Where to shop for your kid's uni essentials (and no, it isn't IKEA)

Don't want your child to have the same dinnerware bundle as everyone else in their shared flat? Look no further

Pink armchair with laptop on top
(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

uni essentials. However, with nearly every store advertising 'back to school', where exactly are the best places to get the best bang for your buck and bag some stylish finds to help your child decorate their dream uni room?

Everybody by now knows that IKEA is always a winner for students (hello, IKEA hacks and convenience galore). However, if you don't want your child to inevitably end up with the same dinnerware and cutlery bundle as everyone else in their shared kitchen, here are a couple of alternative places to buy uni essentials that I (Ideal Home's most recent graduate), swear by.

Bedroom with hanging photos, vines, and lights with decorative items on shelf

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

The best place to buy uni essentials, beyond IKEA

Admittedly, I was one of those awful people who didn't anticipate shopping for uni until came the day of moving into my first-year student halls. Okay, don't look at me like that.

Given my lack of preparation naturally, I was scrambling around and panicked trying to wrap my head around my long list of uni essentials. IKEA wasn't an option since we had already driven too far, and frankly, my family and I didn't want to walk around for ages – you know how IKEA can be.

So, I hit up these stores on the day of and during the first week that I was settling in, and believe me when I say they didn't disappoint.

White room with bed cushions and plush toys, window

(Image credit: Urban Outfitters)

1. Dunelm

Dunelm is a go-to retailer for me if you want to shop affordably without compromising style. They've got all the bedroom cult classics, like your trusty throw and ottoman storage box that I believe are guaranteed to be must-have home comforts for your child's new journey.

2. George Home

Would this be an Ideal Home round-up if we didn't include George Home in the picture? You can be sure that your child's new uni room will never falter from the latest home decor trends, with their comfy bedding choices and lighting trends that effortlessly amp up the cosiness.

3. The Range

As we all know by now, The Range is a one-stop shop for everything now. You can get DIY and arts and crafts supplies, kitchen appliances, and home decor bits. Not to mention it's just a lot of fun browsing through the aisles.

While you're there, I'd recommend picking up a dinnerware set and having a mooch around to see what's on sale, because bargains can be had.

4. Argos/Habitat

Just to preface, Argos and Habitat are pretty much one and the same, so I often just use them interchangeably – and believe me when I say that they're certainly clued up on how to do uni essentials right.

5. Urban Outfitters

Although many may not instantly go to Urban Outfitters as a place to shop uni room essentials, they've really got it on the nose. So, they should definitely be considered one of the best places to shop for university (especially if your kid is up to date with home decor trends, as everything is super stylish).

And there you have it. Those are my picks of alternative retailers to visit when shopping for uni, which will hopefully give you a better round-up of the best place to buy uni essentials for you and your child.

Good luck and happy shopping!

Jullia Joson
Junior Writer

Jullia Joson is a Junior Writer at Ideal Home. She's always loved all things homes and interiors, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Architectural Studies from the University of Nottingham where her love for journalism blossomed following her internship at ArchDaily. Now focused on home tech, Jullia works on writing features and explainers to help people make the most of their home appliance investments. When she isn't writing, she loves exploring the city, coffee shop hopping, and losing hours to a cosy game.