40 Back-to-School Essentials to Spring For (Even if You’re Not a Student)

40 Back-to-School Essentials to Spring For (Even if You’re Not a Student)

By Samantha Daly
Because back-to-school shopping is an all-ages affair.

You don't need to be a kid to get giddy about shopping for stationery, backpacks, or new clothes this time of year. From sticky notes to sneakers to desk organizers, we've curated the supplies that will delight elementary school children, university students, and adults in the office alike.

Mudpuppy First Vocabulary Stroller Cards
These cards provide a new opportunity for your little one to explore the world - they'll spot the illustrations on the cards in real life and match the two, developing their vocabulary.   Photo Courtesy of Anthropologie...
Everlane Denim Jacket
The essential denim jacket. Designed with a modern, relaxed fit, ours is made from a rigid Japanese fabric that’s garment-washed for a one-of-a-kind look—that just gets better with time.
Sonos One
The powerful smart speaker with voice control built in. Get rich, room-filling sound with Sonos One, and control it with your voice, the Sonos app, Apple AirPlay 2, and more. The compact design fits just about any space. Put it on your kitchen countertop or tuck it away on your office bookshelf.
Bellroy Classic Pouch
The Classic Pouch is the humble sidekick that can make a big difference to your day. Don’t leave behind your pen, charger, gum or lip balm, just because you can’t keep track of your essentials. And don’t rummage around your bag looking for them, either.
Chronicle Books Forest Life Eraser Set by Nathalie Lete
This set of five erasers feature full-color sleeves with lovely images of birds, flowers, and other forest flora and fauna.
Good Thing Frank Tray
The Frank Tray transforms an industrial metal-forming technique into a decorative detail. This handsome catch-all is a useful tool for storing loose change, keys, makeup and desktop accessories.
B&O Play Beoplay H8i
Luxurious on-ear headphones designed for superior style and comfort. Up to 30 hours of wireless Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound.
LARQ Bottle
The LARQ Bottle is the world's first self-cleaning water bottle and water purification system.
Frank Lloyd Wright 2020 Wall Calendar
Keep track of dates and appointments a month-at-a-glance with the Frank Lloyd Wright 2020 Wall Calendar from Galison. This dated wall calendar features the 13 Frank Lloyd Wright masterpieces covering 16 months (September 2019-December 2020).
Google Pixelbook
The ultra-versatile Google Pixelbook offers multifunctional use with 360° hinges that convert from laptop to tablet. Equipped with Google Assistant and voice commands for effortless utility + access.
Kikkerland Design iBed XL Lap Desk
Breakfast and tech in bed thanks to this cushioned lap desk from Kikkerland Design. Equipped with a padded base and no-slip wooden top with a slotted section for holding your tablet. Use with your laptop or tablet to enjoy your tech right from the comfort of your bed.
Dodow Sleep Aid
Sleep easy with the Dodow, a metronome with a light system that helps ease you in to a night of deep sleep. Designed by fellow insomniacs, the Dodow’s sleep exercise lasts 8 or 20 minutes before switching off, and helps users to fall asleep (or get back to sleep) 2.5 times faster, on average.
Stojo Collapsible To-Go Cup (Set of 2)
Ready, sip, go.  These collapsible wonders are making all of our sustainable dreams come true. Every cup is made from recyclable materials that are safe for enjoying both hot and cold drinks on-the-go, and—bonus—they’re microwave friendly. (Did we mention you get a 12 oz. and a 16 oz. cup in...
Monograph Ball Pen, Set of 3
Set of three retractable ballpoint pens from Monograph. Compact, clipless plastic barrel with printed logo in solid navy, solid gray and navy/mustard. Creates a medium line in black ink. Photo Courtesy of Need Supply Co....
Hay Point Pencil Sharpener
Point Pencil Sharpener can sharpen either one or two sizes of pencil. Made in natural beech wood with steel blades.
Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen)
Our most popular Echo is now even better. With a new speaker and design, Echo Dot is a voice-controlled smart speaker with Alexa, perfect for any room. Just ask for music, news, information, and more. You can also call almost anyone and control compatible smart home devices with your voice.
BenjiLock Padlock
Keep essentials safe and sound with this fingerprint enabled BenjiLock padlock. Stores up to 10 fingerprints (and unlocks with a just-in-case key, too!) within a highly-secure, chrome-plated steel shackle that stays locked to everyone but you (and whatever SO, friends or family you choose).
HAY Time Hourglass, Medium
