Over the past year, I have been curating an Instagram account called StuckBehindAPlant. This account acts as a place for me to understand an Instagram community, check out wonderful interior design, and log my plants all in one space! While other plant accounts feature bright rooms in houses and apartments, my account tends to be scattered with photos in my small dorm room.
Being a plant lover in college can be difficult. In fact, being a plant lover in any small living space can be a challenge. But that should not get in the way of growing your own urban jungle and making a space your own.
For this post, I reached out to a well-known Urban Jungle Blogger: graphic designer Judith de Graaff (instagram). Judith founded an award winning blog (Urban Jungle Bloggers), renovated an iconic industrial building (Studio Sapique), and runs an Instagram account with amazing plant/interior inspiration!
I reached out to Judith because I have always looked up to how she knows and cultivates her own style in her space — regardless of the size.
1. What advice do you have for someone trying to make the most of a smaller space (i.e. dorm room or tiny apartment)?
If your space is small, make sure to think vertical! Hang plants from the ceiling or wall in beautiful plant hangers, attach nice (plant-)shelves or cupboards for storage high on the walls (so that you can walk underneath them). Another stylish trick (if your landlord lets you paint your apartment!) is to paint one wall in a bold color and also paint the plints, open & closed shelves, some wall hooks, radiator, electricity sockets in that same color. Use the closed shelves to hide all the boring stuff and show off nice tools on the hooks and open shelves and make them pop against the colorful background. Basically, make sure that everything that's visible is nice to look at and that you keep the ugly stuff out of sight. Also: you'll never have enough stools! Use them for plants, as a step stool, coffee table, or as temporary seating for guests.
2. What is your process like for making a space your own?
Surround yourself with furniture and accessories that you really LOVE. They can be brand new, handmade, designy or second hand. Add personal touches, like travel souvenirs or handmade items that you created (or bought) yourself. Show off the beautiful books that you're reading, the music records that you're enjoying... And of course: add a few (or a lot of) plants to purify the air in your small space and to improve your well-being at home. If you have a limited budget, get creative: add a touch of paint to thrifted furniture, sew your own pillow covers from clothes that you don't wear anymore or exchange cuttings with other plant lovers to grow new plants for free.
3. What are some places you look to for inspiration?
Online: Instagram, Pinterest, Etsy, eBay, blogs, real estate websites…
Offline: Anywhere: I love walking around (in cities, in the countryside or in between), wander and explore. Design shops, thrift shops, musea, galleries, grocery shops, cafés, design fairs, architectural highlights, botanical gardens, brocante markets…
A big thank you to Judith for answering my questions all the way from France! I really appreciated how Judith's advice applies to plants in a space but then how it also applies to just making a place feel like home in general! This is especially important for people like young professionals and college students who are just starting to move around and figure out how to call a place “home”. Ultimately Judith shows how making a space your own comes from you and how you decided to express yourself. So, get creating!
Until the next post...