Category: Interior Decorating (6)

San Francisco occupies the northern tip of a peninsula in Northern California and is nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the San Francisco Bay to the east. The city covers 46 square miles and is its own county. Among the city’s most iconic features are the Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, rows of Victorian-style houses, and year-round fog. The city is shaped roughly like a square, and, despite the hilly terrain, its planners favored straight, grid-like streets to a fault — resulting in the precariously steep streets that made cable cars necessary.

If you’re planning to move to San Francisco, you’re sure to have some questions about life in the city — and we have answers. Keep reading to learn about what to expect in The Golden City.

A Little History

The city of San Francisco can trace its history back to 1769, when a group of Spanish explorers led by Gaspar de Portolá became the first Europeans to see the San Francisco Bay. Despite being one of the world’s best natural harbors, San Francisco was initially reached by land. For over two centuries before its discovery, seafaring explorers such as Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, Sir Francis Drake, and Sebastián Vizcaíno had sailed past the Bay’s entrance without realizing what they were missing.

A few years later, in 1775, Spanish Lieutenant Juan Manuel de Ayala dropped anchor in the Bay, and, in 1776, the beginnings of a settlement were laid down with the construction of a military outpost and the Mission San Francisco de Asis. In 1835, an Englishman founded a village nearby, which was renamed San Francisco when the United States claimed the area in 1847. California was officially annexed and paid for under the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848.

San Francisco’s development accelerated in 1849 with the discovery of gold. The small town with a population under 400 people exploded as nearly 80,000 gold hunters made their way to San Francisco. The cost of food, real estate, and basic amenities skyrocketed, and the city experienced financial upheaval and unchecked violence until the bubble burst in 1857. A couple years later, silver was discovered in Nevada, and several of the city’s residents grew rich as bankers, speculators, and lawyers. By 1870, the population had grown to nearly 150,000 people.

The city has been thriving ever since, despite facing its share of challenges — including the earthquakes of 1906 and 1989.

San Francisco’s Weather

Given the city’s location in sunny California, many people moving to San Francisco expect clear skies and warm temperatures year-round. Fortunately, this stereotype isn’t entirely wrong. On average, the city has 259 sunny days per year, with temperatures that rarely dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. However, its weather is better characterized as “mild” instead of “warm,” with highs between the upper 50s and the low 70s.

Like most cities along the California coast, San Francisco has a Mediterranean climate, which is typically marked by wet, mild winters and warm, dry summers. For better or worse, however, San Francisco falls short of those idyllic summers. Although its winters are wet and mild compared to those in other parts of the country, its summers are cooler than you might expect, with average highs in the 60s.

Cool, Foggy Weather in the Summer

San Francisco lies between a hot valley and a cold ocean, and the resulting weather patterns function as a natural air conditioner for the city. As the hot air in California’s Central Valley rises, cold air from the Pacific Ocean is pulled inland. This creates a steady flow of cool air over San Francisco, which keeps temperatures from reaching the sweltering heights often experienced in other parts of California.

This current also accounts for San Francisco’s infamous fog, which can make the city feel even colder. The summer months tend to be the foggiest, especially in neighborhoods closer to the Bay. A typical summer day includes heavy fog in the morning with temperatures in the 50s. By 10 a.m., the sun has usually warmed the city and cleared the fog. However, in the mid- to late afternoon, cool winds from the ocean pull the fog back into the city for a chilly night.

You may hear these cool, overcast, foggy conditions referred to as “Gray May,” “June Gloom,” “No Sky July,” and “Fogust.”

Mild, Rainy Weather in the Winter

Long-time residents recommend dressing in layers to adapt to San Francisco’s fluctuating temperatures throughout the day. However, on winter days, you may also want to have an umbrella or a raincoat. San Francisco averages 24 inches of rain each year, and most of it falls between November and March.

The winter months are among San Francisco’s coldest, but, even in the dead of winter, the average low is only 46 degrees. The average highs stay in the high 50s and low 60s, so you don’t have to worry about snow. Not all winters are equally wet, though. Sometimes the city will have an extended dry spell; at other times, the city can get a month’s worth of rain in one or two days.

Spring and fall are San Francisco’s most pleasant seasons. Fall offers some of the year’s warmest temperatures, while spring is mild.

The People of San Francisco

San Francisco’s population has been growing steadily since the mid-1800s. Recent estimates have more than 850,000 people living within the city limits. When you consider the larger metropolitan area, however, the population estimates jump to 4.6 million — and this number, in turn, nearly doubles when you include the entire San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland metro area.

