When some people think of loft living, images of Frasier’s sophisticated Seattle digs usually come to mind. But lofts can have many different styles and owners. Read on to learn more about who’s choosing to live in the many lofts across America and why lofts have become such a popular housing choice.

Lofts used to be considered multi-function residences with both living and workspaces within them. They’ve now evolved to become fashionable residences.

Not everyone agrees on what exactly a loft is. Purists argue that that lofts only refer to factories or warehouses that have been converted into residences. Required accents in these lofts include huge windows, beams or columns, brick walls and concrete floors.

Newer developers believe that lofts refer to any apartments that fit the principles of loft design: open layouts, large windows, and unique finishes in an urban location.

These discrepancies have led to new terminologies, such as new loft, fake loft, soft loft, loft-inspired, mezzanine suites, “true” lofts, and loft-influenced.

Lofts are generally decorated in a minimalist to emphasize openness.


Loft developers say the four main features that define a loft are: high ceilings, open spaces, exposed building materials, and big windows.

Others take this a step further to include: an adherence to the original look of the building to maintain its industrial style of exposed heavy timber beams, ducts, plumbing, concrete flooring, corrugated steel or masonry walls; an open floor plan defined by partitioned areas; and in some instances, the preservation of an old freight elevator.

Yet, nowadays it may prove extremely cost-prohibitive, not to mention against building code, to construct properties in such an outdated manner. Hence, though most current loft projects in development lack the ‘raw’ retro feel of what has formerly been considered a true loft, developers strive to compensate by incorporating modern amenities.

Common Loft Terms

  • Hard loft: The space is open except for the bathroom.
  • High ceilings: 14 feet or higher from floor to ceiling.
  • Raw loft: Unfinished space doesn’t always include a toilet or sink.
  • Soft loft: Has 3/4-high walls that do not reach the ceiling but yet enclose the bedroom(s). Typically, soft lofts include some, but not all, elements of hard loft design.
  • Moderate loft: Has mid-priced kitchen and bathroom finishes.
  • Upscale loft: Has a high-quality kitchen and bathroom fixtures and finishes

View Loft and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.

Have Questions? We’re Here to Help!

Check out our featured listings