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. ‘

Samrt Desk ,Saffron Walden, Design Essentials, Interior Design, Smart Tech

Smart Desk – Apollo added to our collection!


Due to the success of the Silas Smart Desk, we are proud to reveal the brilliant new Apollo Height Adjustable Smart Desk, a new product from our firm favorites Koble. The new Apollo Smart Desk is here.


Perfect for working from home:

Working from home during lockdown has meant our customers have seen the benefits of our smart tech quicker than we anticipated. With the whole family around all the time, we know that now more than ever you need to have a super comfortable workspace, whether that be standing up, sitting down, or anywhere in between. You need the Apollo Desk, comfortable, stylish, touch-sensitive, great for your back, and posture. The Apollo Height Adjustable Smart Desk will change the way you work for the better.

We all know that keeping hydrated is super important but, liquid and phone cables are not exactly a match made in heaven. But what has that got to do with the Apollo smart desk? Well, the wireless phone charging feature of the Apollo will save you crying over spilled milk, tea, or coffee. Because not only are your coworkers about six but with no school to tier them out, their curious minds and sticky fingers are running rampant. This is why the rise and fall feature of the Apollo is so great, it means that no important paper work ends up with Nutella smudged all over it.


Perfect for the home:

Where the Lana was designed with the office more in mind, it’s little brother The Apollo smart desk is perfect for both the home and the office. The Lana smart desk was so popular, its now sold out. We will be getting more, but there’s no confirmed date yet, and October is the earliest we can expect them. Se all of the brilliant features of the Apollo in this video.

Lana Smart Desk Koble Design Essentials


There’s no need to worry about space either:

With its compact and lightweight design, the Apollo will fit in even the smallest spaces. The best bit is you don’t even need a chair when standing so that’s, even more, space saved!

Dimensions (cm) :

Height adjustable between 75 – 121

Length 120

Width 60


Get in touch:

Check the Apollo Smart Desk out on our website here.

We are really proud as a small independent business to be working with Koble. If you have any questions about the Koble range at Design Essentials don’t hesitate to get in touch. Contact us here.

Koble, Design Essenitals, Smart Desk, Saffron Walden, Interior designKoble, samat desk, Design Essentials, Saffron Walden, Interior Design

Fundraising for Niamh

Hi, I’m Niamh, I have just turned 16 and I’m fundraising to go on a trip to the Himalayas in summer 2021 with an organisation called Global Action. To help me fundraise Design Essentials are offering to help as Global Action requires half of the cost of the trip to be raised through various means of fundraising.Fundraising For Niamh At Design Essentials


This blog is a little bit about the trip and at the end there is code that will save you money and also Design Essentials have kindly offered a percentages of the sale to my fundraising too. 

During my time in India you will be helping me to learn about:

  • Poverty reduction and access to education through the various charities Global action supports. 

Such as The Tibetan Children’s Village which is a school which gives an outstanding education to orphans or newly arrived refugees from Tibet, while living in boarding houses with foster parents as a self-contained family unit. 

  • I will also learn about democracy and human rights.
  • Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism will also be a key part of my trip, as not only will I be staying in the village of Dharamshala known as the 14th Dalai Lama’s residence, but will also be visiting the Norbulingka Institute which is dedicated to preserving Tibetan culture.

I very much appreciate you using this discount code and hope you enjoy your purchases.

thanks Niamh. ♥️

Design Essentials FundraisingDesign Essentials Fundraising  Design Essentials Fundraising


Until August 31st , you will receive £3 off the MI speakers using code FUNDRAISENIAM and we will donate a further £2 to Niamh’s fundraising efforts.

Design Essentials re opened.

Design Essentials has reopened . We have enjoyed welcoming our lovely customers back to our shop in Saffron Walden. It’s been an anxious time for so many and we have been doing the best we can  to help maintain a safe environment for our customers.

As part of our preparations to create this safe and welcoming environment for you, we took part in a clean up campaign in Saffron Walden, organised by the Saffron Walden BID. In June before the shop reopened.


 Design Essentials Saffron Walden Koble Design Essentials Saffron Walden BID Clean Up Design Essentials Saffron Walden


Here are some measures we are taking for a socially distanced shopping experience, which we will review weekly:

  • We will have a mixture of browsing and appointments available with a maximum of 2 customers browsing in the shop at any one time.


Opening times 

Monday :        11.00-4pm appointments only.

Tuesday :       11.00- 4pm appointments only

Wednesday :  11-4pm appointments only

Thursday :     11-4pm browsing and appointments.

