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Defining Space, Not Dividing Space – Interior Design Tips for Lofts & Open Plan Homes

Lofts, lofts LOFTS! If you know me, you know I love those wonderful urban spaces, with their feeling of spaciousness and unique architectural interest. They have become popular with people who are looking for creative, open, multi purpose spaces. However, they do have their special challenges, and require the ultimate in creative thinking. Although these wide open spaces feel great, and even the smallest lofts feel large due to the lack of walls, they can leave you in a real dilemma with furniture placement. How do you make things feel cozy and warm? How do you give yourself some privacy without blocking light and views and without reducing the feeling of spaciousness you loved in the first place? If your office is in your home, how can you separate work and private life with no walls? Here are a few tips:

  Create furniture groupings:

Create groupings of furniture according to activity – living – dining – sleeping – working. Avoid lining everything up along the walls. Area rugs serve to visually pull together a space so that it feels more like a cohesive “room” whether that is a living area, sleeping area or dining area.They can be mixed or matched as long as they all look good in the same room. Keep the furniture away from the walls if possible, and arrange it in a tight enough group that conversation is comfortable when everyone is seated. The close grouping of furniture gives that feeling of coziness that can be difficult to get in a loft. Consider using swivel chairs so that you can turn one way to enjoy conversation and another to enjoy the view … or the TV … or a fireplace. The grouping of furniture in the photo below is clustered around the coffee table to allow for comfortable conversation. Note that all the furniture is away from the walls so people can walk around the area and enjoy the view.




Select furniture pieces attractive from all sides:

If you choose pieces of furniture that look good from every side, you can “float” them away from the walls to create groupings without having an unattractive side facing you. The good looking back of this sofa still makes a good impression when seen from the kitchen, which is ‘behind’ it. Using free standing open shelving pieces like the one below allows you to separate activity areas without losing the feeling of open space.


sofa-back  river-add-p2  

Use and Choose Room Dividers Wisely:


Room dividers will allow you to define spaces such as work areas or give privacy for sleeping areas. The best choices still allow light to pass through and are either low enough to see over, or are mobile and can be moved out of the way when desired. This sliding glass wall by Contstructavision uses frosted glass which gives privacy when pulled into place while allowing light to pass through. The cast glass room divider separating the office from the rest of this penthouse loft obscures the view of the office from the entryway and is a beautiful focal point in its own right.



  office2  office11     For additional tips on design ideas for lofts or open plan homes check out my other blog posting on:   Soaring Ceilings: What On Earth To Do With Them?!