While the idea of a loft room may be attractive, the reality is that these spaces are often awkwardly shaped, with challenging dimensions. Here’s how to work around these potential stumbling blocks.
• Invest in textiles, advises Alon Sachs of Mobelli Furniture + Living. “One of the problems with loft spaces is that they have few walls to block sound waves, which means that sounds from one end of the apartment or house can be heard throughout the entire space,” he points out. The result? Your loft may appear echoey and loud – but you can soften the acoustics by introducing rugs, throws and upholstered furnishings. This will also help to introduce colour to the space, says Sachs, while combating the chilliness that is an inevitable outcome of exposed bricks and large windows.
• Be clever with storage. Sachs notes that a lack of space can also be a problem, especially when you’re thinking about how to keep the room tidy. “Think of creative ways to add storage to the area. For instance, a beautiful wooden credenza against the wall or behind your sofa is practical, and adds a stylish decorative element,” he says.
• Define the space, then define the style. Obviously your décor will be heavily influenced by how you plan to use the loft – a kids’ playroom will be kitted out very differently to an office, for example. But, says Jeanne Badenhorst of Beetroot Inc., once you’ve addressed this, it’s time to decide on the theme. If the loft is visible from the rest of the house, it’s best to stick to the same décor style to create harmony. If not, play with pieces that amplify the loft’s ambience. For example, says Badenhorst, pieces blending natural stone and wood with manmade materials like glass and stainless steel would look great in an industrial-style room with exposed pipes.
• Be aware of space. Badenhorst says it’s important to watch the proportions of your pieces so that the room doesn’t look cramped. Similarly, choose multifunctional items that can do double duty. An ottoman that can be used as a coffee table is a case in point.
• Play to the area’s dimensions. Colour and light are key here, according to Anna Cereal of Leroy Merlin. “If your ceilings are very high, lighting fixed to the ceiling will be cold and ineffective. Conversely, using many low-light sources, like table lamps or luminaires directed at the ground, means that much of your spacious loft will be left in the dark. Make sure you use appropriate lighting at various heights to illuminate all areas and create a sense of interest.” Colour is another way to control visual perceptions of your space, she adds. “Use darker, warmer colours in large spaces to create a more intimate, tightening effect. Colour can also be used to create clever optical effects, like a false alcove in a corner using a dark colour to give a recessed look.”