Writing a descriptive essay is a creative task. It requires using sensory language and expressive means, such as similes, metaphors, personifications, etc., for creating a vivid description of an object, place, person, or experience. The best descriptive essays are usually based on the writer's personal lived reality. However, some good descriptive essay topics require research and imagination to explore. Your instructors might give you one of such assignments to see how well you have absorbed class materials and how confident you are with the knowledge.
Finding a suitable topic to explore is no mean feat. With this blog, we hope to help you with the task. Below, you will find 120 topics grouped by a common theme and academic level they are suitable for. Some of the ideas for descriptive essays are linked to full samples in our free database. Read them to understand descriptive writing better and maybe borrow a trick or two to make your own essay even more compelling.
How to Choose a Descriptive Essay Topic
Before we proceed to our descriptive essay topics list, let's first prime you on brainstorming the ideas and finding suitable topics independently.
The first thing you need to ask yourself is, "What are my limits?" Are you free to use your imagination, or are you restricted to the facts you have witnessed? For example, for your history class, they might ask you to write a descriptive essay of an archeological site you've been digging. That would be a description based on your experience. However, they could also ask you to reconstruct the site and describe what it could look like centuries ago. That would be an assignment based on research but also requiring your imagination and creativity.
With that in mind, you need to inspect what resources you have at your disposal. If you have to base your essay on research, look at what literature you have readily available. If sources abound, you can narrow your topic down for a more efficient search. If, however, the information is scarce, scale up a bit to find more data.
If you have to write a description based on your experience, the best strategy for a good descriptive essay topic would be to go for something that made a strong impression on you. This way, it would be easier to create a powerful description from memory. Also, make sure you touch on points relevant to your class or this particular assignment. For example, you need to write about the importance of emotional intelligence in your practice as a nurse. For this, you must select a case that is both memorable to you and relevant to the topic.
Descriptive Essay Topics for Middle School
First, let us zero in on the academic level. Here are some fun descriptive paper ideas suitable for middle-school students. Some of the suggestions are easy; others are more challenging. However, they all provide an opportunity to give a colorful description and tell a story through images.
- Describe your favorite animal
- Describe a fantastical journey through a human body affected by fast food
- My last weekend and how I spent it
- Describe the dawn or the sunset
- Describe your pet (or your friend's pet if you don't keep pets)
- Describe your favorite item of clothing
- Describe your last weekend
- Describe the best journey you ever had
- Describe your best friend
- Describe your classroom
- Describe your street
- Describe your house
Descriptive Essay Topics for High School Students
If you have been given a descriptive writing assignment but no prompt hinting what to write a descriptive essay on, try these suggestions. Feel free to change them. Treat them as brainstorm starters.
- A childhood memory that stuck with you
- A time you lost someone dear to you and how you persevered
- What are your personal reactions to The Princess Bride movie? Be descriptive.
- Retell Frankenstein from the POV of the Creature
- Describe your family home
- Describe the last party you've been to
- Describe a book character (how you picture them based on the information from the book)
- Describe waking up early
- Describe your favorite smell
- Describe a chance encounter that left a lasting impression
- Describe the most fun activity you have ever participated in
- Describe a thing that annoys you the most. What makes it so noxious?
Descriptive Essay Topics for College Students
As a college student, you must be looking for more original topics to write a descriptive essay on since you've most likely already explored the easier ones from above. Look in this section or further – in the thematic groups. Read the papers attached as examples if the topic interests you but seems too challenging. Also, don't forget that you can get personalized essay writing help for any type of assignment – creative descriptions included.
- Describe your favorite place on campus
- Describe your experience with contemplating art
- Describe a hot day
- Describe events from The Great Gatsby from an unconventional POV
- Describe a vivid childhood memory
- Describe a gathering (a club meeting, a political rally, etc.)
- Describe a construction site
- Describe a frightening experience you went through
- Describe building a healthy habit (or breaking a bad one)
- Describe a wedding you have attended
- Describe a trip home during the break
- Describe your new room away from home
Descriptive Essay Ideas About an Object
Describing an object is probably on the easier side of this assignment. However, with these original descriptive writing topics, an essay about an ordinary thing can be just as impressive and sophisticated as a description of unique experiences.
- My notebook
- Describe a tool you use every day and its importance
- The thing that has shaped your childhood
- Describe your most treasured possession
- Describe a piece of jewelry you wish you owned
- Describe a thing that has a story attached to it (a family heirloom, a museum exhibit, a memento, etc.)
