Why Lofts Are the Most-Wanted Apartment Type Right Now

Here’s what to know if a loft is on your apartment-hunting wishlist.

Lofted apartment with large windows and exposed white brick

2Mmedia / Getty Images | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

When you’re on the hunt for a new apartment, you probably have a detailed checklist of must-haves and dream features you’d love to have in your next home—and lately, lofts and loft-style features have been at the top of that list for many people.

With their unique aesthetic, limitless decor possibilities, and floods of natural light, loft apartments are trending among Millennials and Gen Zers. On TikTok, the hashtag #loftapartment has nearly 237 million views. Videos of lofts show tours, listings, and decor inspiration, with thousands of comments asking how one might secure a loft apartment.

So what makes lofts so special, and so popular? Other than the presence of a second level (which could be a low-ceilinged lofted sleeping space or a full second level open to the first floor), lofts’ signature industrial design style helps set these spaces apart. 

“I think a lot of the younger generations really enjoy the idea of being able to customize their space and really make it their own without having a lot of these predetermined parameters,” says Kathleen Suit, an agent at The Rental Girl in Los Angeles. “Also, the style of a lot of these lofts is really charming and has a lot of character. It’s really easy to mix and match styles and decor. You’ve got the hard and cold, industrial feel of the architecture of the loft itself, and then you can bring in some warm, boho decor or maybe some Scandinavian minimalism or whatever to really create a personal space.”

traditional rustic style loft with wood beams and light blue kitchen cabinets
Julie Soefer

Mixing different interior styles creates an eclectic feel, which is one of the biggest home trends of 2023—and the opportunity to use the core features of a space as part of your design blend is one of the major selling points of lofts.

What to Know If You’re Hunting for a Loft

Because they’re often older commercial buildings or spaces that have been converted into residential buildings, lofts are harder to come by than other types of apartments, especially if you don’t live in a larger city. Expect to dedicate more time and effort into your search, and be ready to sign (or make an offer, if you’re buying) ASAP once you do find your dream loft.

“A lot of these lofts are conversions of older buildings, or industrial spaces, so there’s just going to be a cap to how many of those already exist that they can convert,” Suit says. “Whereas if they’re making something new, then they can do that anywhere.”

Talk to your real estate agent or broker about what you’re looking for in a neighborhood—many loft buildings are located in downtown areas—and what draws you to that type of apartment.

“Communicate the features that you like in a loft,” Suit advises. “Is it the feeling of spaciousness that you're looking for, or are you wanting that industrial architecture and the character? Or do you just want something that's unique and bright and trendy?”

If you’re having a hard time finding a true loft, you’re not necessarily out of luck. It’s becoming more common to find an in-between version that offers similar features without the complete open layout and exposed HVAC system (especially in less urban areas). 

“Especially [in places] like Los Angeles or New York, you’ll find a lot of lofts that are sort of a hybrid between that New York industrial lifestyle and then a traditional apartment,” Suit says. “Oftentimes they'll have full enclosed bedrooms, finished walls, drywall, that kind of thing, and less of an industrial feel, but they’ll still have those high ceilings and a second story that’s a loft space and is open to the rest of the living space.”

industrial style kitchen with bar height dining table
Kritsada Panichgul

What to Know Once You’ve Moved In

One of the key things to be aware of before committing to a loft is what usually comes with older, repurposed buildings: less insulation and thinner walls.

“You might be able to hear your neighbors a little bit more, you might hear some creaks or pipes, which are exposed and not in the ceiling,” Suit says. “Sometimes they might not be quite as insulated as a traditional, new apartment. So think about having higher electric bills—they might cost a fair amount more to keep the space warm in the winter, not only because of a lack of more sophisticated insulation, but also because it’s an open space, concrete floors, that kind of thing.”

Open shelving and storage is also often part of a converted building, which means you’ll need to get creative with where to put your clutter and miscellaneous items. TikTok has plenty of tips and tricks to make your place look organized, and you can put out trendy containers, baskets, free-standing closet systems, and clothing racks that double as decor.

And while the high ceilings and walls of windows are one of the most enticing parts of a loft apartment, they can be tricky to clean. One of Suit’s previous places had a window that stretched about 15 feet into the sky, and she found that because she couldn’t reach it, it actually didn’t accumulate fingerprints or get as dirty as quickly as she thought. However, Amazon carries just about anything and everything, and she recommends purchasing a duster with an extendable arm to clean those higher-up spots when needed.

Once you’ve done your research on the neighborhood, gotten all the information about the building, and stocked up on all the storage items, a loft can easily become your dream space. Just be mindful of their popularity and novelty.

“It’s way less frequent than seeing a traditional apartment—there’s gonna be way more of those, and so that kind of adds the cool factor a little bit,” Suit says. “When we list lofts like that—the magical, really good square footage, beautiful high ceilings, charming—they go very quickly.”

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