10 Ways to Make Any Home Feel Like an Urban Loft

If you love the look of loft-style design, you’re in luck—even if you live in a farmhouse in the middle of the countryside. Just follow these pro tricks for adding industrial edge to your own space.

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October 05, 2017
By: Amanda Lecky

Photo By: Design by May Sung; Photo by Manolo Langis

Photo By: Design by Michelle Lord Interiors; Photo by Peter McMenamin

Photo By: Oliver Simon Design; Photo by Tracey Ayton Photography

Photo By: Rachel Whyte

Photo By: Design by Brett Mickan Interior Design; Photo by Thomas Dalhoff, Hindenburg Dalhoff

Photo By: Design by Hannah Crowell, Crowell + Co. Interiors; Photo by Caroline Allison

Photo By: Eric Roth

Photo By: Peter Dressel

Photo By: Design by Gary Chase, Architect, Vita Design Group; Photo by Sandro de Carvalho

Photo By: Jennifer Boomer/Getty Images

Use Scale and Material To Create an Urban Loft Feel

Among the hallmarks of loft spaces are their size and the visibility of materials that might otherwise be hidden or treated to a smooth finish: metal pipes and ductwork and well-worn wood flooring, for example. Architect May Sung explains how she used these elements to create a loft-style look: "In this kitchen, we utilized proportion and texture to create interest in the space. The texture of the reclaimed wood juxtaposed next to the industrial element of the table legs created warmth and coziness, emphasized by the over-scaled ceiling pendant."

Cook Up Some Midcentury Flavor

The ingredients for a midcentury-style kitchen are simple: stained wood cabinets with flat-panel doors and a few vintage accessories, like the bulb pendants above. Designer Michelle Lord shares her money-saving strategies for creating a midcentury look. "I like to shop for midcentury furniture and accessories at garage sales and at Salvation Army stores. Then, to pull the look together I use pops of midcentury colors like lime green and orange."

Create a Larger Look

Not every home is blessed with the grand volumes of a loft space, but you can use space-saving tricks to make rooms feel more expansive, as designers Jamie Hamilton and Greer Nelson of Oliver Simon Design did in this project. “We loved the idea of an antique map in this dining room because it was a small space but we still wanted it to be bright and interesting. Not losing valuable space to framed art on the walls meant that every inch was used in the smartest way possible. The custom barn door was also a space saver, and a bright hit of color adds good bang for the buck.”

Go For a Vintage Vibe

Using reclaimed furnishings and materials can make even a brand new or newly remodeled space feel time-touched and loftlike. In this cozy home office by Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper shades of deep green on the walls lend a rich, warm backdrop for a mix of vintage pieces, including a distressed antique desk and an industrial lamp and chair.

Try Some Fresh Greens

Creating welcoming warmth within the flowing spaces of open-layout floorplans is important—and sometimes difficult to achieve. Designer Brett Mickan turned to color to do the trick in this Sydney, Australia kitchen. "The deep green hue makes the walls recede so the pieces within the room stand out. And, because the room looks out through a series of large glass doors towards the garden, I used a deep green tone with a gray base to create a color connection to the garden and focus the view out the windows," he says.

Introduce a Little Elegance

As rough-hewn and industrial as some loft spaces can be, there’s still ample opportunity to introduce spaces rich in refined style, as designer Hannah Crowell did in this eclectic dining room. "This was a new build that I wanted to give depth and character, so I chose a charcoal gray that pulled a slight bit of purple. I wanted to mix modern pieces (the Wegner chairs) with a farm table and Bryan Nash Gill prints. The Patterson Flynn and Martin rug was custom and took us six months to make but it pulled everything together perfectly."

Save With Open Shelving

Good news: Open shelving with exposed supports—like the black plumbing pipes that support the shelf system in this Martha’s Vineyard mudroom—is not only an easy way to add storage and industrial chic, but is far less expensive than traditional cabinetry. And, the look works equally well in rustic and urban environments.

Make it Multitask

Loft spaces have traditionally been live-work spaces for artists and craftspeople. Channel a bit of this multipurpose past by making your rooms play more than one role. Case in point: This bedroom doubles as a home office, thanks to the addition of an eye-catching desk and versatile freestanding storage unit. The deep green walls and mixed wood finishes complete the lofty look.

Define Without Walls

In loft layouts, the distinctions between different "rooms" must often come from a shift in materials, not from physical walls. Here, architect Gary Chase of Vita Design Group used this technique to great effect to create an office within a free-flowing layout. "Used in a few moments around the home, this walnut feature material creates the backdrop for this modern desk area between kitchen and family Room. As it wraps from the wall up onto the ceiling the material serves to frame out and define the space for the desk," he says.

Bring Factory Style to the Farm

Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines is no stranger to inventive combinations—after all, she practically invented the "modern farmhouse" style. In this interior, she created an industrial look with a pair of floating metal shelves, exposed wood beams, dark-stained wood floors, and a high-contrast palette.