HAY is a Danish design company established in 2002 by Mette and Rolf Hay, who were driven by a desire to create straightforward, functional and beautiful products for daily modern living. Drawing from the best of architecture and fashion, HAY designers specialize in technology, innovation and color.
Mr. Boddington's Studio Set of 2 Composition Notebooks, Space/Sharks
Master Boddingtons take on the classic composition notebook - a signature tool for school and play! This set of 2 notebooks features perfect binding and wide ruled pages.
Appointed Adhesive Task Notes
Prioritizing to-do pad from Appointed. Paperboard folio cover with printed logo. To-do pad with printed template and strong adhesive backing at interior.
Dagne Dover Dakota Backpack
Great Dakotas come in small packages too. Sometimes you don’t want to carry around a bunch of baggage, which is why the Small Dakota is perfect for you.
Craft Design Technology Eraser
A simple, rectangular eraser from Craft Design Technology with soft texture. Features a unique design that produces little dust and offers minimal damage to the surface.
Muji Low Center of Gravity Mechanical Pencil
Dimension: 14.7cm  Pen Nib: 0.5mm Photo courtesy of Muji...
KeepCup Cork Edition 16 Oz Reusable Cup
The KeepCup Brew Cork Edition is crafted from blown tempered glass and cork. A premium drinking experience best suited to a coffee ritual – beautiful to hold, handle with care.
Superga Core Classic Sneakers
Launched in Torino in 1911, Italian brand Superga supplied generations of chic Italians with footwear for their travels between the city and the beach.
Rosti Mepal Modern Large Bento Box
It’s time to upgrade your lunch-to-go: These Dutch-designed beautiful bentos are big enough to hold a full meal’s worth of leftovers, or a pic-worthy not sad desk lunch that doesn’t leave your belly growling for more.
HAY Anything Stapler
Michael Sodeau’s functional collection of office essentials comprises a stapler, tape dispenser and scissors in a stand.
Google Home
Hands-free help from the Google Assistant. Get answers, play songs, tackle your day, enjoy your entertainment and control your smart home with just your voice.
Food52 Five Two Wooden Spoons
Made by us, made with you.  When we decided to give classic wooden spoons the Five Two treatment, we asked thousands of you: What do you love about your favorite spoon? You told us about how it does everything, lasts for generations, and has a place in your most treasured kitchen memories.
W&P Porter Bowl - Plastic
The Porter Bowl is a durable plastic lunch bowl that features a protective nonslip exterior, rigid plastic lid and snap-tight silicone strap. Perfect for transporting your salad, grain bowl or leftovers - wherever life may take you.
Appointed Workbook in Canvas White
An everyday utilitarian notebook with a durable heavyweight cover from Appointed in Canvas. Features an interior pocket, gold pressed front logo, 75 perforated pages and rings.
The Elements of Style
The only style manual to ever appear on a bestseller list now refreshed by one of our most beloved illustrators. Every English writer knows Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. The book’s mantra, make every word tell, is still on point.
Craft Design Technology Stapler
From Craft Design Technology, a lightweight, minimalist solid plastic stapler. Features an angular design and small size for easy portability.
Braun ET66 Calculator in White
From Braun, a revival of the iconic ET66 calculator that originally debuted in 1987.
Thule Lithos Backpack
Padded sleeves dedicated for both your laptop and tablet are built inside the main compartment of this durably made ripstop backpack for easy organization and protection. Breathable mesh-padded back and straps enhance the comfort of carrying a heavy load.
Crosley Harmony Bluetooth Radio Speaker
Retro-look Bluetooth-enabled radio speaker from Crosley that blends modern technology with vintage appeal. FM radio features antenna and knobs for volume and tuning with play/pause, rewind and fast forward buttons for when you’re streaming your personal soundtrack from your smartphone or tablet.
Matt & Nat Magistral SM
Small note pad sleeve with removable paper pad and pencil. Two loops on the side to lock with pencil. Interior: paper pad, pencil. 100% recycled nylon lining.

We love the products we feature and hope you do, too. If you buy something through a link on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Related Reading:

20 Snazzy and Ultra-Functional Backpacks for Every Budget

An Old Amsterdam School Is Converted Into 10 Apartments

Get the Dwell Newsletter

Get carefully curated content filled with inspiring homes from around the world, innovative new products, and the best in modern design.

See a sample