Budget Decorating Idea: Embrace the Loft Look


Flickr Photo Credit: T. Board

Looking for bang up  style on a major budget? Major options are available to you with the loft style of decorating.

I started considering this look seriously when David and I started looking for living options we could embrace after his retirement. We knew we would be selling the house we currently lived in. We also knew that although we had done some major downsizing to de-clutter our lives, we still would need more space to live the lifestyle we wanted.

For example, we want to have a space for fitness where we can work out, store our equipment and not be tripping over yoga mats in our living room. David is an astronomy buff, and could really use an observatory, however humble it may be. I’ve been wanting a sewing / craft / art room for years. We also each need some sort of office nook. If we were to go the traditional route for home design and decor, it would have been way more money than we were willing to spend.

One idea that kept floating to the surface was the concept of loft style design. It can work in many types of structures such as old converted barns, beat up brick warehouses, old gas stations, modern design dwellings, over the garage apartments, and more. Additionally, this design style allows the freedom to incorporate discarded, inexpensive and unexpected items and materials. Many of the ideas you see incorporated in a successful loft design would not work at all in a traditional house. . . which brings up another point. Incorporating this style into your life allows the freedom to pay cash for your renovations as you go, remaining debt free and able to set your own priorities. Since you can use this style to pair Persian carpets and crystal chandeliers with bare iron piping and old school lockers, you have fewer concerns about your look flowing together cohesively. Almost anything looks great together. And since discarded and dump finds fit right in, you are saving money both on the structure end and on the interior decorating end of things.

This look is a great strategy for people just starting out or starting over. Most college grads inherit a few really nice pieces of family furniture along with old milk crates, foot lockers and chipped china. These types of belongings are perfect for loft decorating and studio apartments. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • An old antique ice box or set of school lockers as a pantry and room divider.
  • Farm table on wheels for a rolling kitchen island.
  • Iron gate sections or re-bar for pot racks.
  • Sewing machine bases with glass toppers for accent or dining tables.
  • Tall antique window shutters as room dividers and display spaces.
  • Two saw horses topped with a core door for a table or work desk.

Need some visuals? Here are a few resources I found online.

I’m sure there are more out there. I’ll also try to do more loft design book reviews when my books get unpacked. For now though, if you’re feeling like you have no options, think again!


  1. Lauren says:

    The loft look is REALLY nice. I like that whole feel to having everything you need in one room but having to separate the “rooms” separately would be a challenge. I’m waiting for someone to show some great ideas as a visual on TV so I can pick up on it & get some great ideas. I’ve seen some great living room designs that can be used as a loft kind of feel on Bought & Sold on HGTV. Have you seen the episode where they had to turn the whole living room around & made different spaces for everything? There will be more episodes where you can pick up ideas from. It airs every Sunday @ 10pm so you should check it out. If you haven’t previously seen it yet, check out: http://web.hgtv.com/webhgtv/images/pac/59889/start_at_home.html?section=boughtsold,panel=videos for the preview.