Our Favorite Back to School and Dorm Decor Essentials From Etsy

If you’re a student heading into class this fall, you’ll probably find something worth saving on this list–whether you are stressed-out about the coming of August, or you’re excited for the school year to start up again. The stressed-out might find some peace feeling more prepared for the upcoming year, or even get excited by the opportunity to put some original flair into their school supplies. The excited folks will probably just get more pumped at the mere sight of school-related paraphernalia.

Book Iphone Docks by UncommonandNice


Dorm swagger is a tough game to pull off–because you’re surrounded by a bunch of young adults, you’ll want to seem cool and up to date with your technology. At the same time, you’re also surrounded by highly educated young adults, which means you’ll also want to seem well-read and up to date on your classic literature.

The smartphone charging docks of Texas makers Uncommon and Nice are a perfect middle ground between the two worlds. They’re handmade works of tech-art based on classic books, and they’re adaptable to whatever device you have in your back pocket. Pictured above is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Other options include Pride and Prejudice, Gray’s Anatomy, and Tom Sawyer. Check out their storefront here.

Mountain Notebook by Little Alexander

Mountain Notebook

Awesome little notebook design from the experts at Little Alexander. The brown paper cover is hand-stitched, broken at the bottom by a mountain range graphic. The mountains were inspired by the Olympic Mountains of Washington state. Buyers can choose a blue/white color scheme or gray/white. There’s 80 pages inside the little book–also customizable in lined, graph or blank paper. Check out Little Alexander’s full shop here.

Pannier and Backpack by MotleyGoods

Grand Rapids’ Motley Goods focuses on bike bags and backpacks. Many students need a bag that functions well as both, and that’s where their Pannier/Backpack comes in. The bag has a removable hardware plate for attaching to the back of your bike, and comes with a host of customizable extra features, like 18 different colors, a leather base, and a 13-inch laptop sleeve. Click here to visit the Motley Goods’ shop front.

Cordito Leather Cord Wrap by This is Ground

Tangled chord are an eternal problem, and it’s even worse to have to stuff a spaghetti of technology into your bag every morning, then sprint to class and try to untangle said pile of noodles while everyone around you stares. The Cordito by LA shop This Is Ground addresses this problem in the most stylish way possible. The leather roll has sectioned off holders perfect for cradling your thin, fragile chords on the go. The roll comes in several different colors like Sky Blue, Black, and Tobacco Brown. Check the store out here.

Chalkboard Skull by skullpops

chalkboard skull

If you like, you can imagine this skull is like your student brain, and your education is the chalk-words being “written” on your brain.

If that comparison seems pretty weak to you, you can still enjoy this chalkboard skull from Nashville’s skullpops as a badass dorm accessory. The artists at skullpops repurpose found thrift store statues and figurines into kaleidoscopic interior design. Their chalkboard skull also comes in green, and there is also a chalkboard hippo, if hippos are more your jam.

Their storefront looks a lot like a children’s museum from the future–check it out here.


The Typewriter Gift List

I have a Smith-Corona electric typewriter from the 60’s sitting on my shelf. Usually, that’s all it does– sit collecting dust on my shelf. It was a gift from a friend, but it’s mostly become a piece of decor. It serves to signal to visitors I have some relationship to written words.

I’m inspired to take it off the shelf today after poking through the halls of Etsy looking for typewriter-themed goods. It’s sure to annoy my new apartment neighbors with its machine gun fire clacking, but that ruckus is why I like it. On a typewriter, ideas and words are noisy. They rattle and ring, a refreshing counterpoint to the mute tapping of a laptop keyboard.

It’s a beautiful and complex machine. Just look at all the parts in the picture above. It’s also distraction free, since I can’t check Facebook or email on it. Anyway, here’s your dang list:

Iron-on Typewriter Patch from dahliasoleil


I love the color and detail on this patch, especially the little keys and the paper poking out of the top. This cream colored iron-on comes from dahliasoleil. Her store has hundred of unique machine-embroidered patches to brighten even your most boring fabric goods.

 Black Typewriter Pillow Cover from HappyPillowShop


HappyPillow is a godsend for neglected and depressed pillows everywhere. The store is full of joyful pillows dressed to the nines in original designs, like the above close-up shot of an antique typewriter keyboard. The covers come in three sizes, from 16″x16″ to 20″x20″ . If you’ve got unhappy fung-shui in your living room, maybe you should give her shop a look.

A Visual Compendium of Typewriters from Popchartlab

The graphic design wizards at PopChart Lab are awesome at creating minimal but comprehensive charts. This one is a look a historically important typewriters from the early writing balls to the late 20th century models. The illustrations are hand-drawn and printed on 18″x 24″ archival paper.

USB Typewriter Keyboard from usbtypewriter


At the junction of analog and digital stands usbtypewriter. They specialize in converting antique typewriters into fully functioning USB keyboards, compatible with PCs, Macs and tablets. The clean modification looks and functions like a normal typewriter. One of the coolest features allows you to shut off the monitor and type on paper while saving all your work to disk.

The model above is a glossy black Underwood typewriter, but the store also has a baby blue Smith Corona if you’re looking for a more modern design. If the price tag is too high for you, or if you’ve already got a typewriter at home you’d prefer to use, they sell an easy to use DIY kit in the store as well.

Leonard Cohen Quote Card from PoeticMadness



There’s a lot of quote cards in the PoeticMadness store, a good place to stop if you’re buying a gift for a bookworm or mad poet. The print cards are all hand-typed and can serve as a gift card or postcard. There are also poster sized prints for sale.

A lot of my favorite writers saying great stuff were there in the shop, like Whitman, Bukowski, and Hunter S Thomspon. Ultimately I was feeling this Leonard Cohen quote today. It’s from the song “Anthem”.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.


Looking for more typewriter themed creations? Check out our store’s Typewriter collection here.