NYC Loft Design Ideas

NYC Loft Design Ideas

(Last Updated On: March 17, 2020)


NYC Loft Design Ideas


Loft Design Ideas

  1. Open Plan
  2. Use Existing Features
  3. Expose Brick
  4. Large Open Kitchen 
  5. Industrial Materials
  6. Operable Partitions 
  7. Minimalist Design
  8. Black Metal and Glass Doors
  9. Keep It Simple
  10. Freestanding Tub in a Large Bathroom
  11. Texture


Open Plan Loft Design

Loft are usually quite large and have quite a bit open space. If you are going to renovate a loft I would suggest keeping it as open as possible.

The picture below is of a living room in a 4,000 square foot Tribeca loft.

Open Plan Loft in NYC

Open Plan Loft in Tribeca


Accentuate and Expose Existing Features of the Loft

The number one design tip I can give when renovating your loft is to incorporate any existing unique characteristics into the design. All lofts are different but here is a list of some of the common features you will find in a NYC Loft.

  • Brick Walls
  • Large Windows
  • Steel or Cast Iron Columns
  • Iron or Steel Beams
  • Large Wood Beams and Wood Joists
  • High Ceilings
  • Mezzanine Levels

Design comes down to personal taste, its your apartment after all. Some people will want to expose all the typical loft structural details and some people will not.

The picture below is of a cast iron column with a slightly decorative capital and a (heavy timber) wood beam.  this is left exposed as a design feature in a Soho Loft we are are currently renovating.

Exposed Cast Iron Column in Loft NYC

Exposed Cast Iron Column in Soho Loft NYC


Exposed Brick Wall Loft Design

One decision every loft owner has to make is whether or not to expose the brick. Every loft I have ever seen in NYC has brick exterior walls. some people love exposed brick some people do not. This is probably the first decision you should consider when planing a loft renovation. It comes down to personal taste but either way it will shape the entire feel and design of the loft.

Personally I like to see the exposed brick in a loft even if it is only for a small area. I think it is a good idea to have some exposed original features but I have had plenty of clients who prefer to cover the brick.

A few brick tips people will often paint the brick or apply sealers to the brick. Often if the brick is not in great shape painting it can cover up some flaws. You will may be surprised by how many people want to add brick to their apartments to make it look like a loft.

The picture below is of an exposed brick wall in a Soho Loft Maisonette. A maisonette is an apartment on the ground floor with a door directly to the outside. This is a loft that we are currently working on to combine with the loft next to it to make one 6,500 square foot loft. the White wall to the right will be completely removed and create a 50 foot wide living room when both lofts are combined.

The clients in this apartment are still debating as to whether or not to leave the brick exposed. They are from California and said that only New Yorkers like exposed brick. I am a born and raised New Yorker and I like exposed brick so maybe it’s true, but I think it is just personal taste. As an architect I feel compelled to use original features in the loft design, but it is their apartment after all. I will put an updated picture when the work is done (we will see what they decide).

NYC Loft Exposed Brick Wall

NYC Loft Exposed Brick Wall in Soho


Loft Kitchens Large and Open

Most NYC lofts have a significant amount of space. There should be plenty of room for a large open kitchen. Counter with stool seating can always be a good idea as well. The picture below is of a nice sized open kitchen in a 4,000 square foot Tribeca Loft.

Tribeca Loft Kitchen Design

Tribeca Loft with large open Kitchen (Project done with our client Bahar Kural Development)


Industrial Materials

New York City lofts have a rich history of being gritty and original lofts have a lot of texture. They have bricks, cast iron columns, hardwood floors, steel or wood beams. You may want to complement this by incorporating industrial materials and aesthetics into your design.

The picture below is of a bathroom in an apartment we renovated in downtown commercial building converted to residential use. The bathroom has a concrete textured wall and a custom black metal towel bar. This is a simple yet textural design that works very well in a loft. Especially to reference its industrial roots.

Loft with concrete bathroom and black metal towel bars

Loft with concrete bathroom and black metal towel bars


Operable Partitions & Sliding Doors

Lofts are often deep and only have windows on the ends. This makes the middle portion of a loft dark. You can brighten this u by making it all open but this causes a problem for privacy. Using operable partitions or sliding doors and panels can allow a convertible space that can be private or open. You can also use translucent panels to allow light to pass through.

The picture below is of a Mezzanine in a Tribeca Loft where we put translucent sliding panels to create a a transitional space that can be private or open.

Tribeca Loft Mezzanine

Tribeca Loft Mezzanine with Sliding Translucent Doors


Minimalist Loft Design

You have to think about the feel of the space. Keeping it simple may be good advice if it works with your overall feel.

Kitchen Loft Design NYC

Kitchen Loft Design NYC


Black Metal and Glass Doors

Black metal will just about always work in a loft design. Especially black metal and glass doors.

The picture below is of a home office we added to a loft in Chelsea. It has custom black metal and glass doors to allow for a more open feel and for light to pass through.

Black Iron and Glass Loft Doors

Black Iron and Glass Doors in a loft in Chelsea, NYC


Keep It Simple

Not everyone likes a lot of color or texture in their home. An alternative is to keep it simple.

The picture below is of a simple white loft in Tribeca.

Simple White Loft Design

Simple White Loft Design in Tribeca


Large Bathroom Design with a Freestanding Tub

A freestanding tub is definitely a luxury loft design feature. Lofts are usually larger than the average New York City apartment therefor you have plenty of room for a large bathroom. If the bathroom is large enough a freestanding tub may be a great design idea. It has a luxurious look and can even act as a sculptural design element.

The picture below is of a freestanding tub in a 4,000 square foot Tribeca Loft we renovated.

Loft Bathroom Design Ideas

Tribeca Loft Bathroom with Freestanding Tub



Below is a grey porcelain bathroom in a loft we designed in Chelsea. This tile has a subtle texture and weathered look. If you want to see more bathrooms we have another post on Bathroom Design Ideas.

Loft Bathroom Design

Grey Porcelain in a Chelsea Loft Bathroom


New York Loft Design Ideas and Tips

As an architect, I study design and construction, but these are complicated and quite involved issues. In this article, we reviewed some tips and ideas for loft design in NYC but there are many others to consider. Every project is unique and must be assessed on its own unique characteristics. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Contact Fontan Architecture


Thank you for reading our blog post on New York City Loft Design.

I hope this was helpful. Please leave questions and comments below. If you would like to speak with an architect, you can Contact Fontan Architecture directly.


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