Although San Francisco is only the 11th-most-populous city in the nation, it ranks second in population density, with 6,266 people per square kilometer. Only New York City is more packed. San Francisco is also diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2015, the city’s population was 53.6 percent white, with 41 percent identifying as non-Hispanic white. African Americans make up 6.1 percent of the population, while Hispanic and Latino residents make up 15.3 percent.

At 35.3 percent, the city’s Asian population is the largest ethnic minority. More specifically, slightly over 21 percent of the city’s population is Chinese, and the second-largest Asian group is Filipino, at 4.5 percent. The city also has a significant number of Vietnamese, Japanese, Indian, Korean, Thai, Burmese, and Cambodian residents.

Even if you had a few misconceptions about San Francisco’s weather, you’ve probably heard at least a few stereotypes about San Francisco that do hold up. The city is very liberal, with a large and thriving LGBT community. About 15 percent of the population identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

The average age of a San Francisco resident is 38.8 years old, and children make up only 13 percent of the population. This is the lowest proportion of every major metropolitan area in the U.S. Interestingly, the overwhelming majority of San Francisco residents are immigrants and transplants. Only about a third were born in California, while roughly 25 percent came from another state and more than one-third came from another country.

The San Francisco Lifestyle

San Francisco has been named both the happiest city and the snobbiest city in America, ahead of even Washington D.C. and Seattle. Even on lists where it hasn’t placed No. 1, San Francisco consistently ranks near the top for happiness. And, since singles make up 39 percent of its population, it’s a great place to meet someone. San Francisco also tends to be a very casual city. Its residents favor a laid-back, carefree lifestyle, and this attitude applies to everything from clothes to dinner plans.

Thanks to the city’s diverse population, you can find a variety of niche cultures and alternative lifestyles. Whether you’ve felt isolated because of your ethnicity, your sexual orientation, your faith, or your sense of style, you’re likely to find an entire community of people here who share your experiences and preferences. Because the city actually has more dogs than kids, you can also find a stunning array of amenities for your loyal companion, from luxury dog hotels to a long list of dog parks.

San Francisco strives to stay healthy and eco-conscious. PETA considers it one of the most “veg-friendly” cities in the U.S., with a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. Organic food is easy to come by, and the city boasts a long list of parks, recreational activities, and exercise options. The city diverts the vast majority of its waste away from landfills and aims to achieve zero waste by 2020. Already, residents and businesses must sort their trash into three different bins: landfill waste, recycling, and compost. The smaller your landfill bin, the more money you save.

San Fransisco’s Neighborhoods

If there’s one downside to living in San Francisco, it’s the high cost of living, which is 62 percent higher than the national average. The average monthly rent for an apartment is nearly $3,500. In addition, the average house costs more than 9 times the city’s median income, putting homeownership well beyond the reach of most residents. As a result, home sales in the city have slowed down as residents have begun to look elsewhere for homes. To afford a median-priced home in the city, you’d need to earn about $158,000 a year, and your mortgage would end up being over $3,600.

All of this means that price may be the deciding factor when you’re deciding where to live in San Francisco. Although the city doesn’t have any truly affordable neighborhoods, some are cheaper than others. In general, you’ll find the lowest rental prices near the city’s outer limits and in its suburbs. Start your search in Outer Mission, Outer Richmond, Bayview, Presidio Heights, and Inner or Outer Sunset. Young professionals favor trendy neighborhoods such as Dogpatch, Hayes Valley, Lower Pacific Heights, and The Marina. Pacific Heights, meanwhile, is home to some of the city’s wealthiest residents.

Among the most affordable neighborhoods for families are Bernal Heights and Glen Park. The former boasts several parks and kid-friendly restaurants, while the latter offers a quiet community and a convenient location. Potrero Hill is a great fit for upper-middle-class families. The Castro has a large number of LGBT residents, and Excelsior is among the most ethnically diverse and affordable neighborhoods. Inner Richmond has a relatively large Chinese population as well as strong Irish and Russian roots. Dog owners will like Cole Valley, Duboce Triangle, and Noe Valley, which are all popular among families with kids as well.

San Francisco’s Schools

With more than 57,000 students, the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is the seventh-largest school district in California. The SFUSD includes the following:

  • 64 elementary schools.
  • 8 alternatively configured schools.
  • 13 middle schools.
  • 15 high schools.
  • 12 early education schools.
  • 14 active charter schools authorized by the district.

