Contrary to popular belief, I’d say that the most stressful part of going to UC Berkeley is trying to secure housing. Finding the perfect place to live can be a hassle, between finding an apartment or condo the right distance from school or making sure you and your friends can live close by, the sheer amount of options can be overwhelming. But once you do find the perfect place, it may feel more like a temporary residence than a home. And it shouldn’t feel like that! So here’s the story of how I made my apartment something unique.
When I first moved into my apartment last August with my friends from the Rally Committee, I didn’t really know what to expect. The front room had 3 mismatching couches and crayon colored pictures on the wall. The living room featured 2 mismatching tables of different sizes complimented by benches with white vinyl padding. My roommates living there over the summer didn’t have a naturally eye for decorating, and the atmosphere of the house reflected this cluttered and disorganized vibe. Most of our first semester, a majority of my housemates and I studied alone in our rooms rather than hanging out in the common areas. I felt like I was living in the dorms again, but less welcoming.
Finally, my housemates Joseph, Bridget, and I got to thinking about how we could better utilize the space. The first step was evaluating the usefulness of each room. By moving our couches and TV to the living room, and putting a more fitting table in the front room, we easily created two areas for recreation and study. Next was to clear unnecessary clutter, including papers, unused shelves, and replacing worn out benches with cushioned chairs. Finally, we added decorations and accents to the house that reflected our love for fun and Cal spirit loving energy. Old donated Cal banners adorn the walls, and posters from Bonfire Rallies in years past line the room. Sitting on our mantle next to the TV is a picture of my house, as well as our friends in the upstairs apartment, celebrating one of our housemate’s birthday. These three main additions transformed our house, from a messy, confusing aggregation of things, into a home filled with memories and a loving touch.
The perfect living space, no matter the location, means putting your personal vibe and flair into your home. The great thing is that it doesn’t have to be expensive: a stop to the local dollar store or a trip to a resale store will provide you with an unlimited about of decorating supplies to provide your common spaces with a personal touch. Additionally, the great thing about Berkeley is the unexpected shops and popup stores that often provide you tapestries, wall art, or plants for you to add to your residence. College for me is a time to find my community and my place, and what better way to do that then making a home!