Solved! What Is a Loft in a House?

Taking a cue from Paris and New York City, the versatile loft space is making its way into a growing number of suburban homes.
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what is a loft in a house - loft home office

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Q: What is a loft in a house? I’m looking for a new home in the suburbs and that term keeps popping up in real estate listings. I thought an apartment loft was only found in the city, so what does a loft space in a house look like?

A: When many people think of the term “loft,” they picture trendy loft-style apartments with large, open spaces and high ceilings in urban areas. Attractive for artists who need expansive wall space, lofts were first built as art studios in Paris during the 1800s. Lofts became popular in New York City during the 1960s, and the city’s 1982 Loft Law made lofts even more prolific.

While loft apartments are still highly sought-after, high-ticket residences, loft spaces can also be found in suburban homes, giving the term a whole new meaning. This type of loft is typically an open area on the upper floor of a two-story house, at the top of stairs overlooking the main floor.

Lofts offer extra living versatile space, and there are many loft area ideas that make this type of room work for a variety of lifestyles.

A loft in a home is an open living space directly under the roof.

In architecture, a loft is the upper interior space within a building that’s open on at least one side, like an interior balcony. In large or small houses, the area directly under a roof’s peak can be utilized as a loft.

While a loft can be either above a main living area or situated away from the rest of a house’s common areas, it is an open area without a door and does not provide the level of privacy that a bedroom or den does. Despite this, a loft’s separation from the rest of the home makes it an ideal and unique area for a hobby space or guest quarters.

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Loft space in a home can be used for a variety of different purposes.

Similar to a den, a loft can be used for nearly anything that a homeowner desires. Check out the following upstairs loft ideas for using this extra square footage as a productive, fun, or relaxing living area in a home.

what is a loft in a house - converting a loft into a bonus space

Home office: With so many people working from home these days, having a loft area that’s available for a workspace can come in handy. Lots of lofts are situated to offer enough privacy to get work done while still allowing a parent to keep tabs on kids and pets throughout the home.

Library: A loft can also make for a wonderful study, library, or reading room. Just add some tall bookshelves and a cozy chair or two to hide away and get lost in a good book.

Media center: For television and movie enthusiasts, a loft can easily be set up as a media room. You can convert one into a home theater, or simply mount a large television to the wall. Bring in some comfortable recliners or a couch, sit back, and enjoy a show.

Exercise room: Some people can’t live without a home gym, and a loft can be the perfect place for exercise. Since it’s out of the way from the main part of the house, loft fitness equipment ends up providing more privacy than you might expect. Add a treadmill, stationary bike, weights, or yoga mat to fit your workout.

Craft room/art studio: Artists and crafters sometimes struggle finding a place to set up shop in a new home. Luckily, a well-lit loft is a great spot for crafting machines, easels, and storage drawers and containers to keep crafty supplies organized.

Guest room: Although a loft is an open space and not completely private, it can be used temporarily as a bedroom for guests, such as during a kids’ sleepover or during the holidays.

Playroom/teen space: Lofts are often near kids’ upstairs bedrooms. This makes it a convenient location for a playroom filled with toys and games that can hide away when not in use. Just be sure to use gates or other safety measures to prevent falls or other accidents. As children age, a loft can be revamped into a teen hangout space for doing homework, playing video games, watching TV, and spending time with friends.

RELATED: Family Room vs. Living Room: What’s the Difference?

While they both offer additional livable square footage, a finished attic is not the same as a loft.

Is there such a thing as an attic loft? Some people confuse an attic and a loft since both are located just under the roof of the house. The key differences are that an attic can be finished or unfinished, and they typically take up an entire floor of the house and are closed in. On the other hand, lofts are open spaces and are finished.

Finishing an attic can enhance a home and add more living space. Depending on the intended use for the attic, it could involve electrical wiring, duct work, wall framing, insulation, drywall, and possibly plumbing for a toilet and sink if a bathroom is being installed. Meanwhile, lofts already come equipped with most (if not all) of the above.

The main benefit of both lofts and finished attics is the additional living space that can be used in a variety of ways. A loft is extremely versatile and can be altered as a household changes over the years, whether you need a playroom, a home office, or a hobby zone.

what is a loft in a house - loft bedroom

Converting an existing loft into a bedroom may increase home value.

Converting an existing loft into a loft bedroom can help increase the value of a home and make it more attractive for resale. When people are shopping for a new home, they primarily focus on the number of bedrooms, so the value of a house often increases with each additional bedroom.

According to HomeAdvisor, a loft conversion costs anywhere from $10,000 to $22,000 on average, depending on the type and size of the house and the extent of the project. However, there could be a significant return on investment if the space is converted into with a loft bedroom design, including a full bedroom and en suite bathroom. Of course, whether a loft adds to the value of a home depends on the current market and on the features that are most important to the home buyers in the area.