Most students attend elementary school between kindergarten and fifth grade, followed by middle school for sixth through eighth grade. However, some attend alternatively configured schools that combine elementary and middle school. High schools cover ninth through 12th grade. According to GreatSchools, the best schools are Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts, Alice Fong Yu Alternative School, Lawton Alternative Elementary School, Lowell High School, Ulloa Elementary School, and Sunset Elementary School. In general, the northern and western parts of the city seem to have better schools than the central, eastern, and southern parts.

In addition to public schools, San Francisco has a large number of private schools, which serve more than 27,000 students. Roughly half of these schools are religiously affiliated. The following private schools have an A+ rating on Niche: San Francisco University High School, Lick-Wilmerding High School, The Urban School of San Francisco, Convent & Stuart Hall, and French American International School – San Francisco. Several private schools outside the city limits have also earned A+ ratings.

San Francisco also boasts several colleges and universities. These include City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and the University of California – San Francisco. Stanford University and University of California – Berkeley are nearby.

The Job Market in San Francisco

The cost of living in San Francisco is notoriously high. A family of four can expect to pay about $91,785 a year for necessities, which translates to $7,649 per month. For a single person, that number is $43,581 a year (or $3,632 a month). Fortunately, the average annual salary in San Francisco is higher than the national average, at $69,110 compared to $49,630. And its median household income is nearly double the national median, at $96,677 compared to $57,617.

At 3.3 percent, the unemployment rate in San Francisco is about 1 percent lower than the national average. Encouragingly, the city’s unemployment rate has been dropping more quickly than the national rate. U.S. News also gives San Francisco an 8.8/10 rating on its job market index, which means the city has a healthier job market than most similarly sized areas.

Many people assume that the tech industry dominates San Francisco’s economy. Although tech companies and venture capital funding have certainly helped fuel the city’s steady growth, the tourism and finance industries are also exceptionally strong. Among the city’s top employers are Wells Fargo, Salesforce, PG&E, Deloitte, Amazon, and Uber. Jobs in the health care field are also plentiful thanks to employers such as Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, and California Pacific Medical Center. Other major employers include government entities and local schools, colleges, and universities.

Transportation in San Francisco

Given the city’s population density, it’s not surprising that San Francisco experiences its fair share of traffic problems. In 2017, the city was ranked the fifth worst in the world and the third worst in the nation for traffic congestion. With no room to expand, San Francisco’s only option for alleviating traffic is to streamline its existing infrastructure. Its efforts have included pay-to-use express lanes, HOV and bus lanes, and bridge tolls to fund public transportation.

Fortunately, getting around San Francisco without a car is not only possible but, in many cases, preferable. Both Lyft and Uber, as well as several traditional taxi companies, operate in the city. In addition, San Francisco boasts an enviable bus and metro system, known as Muni. Bus and metro stops are scattered throughout the city, so public transportation is easily accessible wherever you are. Routes and times can be accessed by calling 511 or through the 511 SF Bay Transit Trip Planner, a smartphone app.

San Franciscans also have access to a system of cable cars and streetcars in the downtown area. The three cable car lines are Powell-Hyde, Powell-Mason, and California Street. Fare can be paid on-board with exact change, or you can purchase tickets through the MuniMobile app or at various locations.

People looking for a healthy and inexpensive way to get around will be happy to learn that San Francisco is a very walkable city. It also consistently ranks as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the U.S. Over the last couple decades, the city has added traffic signals that give cyclists the right of way, several bike parking areas, and over 20 new miles of bike lanes. Bikes can be taken on public transit, and bike-share programs are available.

The San Francisco Food Scene

San Francisco is a foodie’s paradise, with local artisan-quality restaurants throughout the city. If you’re struggling to decide where to eat, head to one of the city’s most popular food neighborhoods and stop by the first restaurant that catches your eye. North Beach is the premier destination for Italian food, and the Mission neighborhood boasts a few world-class taquerias. For the best Chinese cuisine, head to the Richmond and Sunset neighborhoods, where you’ll also find authentic Russian, Korean, and Japanese fare. The Tenderloin and Hayes Valley are other great foodie areas.

