Living in a Big Old Box


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Living in a converted warehouse loft apartment is a dream for a lot of us.  For many it becomes a reality.  There is an excitement about living in a historic space that has been “saved” and repurposed.  Exposed brick, still with markings of where old machinery might have been placed; concrete floors with cracks, chips and holes from years of feet working on them; huge windows and shiny new exposed HVAC; all these elements are so appealing they suck us right into a lease or a purchase at “Hello”.

Next comes just a few passing thoughts….”Oh my, what have I done?”  “How in the world am I going to figure out where to place furniture and what size to use with the mammoth ceiling heights!”  “What is that sound I hear?  An echo?!”  These thoughts don’t last long; the architecture is too grand and the vibe too cool for you to second guess yourself for long.



Philadelphia Loft

Because we love you and don’t want you to be all alone in your quest to decorate your new, and maybe a little bit daunting abode, here are 5 things to keep in mind.

  • SCALE – This means that the dimension of the pieces you use need to vary and be in proportion to the size of the space, especially the height.  In the example above, you see a taller bookcase, and a large piece of art bringing your eye towards the height.
  • DEFINE THE SPACE – Often lofts have one large room.  If you are lucky there might be a designated alcove for the bedroom.  Furnishings become very important to create a “map” if you will of how the space will be used. The type of furnishings you choose can also define the space by being multi functional.  Think outside your box on how to use the pieces you find.  Storage is limited in a loft so make your own.
  • LIGHTING – Even though the unit may be flooded with light from the gigantic windows during the day, these will be big black boxes at night.  If you are able to drop lighting over a dining table or kitchen island, you will not only define the space, but create an inviting atmosphere and be able to actually see what you are eating.  Don’t cheap out on lamps either.  The decor is going to be so cool you will want to see it all the time so you will need various kinds of lamps.  Table, floor, cans on floor…and don’t forget night lights.  It’s scary in a warehouse at night!
  • TEXTILES – Remember that echo sound you briefly heard?  Yep, this is a new situation to deal with you did not have in your previous home with 8′, even 9′ drywalled rooms.  Plan on upholstery pieces, pillows and area rugs at first and see if the reverberations stop.  If not, a trick is to cut styrofoam and place it in the hollow of the canvas art that we are going to talk about next.  It is never going to be as quiet as your childhood bedroom with the hundreds of stuffed animals, but after a while you get used to the little voices you hear in your head.
  • COLOR – Loft living is generally exposed raw elements or all white painted walls. Either way, color is your friend in creating an inviting decor.  A few pieces of the sound deafening canvas art can add so much to your decor.  Plants are also an easy way to make this manufacturing zone become your home.  Plus, they love all the natural and indirect light.  It’s almost like a greenhouse!

Now that you have the guidelines you are ready to shop…right?

Still need a little nudge of confidence?  This is a good time to work with a designer.  Not a time to make mistakes of buying things that are not right for your loft or that can’t be used in a future, more conventional space.

Let’s look at the suggestions below for the example of this warehouse loft.  It does have a somewhat defined space you can use as a bedroom so you’ve got a little jump start…even without a door.  (Yes that happens in cool living.)

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We’d start with a light color, large upholstered headboard to go against the wall that looks out the two walls of windows. Load up the bed with comfy white linens and a few textural pillows.  Use two different pieces as night stands.  How cool is this to have a bar cart for parties and then wheel it into the bedroom for a lazy Sunday morning?  A large, multi drawer dresser is a must.  It can house all sorts of things…not just clothes.  What about office related items?  Store them in the extra drawers.   Need to work from home a bit?  Let’s carve out a space for a desk in here…looking out the window.  You can then either feel sorry for yourself that you have to work or your boss driving by at night can see what a dedicated team player you are.  A multi function space.  Now add in the pair of lamps, the colorful art, a warm, fuzzy rug under your feet, a few accessory items and a knock out bench at the foot of the bed.   Presto, you’ve got a suite that works for you and will transition to almost any decor later on.  Note the wall paint color we have added….because we don’t know if the wall for the bed is brick or drywall to paint.


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Here is a little info about the design package above.

The  Baby BFF Design Package – You are ready to work on a specific area! You need a plan…complete with decor suggestions and a shopping list!  You’ll get design photo boards with written guidelines of how to implement your project and an online page with links of where to find the items suggested. This is DIY with a plan in hand!

Learn more here.

Now you know how to decorate a warehouse loft.  Don’t think you will ever need this info…never say never!

Thank you for spending a few minutes of your day with us.

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5 thoughts on “Living in a Big Old Box”

  1. Great tips! I always make sure to decorate spaces like this with a plethora of home textiles in different textures. It adds depth to a space with minimal architectural design and makes the space feel a bit more welcoming!

  2. Welcome Boulder, CO! One of the most exciting elements of good design is that it is universal. We have followers checking in from all over the world which backs up our philosophy that there is a perfect LBD for everyone. Textures are fantastic elements to all decor. Thanks for reinforcing!

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