Loft interiors are so fun to work with, but they present some really intense design challenges. Here’s some things to consider when you’re decorating a loft.
ZONES: The most important thing to consider is establishing zones. This is the first thing we tackle when designing loft spaces for staging. Loft or industrial spaces can be kind of intimidating because they are big blank canvases. And often don’t have as many walls, hallways, or features of a traditional home layout to guide where to put things like a TV or a dining table. So when figuring out your zones and layouts, keep your main goal of flow in mind. With an open concept floor plan, you’ll probably want to place your dining area close to your kitchen and maybe even nearby a living or family space. If you have a wall with fewer windows to anchor a TV on, you’ll probably want to arrange your living space around that. Think about how you want to use the space both when it’s just you at home and when guests are there and let that guide the size and placement of your various zones.
CREATE THE ZONE WITH RUGS: The number one trick we use to establish clear zones is using area rugs to define boundaries and create “rooms” within the bigger space. You can see in these before and after images here that we used one area rug to clearly define the seating area, and another to clearly define the dining. In the top before picture, the space looks undefined, but just placing those two rugs with our furniture pieces really structures the space and maximizes functionality.
ADD STORAGE: Another big challenge in lofts is storage, since loft spaces don’t always have as many traditional, closed-off closets. Folding screens or curtains are great alternatives if your closet doesn’t have a door – or if you just need to create a little extra privacy. Get creative with how you use dressers, buffets, or even platform beds to hide your clutter and store your clothes. Open shelving with baskets or fabric storage bins can also look stylish while giving you a lot of storage space. These bigger pieces can also
give you an added benefit of helping to establish faux walls or zones in your space.
ADD WARMTH: Another thing to think about is creating warmth. Loft spaces can often feel drafty or a bit cold, so it’s really important to create physical and visual warmth within the space. The area rugs we mentioned are really great for adding warmth. Mix and match the types of rugs you use: we like to use jute or low pile rugs for dining areas or heavy traffic areas. But in places like a bedroom, consider something higher pile or layer in a small sheepskin to up the cozy factor. Upholstered furniture pieces, luxe woven pillows, and fabric window panels can also help to cozy up the space. These elements are important for physical warmth, but also for visual warmth. Wood vases, natural ceramics, and round shapes are another great to contrast the harshness of concrete and brick. Just because the bones of the space are industrial and spare, doesn’t mean you have to decorate that way.
LOTS OF LIGHT OPTIONS: Lighting is also a big factor in lofts. One of the best things about loft spaces can be the big windows letting in tons of natural light. However, high ceilings can limit the options for built-in overhead lighting, and it can be tricky to light lofts once the sun sets, or in those areas without as much natural light. We always recommend using a mix of table and floor lamps throughout these spaces. Task lamps or overarching floor lamps are a great source of flexible lighting. Be sure to take advantage of every outlet you have as well (this can be difficult in lofts, so be prepared to add outlets if possible!) place table lamps on buffets, bar carts, or even bookcases to bring light to unexpected places. If you can, incorporate wall-mounted lighting like sconces to provide a wider range of light. This is a great solution because it gives you lighting options for any time of the day.
ADD COLOR: Finally, don’t be afraid of color! Again, just because the space is naturally a bit muted or stark doesn’t mean the decor has to be that way. Loft spaces are some of the most fun spaces for pops of bold color, because they are so open and blank. When you have huge white walls, a canvas with pinks and yellows isn’t so overwhelming as it might be in a smaller traditional living room. Take advantage of the high ceilings and use a big vertical canvas with a lot of color. Or bring in color through textiles like curtains in a lush, bold-colored velvet instead of white.
Loft living is so much more than masculine industrial spaces, and they are the perfect spaces to play with design styles, colors, and textures. So set those zones and layer in what makes you happy!
You can also watch our Tuesdays at Two on this topic here: