Loft: Coveted Living

loft lifeLiving in a loft is trendy. And for good reason. Lofts are unique, quirky, and adaptable. They shout uber-urban sophistication. Cool people live in them.

Traditionally, lofts were converted industrial spaces. As manufacturing businesses left New York’s SoHo in the early 1970s, artists created studios in the former factories to take advantage of the large, open floor plans and natural light streaming through huge windows. Ultimately, they set up house and the residential loft movement was in full swing.

Now, lofts all over the country are coveted living spaces and in a large part responsible for much of the urban redevelopment that has been taking place over the past decade.

Create a Loft in a Single Family Home

If you live in a single family home, you can replicate a loft-like atmosphere. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you get it right.

» Many homes feature open floor plans for shared living areas. Great rooms are a direct descendant of the loft movement. With their soaring ceilings and large windows, your own loft isn’t all that difficult to achieve.

  1. Start by defining space with furniture, area rugs and lighting.
  2. Think you have to butt all your furniture up against the walls? Think again.
  3. Moving furniture away from walls makes for a more interesting and intimate room. No more shouting to the person sitting in the chair across the living room.

» Create distinct areas that have their own function and reason.

  1. Putting a rug beneath a dining table automatically sets it up as its own space.
  2. A cluster of comfy chairs and sofas makes a nice socializing spot, especially when you hang a funky chandelier above, puddling it in light.
  3. Don’t think you have to align everything at right angles. Take a chance and skew the orientation of your furniture. You’ll be glad you did.

Loft living is the perfect opportunity to build an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories. Your flea market finds fit perfectly with contemporary pieces and traditional heirlooms alike.

» If your windows don’t stretch from floor to ceiling, it’s easy to create the illusion that they do.

  1. Take window treatments all the way to the ceiling. Just doing that adds instant height.
  2. Consider installing mirrors above and below the actual window. This inexpensive trick throws reflected light back into the room and tricks the eye into thinking the windows are larger than they actually are.
  3. Further the illusion by adding faux-muntins (the wooden pieces that separate window panes).

If you have enough space between the top of your window and the ceiling, add architectural interest with half-round mirrors.

» Surfaces are an important element.

  1. Look at hardwood and cement floors for inspiration — the more distressed the better.
  2. Concrete provides wonderful opportunities. It can be tinted, acid-washed or polished to achieve the effect you’re going for. Not many other flooring options are that malleable.
  3. Think beat-up plaster and exposed bricks on walls for the finishing touch.

Loft living isn’t limited to lofts. With a little ingenuity, you can create a loft-like space that will have you believing you’re living in the middle of your favorite city.

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