Friday :           11-4pm browsing and appointments.

Saturday :      10.00-4pm browsing .


  • We have signage in store to help with the government guidelines to stay 2 metres apart.
  • We will be providing hand sanitiser for customers to use before, during and after their time in the shop.
  • We will clean the card machine before and after every use.
  • We are fortunate to have 2 doors so we ask that customers enter through the front and exit via the back.
  • We will be regularly cleaning and wiping the door handles, alongside any surfaces that are touched regularly.
  • Staff will wear face masks.
  • Staff will be washing and sanitising their hands frequently.
  • We will take cash but encourage Bacs  payment as much as possible.
  • We want to encourage our customers to use the website wherever possible and use our click and collect service.
  • We are taking phone orders and are delivering in the local areas around Saffron Walden for free.


Shopping appointments:

In addition to our general opening times of 11-4pm, we are also offering shopping appointments.

Perfect for any of these reasons

1.if you are vulnerable 

2. Working from home and are time poor and you want to support local and see what we have without having to worry whether you have to wait. 

3. Want to come in as a family and have the shop to yourself and just like to browse and ask questions and discuss options at your leisure

4. Want to come in with a friend or a family in your bubble.

  • Book in with us to shop privately Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  
  • Slots are available from 11-4pm.
  • Book a short (15 minute), medium (30 minute), or long (45 minute) appointment with us.


How to book appointments:


Feel free to call me directly to clarify any of the options above. We hope we can help you feel safe to shop with us over the coming months , and we thank you for all your understanding and support and please remember Design Essentials is open online all the time at

Stay safe.


Wendy x


Signage and hand sanitiser provided by Saffron Walden BID.

Working Smarter Not Harder

Working Smarter not Harder

If like many of us you’re working from home, you’ll know that a good chair, a space to work, speedy wifi and a cuppa is your must-have list of items to get a bit of work done.

Despite the average age of your current co-workers (probably about 6 years old!), you’re maxed out on zoom, and phone calls-we get it! So when you’re multitasking and distracted, you need all the help you can get to be working smarter.

The Koble SMART desk is your new best friend!

With a range of smart functions, it’s beautifully made and looks simple and stylish.

There are two original designs: The Lana and the Silas. Each has slightly different features including,

  1. Integrated fast wireless charging technology.
  2. Touch-sensitive control buttons.
  3. Integrated blue-tooth speakers
  4. 2 USB charging points
  5. A toughened glass top that wipes clean and perfect for making notes with a white-board marker.

Koble Lana Smart Desk Design Essentials Working From Home Work Smarter Not HarderLana Smart Desk Koble Design Essentials

The Lana is also ergonomically friendly with it’s ‘rise and fall’ feature to transition smoothly from sitting to standing.

Ideal for a small space

Because of their inbuilt features and compact design, the Koble desk is the ideal furniture for a small workspace. It’s not cumbersome or awkward and with it’s ‘work while standing’ feature The Lana desk doesn’t even require a chair!

Clear of clutter and cables this desk is a total revelation with everything you need for your home office.

Teenage Kicks?

It’s also the perfect solution for testing teenagers. The hub of smart tech it’s the go-to desk for a teens bedroom. As a proud mother of a teenager myself, I’ve found there’s no better incentive to get homework done and dusted while chilling out to tunes. With a choice of desks to suit all spaces and budgets, it’s definitely worth a try!

Time to Accessorise

You’ve chosen your desk; now it’s time accessorise:

Here are our top picks to complete the ideal workspace.

  1. Desk Lamps. We love the Arc desk lamp; it’s sleek and stylish.
  2. Rugs, throws and hides. Stay warm and cosy if you’re working late with a range of cowhide, sheepskin and reindeer rugs.
  3. Additional Lighting: We love a bright pendant light to give maximum impact when working. This glass look from Ebb & Flow is very on-trend.
  4. Wall décor: Art can inspire, and you might need all you can get if you’re like our favourite print: The Procrastinating Lady with the Pink Pencil.
  5. Alarm clock: Early morning meeting? You need the touch control top and new flip alarm technology of the Ginko Flip Click Clock. (that’s a tongue twister!)
  6. Personalised notebook, mug and spoon (yes I said spoon, for all that tea!)