Below are a few local favorites:

  • Pizza: Pizzetta 211, Pizzeria Delfina, Golden Boy, Delarosa, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Za Pizza.
  • Ice Cream: Bi-Rite Creamery, Swensen’s Ice Cream, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, Humphry Slocombe, Smitten Ice Cream.
  • Sushi: Ryoko’s Japanese Restaurant & Bar, Roka Akor, Akiko’s Sushi Bar and Restaurant, Sakana, Ebisu.
  • Mexican: Tato, La Taqueria, Nopalito, Tacorea, El Farolito, Matador.
  • Bakeries: Bob’s Donut & Pastry Shop, Yasukochi’s Sweet Stop, Boudin Bakery, Tartine Bakery, Golden Gate Bakery, Liguria Bakery.
  • Vegan: Gracias Madre (Mexican), Shizen (sushi), Mensho Tokyo (ramen), Vegan Picnic (deli), The Flying Falafel.

San Francisco also boasts a wide variety of food trucks. Many are conveniently grouped together in food truck parks such as SoMa StrEat Food Park (11th Street) and Truck Stop SF (First and Mission Streets). Off the Grid brings together food trucks and local vendors for events at various locations such as Fort Mason and the Presidio.

No matter what you’re craving or what dietary restrictions you follow, you’ll be able to find several great options in San Francisco. The city has 55 Michelin-starred restaurants. Farm-to-table restaurants with locally sourced ingredients are the norm, and vegan and vegetarian dishes are easy to come by. San Francisco is also famous for its craft beer, which you can find at pubs, bars, and breweries throughout the city. Fort Point Beer Company, ThirstyBear Brewing Company, 21st Amendment Brewery & Restaurant, and Black Hammer Brewing are only a few of the many top-notch local breweries.

Annual Events in San Francisco

San Franciscans value community, and it shows in the city’s lineup of annual events. Regardless of when you move to San Francisco, you’ll be able to jump right in to the social scene. Free outdoor events are never difficult to find, which means that even those on a tight budget can have active social lives.

Here are some of the biggest annual events in San Francisco:

Spring (March-May)

Every April, San Francisco’s Japantown hosts the Cherry Blossom Festival, which has a Grand Parade and traditional Japanese activities. Attendees can enjoy a variety of food booths, cultural performances, live bands, and martial arts displays. The city also has the Craft Brew Festival in March, the San Francisco International Film Festival in April and May, and the International Beer Festival in May.

Summer (June-August)

Given San Francisco’s large LGBT community, it should be no surprise that the annual Pride Parade is one of the city’s biggest events. The parade is always held in June, with the exact route and dates posted on the San Francisco Pride website. Another popular — and free — event is the two-day Fillmore Jazz Festival, which is held in Pacific Heights District on Fourth of July weekend.

Perhaps the most highly anticipated summer event is the Outside Lands Festival. Held in Golden Gate Park for three days in August, this outdoor music festival draws thousands of attendees and doubles as a food, wine, and beer festival. Local artists display their work, and dozens of restaurants and food trucks sign up as vendors.

Other summer events include the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Juneteenth, Eat Drink SF, Oysterfest, Fourth of July Fireworks on the Bay, and the Craft Spirits Carnival. Summer also brings neighborhood street fairs such as the North Beach Festival and Union Street Festival as well as races such as the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and the San Francisco Marathon. Residents can enjoy free concerts throughout the summer on Sunday afternoons in Grove Park.

Fall (September-November)

Every September, San Francisco’s comedians thank their community for its support by performing at a free comedy festival. Held in Golden Gate Park, Comedy Day features dozens of local comedians in a PG/PG-13 show. The Ghirardelli Chocolate Festival and A Taste of Greece are also held in September, in addition to the Folsom Street Fair, a BDSM and leather subculture street fair that is among the city’s most unique events and decidedly not kid-friendly.

October brings the Castro Street Fair, Fleet Week, Wharf Fest, the Treasure Island Music Festival, and the Fall Antiques Show, where more than 60 dealers display high-end antiques from the U.S. and Europe. Residents can enjoy free live music at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival and choose from two weeks’ worth of literary events during Litquake. In November, check out the fall edition of San Francisco’s Craft Brew Festival, the Pinot Days wine festival, or the SF International Auto Show.

Winter (December-February)

Winter brings an exciting list of holiday events, including the Union Square Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony, the SF Ballet’s Nutcracker Performance, NYE Fireworks Over the Bay, and the Chinese New Year Parade held in Chinatown. Since Chinese New Year is based on the lunar calendar, the exact timing of the parade varies, but it is typically held in early February. Other events in January or February include SF Sketchfest, the ZAP Wine Festival, the SF Giants Fan Fest, the Chronicle Wine Tasting Event, and the Pacific Orchid Expo.

