For anyone in the know, lofts are fancier studio apartments with tons of space, high ceilings, and typically a factory history. Which means lofts often adopt a stark or industrial design aesthetic that can be off-putting to anyone looking for a cozier environment in which to raise a children. But the industrial look is not your only option when making a loft livable. When you’re going for a multi-functional family space the lack of separate rooms may complicate the process of your design, but it also allows for a freer flow of creative ideas to get the look that you want. Whatever design and theme that you chose for this project, here are 10 tips to turn that loft into a multi-functional family space that everyone can enjoy.
10 Redesign Tips
Keep it together! This is the biggest key to creating a multi-functional space for a family! Life gets messy, kids run around and things get everywhere and all of that is part of having a family. The only way to reduce the impact of that is to make sure that each portion of the space has the necessary organizational tools to keep the clutter factor as low as possible. Get creative for storage space and don’t be afraid to add pull-outs underneath the furniture if you need to. There are also some great options for multi-purpose furniture that will condense items that may not be used on a daily basis.
Know your space. You need to know how much space you have to work with for each section of the loft that you are designing. You need to know where you want the bedrooms to end and the playroom to begin or where the living room will end and the home office should begin. Otherwise, your design process is flying blindly and that will create a haphazard interior look. Remember to remain flexible throughout the process but it is important to know your layout in order to know where you are going. Start by maybe taping off areas and taking careful measurements. Then maybe look into creative ways to block off the space like bookshelves, screens, and even curtains.
Maintain the look. The trick to designing a loft into a multi-functional space is to maintain aesthetics from section to section that are cohesive while still giving each area its own distinct character. It is not like a home with more walls where you can design a room as a standalone space. In a loft, you need to be more cautious and strategic about how you design it to avoid one section looking completely out of place. Colors are important here to make sure that every room is complimented by the next! Consider making a mood board or inspiration page on Pinterest to get an idea of the overall look and feel you’ll be going for.
Don’t go overboard. To create a space that can function in many ways is one thing but creating a space where each section functions well requires some sacrifice. You need to think of the less-is-more principle as you begin to fill the space with furniture and accents in order to avoid going overboard. Additionally, you don’t want to add too many items because the smaller space shared by everyone will begin to feel cluttered quickly. Large pieces of furniture, too many items in one area, or insufficient planning when breaking the large space into smaller ones can end in a suffocating feeling. The trick is to balance out the whole design from room to room and establish a space that isn’t too empty but also doesn’t lack a homey feel. Add the details, but only add the details that are essential to creating the atmosphere.
Don’t overthink your pieces. The furniture that you choose for this space will determine how cohesive the look of the loft is. If you have furniture that looks out of theme or out of place then it can destroy the efforts that you have made in the most prominent spaces. A loft is essentially one big room so too many different styles and themes and make it feel noisy, as if there are several homes jammed into one. When a guest enters your living room but the dining room looks like a completely different planet, then the homey feel will be lost. Be sure to focus the elements of your furniture on presenting an identity for your home, and keep the theme alive with each space that you design. And remember, you don’t have to go with an industrial aesthetic, but whatever style you go with should be cohesive throughout.
Kitchen and dining space. One of the important tricks for creating a multi-functional space is to have actual sections with more than one purpose. Kitchens are great for entertaining, but if you use the right counters and chairs then you can make what would normally look like barstools actually look like a dining area. Try to combine these two functions of cooking and eating into one space and you will have a lot more room in the loft for other things like creating a large, inviting living room, and bedrooms that offer privacy. To do this, look at islands that can double as tables, or tables that can seamlessly merge into other spaces. Make sure your chairs can also work in the living room.
Bathtubs and showers. Showers can be difficult to create and expensive to install. It may be easier to use a bathtub and avoid the mess of creating a shower that doesn’t drip. Of course, bathtubs still have the splash factor especially if you have young children so be sure to use rugs and other items to make the bathtub area function better. Use shelves in this section of the loft to make sure that any candles or bath time toys are easily accessible and you can maintain the ambience that you need for the space.
Bedrooms that convert. There are some amazing multi-functional furniture pieces out there that can help you convert a room in your loft into more than one space when you need it. There are desks that can be pulled out of the wall or beds that can be pulled out of a closet storage space to make the bedroom double as an entertainment space or a workout area, and so much more! Get creative in how you look at your bedrooms because most of us are only using them to sleep at the end of the night anyway. If you can get more functionality out of it then it’s worth a try.
Home offices. This can be a big challenge to overcome because a home office will be determined by the needs of your work more so than the capabilities of your design skills or the flexibility of your home. If you need a lot of desk space because you are an artist or architect then you cannot have a small desk in a corner. If you are a professor or someone who requires a lot of books then you need to create space to store them. The way you create this space also needs to be conducive to the way that you work. Some people work like a tornado and needs space to sprawl out but others are more meticulous and need clean surfaces and minimal clutter. Luckily, there are endless options out there for desks, storage, and more. Plus, offices can easily be integrated into living spaces. During the pandemic, it became popular to work at your dining room table. So maybe you do that but have shelves elsewhere for storage.
Fun area. Don’t forget that this is your family’s home in your interior design process. It doesn’t only exist for functionality, it also exists for fun and creating lasting memories! Whether it is an entertainment center or a game room, you should create a space in the loft that will allow you and your family to laugh and feel free to play. This can be a space that converts to something else when the fun is over, but the elements of joy should be apparent! One of my favorite things to add is a foosball table that can be covered and turned into counter or table space!
Lofts are definitely a challenge, but it can absolutely be done! Have fun, get creative, and don’t buy into the idea that the limited amount of space limits your ability to create the home that you envision for your family. There are a million ways to do it so let the creativity flow!