Make your reader see, smell, hear and feel with these inspirational descriptive essay topics! We’ve collected 50 descriptive essay topics to sprout some flowery language. Our essay topics are designed to spark creative thinking and can be modified for students in elementary, middle and high school. They are grouped by topic for easy student and teacher reference. Feel free to print the entire list for plenty of inspiration for your next descriptive essay assignment!
Place Essay Topics
- Describe your favorite place.
- Describe your ideal bedroom.
- Describe the house in which you grew up.
- Describe what the first house on the moon would look like.
- Describe some of your favorite places in your hometown.
- Describe a peaceful place that you’ve visited.
- Describe a place that exists only in your imagination.
- Describe a friend’s or family member’s house where you enjoy spending time.
- Describe your perfect fantasy vacation destination.
- Describe your favorite store.
- Describe your favorite teacher’s classroom.
- Describe a museum that you’ve visited recently.
- Describe a place you have dreamed about that doesn’t exist in real life.
- Describe a place where your pet likes spending time.
- Describe an outdoor place that you know well.
People Essay Topics
- Describe your favorite person.
- Describe each of your family members.
- Describe a famous person that you would like to meet.
- Describe one of your friends.
- Describe one aspect of someone that you like (for example: laugh, style of dress, words that the person likes to use, etc.)
- Describe yourself to someone who has never met you.
- Describe the average human to an alien who has never before seen a person.
- Describe your pet.
- Look at some old family photos and describe an older family member as he or she was when at your age.
- Describe someone whom you miss.
Object Essay Topics
- Describe an object that is special to you.
- Give a tour of one room in your house by describing the most important objects in that room.
- Describe one of your favorite outfits.
- Describe your favorite toy as a child.
- Describe how you get around (for example: a bicycle, skateboard, sneakers, your parents’ car, the school bus).
- Describe your favorite piece of furniture where you like to spend time and relax.
- Describe something that you would bury in a time capsule to tell people about what life is like today.
- Describe an object that has been in your family for a long time.
- Choose a piece of food to eat; then, write a description of it that includes the way it looks, smells and tastes.
- Describe a smartphone to a time traveler from the 1900s.
Memories Essay Topics
- Describe your oldest memory.
- Describe your best summer vacation.
- Describe a memorable concert you attended.
- Describe a memorable trip you took.
- Describe a special time that you and your family had together.
- Describe the first time you met one of your friends.
- Describe a time you met someone famous.
- Describe one of your happiest memories.
- Describe one of your saddest memories.
- Describe a time that you felt scared.
- Describe a time that you felt excited.
- Describe a time that something totally unexpected happened.
- Describe a memory of someone whom you miss.
- Describe one of your most memorable first days of school.
- Describe one of your most embarrassing moments.
Looking for more essay topics?
Compare and Contrast Essay Topics
Cause and Effect Essay Topics
Narrative Essay Topics
Persuasive Essay and Speech Topics
How to teach descriptive writing
There's no one way to teach descriptive writing. That said, teachers can:
- Develop descriptive writing skill through modeling and the sharing of quality literature full of descriptive writing.
- Include lessons such as the ones listed below throughout the year.
- Call students' attention to interesting, descriptive word choices in classroom writing.
Characteristics of descriptive writing
1. Good descriptive writing includes many vivid sensory details that paint a picture and appeals to all of the reader's senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste when appropriate. Descriptive writing may also paint pictures of the feelings the person, place or thing invokes in the writer. In the video section below, watch a teacher use a Five Senses Graphic Organizer as a planning strategy for descriptive writing.
2. Good descriptive writing often makes use of figurative language such as analogies, similes and metaphors to help paint the picture in the reader's mind.
3. Good descriptive writing uses precise language. General adjectives, nouns, and passive verbs do not have a place in good descriptive writing. Use specific adjectives and nouns and strong action verbs to give life to the picture you are painting in the reader's mind.
4. Good descriptive writing is organized. Some ways to organize descriptive writing include: chronological (time), spatial (location), and order of importance. When describing a person, you might begin with a physical description, followed by how that person thinks, feels and acts.
The Show-Me Sentences lesson plan from Read Write Think was created for students in grades 6-12. However, elementary teachers can modify the Show-Me sentences to make them interesting for younger students.
The Writing Fix provides a lesson plan for using Roald Dahl's The Twits as a mentor text to teach descriptive writing.
Teacher Laura Torres created a lesson plan that uses images to jumpstart vivid writing: Three Descriptive Writing Picture Prompts.