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What is a Loft? Pros and Cons of Loft Apartments

May 19, 2020

Looking for a place to call home comes with a wide variety of options, from apartments to townhouses and everything in between. If you haven’t already, put trend-setting lofts on your must-see list for your next home search.

Lofts are all the rage right now with every home decor show featuring how versatile and expansive they are.

But what is a loft, and are they the right home for you? Here’s what to know before you sign your next lease on a loft.

What is a Loft?

Traditionally, lofts are former industrial buildings turned modern apartments. They often feature high ceilings with exposed pipes, beams, and brick walls.

A true loft was a building created for an industrial purpose. However, newer complexes are also mimicking the look and feel of lofts to meet the rental demand.

Much like a studio or efficiency apartment, lofts are usually designed as a singular, open space without internal walls. Of course, bathrooms are an exception. No one wants to live without a private bathroom area.

Lofts are also enormous. They have plenty of room to spare in comparison to their pint-sized counterparts.

Some property managers and complexes will also create more dimension in their lofts by building out bedrooms to offer more privacy. This is ideal if you want to live with roommates or have a family.

You might even find vertical staircases that go to multiple, open areas in the loft. Those may serve as bedrooms or living rooms.

Lofts are perfect for renters who love unique charm, urban living, and expansive space. Depending on the layout of the loft apartment, you can usually house more roommates in these expansive spaces.

You can sometimes find lofts outside of cities. However, they’re more common in former industrial areas in urban cores.

Differences Between Lofts and Traditional Apartments

Still confused about what a loft apartment is? First, let’s determine out how they differ from traditional options.

Traditional apartments come standard as a studio, one, or multi-bedroom apartment. They have a kitchen, living area, and possibly a dining space.

Because lofts were converted from old warehouses and industrial buildings, amenities are often scarce. You might find some unique touches like a courtyard gathering area or roofdeck for tenants. However, amenities are usually difficult to provide in a building dedicated to loft living.

Pros and Cons of Renting a Loft

Before signing a lease on a spacious new loft apartment, make sure you understand the pros and cons of lofts.

Pro #1: They’re Usually Spacious with an Open Concept and High Ceilings

If you’re tired of cramming everything into a small, urban apartment, you’ll love loft living. Lofts are usually spacious with an open concept that offers plenty of flexibility to decorate and create separate areas for work and play. The high ceilings also make lofts feel larger than life.

Apartments aren’t usually known for their open-concept lifestyle. That makes lofts a desirable choice for many.

You can grow into your loft space, add roommates, or keep it all to yourself. You can also give your kids more room to play.

Pro #2: Modern/Industrial-Style is Very Trendy

If you’ve spent any time watching home decor and real estate flipping shows, you’ll know modern and industrial styles are hot right now. Get in on the trend and create the look you love in your own loft.

The rustic style of lofts turns exposed brick and beams into the aesthetic. Add your own industrial touches or rely on modern, minimalistic touches to enhance the charm of your loft apartment.

Pro #3: Make the Space Whatever You Want it to be

Apartments are usually well-defined areas with nonexistent flex space. Lofts make it easy to map out the space however you like across its large, open space.

You can even create individual living areas with furniture set-up, rugs, and curtains or partitions to create more privacy and space.

Con #1: Lack of Traditional Storage Space

Despite all that space, lofts don’t always offer traditional storage space like closets and rows of kitchen cabinets. You might need wardrobes, trunks, or custom-built closets to create the storage you need.

That can be a pro if you want specific storage. However, it’ll also increase the expense of living in a loft.

Con #2: Lack of Amenities

When you live in a loft apartment, communal space for desirable amenities is often nonexistent. It’s usually challenging to build out fitness rooms, club rooms, storage areas, and roof decks in a loft where everything needs to be converted and repurposed.

Although it’s not impossible to find modern amenities in loft buildings, they’re usually considerably more expensive than a traditional apartment complex down the street.

Con #3: Utility Bills Can Be More Expensive

Older industrial buildings turned loft may ooze with rustic charm. However, they often come with outdated utilities.

You can brainstorm some improvements to make a loft more energy-efficient. Those could include asking about better appliances or reinforcing the windows. However, landlords and property managers aren’t eager to make these changes when tenants are the ones paying for the utilities.

There also isn’t much you can do about old pipes and outdated vent work. The high ceilings in industrial buildings also make lofts less energy-efficient. They can quickly drive up your utility bills.

In addition to looking over the space and any available amenities, ask the landlord about typical utility costs. Factor those into the cost of your monthly loft expenses.

Is a Loft Apartment for Me?

Lofts are ideal for anyone looking for expansive, unique space with rustic touches. They’re also perfect for urban dwellers looking to escape small, studio apartments.

However, if you love tons of amenities from pools to gyms and want well-defined spaces and a cozy refuge, lofts aren’t for you.

Now that you know more about what a loft is, it’s time to start apartment hunting. Don’t forget that Apartment List can help you find the perfect loft or apartment for your next search in your dream neighborhood. Good luck!

By: Susan Finch
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