girl giving her roommate a gift

Whether it’s commencement or the holidays approaching, you’re likely looking for gifts for your college roommate. It’s common to give a gift that is thoughtful and useful, but not too expensive. And there are plenty of presents that aren’t too taxing on your student budget.

Of course, your relationship with him or her is also a defining factor. You’re probably going to spend more on a roommate you’ve been friends with for years, as opposed to someone you’ve just recently met.

When shopping for presents, there are many great options. These can be for one person, like a best friend, or multiple people, such as suitemates. We’ve put together a list of the 25 best gifts for roommates to make your shopping quick and easy!

colorful throw pillows and teddy bear on bed

1. Cozy Dorm Accents

If your roomie likes to make the room all cozy and snug, then soft furnishings are going to be the perfect gift idea for them. You can never go wrong with a fluffy blanket, cushy mattress pad, or some throw pillows that coordinate with their personal style and how they’ve decorated their side of the room. These make great birthday presents or Christmas gifts for college roommates and are a great way to add some colorful accents to your space.

2. Dorm Decor for Walls

Dorm room walls can get pretty boring, but the good news is there are plenty of ways to hang gallery wall art without leaving a mess. Show some roommate love by gifting them a poster of their favorite musician, movie, or quote. Supply them with washi tape rolls as fun dorm room wall decor accents.

Or if you’re feeling sentimental, print out a personal framed image that they will love. Remember to get them some white tack or command strips to hang it up. Damage-free dorm room gifts are always the best!

3. Diploma Frame

If your roommate is a senior, why not surprise him or her with one of our custom diploma frames? Simply search for your school, select a favorite style, and customize the moulding and mat colors using our online framing tools.

Or, if they belong to a Greek organization or an honor society, consider getting them a custom certificate frame to show off their membership! There are no better gift ideas for college roommates than something personalized and functional like a diploma frame that they’re sure to use for decades to come!

frame a diploma button

4. Houseplant

Houseplants are great for keeping the air in your college dorm or apartment clean and fresh. Plus, they can add color and texture to your decor. Unless you’ve got a big window that receives plenty of direct sunlight, opt for low-maintenance plants. These are houseplants that can thrive in shade and don’t require a lot of upkeep, like succulents and cacti. This great dorm gift benefits you as well, since plants filter the air and will boosting your mood!

5. Keepsake Shadow Box

For a stylish way to protect and display all of their treasured campus mementos, one of the best gifts for roommates is a keepsake shadow box. As roommate gifts, college students will love updating the shadow box seasonally or refreshing each semester with new memories.

Shadow boxes are a fun way to showcase tickets, trinkets, and photos. Memories from homecoming, Greek socials, campus concerts, formal dances, theater productions, and college sporting events can sit on a bedside shelf.

buy shadow box
fairy lights and string lights in dorm room

6. String Lights

When it comes to gifts for roommates, college students need to be budget-minded. While quite simple and inexpensive, battery-operated string lights or LED lights are quite popular. They can brighten up even the drabbest of college living rooms with a chic ambiance. Best of all, they make ideal gifts for college roommates, female or male.

You could get your roomie a fairy light curtain to hang behind their bed. They can even leave the lights on to study or play a card game without disrupting your sleep. Gifts for a roommate can add joy to a dorm room during the holiday season. Color-changing string lights are a great choice.

7. Reed Diffuser

Since candles aren’t dorm-friendly, reed diffusers are a great gift. They provide long-lasting scents to make any dorm cozy and feel like home. Best of all, they add a real touch of sophistication to your room decor. And they’ll keep your space smelling fresh (which is nice, if you’re roommate doesn’t hit the laundry rooms very often!). Diffusers are a college roommate gift idea that you can easily order online or find at a local home goods store.

8. Kitchen Necessities

Is your roommate always borrowing your cereal bowls, kitchen utensils, and sealed plastic containers? No need to break the bank, you can find an attractive selection of dishes, cups, and kitchen gadgets at your local dollar store. Better yet, you can personalize these college roommate gifts if you find kitchen necessities in their favorite color or in cute patterns.

9. Cozy Socks

At one point socks would have been seen as a boring gift, but times have certainly changed. A pair of fluffy or wool socks is a great gift for college suitemates. With so many patterns and styles to choose from, they’ll keep their feet warm when the dorm floor is extra chilly.

light up have a nice day message board

10. Message Board

What better way to bring a pop of personality to a room than with a message board? Your roommate can spell out inspirational quotes, create funny sayings, or convey whatever message they’d like to suit their mood on any given day. Message boards are also a great way to leave reminders, phone numbers, and important messages for each other, making for a fun college roommate gift idea.

11. Short-Term Subscription

Do you and your roomie regularly get together to watch your favorite TV show? Is there a season on a different subscription service that your roomie is dying to watch? If you want to be extra thoughtful, give your roomie the gift of a temporary subscription to Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, HBOMax, or another popular streaming service. You only need to pay for a month or two, and they’ll appreciate the gift of getting to watch whatever they want. They’ll be able to watch the shows they used to love as a kid or stay up to date on new episodes.

