As the global population continues to expand, the demand for housing rises with it, and our solutions become increasingly curious. First it was tiny houses and mobile homes, and now it’s urban lofts. These are basically disused warehouses and industrial buildings. In the past, they were used for storage and occupied by rodents, pigeons, and water tanks. Then they became sites for hip restaurants and unconventional night spots.
Today, they’re just as likely to be the residence of some sheikh city dweller. While many loft tenants are seeking ways to make their rafters and roof windows look more homely, others seek to make their apartments and suburban dwellings more … lofty. They like that minimal factory look and want to mimic it in their homes. So how can you bring that loft-style ambiance into your living space?
High-Low Kind of Home
Lofts are characterized by wooden rafters, open ceilings, unfinished floors, and rough unplastered walls. They usually have a spacious feel even if they’re small, because they have no wall partitioning. They might have old-school brick and raw wood paneling, the portions of any building that are usually ‘tidied up’ with concrete and drywall. So if you want you finished home to look more … unfinished, think wood, metal, and brick.
Engineered wood flooring and/or wall panels are a good place to start, because they instantly age your ‘loft’ and make it look authentically unfinished. At the same time, they cost way less and need less care than solid wood surfaces. Depending on who does your floors, you could get the type of engineered oak that’s made from triple layers of solid wood rather than plywood sandwiched between timber veneers. The former option is better wearing, lasts longer, and can withstand multiple rounds of sanding while retaining its character.
If you feel brave enough, and if you have a good crew, you could ‘deconstruct’ your home, so to speak. Remember, lofts have high ceilings and exposed wall frames so you could consider taking out your ceiling and wall plaster so the original pipes and rafters are visible, turning your house into an instant ground-level loft. To give the house an edgy urban look, you can stain the wooden frames and paint the pipes black, brass, or bronze. Tear down wall dividers and replace them with fold-able screen partitions or sliding wooden doors.
Get The Light Right
Install a dimmer or use low voltage bulbs to maintain those sunset oranges and peaches when you turn on the lights at night. For the floors, you can take out the top layer of finishing, whether it’s tile or carpet. The raw concrete beneath is typical loft decor, and you can seal it for longevity and instant aging. If the effect is too unpolished for you, lay matte grey natural stone instead. Small shag rugs make the room look larger than wide carpeting.
Loft windows are rarely dressed, but bare windows can feel exposed on a ground-level home, so you can use stark shades or mini-view shutters to give your home that dusky daylight look. Another important factor is furniture and storage space. In a tiny house, space is premium so every item has to be multi-functional. The same principle applies in a faux loft. You want it to retain its wide open airy feel, so your furniture should be minimal.
Instead of a large bed or massive couch, get a sofa bed with recliners or L-shaped designs. Position them off to the side so the living room remains bare. You can use multipurpose shelving that can be placed against the wall. The furniture itself should have clean, minimalist silhouettes and metallic colours, in keeping with your industrial theme. Consider using furniture that’s wooden, metallic, or plastic rather, than heavy upholstery.
Apply an open plan kitchen to widen your living space and if your bedroom is on the same floor you could carve it off with a curtain instead of a solid wall. Only your bathroom needs an actual wall, to retain privacy and hygiene. But even with the bathroom, you could go the tiny-house route and use corrugated metal sheets for your shower cubicle. Just make sure they have anti-corrosion coating and are waterproof. Buy appliances with black tones or metallic finishes to complete the look.