Things to Do in San Francisco

In a city as large as San Francisco, you’ll never have trouble finding something to do. Whether you want to shop ’til you drop, cheer on your favorite team, or explore the great outdoors, San Francisco has you covered.


If you’re in the mood for a home interior or head-to-toe makeover, head over to Fillmore Street, where you’ll find boutique clothing, decor, skincare products, and more. The Mission District is packed with vintage items, handcrafted products, and local art. For some brand-name retail therapy, visit Union Square, the city’s largest shopping district, or head over to the Westfield San Francisco Centre. Other popular destinations include Chestnut Street in the Marina District and the shops in Hayes Valley, which span roughly three blocks.


San Francisco is a great place to be a sports fan. The Bay Area has at least one professional team in every major sport, as well as local collegiate and semi-professional teams.

Baseball fans can catch a San Francisco Giants or Oakland Athletics game between early April and early October. NBA games are played from October through April at Oracle Arena, where the locals root for Oakland’s Golden State Warriors. During the football season, you can cheer on the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara or the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum, which they share with the Oakland Athletics.

For hockey and soccer, Bay Area residents have the San Jose Sharks and the San Jose Earthquakes, which play in the NHL and MLS, respectively. Plus, six local universities play NCAA Division I sports. During the college football season, you can root for the California Golden Bears (University of California – Berkeley), the Stanford Cardinals, or the San Jose State Spartans. Stanford and Berkeley also have men’s basketball teams. Locals also cheer for the Saint Mary’s Gaels, the San Francisco Dons, and the Santa Clara Broncos — three Division I teams without football programs.

Art and History

Art lovers and history buffs will appreciate the wide variety of museums and historical sites in the Bay Area. Among them are the Asian Art Museum, the Legion of Honor, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), the Cable Car Museum, the de Young Museum, and Fort Mason. You can also explore the history of Alcatraz Island, Fort Point, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mission Dolores, and other landmarks.

The San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is a particularly impressive attraction, with a whole fleet of historic ships docked on-site. This fleet includes a square rigger, a schooner, a steam ferryboat, and a scow schooner from the late 1800s.


For some hands-on fun with the kids, check out the Exploratorium, the Randall Museum, the Children’s Creativity Museum, or the Bay Area Discovery Museum. Kids will also enjoy the Walt Disney Family Museum, the Presidio (a national park), the Julius Kahn Playground & Clubhouse, and Urban Putt indoor mini-golf. In addition to all of the exciting activities and attractions listed above, San Francisco has hundreds of miles of natural beauty for the whole family to explore, including numerous parks and beaches.

Regardless of what brings you to San Francisco, it won’t take long for you to feel right at home. You’ll join a bustling, diverse community of people who’ve made their way to the Golden City after a local, cross-country, or international move. Take advantage of the city’s active social scene to meet new people, see the sights, sample the local brews, and explore your neighborhood.

Starting a new semester of college is scary. Living in a San Francisco dorm room? Even scarier. The transition from having your own space in your family home to a small cramped student housing space shared with 1-3 other roommates in San Francisco is a huge jump, and can be difficult to navigate. Lucky for you, we’ve got San Francisco dorm room design inspo by the dozen, and we want to help you make your San Francisco dorm room feel like home. So whether you are already living in San Francisco student housing  or a student about to move into one of our SF student rooms, we are here to help you make your shared housing in San Francisco feel like home, from the moment you move in through the rest of the year.

Tip 1: Take the Time.

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Before we even get started, lets talk about your intention going into this project. Take the time to really decorate and settle in. This is the place you will be living for the next year, your first year away from home! Take your time, spend some money, really make an effort to make the place feel like a home. The more you invest in your space, the most it will become YOUR space. We all get a little homesick down the line, and being able to come home to a clean, personal, warm, inviting, and organized space will make you feel settled.

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Tip 2: Pick a Color Scheme or Theme



Before you start shopping, figure out what you want your room to look like. Browse a few interior decorating magazines, check out dorm room inspo on Pinterest, make a mood board with colors and styles you like. Is yellow your happy color? Or are you more of a black and white kinda gal? Girly and frilly or modern and sleek? Pick your poison. Here are a few color matching inspiration ideas.




Tip 3: Make it Personal.

