ARTICLE Erin Reilly
Loft apartments are no longer the domain of uber-creative types or American sitcoms.
In fact, lofts provide visionary homeowners with renovation and interior design opportunities that they’d never be able to achieve in the average home.
Often located in converted commercial spaces, lofts are typically very light, open and spacious spaces, thanks to high ceilings, large windows and minimal interior walls. At first glance, common industrial features like exposed brick walls, piping and concrete floors might not seem naturally cosy, but the opposite can be true after some careful planning and problem-solving.
One of the first things people wonder when they imagine living in a loft is where their bed will go. Don’t worry, your bedroom does not have to double as a lounge. Use bookcases and open shelving to create private quasi-rooms or living areas. Make open shelving look great from both sides by combining books and ornaments with practical day-to-day homeware, like plates and mugs. Baskets look great and add storage options too.
Use rugs to create a focus in a ‘room’ by positioning furniture around them thoughtfully, and angling them to make the most of big windows or a view. Think big though; choose a rug that fits the space well, otherwise it could look too empty.
If you simply can’t separate your bedroom from your lounge, use foldaway furniture to make the space more functional (and less like a slumber party). Think about adding rollaway casters to your sofa, bed, bookshelf, even kitchen island to create greater design flexibility. Size matters here, too. Avoid swimming in excess space by using big couches, beds, mirrors, paintings and plants.
Loft living 101
Use various textiles like rugs, throws, cushions, upholstery – even wood and chrome – to make your loft feel warm, inviting and homely. Mixed textiles help with acoustics too.
2. GREEN FINGERS
Forget that you live in the heart of the city by bringing the outdoors in. Install a herb wall or mini garden in the kitchen, and place tall indoor planters in the corners and under the windows.
Stay true to the loft’s industrial heritage by polishing existing concrete floors, or make the space feel warmer by laying down wooden floors.
4. LIGHT AND BRIGHT
Make the most of the natural light by positioning your main living area near big windows. Paint your interior walls off-white to allow for greater light reflectivity (but minimal glare).
5. TEMPERATURE CONTROL
Backed roller blinds allow for greater heating, insulation and glare control, without compromising on the view, while a heat pump or ceiling fan helps to heat, cool and circulate the air.
An entertainers dream
One of the main appeals of urban loft living is the entertainment factor, so consider installing an open kitchen with a large island and dining area that allows you to mingle with your guests while you prepare dinner and drinks. Choose industrial-style stainless steel or black appliances and fixtures too, but soften the hard lines and edges by adding a splash of natural colour with a herb wall or window garden.
Lofts almost always fail on the storage front, so think creatively about how you can optimise your space. Consider dedicating an entire wall to hidden storage, and make the most of the height by fitting a sliding ladder to help you access the hard-to-reach places. Prioritise practicality first though; a floor-to-ceiling bookcase might look awesome, but where will you put your camping gear?
Think outside the square when it comes to your furniture choices too. Drawers under beds, cupboards under stairs, lift-top ottomans, window seats and storage benches, are great clutter-free storage options.
Lofts typically have high ceilings, so think about how you can make the most out of the space above your head. Install a mezzanine to create another bedroom, office, library or storage room. Or, if there’s enough height (and you’re feeling particularly adventurous), build an entire second floor. Think about access though. Ladders save on space, but can be annoying. Stairs offer easier accessibility, but need more room.
You might be interested in reading: Tips when renovating an apartment.
This article by Erin Reilly featured on page 90 in Issue 021 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.
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