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17 September 2014
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Loft apartment or loft conversion, Nina Campbell shows you how to make the most of your space up top.

The loft apartment

A loft apartment doesn't have to be a cold, uninviting space suitable only for the uber-trendy with minimalist style. As Nina demonstrated with artist Liz Thompson's New York apartment, it's possible to make even the most spacious loft homely.

Make it yours

A bold lightshade, a classical style column, and the column in situ

A loft apartment is often a large empty room and it's up to the owner to decide where the various living spaces should be. Because of the open-plan layout, there can be a temptation to keep things minimal and simple.

However, Nina believes that if the space is there, fill it. In many ways a loft apartment is a vast empty canvas - use your imagination. In such a space you can get away with bold, unusual features, such as the column that Nina placed adjacent to the dining room (above centre). She also used rugs to define specific areas and to add colour and warmth. Below are some guidelines for making your space work for you:

  • Find a focal point - Part of the charm of loft apartments is that they usually retain an element of their previous incarnation, for example exposed brickwork, archways or steel ventilation and piping. Make a feature of such attributes by restoring them and highlighting with uplighters.
  • Need more room? - For extra space, consider adding a mezzanine floor. This is a great idea for a bedroom or, like the Thompsons, for adding an extra study area.
  • Creating comforts - Sometimes the high ceilings of a loft can seem cold and daunting. Nina's tip is to hang large-scale pendant lighting to just above head-height to create a more intimate feel, and to hang artwork to fill the vastness of walls.

The loft conversion

A small space used as storage, trunk and Nina Campbell demonstrates good use of space

Most people convert a loft to create an extra bedroom, sometimes with en-suite, depending on the space available. However, because most loft conversions are small, it's important to use the space wisely and make the most of any storage opportunities.

Nina's storage solutions

If your room has a suitable wall, consider having built-in storage the entire length and height of it. If the ceilings are high, take a tip from the owners of Nina's Chelsea loft and install a rolling ladder to get easy access to the highest cupboards.

An old-fashioned deep trunk, such as that pictured above centre, adds character to a room, and as well as storing items inside, is sturdy enough to double-up as an extra surface, such as a bedside table.

Most loft conversions are created within a pitched-roof, which means that extra storage is available in the eaves (above right). This is ideal for boxing up and hiding all those items you use only once a year or so, such as Christmas decorations and large luggage items.

If you have a bay window in your loft, consider building storage under the window ledge, which can also act as an extra shelf or, with a cushion on top, a window seat.

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