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If you feel lonely or homesick, rolling over to see your favorite pic of your dog, your family, or your BFF is an instant pick-me-up. Nothing cheers you up like cuddling with your childhood stuffed animal. And lets be real, having a stash of your favorite candy on hand will make even the worst day a little better.

Even if you are trying to start fresh and reinvent yourself in college, it isn’t ‘cool’ to leave everything that makes you you behind when you leave for school. Take a little piece of your past with you. That way, on a day when your new environment feels extra foreign, you have something familiar and comforting to rely on to get you through.


Tip 4: Lighting. Is. Everything.

Two words: Twinkle. Lights. The kind that make your heart feel extra cozy and remind you of winter time by the fireplace at home. Nothing can damper a mood like dingy or fluorescent lighting, and nothing brightens or warms a room quite like twinkle lights. If your dorm doesn’t allow the plug in kind, there are a number of battery-powered fairy lights that will make your ceiling twinkle. Other options? Glow-in-the-dark star stickers, fake candles, and color-changing ‘mood’ lamps are all dorm rule friendly and will do wonders towards your room’s lighting vibe.


Tip 5: And Plants. Plants are Also Everything.

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So are pillows, poofs, and (weirdly enough) a ton of regular household objects. There are a number of reasonably priced things you can use to spice up your room and make it look like home, including indoor plants, dried flowers, decorative pillows, printed photographs, and more. But we have already covered all of that! You can check out our other interior decorating blog posts for more info on these topics.

Decorating with plants.

Decorating with pillows and poufs.

Decorating with regular household objects.


Tip 6: Get Organized. Like, super organized.

Because trust me, you won’t have time once your semester picks up. The last thing you will want to do in between two essays, a pop quiz, three labs, and a midterm is color-coordinate your paper clips. So do it now, while you have time! Here is a little checklist for you:

  • Wall calendar with important dates (taken from club calendars, syllabi, and your class schedule) and goals (fitness, mental health, etc!) already penciled in.
  • Desk essentials, divided and organized: Pens, pencils, erasers, highlighters, calculator, printer paper, notebooks, planner, binders, etc!
  • Under bed storage: Trust us, there is no way your whole wardrobe will fit in that tiny little shared closet. You will need this more than you think.
  • Containers for nail polishes, first aid kit (advil, cold medicine, bandaids, etc), skin care stuff, socks, sports bras, snacks, etc!
  • A shower caddy with important toiletries.
  • Clothing organization things: velvet hangers (thinner and hold clothes better), small dividers (for socks, underwear, bras, sports bras, etc), command hooks (to hang belts, purses, hats, etc), a shoe rack.
  • If you want a few more important student organizational tips, check out our blog on back to school tips for students.


Tip 7: Consider Making a Statement.

We are not talking about your basic Urban Outfitter tie dye tapestry. Nothing makes a space look rad like a statement wall. Wallpaper can be purchased from any home decorating store or online, and can be temporarily stuck on to the wall (without damaging your dorm paint!) with removable mounting products like tack or sticky strips.  Or, if you are going for a tapestry, look for landscape scenes or patters, the kind of thing that will open up the room and make the wall look professionally done.


Tip 8: Make Seasonal Adjustments

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A few little touches can go a long way to making your dorm room feel like home year round. Think about it – your mom most likely puts out pumpkins for Halloween or twinkle lights for the holidays, so why shouldn’t you? Those little seasonal touches will do the most to keep your dorm feeling like a home away from home, no matter what time of year it is.

Also, consider a DIY! We have a great one up on autumnal wreath making– the perfect home decor piece to make your dorm feel like fall.


Using these tips, your dorm space is sure to feel like home!

Don’t have a San Francisco student dorm room for Fall semester? Check out our open San Francisco room rentals here.

To check out more small space decorating tips and articles like this one, click here.

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to keep up with what is happening in San Francisco!


The Power of Pillows and Poufs

Your SF furnished apartment should be a place that expresses you.  Whether its a tiny dorm room at your school or a shared housing space in San Francisco, your San Francisco housing is somewhere you should feel comfortable in. You should be proud to show it off to visitors!  This may seem difficult to do when you’re ballin’ on a budget. But here at Urbanests, we want to help you find San Francisco room rentals that are both affordable, functional, and that feel like a real home. These decorating tips are easy, affordable, and help make your temporary housing feel as cozy as possible, on a dime.