12. Adult Coloring Books

You probably know that student life can get stressful, and if you’ve noticed your roommate is getting overwhelmed the closer you get to finals week, an adult coloring book could be just what they need to unwind and relax. There’s something satisfying about coloring in beautifully drawn pictures, and you can find all sorts of themed coloring books to suit their personal taste.

13. Touch Screen Gloves

Most students have plenty of options when it comes to warm hats and scarves but couldn’t tell you where they left their gloves. For wintry campuses, gift them a cozy pair of touch screen gloves. That way, they can keep their hands warm in the cold weather but have no problem using their smartphone or tablet to text you about dinner plans or pass in their final assignment while they’re on the go.

girl sitting on bedroom floor wearing mint green headphones

14. Headphones

Residence halls and shared student houses can quickly get noisy, making it difficult to focus on homework or indulge in some much-needed downtime. If they don’t have them already, there isn’t a dorm-dweller who won’t appreciate a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones. When you search “gift ideas for roommate at college” on Google, you’re sure to find many high-quality affordable headphones.

15. Personalized Mug

Are favorite cups, water bottles, or wine glasses always disappearing from your shared kitchen? Personalized drinkware is quite affordable and makes a wonderful gift for anyone living in a dorm. Plus, a customized mug featuring the owner’s name means it’s going to be more difficult for anybody else to “borrow.” This gift for roommates is a great balance between personal and practical, especially if you find a travel mug with a favorite quote or movie character.

16. Virtual Experiences

A virtual experience gift that the two of you can enjoy together right in your dorm or apartment is a great idea. You can purchase unique online experiences from Airbnb, such as tarot card readings, cooking classes, dance instruction, magic shows, yoga workshops, painting lessons, and even interactive scavenger hunts and game nights. Choose something that you know both of you will really enjoy doing!

17. Bathroom Accessories

If you share a college bathroom, then getting dorm bathroom essentials can benefit you too! You could opt for something fun like a cute printed shower curtain, colorful towels, a waterproof bluetooth speaker, great-smelling shower gels and body lotions, or a nice shower caddy. These gifts for roommates are a great way to add some personality to any typically sterile college dorm rooms’ bathroom.

silk flower gifts from my custom heart company

18. Heartfelt Gifts

If you’re looking to surprise someone with a truly unique and special gift, consider going the extra mile and getting a custom bundle made just for them. Whether it’s a set of bath products, a piece of jewelry, or a custom-made heart, a custom bundle shows that you put thought and effort into finding something that is truly one-of-a-kind and meaningful.

Not only will they be thrilled with their gift, but they’ll also have a beautiful and meaningful piece that they can cherish for years to come. Browse great gift ideas at My Custom Heart and then build your BFF’s special present.

19. Laptop Stickers

If you’re looking for a cheap yet thoughtful gift, then laptop stickers are an awesome idea. Find ones on Redbubble or Etsy to suit your roomie’s tastes, preferences, and hobbies. Shop for stickers related to the program that they’re studying, their favorite band, an animal they love, or even try designing personalized stickers just for them!

20. Calendar

When it comes to useful gifts, a calendar or journal is a great idea for a student. And, there are so many different calendar themes that you can choose from like animals, sports, artwork, TV shows, musicians, movies, cars, and more. If you want something more special, customize a do-it-yourself photo calendar featuring some of your favorite college memories.

shaving supplies

21. Face Care

Do you want to treat your roomie to some pampering? Maybe a spa day is out of your budget, but there are plenty of face masks that don’t cost much. Activated charcoal is good for breakouts, while lavender and chamomile are relaxing during exam time. Male roommates may appreciate a grooming set with shaving cream, a shaving brush, beard balms, and aftershave.

22. Sleep Mask

When you’re sharing a room, it can be difficult to go to sleep unless you’re lucky enough to be in sync with your roommate’s sleeping pattern. So, your roomie will certainly appreciate a comfortable sleep mask to use on those nights when you’re still up studying or not quite ready to turn off the TV.

23. Book Light

Do you live with a bookworm who has a tough time putting down an exciting novel? Or a night owl who starts homework just before midnight? Either way, you’re both sure to appreciate a book light. Most book lights are small, compact lamps that easily clip onto books or headboards. However, if your roomie loves novelty gifts, a wooden, foldable LED “book of light” is the way to go!

24. Snack Package

What roomie wouldn’t appreciate a collection of favorite snacks? Put together a thoughtful care package filled with sweet and salty treats, including trail mix, cookies, popcorn, donuts, and candy. If they live far away from campus, they’ll appreciate having something to snack on while traveling by bus, train, or plane to get home for a birthday celebration or holiday.

25. Custom Photo Frame

Finally, if this is going to be your last winter holiday together before graduation, then a custom photo frame featuring a favorite memory of you and your roomie since you started college is a thoughtful, personal gift idea they’re sure to cherish. Maybe your roomie has been with you since day one, or perhaps you met them further along into your degree program when you changed living arrangements.

Either way, if you’ve had some fun moments that have made your college experience what it is today, you’ve probably got plenty of photos, and there’s no better way to display and protect them than with a photo collage frame.

design a photo frame button

When it comes to finding the perfect gifts for college roommates, there are so many options. From diploma frames and collage frames to lip balms and face masks, you’re sure to find just the right gift to suit your roomie’s personal style.

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