How to turn your city dorm into a tiny forrest.

Living in a dorm can either make or break your college experience. Including nature in your space may help create a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. Graphic design student Alexi Weemaes (22) found a way to turn her dorm into a tiny forest on a budget. These are five of her tips. 

‘I’m from Luxembourg and my house there is surrounded by fields and about a five minute walk from a beautiful forest. I grew up with nature all around me, so naturally I wanted to achieve that in my dorm as well’, Alexi says. ‘One thing students have in common is that they want the dorm to feel like home. An easy way to achieve that is through decoration. Now you can go buy the prettiest and also most expensive decoration for your room, or you can go on a budget. That’s what I did.’ 

  • Plants, plants and more plants

‘Obviously I’m quite a big fan of plants, tropical ones to be precise. I usually go to the market every weekend in Antwerp and that’s where my hunt begins. The first two plants I got for my dorm where Monsterra’s. They were shoved to the back of a table and we’re kind of leftovers. I was able to bring them home for only €10. What a steal! They are now my showpieces.’

‘You don’t have to buy expensive plants, or buy big ones from the start. It’s usually more fun to not only be able to get them for a small price, but it’s amazing to see them grow. It makes you feel like a mother. You can get your plants at the local market, plant stores (although these are more expensive) or even on numerous Facebook groups.’

  • Scents

‘Making your room smell nice can lift the atmosphere in a second. You can do this by burning scented candles or using Febreeze but my favorite way is by burning incense. Right now I’m burning one that smells like hyacinths. You can get incense for very cheap at some spiritual stores or in Asian supermarkets.’

  • Natural materials

‘The easiest way to bring the forrest vibe in your dorm, is by literally bringing nature inside. I use wooden pallets to store my shoes and jackets, rush baskets for my dirty clothes and wooden wine boxes for fruit and veggies.’

‘Almost all of my plants are in terracotta pots. They are made from clay, have warm earthy tones dialing down the bright greens and whites of the room. Using natural materials gives you a feeling of being in the woods and also add new textures to your room.’

  • White 

‘My bed and walls are white for a specific reason. The light that comes in my room reflects on those light surfaces giving even more brightness. This is also a bonus for the plants that you might have, most of them need a whole lot of light and usually dorms don’t have that many windows. Having a light environment is really crucial not only for the entire feeling of the dorm, but for your mental health as well. A dark room automatically makes me feel down and unconcentrated. A room with a bunch of natural light though, wakes me up and gets me ready for the day early in the morning.’

  • Graphics and photo’s 

‘As a graphic designer I make my own prints and paintings for my room. It gives that little extra something. Photographs could absolutely bring nature in your dorm. I personally don’t have a big print of a forrest or field in my room but that might be a plan for the future, who knows.’

  • Extra: bring the sky inside

‘For one of my assignments last year I had to create something in my dorm. I made these clouds from pillow stuffing and hung them up on the ceiling all the way from my bed to my shower. It’s a metaphor for me, my head is always up in the clouds. Either way, the assignment was done but I loved the clouds so much I never took them down. It’s more fun to see cute little clouds with fairy lights inside than a blank wall. The only thing I wonder is how I’m going to get them off of there, but that’s a problem for when I move out.’

Text & Images: © Zoë Van Schooten, Final Editor: Charlotte Haemels