Lofted Living

During my first year living in San Francisco, I shared a 110 square foot bedroom with one of my classmates. While I have since moved out this very cozy abode, I still wanted to share my thought process with you all in regards to my attempt at maximizing my space!

I’ve had to share a bedroom with at least another person for most of my life, and so living in this small space was not too big of a deal for me. The real challenge lay in utilizing the little space I did have in a way that would not only maximize its functionality, but also maintain a simple, clean, and happy aesthetic.


Since I had sold or donated all of my furniture in Los Angeles prior to my move, I was working with more or less of a blank slate. Although having to purchase almost all of my furniture could cost some money, it could work to my advantage because I needed the flexibility to adapt my furniture to the limitations of my new space.

I definitely wanted to loft my bed to take advantage of what would otherwise be dead, vertical space and so I browsed online for a few ideas:


This super space efficient apartment in Sweden (of course, haha) turned an oddly positioned nook into a bedroom/office space. I love the clean aesthetic of the lofted system; the white finish of the bed frame blends with the walls, uniting the area with a streamlined look. I also like that the trestles serve double duty both as support for the desk top and extra storage.


As I would also have limited closet space, I liked the idea of storing my clothes under my bed. I didn’t, however, want to reserve the entire space solely for clothing as shown above for a couple of reasons: 1) I’ve been in the process of paring down my belongings to keep only what I really need, and so limiting my allocated space for clothing storage would help with that initiative; 2) I needed some place to study when coffee shops are closed, and so I wanted to put a desk there as well.

The Final Product

After browsing online and measuring my half of the room a dozen times, I decided to purchase the following pieces of furniture:

  1. IKEA SVARTA Loft Bed Frame
  2. IKEA RIGGA Clothes Rack
  3. LINNMON Table Top + ADLIS Legs
  4. ClosetMaid 6-Cube Organizer
    Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 6.45.34 PM

Behold, the final product below! (Apologies for the single picture. I snapped this one image just before packing up all of my belongings to move out.)


My lofted bed granted me ample space beneath it to play with. At the bottom left of my living space, I used the ClosetMaid 3×2 Organizer as a bookshelf, jewelry display and dressing table, and for clothing storage. At the bottom right, my business professional clothing that I wear practically every day for school hangs on a clothes rack. The center of the area features my desk and work station. Not pictured is a small closet that I shared with my roommate, where I kept my large coats, shoes, and other articles of clothing.

One thing that I did not anticipate, but greatly appreciated was the fact that my bed frame was open, allowing the natural light from my window to flood the room. Natural lighting is always the best, and in gloomy San Francisco I need to catch every ray of sunlight that I can get!

Ideally, I wanted the bed frame to be white instead of silver, but IKEA did not have another color option and I did not feel like it was worth it to spray paint the entire frame. I therefore decided to leave it as is. Having a white bed frame, however, would dramatically enhance the airy feel of the space and better blend in with the other furniture.

Ultimately I was able to fit practically everything I owned into my small room, while maintaining functionality and a cozy atmosphere. Is this a Happy Space? I think so!

What are your thoughts? How would you have set up this bedroom?


New Beginnings

I apologize that Happy Spaces has been on hiatus due to my entrance into dental school. While I have not been able to indulge myself in organizing and maximizing my tiny, city apartment to its full functionality as much as I would like, I have gained a new appreciation for what it means to create a happy space.

Before deciding on dentistry as a career path, I struggled with who I was and who I wanted to be.

Growing up, I had always been a little obsessive-compulsive. Everything had to be in its place. Every line had to be straight, every “I” dotted and every “T” crossed. I would get upset over a scuff mark on my shoe, and there would be an internal volcanic explosion every time I noticed something that was not right or not in its proper place. (Think Anger from Pixar’s Inside Out.) While my martial arts training helped ameliorate my temper, my tick remained.

In fact, some people very close to my heart often discouraged my detail-oriented tendencies. “Paying too much attention to little things,” they would say. Although there was some merit and loving intent in their chiding, it only resulted in self-doubt of my idiosyncrasies, my quirks, and ultimately my identity. Little did I know that there was career and a community out there that would not only embrace my oddity, but also cultivate it into a skill that could help others.

