Loft apartments first became popular when artists took over old industrial spaces to use as studios and homes (sometimes illegally). They were often sold as-is, so hints of the space’s previous lives, like exposed brick, distressed flooring, massive elevators, and more, are still visible. Over the last century, buyers have been fixing up these massive spaces (usually 2,000 to 3,000 square feet and up) and selling them as apartments. Classic lofts have high ceilings, big windows, and large open rooms, with few walls. Instead, the weight of the structure is supported by columns.
Now, developers are capitalizing on this trend and building new structures that feature elements of these lofts, like open layouts, high ceilings, and distressed, industrial finishes. Loft locations in cities or in old commercial districts are an attractive home option for many reasons. The large space makes them great for entertaining, and they can still be used as live/work spaces for photographers, artists, and more. The industrial aesthetic has become increasingly popular, making the exposed-brick look not just something to finish and cover.
However, these large spaces can sometimes be difficult to decorate. The large open, spaces need furniture so they don’t look abandoned or sparse. And finding ways to fill the spaces appropriately can be a challenge. Before you think of lofts as more trouble than they’re worth, consider the common challenges, and solutions to solve them.
Challenge #1: High Ceilings
Cover the walls with tall vertical art or even tapestries. Filling as much of the wall as possible helps bring the whole room into your decorating scheme, and makes it feel more homey. You could even try painting a mural, or using a theme like a favorite flower to use throughout the wall in small bursts.
Consider tall bookcases to build your own cozy library! Add a sliding ladder and you have a book-lover’s dream home.
High ceilings in your loft apartment also let you use tall furniture. High-backed dining chairs are an elegant option that won’t feel overwhelming. A bar set-up with stools and a tall table also is a great way to take advantage of the space. You can also use lower modern sofas to further display the taller ceilings.
Challenge #2: Cold Textures
One of the defining features of lofts is the industrial textures and materials: brick, concrete, metal and exposed ducts or other inner workings. Warm it up by bringing in furniture that features soft, luxurious fabrics. Velvet couches, big comfy blankets, area rugs, and floor pillows will help cozy-up the space. It might seem like too much of a juxtaposition next to the concrete, but it will help neutralize your home.
Using natural wood also brings a touch of the outside world to your home, including wood tables, chairs, and shelves. This is especially great if you happen to have a view of a park or other wooded area. The same effect can be had with lots of house plants! And if you have lots of big windows, they’ll have no problem getting all the sunshine they need.
Challenge #3: Lacking Color
Combat the greys concrete and metal with warm colors! Paint the floors, walls or columns a bright color to lighten it up. Use colors like red, orange or yellow to soften the cool colors seen in the existing features. This will make your home more inviting and welcoming.
Lighting will also help make the home feel warmer. Add lots of lamps with soft yellow light to keep your home from feeling too industrial.
Challenge #4: Can’t Hang Art on Brick Walls
If the walls are brick or concrete and won’t hold a nail, try just leaning them against the wall. Large mirrors can be leaned against the wall as well for an artistic look. A cluster of plants and framed posters against a wall creates a cool, artsy vibe.
Instead of using framed art, you could also try painting murals or stringing up fabric by attaching rope to different areas - like tying it to columns or to windows. Bookshelves with knick-knacks on them are also an easy substitute for hanging art.
Lofts are an exciting place to live because they allow for so much creativity when it comes to design. No matter where your loft locations, it gives you the freedom to think outside the box and experiment. Consider these design ideas if you move into a spacious new home.