I am here to tell you how to create a Pinterest-worthy apartment under $60.  And it all comes down to two things: pillows and plants. Today’s blog post is going to focus on all the ways you can use those pillows and poufs to transform your small space. Keep an eye out for part two, where we cover creative ways to transform your space using plants!


One way to turn drab into fab is by spicing up your budget furniture with fun pillows.  

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It may be likely that you picked up your couch on the side of the road with a “FREE” sign on it.  Or maybe you’re rocking the mattress-on-the-ground look in your San Francisco room rental. Whatever your situation, your short stay apartment can all be salvaged with the right pillows.  

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Screen Shot 2018-04-04 at 12.54.01 PMThese beds (even the ones without frames, sitting on the ground) are all aesthetic and utterly gorgeous, and made possible fully by their pillows.  Pillows can be as vibrant or as neutral as you like – but the key is to have them, and a lot of them!



Tired of people sitting on your bed every time they hangout at your apartment? Find a cheap chair or stool.  

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Throw a colorful bohemian pillow on any boring neutral colored chair and it’ll become the hottest seat in the house.

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Plenty of stores are stocked with fluffy white stools that have your name written all over them.

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If you don’t have much space and can’t find room for a permanent piece of furniture, find yourself a floor pouf! You can store one of these guys under your bed and take it out only when you have guests over.

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You can find all the best budget pillows at places like Home Goods, Marshall’s, TJ Maxx, Cost Plus World Market, Ross and Target.  Also check out your local thrift stores for some one-of-a-kind- finds!

Tune in the next few weeks for another post on how to freshen up your small space!


If you want to know everything there is to know about house plants, check out our post here.

If you want other decorating tips to save some cash and style your space using everyday objects, check out our post here.

Don’t have a San Francisco room to spruce up yet? Check out our open San Francisco room rentals here.


(All images courtesy of Pinterest.)
Post made by contributor Rachel Fay.



It can be hard to get settled in your new home, especially when you are living in a shoebox. As a college student, I struggled with homesickness in my first few years living in San Francisco student housing. I missed the comforts of living in a ‘real’ home – most notably, the thoughtfully decorated interior that made the space so much more than just a building. Here at Urbanests, we want to help you find San Francisco room rentals that are both affordable, functional, and that feel like a real home. Therefore, in this new blog series, I am going to talk about a few tips and tricks that I use to make my small dorm room in San Francisco feel like a real home! These decorating tips are easy, affordable, and help make your temporary housing feel as cozy as possible, on a dime.

Today’s Small Space Decorating Tip: Using Everyday Objects to Bring Your Decor to the Next Level

This week, I want to talk about a few unorthodox things I did to decorate my dorm room in San Francisco for very, very cheap. I used everyday objects to create a beautiful and unique interior, and it cost me near to nothing! Here are a few ideas:

• Using Your Clothes as Statement Pieces:

You spend hours picking out the pieces that go in your wardrobe, and when you put on that special shirt or dress, it makes you feel like the best version of yourself. So why can’t that same concept apply for your room? Putting one of your more intricate pieces on display by hanging it in a windowsill can be an easy and affective way to make your single room in San Francisco feel like the lounge at your favorite boutique. I would opt for something light colored and breezy, and hang in in a windowsill so that the light can stream through it just so.


• Using Your Jewelry as Statement Pieces:

For jewelry, the same concept applies. In my myriad of small dorm rooms and shared housing over the years, I have found that you have to maximize on space with your decorations. You need to put your jewelry somewhere, why not put it on display. Then you can let those sparkling trinkets adorn your walls and have an organized place to put them! One of my favorite ways to display my jewelry is by nailing a few nails into a large piece of driftwood, hanging it on my wall, and arranging my necklaces and bracelets so that they hang down. The wood gives the room a very earthy feel, and as I mentioned in my last blog post, bringing nature indoors is one of the best ways to open up a space.

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•Creative use of mirrors:

If you go to the dollar store, you can purchase small, flat geometric mirrors for just $1. Mirrors are the best way to open up a space, since they reflect light and give the illusion that the space is much larger than it actually is. You can hang the mirrors on the wall, place them in a mosaic on the ceiling, or put them under candles or flowers to add that extra flair. I use my small mirror as a tray to place my little bottles on, and they make my vanity area look very fancy!


