From their humble beginnings as an affordable (and sometimes illegal) haven for the artists, musicians and writers of the 50s and 60s, New York City’s converted factories and warehouses – now colloquially referred to as lofts – have become a source of home design inspiration worldwide.
While not everyone who covets the look is going to be able to move to NYC or custom build their own loft-like home, invoking a minimalist, industrial feel in your home doesn’t have to be hard.
For those building or renovating, incorporating raw timber or concrete floors, exposed piping and brickwork, open-plan living and floor-to-ceiling windows is a great way to pay homage to your lofty inspiration while still creating a modern, family-friendly home.
If you’re not looking at building any time soon, purchasing some key styling elements or playing with your storage options can be a great way to incorporate that New York attitude into your existing home.
No matter if you’re buying or building - read on for 5 of our favourite ways to bring the feel of the NYC loft aesthetic in your own home.
1. Get creative with storage
While the lofts of old used to be spacious, apartments in New York nowadays are definitely not. In fact, the smallest apartment in the city is a SRO (single room occupancy) that clocks in at just 68 square feet (just over 6sqm)! Of course, that’s a rarity – but it has definitely influenced the psyche of New Yorkers when it comes to getting creative with storage space.
One of the most popular ways to make the most of your clothing storage is to turn it into a statement of its own! If you’ve not got a wardrobe or walk-in closet (or you have too many clothes for the one you do have), why not make use of a clothing rack?
Our tip? Purchase one with a shoe rack beneath it and shelving to one side, so you have space for jeans, pants or sweaters you don’t want to hang. Add some stylish coat hangers (forget those plain wire ones!) and thoughtfully arrange your clothing by style, colour or category and voila! Function and form.
2. Play with depth, texture and the obscure
While most lofts can be described as minimalist due to their lack of internal dividing walls, their ornamentation has a history rooted in bohemia. Art pushes boundaries, music invokes a passionate response and the written word makes you feel; the people who create these things are apt to bring their depth and texture into their work as well as their homes… and so can you.
Choose statement pieces like lamps, coffee tables and small sculptural works that catch your eye and are just a little bit left-of-centre; whether that be due to their form, the materials they’re made from or their texture. Even better if you can arrange them together to play with scale and depth!
This is also a great time to experiment with differently textured furnishings, such as a linen couch juxtaposed against a suede chair, or a leather pouf with a woven cotton rug. To ensure your pieces don’t date quickly, choose them in neutral colours that complement one other.
3. Add greenery
In a concrete jungle, you need to carve out some green space for yourself (unless you’re lucky enough to live close enough to a park). As humans, we experience biophilia – an urge to connect with nature. Creating an indoor garden is a great way to get your zen on without needing to leave the house!
There are so many options to choose from, like herb gardens, terrariums, cacti and succulents to even larger selections like the super-popular Fiddle Leaf Figs and Monstera Cheese Plant.
There is so much more to creating the perfect indoor garden than just selecting plants though – so we wrote a whole article about it! Read our guide to creating the perfect indoor garden here.
4. Think brick
It goes without saying that exposed brick walls are synonymous with the New York loft aesthetic, and they’re again becoming popular back home in Australia too!
The best thing about bricks is that they require minimal, if any, maintenance in their true, unaltered form – so you don’t need to worry about repainting, patching or really, even cleaning them (besides the odd dust).
Most New York-style brickwork leans heavily toward the traditional brick colours of reds, greys, whites and blacks; you won’t normally find any glossy, bright blue or yellow bricks here!
Midland Brick has recently released a range of bricks inspired by the look and feel of New York loft brickwork, aptly called the New York range. Available in three vintage colours (Hudson, a grey-white, Newburgh, a grey-black-white blend, and Albany, a red-navy-white blend), the New York range evokes the look of recycled or aged bricks without the issues of supply or exorbitant costs.
5. See the light
One of the souvenirs brought forward from the loft’s industrial heritage are the large windows and high ceilings that were commonplace in warehouses. Large windows let light stream in to your home and can help give a feeling of scale to an otherwise smaller space. For a New York inspired look, keep the trims to a matte black.
While putting in a window is certainly not a DIY activity here in Perth, it’s not impossible to do – you just need to know who to work with!
If you’re looking to let more light into your home through the inclusion of a skylight or creating a new window, the most important thing to do is speak to a reputable builder or home renovation company. When it comes to finding them, websites like Houzz can help you connect with builders in your area and even read reviews from their previous clients.
All images via Pinterest