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What is a loft apartment?

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    What is a loft apartment? It’s a fair question. Maybe you’ve toured one, have a friend who lives in one or maybe you’ve just heard the term in passing. A loft is an apartment unit with open space and few interior walls. Loft-style apartments are typically in buildings originally built for commercial, manufacturing or warehouse use. Due to their origin, lofts often feature big, open spaces. Think of a studio apartment — one room without many walls — but on a larger scale.

    Characteristics of loft style apartments

    Before we embark on the characteristics of loft style apartments, it’s important to note that an apartment that has a “loft” doesn’t mean it is a loft style apartment. A loft within an apartment usually means a staircase with a small space — often for a bed — above it. A loft-style apartment, however, is defined by its open floorplan.

    Loft style apartments typically have:

    • Large open spaces: Loft apartments are often converted manufacturing facilities. After manufacturers fled cities, landlords turned the spaces into “live work” spaces for artists. Eventually, these live-work spaces became sought-after real estate in cities, where traditional apartments tend to have more limited spaces.
    • High ceilings: Along with their large, open floor plans, loft style apartments typically come with high ceilings since manufacturing facilities often require a lot of vertical spaces.
    • Large windows: Due to the tall, open nature of these buildings, loft style apartments typically come with large windows. The large windows provide natural light that often make loft style apartments highly sought-after.
    • Exposed brick or columns: Not all loft style apartments come with exposed brick and columns, but many of them do, since brick was a common building material during the Industrial Revolution. Today, brick is considered an aesthetically pleasing architectural feature that provides a certain level of charm and texture to an apartment. If you look at apartment listings, you’ll often see “exposed brick” listed as a feature.

    Pros of living in a loft style apartment

    Loft style apartments have several attractive qualities that make them hot commodities in large, metropolitan cities. For example:

    • The opportunity to have a blank canvas: Compared to more structured apartments, there’s often a considerable amount of creative room to play with layouts in loft style spaces. Other apartments typically have a pre-established structure of rooms and walls that might limit the setup possibilities or have a certain aesthetic to the architecture. A loft style apartment, on the other hand, is like a blank canvas that you can potentially make into anything you want.
    • Open floor plan: As discussed above, loft style apartments can usually accommodate more than a traditional apartment might, especially in more crowded cities. Some people use their loft as a multi-function unit. For example, you might use the front of your loft space as an artist’s studio, and the back as your living space.
    • Tall ceilings and natural light: Loft style apartments often sport tall ceilings with giant windows that give way to natural light. In some cities, there are few well-lit spaces. Natural light and tall ceilings may make the space feel brighter than other types of apartments.

    Cons of living in a loft style apartment

    While there are plenty of upsides to consider with loft style living, there are some potential drawbacks to think about as well:

    • Potentially fewer amenities due to their “bare-bones” nature: Due to the bare-bones nature and the historical context of the building, loft style apartments may have fewer amenities than other residential buildings. Residential buildings made for the purpose of housing people are set up with conveniences like multiple access points for plumbing that loft style apartment buildings may not have thanks to their original purpose.
    • May be more expensive: Loft style apartments are often more expensive due to both their size and inherent lack of energy efficiency. The simple act of powering a loft style apartment may cost more than powering a traditional apartment.
    • Typically less dedicated storage space: Despite the size of loft style apartments, they typically come with less dedicated storage space. While fans of minimalism may view their bare-bones nature as a positive feature, others may be left frustrated when it comes to finding storage for all of their belongings.

    In summary

    A loft apartment is a large, spacious style of apartment that is typically located in an older building originally designed for industrial purposes. Loft style apartments are often found attractive due to their high ceilings, large windows and rugged charm. They offer a wide-open floorplan that may be just right for people who enjoy the creative freedom of that much open space.

    Loft apartment FAQs

    1. What’s the difference between a loft and an apartment?

    A loft is typically in a building that wasn’t originally meant for residential usage. Loft style apartments are typically bare-bones units with an open floorplan. In contrast, traditional apartments are typically located in an apartment complex or apartment building that was developed with the intention of housing people, and are designed accordingly, with the unit divided into multiple purpose-specific rooms.

    2. Are loft apartments expensive?

    Loft apartments may be more expensive than traditional apartments due to their size. The price of a loft style apartment is additionally dependent on its location and other market conditions.

    3. How to buy a loft apartment

    If you’re interested in buying a loft apartment, consider connecting with a real estate agent. You may also find some loft style apartments on public online listing services.

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