• DIY a Poloroid Wall (Without a Polaroid Camera):

Nothing is cuter than a wall full of polaroid pictures, but we can’t all afford a polaroid camera or the very expensive film. But luckily, you can edit photographs to have a polaroid effect very easily! Use an editing app or a free editing service online, and up the brightness, use a ‘fade’  effect or decrease the contrast, and increase the saturation and the black point just a smidge. Crop the photograph into a square shape, and take your phone of a flash drive to your nearest drug store – You can print a ton of photos for a very low price. Once printed, purchase a few thick creamy pieces of paper, and cut them out in short rectangular shapes. Glue the photographs on top, and voila! You have polaroid pictures! You can hang them on some twine with clothespins, or on fairy lights to add a little pizazz. Just like that, you have a whole wall beautifully decorated, and you barely spent $20.

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• Plants

We covered this extensively last week, so check out this post to read about all of the ways you can use plants to beautify your San Francisco housing!


Tune in the next few weeks for another post on how to freshen up your small space!

Don’t have a San Francisco room rental to decorate yet? Check out our open San Francisco room rentals here.

Want to know more small space decorating tips? Check out our other blog posts here!

Post made by contributor Isabelle Kaplan.

It can be hard to get settled in your new home, especially when you are living in a shoebox. As a college student, I struggled with homesickness in my first few years living in San Francisco student housing. I missed the comforts of living in a ‘real’ home – most notably, the thoughtfully decorated interior that made the space so much more than just a building. Here at Urbanests, we want to help you find San Francisco room rentals that are both affordable, functional, and that feel like a real home. Therefore, in this new blog series, I am going to talk about a few tips and tricks that I use to make my small dorm room in San Francisco feel like a real home! These decorating tips are easy, affordable, and help make your temporary housing feel as cozy as possible, on a dime.

Today’s Small Space Decorating Tip: Make your Room an Indoor Greenhouse

I’m talking plants, plants, plants!

There is something about indoor plants that help completely open up a small space and make even the darkest and smallest of dorm rooms feel airy and fresh. Many studies have shown that various plants reduce stress levels and tension created in the room, and plants absorb toxins and C02 and release fresh oxygen, so they actually will help freshen up your space. Plus, they create a relaxing and beautiful environment in your home. Here I will outline my three favorite types of indoor plants that you can use to transform your small space.



  • Succulents:
    • Small, easy, and low maintenance – who could ask for more? With decorating, it is all about the details. Purchasing a few small succulents is a cost-efficient way to brighten up a corner of your room. Place them in funky glass jars on the corner of your desk, on a windowsill, or line them up along your bedside table. These small little details create an overall sense of thoughtfulness to you room decoration, and give your space a rustic edge. All they require is a little spritz of water every few days and a dash of sunlight. Good things really do come in small packages!




  • Hanging plants:
    •  In my myriad of small dorm rooms and shared housing over the years, I have found that hanging plants are the best for smaller spaces. When it comes to small spaces, you should “Think up, not out”. Vertical lines elongate the room without taking up well-needed space, so an ivy or fern cascading down the side of your bunk bed or off of the corner of your mirror saves on floor space, while adding that little pop of green and burst of oxygen that make your room feel fresh. Best part? Hanging plants need sunlight more than they need water, so even if you are a bit forgetful, your plant will thrive if you keep it near a window or door!

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  • Floor plants:
    • This is not for the feeble hearted. Floor plants require much more attention and love than succulents or ferns, and are quite a bit pricier, but they do they job better than any other. In my room, I purchased a $5 woven basket from a farmers market (that doubles great as a beach bag or grocery tote, thank you) and placed a beautiful plant from Home Depot inside it right at the foot of the bed. Let me tell you, nothing has transformed my single room in San Francisco quite like this baby did. Her name is Sherry, and I love her.




  • Fresh cut flowers:
    • Now I know what you’re thinking, who can afford to replace the bedside bouquet every week as a college student? I agree, real blooms are an absolute splurge. But there is a wonderful flower hack that allows you to keep real flowers in your room for months at a time without having to replace them, and the blooming beauties are called ‘Baby’s Breath’. That’s right, those little white fluff balls that are a regular feature in wedding bouquets actually dry so beautifully, they look brand new even a few months in! In my room, I keep a bouquet of Baby’s Breath out of water in a vase by my bedside, and it serves as a lovely standby between those ‘treat yo-self’ fresh bouquets that still creates the same sense of extravagance on the daily.



Tune in next week for another post on how to freshen up your small space! In the meantime, you can:

Check out our open San Francisco room rentals here

Or read some of our other blog pages here.

Post made by contributor Isabelle Kaplan.