Celebrating loft living

The online Oxford Dictionary defines a loft apartment as a “room or space directly under the roof of a house or other building, used for accommodation or storage.” We at BigCityLife define it as an insanely cool, chic and intimate architectural masterpiece that could very well be an indoor treehouse.


When I was seven years old, I had the privilege of sharing a massive loft room with my two brothers. It had a low ceiling with exposed rafters, doors that opened up into what we thought were cupboards but actually turned out to be secret passageways and a rather hideous carpet. Yes, the open layout enhanced the acoustics (and we were little kids to whom toilet humour was the ultimate expression of intellectual discourse), there was hardly any privacy and we almost drove each other completely bonkers. But overall, we had some of the best times sharing this room together. Here are just a few reasons to celebrate loft living…


First off; the opportunity to go for the industrial look is to be embraced. Think exposed beams and brick walls, salvaged lamps, décor and furniture, brass pipes, up-cycled accessories and strong, clean lines. Kind of like Alex Owen’s loft in Flashdance (took a step back in time there, didn’t you?). Not only does the loft naturally lend itself to this grungy style, it’s also a fairly easy way to decorate a room. Shop around at your local antique store or create your own goodies from pallets or re-purposed metal. Stick to neutral colours and natural textures.


Secondly, high ceilings mean a) ample natural light and b) loads of wall space. An easy way to add colour and character to a room is with art and the latter gives you the ideal chance to create your own art gallery. Go shopping for some prints or ask your friends to share pages from their adult colouring books. Place the pictures in frames of different shapes and sizes. Just as long as their arrangement on the wall is semi-organised, you can’t go wrong. Alternatively, get creative with some curtains, mirrors to create the illusion of a bigger space, painting the wall with one statement colour or fill the wall from top to bottom with books (always a favourite with us).


Thirdly… room dividers. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a room divider. They have so many different functions: they can be used to divide a large room into sections (obviously), as a way to create privacy, as a decorative element or simply to add character. Choose between plants, open ended bookshelves, partitions, screens or sculptures to easily transform a lovely open layout.


Finally, the freedom of turning the loft into anything you want. My dream has always been to have a writer’s den with nothing but a bookshelf filled with all the classics and a large writing desk in front of a window.


There are so many other options, though: a yoga or ballet studio, a kid’s playroom, a bedroom, a storage room, an office, a library, a bachelor pad or a meditation room. The combination of classical, contemporary and industrial architecture together with a space that’s begging to be revolutionised is like a décor enthusiast’s dream come true. What more could you possibly want?


Where to shop:


Take a gentle stroll around Woodstock in Cape Town on a Saturday morning for a few truly amazing and interesting finds.

Long street in Jozi will have you giggling with delight at the precious finds in all the vintage shops.

Image Ref: 
Loft 01
Loft 02
Loft 03 – Loft 05:  No credit required
Loft 06
Loft 07
Loft 08
Loft 09

Mignon van Zyl
About me

Journalist, hiker and design enthusiast with a mild form of OCD and a love for storytelling. After completing my degree at Rhodes University, I moved to White River to work for a lifestyle magazine called Lowveld Living. Thanks to my job, I’ve visited some of the most glamorous game lodges and homes, met wonderfully weird but inspiring artists, fed and kissed a tame hippo, hiked the ‘sentinel of the Lowveld’ and realised my devotion to nature. Most happy when I’m writing, walking or road tripping.


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