What is a Loft Apartment?

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If you enjoy large living spaces with an open concept where you can explore your creativity without being restricted by the small areas a regular apartment typically offers then a loft apartment is the right choice for you. Lofts are large apartments created from industrial buildings, which give them unique characteristics that don’t resemble those of most residential properties.

What You Should Know

  • Loft apartments are created from older commercial or industrial buildings
  • Loft apartments are spacious, have high ceilings and windows, and usually have a few or no internal walls at all
  • Soft lofts are created in residential buildings to mimic the look of true lofts
  • The square footage, location, and industrial design makes loft apartments high in demand and drives up their prices

What is a Loft Apartment?

True loft apartments are created from buildings that served industrial purposes in the past or former warehouses. They have a rustic look that a lot of people nowadays find appealing. Lofts have high ceilings that go up to approximately 10 feet, tall windows, brick walls, and sometimes exposed pipes and unfinished ceilings. Another unique characteristic of this type of apartment is that they typically have no internal walls, except for the bathroom. You might think of studio apartments when hearing this, however, there are crucial differences between the two.

While lofts are found mostly in former industrial buildings, to meet demand, some property managers are mimicking lofts by giving residential buildings the rusty loft look. This allows for the addition of internal walls to form more bedrooms and create more privacy for people planning to live with roommates or family.

Pros and Cons of Loft Apartments

Before signing a lease on a loft apartment, make sure you understand the benefits and costs it comes with and what it means to live in an old industrial building. While lofts attract many people that seek that unique industrial look, to make an informed decision, you need to take into account the additional expenses and inconveniences you may encounter while living in a loft.

Pros

Large spaces - Lofts are large in terms of square footage. The typical loft is usually more than 1000 square feet in area. In addition to this, not having internal walls makes them look even more spacious. Some lofts have internal stairs that lead up to more living space with an open concept.

Design Flexibility - While other apartments might have clearly separated rooms where every piece of furniture needs to exactly fit into the space provided, lofts offer their occupants a lot of flexibility in design. The open space and the few internal walls let you separate and decorate the space however you wish to, without being restricted to the apartment’s layout.

Natural light - With floor-to-ceiling windows, lofts allow for lots of natural light to come into the apartment. This is a very desired feature by many as it creates a feeling of relaxation and having more room to breathe.

Industrial look - Lofts have a unique type of look that is not offered by traditional apartments. Whether it is the brick walls, exposed hardware, unfinished ceilings, or the huge space provided, there are a lot of people that fancy the trendy, minimalistic style offered by loft apartments.

Cons

Costly utilities - You will probably have to spend more on utilities if you live in a loft apartment. The enormous space with high ceilings takes a lot of energy to heat. Moreover, the old pipes, vents, and ductwork also contribute to higher monthly bills.

Fewer Amenities - Compared to a newer apartment complex, it is unlikely for you to find as many amenities in the former commercial, industrial buildings where lofts are located. This is because it is very difficult to make changes to older buildings such as adding indoor pools, movie theatres, or a gym. Therefore, check what amenities are offered by the building before signing a contract on a loft apartment.

Less storage space - The open space comes with a few downsides, such as not having as much storage space as you might need. Lofts have few or no closets at all, which means that you will have to invest in wardrobes, shelves, and other furniture to organize your clothes and other belongings. You could also get creative by placing the furniture in a strategic way to make for storage space.

Privacy - If you are planning to share the space with roommates or family, it will be difficult to have some privacy in the apartment. While some lofts, especially the ones that are built on residential buildings, may have more internal walls where bedrooms are created, true lofts typically do not have any internal walls at all.

Price - Loft apartments come at relatively higher prices than other types of apartments. There are several reasons for this. First, loft apartments are typically found in busy urban areas. They also offer more square footage. Lastly, HOA fees on loft apartments are higher as well.

Hard Lofts versus Soft Lofts

Hard lofts are apartments that are built from older industrial and commercial buildings. Their layout, design, and features are mainly attributed to the building, which is difficult to renovate. Their exposed brick walls, pipes, and wires that give the apartment a rusty look are not there by choice, but because of the conditions and purpose of the building prior to becoming a living environment.

These are the buildings where you will find the least amenities compared to soft lofts. Moreover, it is easy to hear your neighbors in these old buildings. There is not much insulation in the walls and the wooden flooring sometimes serves as a ceiling for the residents below.

Soft lofts, on the other hand, are created to mimic the look and feel of hard lofts. They are residential buildings, which property owners or landlords have built, renovated, or redecorated to match the characteristics of an authentic loft apartment.

Soft lofts allow for more privacy since internal walls can be built while preserving the open-concept living space. Moreover, the utilities won’t be as expensive and the building is suitable for amenities. If you really enjoy the look of a loft but do not want to deal with the challenges of living in an old building, then soft lofts are perfect for you.

Loft Apartment Versus Studio Apartment

Lofts and studio apartments can sound similar in that they both offer all-in-one spaces. In a regular studio apartment, the bedroom, living room, and kitchen will be in the same living area. Other studio apartments may have 1 or 2 bedrooms. Below we will explore the crucial difference between a loft and a studio apartment.

Size – Lofts are typically much larger than studio apartments. While typical lofts’ square footage is higher than 1000 square feet, the average studio apartment only offers about 600 square footage. Besides space, lofts also have much higher ceilings than studio apartments. Studio apartments are created from residential properties; therefore, they usually offer the typical standard ceiling height, which is approximately 9 feet.

Appearance – As we have previously mentioned, true lofts are apartments that are created from older commercial, industrial buildings, and warehouses, while studio apartments are built in newer residential buildings. This makes a huge difference in their appearance. Studio apartments usually offer the basic, often bland look of most apartments while lofts have certain features that give the apartment a unique feel. These include exposed pipes, ductwork, ceilings, and brick walls.

Location – Lofts are usually found in busy, urban areas. Their spaciousness and location make them high in demand for people who want to live in city centers. Studio apartments are a lot more common; they can be found everywhere. This is because it is easy to create studio apartments in buildings and property owners usually do this to collect some extra income from an area that can’t be converted into a traditional apartment with multiple rooms.

Functionality – While studio apartments can be used mainly for the purpose of living or working there by young professionals, lofts have a ton of other potential uses. A loft apartment can be used for retail space or by small businesses since it offers huge space and room for design and creativity.

Cost – Loft apartments come at much higher rental prices than studios. This is because they have more square footage and are typically located in urban centers. Lofts also have higher utility expenses and HOA fees than studio apartments.

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