Koble Arc Smart Lamp Charger Design Essentials Working From Home Work Smarter Not HarderSaffron Walden Fur Rugs and Hides36cm horizon pendant lampshade smokey grey ebb and flow design essentialsMineheart Portrait Design Essentials Working From Home Work Smarter Not HarderGingko Flip Alarm Clock Design Essentials Working From Home Work Smarter Not HarderPulp Haus Customisable Notebook Design EssentialsPersonalisable Spoon Design Essentials Working From Home Work Smarter Not Harder


You can order everything online from our website and have it delivered to your door without even leaving your desk or the dining room table! Alternatively, you are welcome to come and road-test the desk and accessories in-store by appointment. Give us a call to arrange a socially distanced visit on 07813 840402.

Late Night Shopping 2019

Our lovely market town of Saffron Walden are holding their annual Late Night Shopping event Friday 6th December.

The market square will be buzzing with locals selling their handmade goods, and we will be open until 8pm.

Grab all those last minute Christmas gifts for the whole family, from Tonie boxes, to personalised diaries and prints, to luscious smelling candles! And why not indulge on our wine and nibbles to keep your energy up and get into the Christmas spirit!

The best part is that there is FREE parking from 1pm onwards during the run up to Christmas, so take full advantage!

Autumn Winter Launch 2019

We launched our new collection last week at a Private event here at the shop.

It’s never easy being a small business owner  I am no exception to the hard work required, however once again it’s the people who surround me that I am grateful to. I have to say a huge thanks to the team for all the help that they gave me . This team include friends and business owners in the town who helped with either a lot of coffee, ear bending, cooking me dinner, alongside putting a light or two up.!!

If you had passed by the shop and asked if there was something you could do then my answer was always yes. I even roped Paxtons in when I spotted Andy helping his sister Julie who owns Beauty Box. Mistakenly thinking he was wielding a drill outside the shop I asked nicely if he could help out with a few jobs requiring said tool.  Turns out it was an angle grinder but he promptly got a drill and helped out anyway much to his sisters amusement.

Thank you Erika Daw owner of Skylar and Willow who helped every step of the way from the many Trade shows we visited to the final layout, hours put in, colour scheme and window display which will take us through Autumn Winter. Inspiration for this theme also came from the Saffron Walden Intiative . This is the 2nd year they have held a competition for best window display on the theme ‘ Light It Up ‘

‘We were quite sad to say goodbye to our Botanical themed window, however we still have the range instore. In its place however we have a lovely window to entice customers to come and shop ; be inspired with us over the seasonal period , with an exciting array of  gifts and gadgets,  there’s something for everyone this Christmas .

We have a wide choice of innovative and inspiring brands such as Ebb and Flow, Nkuku, Culinary Concepts and brands and products rarely seen outside London. The latest in wireless technology Koble Designs have a great range of speakers, lanterns USB ports and smart technology furniture and desks that we now have displays of instore.  Gingko design have widened their range at the shop and the must have children’s Audio Box Tonie are also in store amongst our well established brands Gpo Retro, Extreme lounging Bean bags, vintage cutlery , bulbs and shades to name just a few.

Thus far we have been delighted with the feedback on the window and store from the evening and since.

With many thanks to Saffron Fish company and Mini Miss bread teaming together to produce the exceptional canapés to be washed down with a glass of something lovely from Adnams.

Wendy x


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!

What is the purpose of your space?

“Plan twice, three times, even four….but only ever build ONCE!”

When planning a room, think about it’s function and usability. Unsurprisingly, this is more important than colours and textures! Establish the function of your room, space and/or building before anything else. Without forward planning, costs can easily spiral out of control and at the end of it, the space may still be unusable.

Henham interior project November '18“I love the chair, I’m buying it!”

Stop! You love the furniture you’ve seen online, in the shop or wherever…have you measured?! It may well be your dream chair (for example), but is it too big or too small or just right?

Too big, and the piece will become overpowering and an eyesore, or too small and it will look out of place, an after thought and not fulfil its initial function.

“We must have an island in our kitchen!”

You have your heart set on having an island in your kitchen, you’ve got visions of the perfect area for socialising and knocking up mouth watering cuisines, just as you’ve seen in the glossy mags. But the designer (or the other half!) has said “NO!” Ahhhh, my worst nightmare!

There may be good reason. Are you able to open the cupboards and move around them? Can you open the dish washer fully and load and unload it? Are you able to cook without being barged into? Can you turn from the oven with a hot dish to the worktop comfortably? There really is so much to consider when designing a space.

Henham interior project November '18

Keep it timeless

Functionality is key, and we chose the kitchen simply because it is the hub of a household. But whatever the space and function, consider time. Will your family grow or are your babies getting ready to fly the nest? Keep your spaces functional, to your taste, yet adaptable for when these inevitable milestones occur.