DIY, Italian Leader-Named Plants in Willow

Noel sits at desk in her room in Willow Hall at Rowan University

Adjusting to college life was a struggle. I found that giving care to my space easily combated that. Now, my room feels more like home to me than the one I left behind at my parents’ house. These tips and tricks to making your dorm room  “home” are low cost, easily adaptable, and overall very rewarding.

blinds half-drawn in a room in Willow Hall at Rowan University, showing plants on windowsill
Anthurium or “laceleaf” (upper left, with red blooms) are one of the easiest plants to grow

Plants, plants, plants! I currently hold 15 healthy green babies in my room. To give them more life, I gave them all names for my own amusement and they are all named after powerful Italian leaders. There are plenty of easy plants to take care of. Pothos grow long vines that can be cut off and propagated to make more plants by putting their trimmed end in water. My Pothos is named Amerigo Vespucci after the Italian explorer and cartographer who drew the first maps of America. Anthurium or “laceleaf” are one of the easiest indoor plants to give life to and are always budding new flowers and leaves. I gave them the names Machiavelli and Ficino, two philosophers alive at the same time. The others that are pictured are a peace lily (not in bloom), a palm, a money tree (symbolize good luck and fortune), a jade plant, my Brita filter, and a grass plant (I cannot remember the actual type of plant but his name is Cicero).

eclectic mix of decorative pillows on a bed in Willow Hall at Rowan UniversityOther decorating strategies that I have used are all second-hand from relatives, or from Goodwill. Rugs always tie the decorated space together. This particular one was $5 from Goodwill. It’s petite size, yet calming design, allows the eye to flow throughout the section. Right off Rowan’s campus is a Goodwill and a Thrift Village. The white blanket, pillow, and small table were collected from these locations. The purple vintage chest was given to me by a family member who no longer had use for it.

Even with an extra long twin sized bed, there is a lot to work with! Functionality always comes first. I recommend getting a mattress topper as the bed alone is not the best. Furthermore, sheets with a high thread count are often overlooked but they run parallel with a quality pair of socks. I now lay down in my bed and immediately feel super relaxed. At the foot of my bed I placed a red knitted blanket perfect for throwing over myself when I get a little chilly.

green decorations and plants on a desk in Willow Hall at Rowan UniversityAll the pillows pictured are either handmade or from Thrift Village. The two white pillows with tropical design are upcycled from curtains and the stuffing used inside of them comes from the cotton inside other pillows (all washed and cleaned obviously). Hung on my wall is a tickless clock from Having a clock in the room is super helpful and keeps me on time for my classes. The framed artwork under the clock is Velcroed to my wall and is a Japanese woodblock image of a flower. The poster came from a poster sale that the school was hosting for only $8.

The top of my dresser I keep as a “calm zone.” Inside the ornate metal box are essential oils that I put into a mister to give my room a nice scent. The water glass pictured is one of four that I have that I discovered at Thrift Village and upon researching I discovered that these glasses retail at $70 a set and I got each for $0.25. The little glass box on the right holds small pieces of jewelry that would otherwise be lost. The plant reaching across the top of my desk is part of the longest branch on my Pothos. The other plant pictured is a Chinese Evergreen which is very easy to take care of and does not require a lot of sun to thrive.

Noel sits by her window in Willow Hall at Rowan University, surrounded by plantsMake your space unique to you! It does not have to cost a lot, it does not have to be store bought, it’s only requirement is to make you feel at home. Giving care where it can be applicable is so much more rewarding than not caring at all. Be your own inspiration when you are deciding what you want your room to look like.

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By: Noel Waldron, advertising major (freshman by experience, sophomore by credit hours)
High Bridge (Hunterdon County), NJ