Illustrated by Liz Riccardi

The Modern Witch’s Guide To Dorm Decor

Add a mysical touch to your room, sans any actual sage burning

While it may not be a challenge to add a witch’s touch to your own home, what about to your dorm room? Burning things, like sage, incense, and candles, is prohibited from most dormitories, so how does one get around setting good intentions and cleansing the energy of their cinder-blocked, minimally furnished college home away from home?

With back-to-school and move-in day just around the corner, we knew we had to find a way around the college-imposed restrictions—and that's when we turned to healer Erica Feldmann, the founder of HausWitch in Salem, Massachusetts. HausWitch is a shop devoted to helping people heal and love their space, carrying everything one needs in order to “bring good vibes home.” From vintage and secondhand furnishings to candles, crystals, personal care products, and spell kits, Feldmann combines the principles of earth magic, feng shui, yogic meditation, Jungian psychology, and interior decorating to bring magic and healing into customers' homes.

With that said, we knew she’d be the perfect person to chat with for some expert advice on how the modern witch can decorate their dorm room. While there may be some obstacles compared to decorating an apartment of your own, it can be easily done sans fire, believe it or not.

Click through the gallery below to read on.

First things first, cleanse the energy of your spaceThe first thing you want to do on move-in day is cleanse the energy of your room, ridding it of any past bad energy from previous inhabitants and setting good vibes for the school year to come. However, while everyone’s go-to for cleansing a room or space is burning sage or palo santo, the last thing you want to do is get in trouble with your RA for burning stuff in your room.

Lucky for you, there are a number of sage sprays available that will work similar cleansing magic. Feldmann recommends going with one of these, like the Open Window Spell Spray she sells in her shop, which contains both sage and crystal essences.

Decorate with crystalsPlacing crystals throughout your space is a perfect way to make it a bit more mystical, as they double as great room decorations in addition to holding powerful, healing properties that bring in positive energy. Add them to any space you can, from windowsills to desktops and dressers.

There are many crystals, serving different purposes, out there to choose from so you'll have to do some research to find out which are best for you. However, Feldmann does recommend a few that are perfect for the college student: “Try putting some pyrite on your desk to help you focus and manifest good grades,” she says. “It’s great for establishing a ‘can-do’ attitude and harnessing ambition and determination. Also, obsidian in your space will help you feel grounded and centered, while amethyst is perfect to keep by your bed for healing and protection from bad dreams.”

Represent your spirit animalFeldmann finds that having a representation of animal totems in your space can be empowering. “Display an animal spirit you feel closely connected to in your decor—like a print or a pillow—to help maintain your connection to that animal’s energy. For example, display a lion to keep you feeling fierce and fiery or a deer to keep you feeling safe and grounded.”

For more information on spirit animals and how to figure out which one is yours, check out this article from Gaia.

Make DIY tarot artWho doesn’t love a little DIY? When it comes to decorating your space, nothing says modern witch more than some tarot card art. “There are so many great indie decks with amazing artwork to choose from now, like Small Spells, Nomad, and Wild Unknown,” says Feldmann. “Find the cards that speak to you, make some photocopies, find some frames at a thrift store, and voilà, you have wall art and a way of channeling specific archetypal energy!”

Not sure which cards to begin with? Feldmann suggests The Chariot and Ace of Wands for students, as they’re great for motivation and ambition. Strength is also a great card to channel for control over emotions (and we know just how overwhelming college can be) and the Ace of Swords to promote clear thinking.

Keep essential oils handyJust because you can’t burn candles doesn’t mean you can’t bring a little aromatherapy into your space—especially in a way that won’t bug your roomie. Feldmann suggests keeping essential oils in your space—specifically lavender, tea tree, and peppermint. “Lavender is extremely relaxing, while peppermint can help keep you up if you're pulling an all-nighter,” she says. “I keep a small bottle of tea tree and lavender potion by my desk at all times, and when I get stressed, a quick sniff brings me back to the present and helps me from feeling overwhelmed.

Create space for a mini altarWhile dorms don’t offer much in terms of space, Feldmann suggests making the effort to make some room for a mini shrine. “Just setting aside a little space on a desktop or dresser is huge in terms of telling the universe that you’re setting an intention for a magical space.”

Once you have the space set up, what exactly does one put on their altar? Feldmann says it’s all about getting personal. “I think the most magical thing you can do is feel empowered in yourself and your space, so giving a little extra attention and space to honor things that you personally love—like photos, dried flowers, seashells, or magical objects—is probably the witchiest thing you can do,” she says.