I stumbled onto dentistry as a career option by chance. I had initially planned to be a family physician, but that decision did not feel quite right. After an evening of Google searches for “health-related occupations”, I made a list of options and cross referenced them with career resources that I had available at UCLA, my undergraduate institution. My plan was to narrow the list down to careers with viable and accessible resources, and from there explore each option individually until I found one I liked enough to pursue. At this point, I was hoping to make a decision quickly: I was graduating in one year. As fate would have it, I got accepted into dental school soon after and decided to attend the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry at the University of the Pacific located in San Francisco.

Fast forward a couple years and I’ve just finished my first year of dental school. Looking back, the transition was initially difficult. I had taken a gap year to work at a dental insurance start-up, and so not only did I need to re-acquaint myself with the rigors of an academic schedule, but I had also grown to love so many people and places during my time in Los Angeles and Santa Monica that it was almost unbearable to have to leave and start over in San Francisco.

In spite of all that, I still managed to have the time of my life during my first year. I was fortunate to meet many like-minded individuals at UOP who not only kept me sane, but also challenged me to expand my horizons and venture out of my comfort zone. My aunt calls me crazy for saying this, but never before have I had this much fun at school. Yes, dental school is tough; yes, I spend an average of 14 hours a day on campus; yes, I was at school on weekends, but every single moment I am there, my heart is filled with a sated joy. Whether I am learning about dentistry, doing dentistry, or sharing dentistry as a career path with others, being surrounded by so many others with the same goals makes me utterly happy. Your career should allow you to fully explore your passions. It should facilitate a celebration of you and your talents–not stifle them.

As I begin my second year of dental school, I’m pleased to say that I’ve found my calling as a dentist and that my family has only gotten bigger.

So here’s to change, to loving yourself for who you are, and to new friendships–because if I’ve learned anything, it’s that any place has the potential to be your happy space.


Organizing Your Receipts

I used to stuff all of my receipts into a side pocket of my wallet, any empty space in my purse, or in my pockets, depending on whatever was most convenient at the time. When I got home, I would dump everything into a small pile on my desk. As you can imagine, there was a high possibility of me losing things or wasting five to ten minutes trying to find a particular receipt for an item I needed to return.

Enter the accordion organizer! I found this cute little guy at Target’s $1/$3 Spot a while back for $1. It’s just a bit smaller than my checkbook.


What I love about this guy is that he has just enough sections for me to organize my receipts according to credit card, with an extra section for returns. To label each section, I used some Washi tape that I had on hand (originally purchased from Michael’s) and a black Sharpie. (I love that both the labels and the organizer have a chevron pattern!) Using Washi tape allows me to easily remove the labels without damaging the organizer if I decide to change things up in the future.

Now, instead of dumping all of my receipts in a pile somewhere at the end of the week, I spend a few minutes filing them into my lovely little organizer. This small investment pays dividends when it comes time to pay my bills and those pesky slips of paper are easily accessible. Plus, the coral and yellow chevron make me smile every time I open it, which keeps me motivated to maintain my system!

What do you do with your receipts? How do you stay financially organized?

My Happy Place

Those of you who know me personally are very well aware that I absolutely LOVE to clean and organize. (Think Monica Geller from Friends.)


Give me a messy garage, pantry, or closet, and I would happily spend an entire day cleaning it out and making it look pretty. Most people wouldn’t find tasks like these enjoyable, but they really take me to my happy place!

Creating a blog to share my organizing projects with others is a project that has been in the works for quite a while. Now that I am out of school (at the moment), I have found myself with ample time and no excuse but to get my creative juices flowing and my butt finally moving on crossing this item off my bucketlist.

And from that, Happy Spaces was born. I believe that with enough love, any area can be transformed into a space that makes you smile. This blog is meant to record my trials and tribulations on my journey to create happy places, one space at a time. I sincerely hope you enjoy your time here, and will do my best to post any organizing projects I embark upon, big or small. Feel free to leave suggestions on what you would like to read about in the comments below. I look forward to meeting you!