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Bring Nature to Your College Apartment With These DIY Decor Ideas

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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CWU chapter.

Over the past few years I’ve slowly turned into a plant girlie, but keeping live plants isn’t the only way to add nature elements to your dorm or apartment. Check out these easy DIY ways to add floral and earthy pops of color to your apartment or dorm!

Pressed flowers

Pressed flowers have been my new obsession. I grow lots of flowers in the spring and summer and I love being able to keep them around all year long! After you pick them, you just squish them in between 2 sheets of paper and shut them in a thick book. After a few weeks, you’ll have beautiful pressed flowers. Once they are dry there are so many things you can do with them. My personal favorite is to put them in frames. The theme colors of my apartment are pink, white, and gold. I bought two gold frames and used both glass pieces instead of the frame backing to help them look crisp. This is definitely one of my favorite decor items but there are so many more ways to use these.

Preserved Leaves

I love all the vibrant colors of fall leaves. I learned you can preserve them and their color by dipping them in beeswax. I bought some beeswax to simmer on the stove in an extra pot and dipped the leaves in by their stems with some tweezers. Then let the access drip off over the pot before laying them dry to flat. I recommend getting an extra pot from the thrift store to do this because the wax never fully came out of the pot once it dried. Once they are dry, you can clip them to some twine and hang them up to make a cute garland for fall! 

Dried flowers

For all my floral girlies, this is another good option. By hanging flowers upside down by their stems to dry, you are preserving them! This is also pretty easy to do, and although they do lose some color, they still make cute bouquets to fill little jars around your apartment.

Tree Ring coasters

This summer a craft store near me was selling these little 3-5 inch round slices of trees. I immediately knew I wanted to make something from these and realized they were the perfect size for coasters. I chose to watercolor paint on mine as I loved the way that the wood absorbed the color. Other ideas would be to woodburn a design or use acrylic paint. If using paint (especially watercolor) make sure to put some sort of waterproof seal over the top so that your drinks don’t ruin the design.


I have about 30 or so plants in my apartment right now. They bring me so much joy and I love watching them grow. Every time one gets a new leaf I get so excited! When I first wanted to get into plants I got overwhelmed so easily. It seemed like every blog and TikiTok was telling me something different and I had no clue where to start.

Hot take: succulents are actually more difficult to take care of than vining plants. I recommend starting with a tolerant vining plant. Pothos are great starters and can survive in water or soil. Bamboo is another cute, easy plant to get you started. If you are interested in plants, give it a try! 

Propagation Station

If you do have some plants a propagation station might be the perfect fit for you. These cute decor items hang from the wall and are a calming accent to your living room. The glass tubes to put the stems in also allow you to see the root progress!


If you like gemstones, mushrooms, or little fairies this might be the perfect touch to make your room unique. Terrariums are self-sustaining mini-ecosystems. I have made a few with some dirt, moss, and mini plants. You can create creative little scenes with various stones and figurines. This is also a sustainable option as you can repurpose a glass jar for the container of your terrarium. There are starter kits you can order off Etsy or Amazon or if you’re lucky a shop nearby may have a place to make one. The Botany Shop in Ellensburg has a little DIY bar to design your own!

Additional notes

Although lots of decor ideas use shells, it’s best to leave them at the beach. Even though the shell may be empty now, another critter may put it to use later. Shells are made of calcium carbonate which, even if broken into bits, will eventually dissolve, acting as an antacid for the ocean. Leaving shells at the beach can help fight ocean acidification. 

Also, be mindful of where you are collecting these other items from. I tend to find lots of these items that I dry or preserve in my neighborhood after they have fallen. However, if you are out hiking or on a trail somewhere like a national park please follow the leave-no-trace guidelines. 

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Hello, my name is Enjoli and I am double majoring in Primate Behavior & Ecology and Anthropology. I am very passionate about animals and conservation. In my free time I love painting, hiking, baking, and other forms of creating.