Many of us have dreamt about living in a cool loft space — like an old warehouse just outside of the city that we've converted into a scrappy apartment, complete with original brick and a balcony that overlooks the city.
Creative professionals enjoy living in loft apartments, with tall windows and city views that give them the inspiration to move forward with their work. And, creative professionals aren't the only ones that want to live in these open and airy spaces. You could argue that anyone would enjoy everything a loft has to offer!
Lofts are scarce and it's difficult to get your hands on one to rent. However, these days, there are more lofts available to accommodate the demand — and there are different types to choose from, making the decision more difficult than before.
A loft is a large space that's open and has few walls to separate rooms — if it has any walls at all. It has high ceilings and large windows, along with other common features, such as exposed brick walls and visible pipes on the ceiling. They have more of an industrial feel since many loft units are in buildings converted from old industrial buildings.
A loft is different from a studio apartment due to the size and other varying features of the unit and the building it's in. Studio apartments are small and lack the high ceilings and wide open spaces of a loft. Plus, studio apartments aren't usually built to mimic an industrial warehouse or factory. They typically take on the style of the time period in which they were built.
A soft loft and a hard loft will look and feel very similar. The differences between the two are pretty small, but realtors use the terms in real estate to highlight the features of each. It really comes down to the authenticity of the loft apartment.
Hard lofts are those that are in old commercial buildings and warehouses developers converted to residential apartments. These types of loft apartments often have original features like concrete floors, exposed concrete and brick. And, because these are unique features of old construction, you can't find quite the same aesthetic appeal in a newer building.
However, because hard lofts are in old buildings, they don't often have some of the perks that modern buildings have, such as energy-efficient windows and insulated walls. They also don't have room for certain types of amenities, so you likely won't find swimming pools or underground parking.
Some loft apartments aren't located in repurposed factories and there are brand-new establishments created to look like industrial loft spaces — these are soft lofts. These lofts look almost exactly like hard lofts in many cases, so it's hard to tell if a loft space is a soft loft apartment. Unlike hard lofts, soft lofts are in newly constructed buildings and created to look like loft apartments in old warehouses.
Soft lofts have modern upgrades for energy efficiency and convenience, as well as modern finishes for a slightly cleaner look. Walls are better for sound separation and the oversized windows are better at retaining heat in the winter as air doesn't leak out of them as much as the windows in an older building.
Soft lofts pull from the design elements of buildings built for industrial purposes, so you get the amenities of a modern building, but with the style of an older building. You'll still get the ceiling heights, tall windows, open floor plans, exposed ductwork and exposed bricks on the interior walls. You just don't need to worry about all of the issues that come with living in an aging building.
Both old and modern lofts are a single room with lots of open space and no discernible room dividers. There are cool features that you can only find in a loft and not in a regular apartment or even a house. Soft and hard lofts both are spaces that feel wide open and create an airy atmosphere. And, you shouldn't expect to find a normal bedroom in either type of loft. Really, most things between the two are common apart from the time of construction.
Since soft lofts are newly-built, you can find them almost anywhere. Traditional lofts are usually only found in old industrial areas further away from city centers. A soft loft, however, is in any location. You may find them in large city centers or they could be in peaceful, secluded neighborhoods.
If you're on the search for a loft apartment to rent, a soft loft is a great way to go. The authenticity of a hard loft is nice to think about. But, it's also really nice to not run into the issues that many old buildings have. Plus, you'll probably get more amenities with a soft loft. And, you won't have to compromise on the beautiful big windows and brickwork.