Frugal Idea #32: I Choose Size Small

To my delight, I checked my email to receive an offer from Urban Compass to write about living in small spaces. I qualified! I do, in fact, currently live in a small space in the beautiful city of San Francisco.

Prior to this decision to choose size small, I was renting a one bedroom apartment with multiple closets, a reserved garage space for my car, and enough room to have at one point up to 8 people sleep over (picture couches taken and multiple sleeping bags all over the hardwood floors). Although this apartment provided many fond memories, I knew the city of San Bruno was not home. In my heart, I have always wanted to live in San Francisco. I wanted the hustle and bustle, good eats, the urban lifestyle, and a diverse population where you feel safe to know that you can be whoever you want (well, almost).

My co-workers and family thought I was crazy! Why would I leave to have a further commute, an increase in rent, and have no available garage space in my unit? I knew I would regret it if I never tried to live in San Francisco. So, I did it. However, the move did not come without calculated decisions.


After searching for months, I decided to rent a studio in Uptown Tenderloin. The tenderloin has had,a bad reputation for a long me. Thanks to the move of many high tech companies into the area (like Twitter), the area is slowly but surely changing. I had tried to convince myself that this area was merging right into Lower Nob Hill, but after three years, I now am proud to say I live in the Tenderloin. I find this area exciting, intriguing, and care about it enough to read about the community and want a I heart TL shirt. The rent in San Francisco is ridiculous. Check out the median price for rent here: SF Median Rent by Curbed. Ridiculous, right? When I saw prices for 1 bedrooms in the range of $2500-$4000, I gulped. Luckily, I decided to downsize to a studio and give up the ideas of luxurious stairwells, a brand new loft with exposed pipings, or brick walls. Instead, I had scored a gorgeous studio on the 4th floor with hardwood floors, high ceilings, views of buildings stretching towards the sky, and friendly neighbors. Three years later, I am extremely thankful to know that this space is rent controlled.

Furniture & Space

When I was packing up the old one bedroom apartment in San Bruno, I was disgusted with myself. I had so many items stored deep in closets and in the downstairs storage unit that I had never used my 6 years there. Why did I hang on to so many useless items? I ended up donating many items or just simply tossing them away. Since my space was small, I knew I had to be very thoughtful of what came into the studio. I started conducting research via YouTube videos and online websites on how to utilize small spaces.  I knew the pieces of furniture had to have multiple purposes if possible and the layout had to work. Since my bed would be exposed, I invested in beddings and pillows I liked to bring the space together.

Check out the pictures below with explanations. I hope this helps you choose size small or at the minimum make the most of what you DO have.

Urban Compass Outside

View from my kitchen!

Urban Compass Outside 2

View from my Living Room!

Urban Compass Kitchen

View of my Kitchen Nook. I decided to get a square table with 4 seats. You can enjoy a meal with a view of the streets below. The picture hanging is from the Pistahan Festival, an annual event in San Francisco honoring Filipino culture. I bought it on sale at Brother’s Furniture in South San Francisco. They also offered free delivery!

Urban Compass Couch

I knew I would not restrict having guests over, so I wanted a couch that turns into a bed. This couch is light in weight to move around and easy to change it’s role into a bed. Two in one! Tip: Shop around. I was able to find this at a clearance/liquidaton sale for $180! I also talked them into free delivery. 

Urban Compass

I knew an Ottoman with storage space made more sense than a coffee table! I store items in here that need to be easily accessible. The corner unit is actually a pull out desk with storage! Tip: Find botique shops, they may have sales on items that are not selling. They will want room for new items. 

View from the entrance, you can see my bed and the couch.

View from the entrance, you can see my bed and the couch. The windows were a selling point. So much light. You can see downtown San Francisco from there. The pillows on the couch match my bed to bring the space together. I doubted the neighborhood, but from the view up here, it is not too bad.

Urban Compass Kitchen View

View from the kitchen nook to the sleeping space. The back hanging design is actually a room divider. It ended up not working for me, so I decided to hang it instead. If you look closely, you can see Mila (the cat under bed).

Urban Compass Closet

Closet space was important. I decided to put low dressers underneath the hanging items to save space and become highly organized.

Urban Compass bathroom

The bathroom is super small. So small, I could not fit it into the camera! The colors are yellow and black. I did not like it and was almost a deal breaker, but I discovered splashes of grey fits well. Framed art is from Thailand! Tip: Frame memoribilia yourself to make art pieces for a lot less.

Urban Compass Bed

I put the bed in the corner and purposely blocked the closet (there are two entrances). The bedding makes me feel calm and I wanted to make sure I enjoyed walking in to see the bed daily.

Will you choose size small?


2 thoughts on “Frugal Idea #32: I Choose Size Small

  1. Aw I remember sleeping over at your place in San Bruno with Fusion peeps. I’m loving the new space though! I really like the idea of downsizing all my stuff and living in a place that is just enough!

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