Location: Rancho Cucamonga, California
I moved into this studio a little less than six months ago to attend graduate school at the Claremont Colleges. This transition marked a huge change for me, not just physically but emotionally as well. As much as I miss the social aspect of having a roommate, I love the freedom of coming home to a space I can call entirely my own (AKA no one can judge me while I veg out, eating Talenti straight from the tub while watching my 8th consecutive episode of Friends in one sitting).
A lot of my furniture was either thrifted or gifted, sans a few key IKEA purchases that are practical for any financially-conscious grad student. The biggest challenge was pairing down my material possessions to fit into just 475 square feet, "big" by studio standards but far less than what I was used to prior to this chapter of my life. Because of this, a lot of my furniture serves double duty. The bench at the dining table doubles (triples?) as a coffee table/ottoman, and the infamous Expedit works to separate sleeping and living areas while adding some much needed storage. Living in a small space has made me a lot more conscientious about what I actually need to live a simple, happy, and productive life.
While there are some things about this place I can't change (I'm looking at you, generic renter's carpet) I've learned to embrace these pitfalls, striving to open new doors through my education so that, one day, I can ultimately afford my dream space. In the meantime, I've learned how to be resourceful so I can love what I already have. The dining table and chairs—a $40 thrift store come-up courtesy of my mom—I transformed from basic 90s oak to something more relevant to this millennium. The living room rug and bench are Target pieces, thrifted at a fraction of their retail price from my favorite Goodwill. The desk is actually my childhood desk, an IKEA throwback from the early 90s that I re-painted and gave new hardware.
There are still a lot of things I'm itching to change, like sewing curtains to cover up some hideous vertical blinds. This place is a constant work in progress, almost too symbolic of my life right now. With time and patience, I'll get to where I want it to be!
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