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New York Chic: 6 Tips For Lighting Lofts

The Manhattan Commercial Ceiling Mounted Light Fixture in Black by Steel Lighting Co


Industrial lofts have risen in popularity every year since the day some ingenious New Yorkers decided to turn some old factories into a series of apartments. 

To be honest,  it’s not surprising. Lofts are the embodiment of everything that is loved the most in modern home design. They have wide-open plan designs, high ceilings and have a focus on providing a variety of different textures in the space, with metal, concrete, and untreated or reclaimed materials being prevalent. 

Then, of course, you get the industrial flair of lofts that have made them such a good idea in the first place. Industrial spaces have that sort of urban toughness to them that, in a house, makes you feel strangely secure when inside. After all, if a building looks like it can survive a bombing run, then it’s probably worth investing in. Of course, whispers of brutalist architecture and mid-century refinement can’t hurt either, making the chunky metals and bare-brick walls of the loft-style home appealing to a lot of different homeowners. 

Naturally, then, if you’re designing your own loft-style home and want to make the best of the style, the inevitable question comes to mind – how do you light the place? Unfortunately, despite all of their good intentions, lofts often have a habit of feeling dark, dingy, and cold when they haven’t be done right, creating a space that feels like a factory rather than factory-inspired.  

In this guide, we’re going to walk through some of the best ways to light a loft and how you can make even the most unwelcoming space seem inviting. 

Read on!

Lofty Ideals

The main attraction to lofts is the enduring charm of living in a place with quirks. If hipsters got one thing right, it’s making lofts even more popular, with quirky spaces becoming all the rage since the late 2000s. Lofts are imperfect creations that are usually converted from older industrial areas. 

As a result, the primary ways to light a loft are different from other styles of homes. This is important because lofts, more than any other home style, live and die by the quality of the lighting inside them. The heavy texturing of bare-brick and concrete is challenging to bounce light around, and the unusual angles make complete ambient coverage tricky. 

Learn Your Layers

The most important thing to learn early on is to pay attention to your light layers. There are three primary light layers, each one pertaining to a different purpose in the home. These are: 

  • Ambient Light – Ambient light is the ‘base” layer of light ordinary to every room and aims to cover an area in even light to make the surroundings comfortably visible. 
  • Task Light – Task light is a focused form of lighting primarily used to make complex tasks easier and safer to complete. These lights are bright and often focused on a single, smaller space within a room. 
  • Accent Light – This layer is the most abstract and is concerned chiefly with the “artistry” of lighting.  Accent lighting is, as a result, most commonly used to enhance the visuals of a space rather than conventionally light it. 

Proper Zoning

The Carson Ceiling Mounted Light Fixtures by Steel Lighting Co.

With wide-open spaces comes a need to create boundaries. 

Listen, open plan living is great, we’re big fans ourselves, but open-plan homes create as many problems as they solve. While it’s great to have many different spaces in a single giant room with no wells, the lack of division makes it difficult to make any dedicated space, or moment, feel special. 

Lofts suffer from much of the same problem, so it’s vital to practice using your lighting as a way to create boundaries or zones in your home. For example, ceiling lights, like our Manhattan fixture, that are suited to high ceilings, can create cones of light that make it visually easier to differentiate between different home areas. 

In With the Old

This may sound biased, but having a loft-style home means going all out and committing to the style. As a result, embracing farmhouse-style and barn-style lighting fixtures can be a huge step towards success. In addition, loft-style homes are inherently industrial in tone, making corresponding light fixtures vital to maintaining the vibe. 

Additionally, sticking with metallic and rustic textures, such as galvanized steel and black powder coatings, help achieve the desired look. 

Multiply Your Sources

The Hawthorne Wall Mounted Light Fixture in Black by Steel Lighting Co.

If it’s worth lighting once, it’s worth lighting again. Loft-style homes have a habit of absorbing light no matter what, making it difficult to drag a space out of the darkness. In this case, there is strength in numbers. 

When it comes to ceiling lights, don’t stop with just a single fixture, be sure to instead light with multiple smaller fixtures. This helps fight the absorption of light and create corridors of consistent light in your most desired spaces. 

Take Advantage of Windows

Often the main calling card of lofts and loft-style homes emphasize large windows that let in tons of natural daylight. This is a huge feather in your cap and something to take advantage of as much as possible. 

Bouncing that abundance of natural light is vital, so investing in mirrors for your walls can be incredibly useful. Mirrors reflect light, allowing them to enhance a space but pushing more natural light into space. This takes the pressure off the rest of your lights, as well as your power bills.

Learn to Love Lamps

The secret weapon of many loft owners is the humble floor lamp. Floor lamps are crucial additions to your home decor and make it easy to enhance a space with some focused task lighting over a specific area. 

With an abundance of high ceilings and unusual spaces, lofts are well suited to the benefits of floor lamps while reducing the setbacks that often incur. So use floor lamps as often as possible and turn the dark corners of your loft into cozy nooks just begging to have a book read inside of them!

If you need help making the right choice of lighting for your home or business, then contact our friendly team at Steel Lighting Co.,  our friendly team of experts would be more than happy to give some advice and recommendations on what kind of steel barn light can best suit your home or business needs.