A loft is an open space located at the top of a commercial building according to Webster's dictionary. To some, a loft is also what has been traditionally called an attic, or attic apartment. In a loft you typically have an open space that lacks closets, though rental lofts will provide a functioning kitchen and enclosed bathroom.
When rented, constructing interior walls probably won't be an option. As my grandmother used to say, "You will have to make do." In this article tips for decorating a large loft apartment are provided.
First, you will need to define your spaces. Decide where you want to locate a sleeping area, dining room and living space.
Second, most lofts have very high ceilings. Be prepared to purchase large furniture because typical furniture will appear small, inadequate and disproportionate to the space. The best style choice is likely going to be modern or contemporary with their clean lines and minimalist design. If you plan on an industrial design choose furniture with metal legs and accents to provide a continuity of design extending into the furniture.
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Design Tips for a Loft Apartment
Defining a Bedroom Space
The bedroom space requires privacy and planning if you're to get any rest. Use cabinets, tall, sturdy bookcases or screens to designate a separate space for sleeping. The down side to using solid structures is that they can make a sleeping area feel 'closed off' so allow a comfortable distance between bed and structures.
Though not as private, tall plants will create a 'wall' of green and the illusion of privacy. Shoji screens are a beautiful substitute for 'walls', as are bamboo and rattan screens. Combined with green plants they are a lovely combination and blend beautifully with modern or contemporary style. Screens have the added advantage of being portable, allowing for an enlarged living space when entertaining.
Establishing a Dining Area
Purchase a complete dining room set. In a large loft apartment with high ceilings, a lonely table will look like an ice cream parlor table. Use upholstered dining chairs in leather and a large carpet under the dining space to define it, as well as providing some source of absorbing echo which is one the inherent problems in a loft.
If the loft is rented ask permission to hang a chandelier over the table in a contemporary or sculptured design for a touch of elegance. Plants are also useful in the dining area for a touch of nature, color and area definition. Don't overdo it with plants though. If you create 'walls' of green for every area you will have a very odd looking loft. Choose just 2 or 3 areas for a few plants.
Create a Living Space
As previously noted, purchase a large leather couch or a set of modern leather furniture and locate it in the middle of the loft apartment near the dining area. If large windows are a feature, this is also a great place to locate the living space. The use of throw pillows, fabrics, carpets and leather furniture will assist in reducing echo in a loft as well being design elements.
Large Columns in a Loft
If you have huge paint chipped columns in your loft consider yourself lucky! After ensuring paints (including those on columns) does not contain lead, you can faux paint them, and faux marble is easy to create.
A friend once bought a loft with a former car dealership underneath. His custom cars business was in the latter while he lived in the loft. He chose a completely industrial style for the loft and even painted the columns in faux chrome. Once his chrome footed furniture was in place along with his other industrial styled furnishings, the chrome columns actually looked great and helped to pull the space together in industrial design. Neon lights advertising cars and dealerships really added a nice touch of ambiance to the space, as did a leather sectional with matching leather seating on the dining chairs. A lovely industrial kitchen with stainless appliances and concrete countertops featured a bar with chromed stools and leather upholstery.
Owning it, my friend could have built traditional walls around a bedroom. Rather than close off one end darkening it with walls, he chose to use permanent 12 ft. shoji walls with down lighting installed at the top. This allowed the light from the windows to enter the space beyond the bedroom. At night the shoji wall lighting added a soft glow to that end of the loft.
All in all, it was very tastefully done, and my friend the mechanic planned and designed it all himself.
If you are one of the less lucky loft owners stuck with I beams or anything similar for posts there are alternatives for improving them.
First, if money isn't an object but replacement is too tedious, Steel I beams can be enclosed with several different materials to upgrade them. A frame of wood can be built around them. You have the option of painting, faux painting, tiling, or using stucco to name a few possibilities.
Another option is to construct a steel or wooden frame and add privacy glass, or other glass or opaque mediums. When it is backlit it can make a dramatic statement. The frame can be designed in a similar way as a shoji frame, or designed as a more solid medium of glass. You may not want to light them all at once if your loft has many columns. Let your own taste guide you, but columns that light from within are typically used only in a specific area or two. Leather furniture and other upholstered surfaces of leather beautifully complement lofts, and will assist in reducing echo. Few persons choose to have drapes over loft windows and have to use other means of reducing echo.
Contact The Leather Sofa Company or drop by one of our showrooms for assistance in ordering your new leather furniture. We will be happy to assist you in our furniture stores in Grapevine, TX or in any of our 7 locations. If you are out of state give us a call, we ship nationwide and will be happy to help you.