

Melting Messages’ journey

Our journey began, when I was searching for a gift for my mother’s birthday. Unable to find that special gift, I decided to create something unique for her. My sole purpose was to create a product which conveyed a message in an original way. Hence why there is a message hidden inside the candle, creating that big ‘REVEAL’ moment.  She loved it and from that moment Melting Messages was born as I decided to share this experience with others. Candles are used in a variety of different ways – to celebrate an occasion, give as a gift, create an ambiance or decorate a home. I wanted to create a product that could reflect these. I wanted to create a timeless product that would allow any moment to be preserved and be something worth remembering.

Our candles

Melting Messages is a UK based company. All our candles are designed in our studio and hand poured here at our factory. We source our wax and other key components from other UK manufacturers. We are proud of our heritage and we can proudly say they are ‘Made in Britain’.

“Meet The Designer” event

Wendy and her customers loved it, so much that we have decided to dedicated a whole two weeks on the collaboration. Saturday 2nd July will be a ‘Meet The Designer’ day at the shop from 11am – 4pm. Please come and see us and these amazing candles. Whether you are searching for a Birthday, Anniversary or even a simple Thank You present, our Melting Message candles will be perfect for these special occasions.

For more information and to RSVP for this special event, please email: or pop into the shop if you’re in town.

Here is a sneaky peak of what’s to come…


Happy Birthday Melting Messages's candle

I Love You Melting Messages's candle

Marry Me Melting Messages's candle

Thank You!


Valentine’s Day Gifts


Presents for your partner

It’s not long to go until Valentine’s Day so make sure you don’t forget to treat the special person in your life! Here at Design Essentials we have an array of gifts that are sure to put you in your partner’s good books.

As you may know, leather is the traditional gift given on a third wedding anniversary so if you’re coming up to three years as a couple take a look at our timeless leather range. A thoughtful idea would be to fill the leather Memory Box with quotes and mementos from your most special moments as a couple. Or if you haven’t got the budget for the memory box you could buy one of our Clothesline Photo Displays and put the quotes and photos up on there instead.

Also the candles we have in the shop could be the perfect gift for a wife or girlfriend. We have some gorgeous scented candles from Geodesis (Neroli being the most popular) and even candle accessories as shown above to glam-up your plain candles.

Finally, our best-seller the “Cinematic Lightbox” is a fantastic gift for Valentine’s as it is a very on-trend home accessory at the moment with the likes of Fearne Cotton, Jamie Oliver and Caroline Flack all owning one. To add a personal touch why not put a sweet message up to make it that extra bit more special. Or if you’d rather keep it simple why not buy a couple of our Wooden Letter Lights in your and your partner’s initials.

Emoji Cushions

Quirky Emoji Cushions

These quirky Emoji Cushions make a fabulous present for any teenager who is glued to their phone! Why not show someone how much you love them by buying them the Blowing Kiss Emoji Cushion or how much they make you smile by buying them the Cheesy Grin Emoji Cushion.

The cushions, made from plush yellow fabric, come in seven different expressions and we even have the much-loved poo emoji. These cushions are perfect for adding a humorous touch to any playroom, bedroom or living room.

We even had businessman Richard Swain, from Force 36, buy one of every cushion to liven up his boardroom which we thought was a creative idea. We’d love to see how else our customers have chosen to use the cushions so tag us in your photos on Instagram (@design_essentials1) or mention us on Twitter.

Can’t wait to get your hands on one of these cushions? Take a look on our website and BUY NOW.

Christmas Gift Guide for Teenage Girls

Don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about the teenage girls you’ve all got to buy for this christmas too. If you’re stuck for inspiration for what to get the teenage girls in your life this year Design Essentials has got you covered. Just take a look below at our christmas gift guide for teenage girls!


Christmas Gift Guide

Looking to save a bit of money this year? These amazing gifts shown above are all under £15 but will still be sure to make that special person smile when they tear off the wrapping!

From left to right:

Makeup bag=£12.99

Glass Hear Plate Stand=£12

Marilyn Monroe Wall Mural= £14.99


Christmas Gift Guide

If you’re willing to spend a little more take a look at these quirky products we have on offer. You could even personalise the products by putting up your own photos on the clothesline or writing a message out in the lightbox.

From left to right:

Clothesline Photo Display=£35

Quote Wall Decor=£30

Cinematic Lightbox=£30

Slurge:Christmas Gift Guide

Finally if you really want to treat her why not splash out on one of the gorgeous items seen above-you’ll be sure to be in her good books!

Arch Cream Mirror=£120

Stag Head Wall Sculpture=£98

Suitcase Record Player=£79

Christmas Gift Guide for Teenage Boys

As it’s less than a fortnight until the big day, to save you frantically looking for presents for your sons, nephews, grandsons, brothers or friends throughout the advent period, Design Essentials has amalgamated some of the best products it has on offer for teenage boys this christmas.


Christmas Gift Guide

If you’re not willing to break the bank the three gifts above are ideal!

From left to right:
X-Ray Decks Wall Mural=£14.99
Arrow Light=£35
Poop Emoji Cushion=£12


Christmas Gift Guide

If you’re willing to splash out a bit more on a special person why not consider these fabulous gifts.

From left to right:

B-Qubed Bean Bag Brown Aqua=£44.99
Fist Wall Decor=£41

London Underground Table Lamp=£45


Christams Gift Guide

Fancy really treating him? Take a look at these funky present ideas!

From left to right:
MonsterB Indoor Bean Bag Red= £144
Suitcase Record Player In Red=£79 with matching Vinyl Record Case In Red=£34.95