- Describe your favorite piece of furniture
- Describe a thing that used to scare you as a child
- Judge a book by its cover: pick up and describe a book you've never read
- Describe a remarkable door
- You are living in the Iron Age. Describe the most valuable thing you own
- Describe an item that belongs to a friend or a family member. What can it tell about its owner?
Topics for a Descriptive Essay About an Experience
Speaking of experiences. If you are tired of well-thumbed issues like triumphs and defeats, choose your next topic for a descriptive essay from the list below. Write a different story that is meaningful and impactful.
- Describe how you tried something for the first time
- Describe a music concert or a festival you've been to
- Describe the feelings of an unfairly incarcerated person
- Describe a difficult situation that taught you something valuable
- Describe living through a natural disaster
- Describe the feeling of sorrow
- Describe your experience watching a classic movie
- Describe how you combat stress
- Describe the sadness of leaving
- Describe recovering from an illness
- Do you remember how you learned reading? Tell about the experience
- Describe your visit to a beauty salon or a barbershop
Examples of Descriptive Essay Topics About a Place
Descriptive paper topics suggested below give you only a general direction for your thoughts. In contrast, a sample attached to each title describes a concrete and very specific place. That is why we advise you to explore the attached pieces for more inspiration.
- Write about a public place that continues to evoke powerful, emotional memories for you
- Describe a restaurant in your area
- Describe a house
- Describe your hometown
- Describe ocean shore
- Describe a museum or an art gallery you've attended
- Describe a park or a natural spot you like
- Describe your favorite place on earth
- Describe the best place to study
- Imagine a public space designed for teens. Describe it. Where would you place it?
- Do you remember your first trip out of town? Where did you go? Be descriptive.
- Describe a place where you feel most safe
Interesting Descriptive Essay Topics About a Person
Describing a person is not an easy task, especially if you need to remain neutral and objective. These topics for descriptive essays about people will be an excellent exercise for you.
- Describe a person from your class that you find interesting
- Describe a person you have helped recently
- Describe a stranger who showed you kindness
- Describe one of your parents
- The most unforgettable person in your life
- Describe a person you can call your mentor
- Describe your professor
- Describe someone you see often but not acquainted with (a cash-desk clerk, a bus driver, a dog-walker from your street, etc.)
- Describe a celebrity you find the most inspiring
- Describe a fictional character you had a crush on
- Describe an influential political figure of today
- If you could interview any historical personality, who would it be? Describe them
Descriptive Essay Topics About Art, Culture, and Esthetics
The area we have outlined in the subheading is vast, so these topics are there to give your creativity a little nudge. Play with them and transform them to suit your assignment.
- Describe a cultural artifact (a sculpture, a painting, a museum exhibit, etc.)
- Describe a creative work you have produced
- A documentary that fascinated you
- Describe an impact of a poetic work on you
- Describe characters on your favorite TV show
- Describe a dance show
- Describe a thing you would call kitschy. Explain your choice
- Describe a ceremony or a ritual you partook in
- Describe a night in a movie theater from the perspective of a first-time goer
- Describe a consumer good from the point of view of its esthetic value
- Describe a building. What's its purpose? How is it conveyed through architecture?
- Describe a historical costume representative of a particular era
Imaginative Topics for a Unique Descriptive Essay
How about running away with your imagination and creating something that doesn't exist? No one said that your description must be documental.
- If you could rule the world, how would it look like? Describe your perfect vision
- Describe the art to an alien
- Describe how your childhood experiences have formed your personality
- Describe a magical creature you wish existed
- Describe a robot you could befriend
- Describe an ordinary day from the point of view of an inanimate object
- Describe a technological artifact from another planet
- Describe a day in a park without using sight
- Describe a sci-fi landscape
- Describe an immortal being
- Describe flying over your hometown
- Describe turning into an animal
Descriptive Essay Topics About Business and Technology
Serious topics can be approached creatively as well. Descriptive essays give a human dimension to business and tech – which is always good for a better understanding their purposes.
- Internet hoaxes you've come across
- Describe a product to a potential consumer
- Describe your short-term (3 years) career goals
- Describe customer experience in a chain restaurant or reseller's
- Describe an innovative shop window display
- Describe your workday or shift
- Describe a place of work you see yourself in 5 years
- Describe an ergonomic design you admired
- Describe a perfect gadget that doesn't exist yet
- Describe your first computer
- Describe a technology that should replace human labor. Why would it be better this way?
- Describe an item that will be in each household twenty years from now
If one of the topics above caught your fancy, but there is no sample, don't despair. We can write one exclusively for you. Moreover, if you have written a draft but you think it could be more expressive and vivid, send it to us for editing, and we will make it shine!