By Hannah Shabb
Look around the space you are in. How does it make you feel? Happy? Stressed? Relaxed?
The spaces we surround ourselves with impact our lives more than you may realize. The nature of the space you are in greatly affects your mood and can even affect how you feel physically.
When considering a good atmosphere for your room, think about what you want to feel when you are in the space. I value relaxation and happiness when in my own room. Some people make fun of me for how much thought I put into my room — the lighting, the pictures, the hanging plants, my bedspread. But for me, I am hyperaware of my surroundings when I’m in a space, and I know what makes me feel good and what doesn’t.
When a space is man-made, it causes people to have a stronger sense of how they should act and feel in that space. In nature, people are able to interpret things such as light from dark and openness from restriction, but adding elements of a built environment clarifies some of these features. A dorm room is an easy place to practice taking control of your own spaces. It’s small, and all yours, so why not make it a place you like to be in?
The next time you decorate your room, think about how you want your room to make you feel. Ask yourself what your ideal space would be if you could create anything, and try to make your space as similar to that as you can.
I love nature, have a strong distaste for bright artificial lights and prefer cleanliness over clutter. Integrating plants and natural elements indoors is proven to reduce stress, increase focus and increase human well-being. In my own room I have plants hanging from my walls, string lights, candles (shh — just keep them on the DL, and you’ll be okay), nature photo posters I took and a bedspread filled with trees. This space makes me feel relaxed and at home, which is how your space should be.
In addition to the spaces you surround yourself with, things such as getting more sleep, eating well, using natural remedies like essential oils and exercising can all help to reduce stress and increase happiness.
At school you are constantly surrounded by others and are in spaces you have little to no control over. Take the space you are given, and make it your own. A little slice of heaven can go a long way with our hectic schedules. Architecture and design can be thought of as an extension of our self projected into an exterior form, with the walls and roofs acting as our second skin. With that in mind, think of how you can create a space that represents you and what you appreciate from life. Each person has a different appreciation of spaces, and a space you love another person may not.
There is no right or wrong way to decorate your room, but create your space in whatever way will provide you with the most happiness.
Contact Hannah Shabb at hshabb ‘at’ stanford.edu.