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Useful Grad Gifts that Look Ahead to Fall

by D*S Market Editors

Graduation gifts can be tough, unless you’re super acquainted with the graduate. Even then, leaning towards something fun, stylish but useful is generally a safe (and welcome) way to go.  Here are 18 gifts we think hit the mark for anyone headed out into the world!

Comfortable, sturdy bedding is always a necessity. We love this snooze set that can be given with some ideas for how to make it special with a DIY or two. (See the duvet cover DIY shown in the image below here!)

A seriously necessary gift. We love the Rosemary Mint products to wake us up in the morning & the Shampure scents to calm us after a long day. Your graduate will thank you.

This lovely handmade linen-covered notebook can be filled with reflections post-graduation.

This digital diversion comes in the form of a build-it-yourself pinhole camera kit. It’ll also look great on a desk!

This vintage train case would be great to fill with travel sized treats or toiletries.

This hanging string garden plant will remind your grad of growth as its vine spirals down from its home.

The gorgeous pencil vase made by Francis Palmer will be treasured for many years.

Having some mementos from home always make transitions easier!

This satin jacket by one of our favorite illustrators, Tuesday Bassen, would make a memorable debut on any campus.

This chic change purse will come in handy for laundry day.

This print by Penelope Dullaghan, entitled Elephant Strength, would be a piece of inspirational art for a grad.

This book will help the grad keep their eyes on the prize.

This chocolate bark, handmade in Portchester, New York, would be a great way to end the first day of post-school life.

This one’s a bit pricey, but would be a stunning group gift if friends and family chip in!

We’re loving this woven piece for containing laundry.

Seating in small spaces is always at a premium. These easy-on-the-eyes stackable stools do the trick!

This multi-purpose charging station even has a hidden spot for cords & cables.

This affordable rug will keep toes warm come fall. (Dimensions are 3′ 11″ x 5′ 7″)

Ditto for this throw!

This graphic glass set is a bargain and perfect for a fresh start.

This gadget gives further use for all of those millennial-consumed avocados. They can grow a tree!

Rolling carts are a dorm room staple. We love the burst of color this one provides. (Dimensions: 23.25″l x 10.25″w x 32.5″h)

A gorgeous leather key fob is straight-up classic.

Another classic! A Farmgirl Flowers bouquet is a great idea when you can’t make it to the ceremony.

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    • Hi Lily

      Apologies for that! We’re still testing out our shopping section & will be adding indie brands to this post and all others that aren’t brand specific.

      Stay tuned for some indie-gifts as well.


  • I love the train case too, and the potential to fill it with things that are useful and meaningful to the recipient. I also love anything with the words “Dream Big”. It’s the perfect sentiment for a grad going on to their next big thing :) If so inclined, check out a few unique grad gifts here:

  • I appreciate all of the independent makers with a sprinkling of big box retail suggestions that DS features. Sometimes I’m just not able to afford the independent makers. I respect the mix of both in DS post.

  • I have many special seniors graduating each year in my classes. My go-to gift is a tool box with the most important tools (hammer, a few screwdrivers, pliers, duct tape, level, Super Glue, hangers, etc.) needed to make a dorm room feel like home. I remember trying to hammer a nail into a wall with the heel of my shoe when I was 18. Result: a split heel and a wall with two holes in it. Wish I had had a tool box.

  • My niece graduated this May so I filled a smaller clear storage container (with the snap on lids) with supplies she might need for her dorm room…washi tape, command hooks, an extension cord and an outlet plug multiplier, a deck of cards, pushpins and a stapler, duct tape, string lights, coffee mug, a padlock, pens, a coozie, bottle opener, reusable flatware, etc. I tried to think of things you might not think you need until you actually need it. She seemed to like it when she opened it.

  • I’ll never forget a graduation gift that was given to me by a teacher I had in college. In honor of completing my degree (which was supported almost entirely by need-based scholarships), a donation was made in my name to help build a school in Africa. Nothing mattered more than knowing that this gift was helping others – regardless of my love for art and design, gifting items like a mini refrigerator for $999 in this article pale in comparison to what that 1k could mean to a group of children aching to LEARN. I agree with Lily above. I hope this message is shared with Grace and the *DS team, because I’ve always loved this site and how it pairs design with intention, with care for creators, and those who want to use art to make a difference in the world. I believe in *DS and its potential so I hope to see some big things for reframing future posts with Grace’s consistent voice and nurturing energy.

    • Hi JD

      Thanks for sharing your story! What a wonderful gift to have received. It’s so nice to hear of treasured and practical gifts our readers have received here in the comments section.

      We do post frequently on ways to give back and always will :) This post is part of our SHOP section and not featured in our main feed, thus the inclusion of the mini-fridge which we noted was quite pricey. We’ll always feature DIY gifts and those handmade by artisans, but we will also include pieces big box stores because they’re an affordable alternative for a lot of people. The occasional “splurge” piece will be featured from time to time based on criteria like design, color, pattern, etc.


  • The best graduation gift I ever got was a hammer with a personalized painted handle. 13 years later, its probably the only thing I still have, its bright and more fun then a normal handle and has been super useful from dorm rooms to apartment, to apartment, to apartment….

  • Wow! I am totally in love with those Farmgirl Flowers! So beautiful and affordable for such stunning arrangements.

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