Wide open living space is hugely appealing, at least until you have to figure where to store your stuff, and how to separate the bedroom from the kitchen. Here are nine tricks gleaned from the Dwell archives.
Custom design elements elevate a space from empty white box to home. For their Warsaw loft, the homeowners/architects stacked ornate concrete blocks to screen a storage area in the kitchen while letting light through. Photo by Andreas Meichsner.
Paint nooks and semi-enclosed spaces in dark colors to play up the difference in scale. In the sleeping loft of this Stockholm apartment, stained casework with storage contrasts the bright white sheets and walls. Photo by Per Magnus Persson.
And on that note, elevate your bedroom to make space down below. “Wonbo had to be able to stand in the sleeping area,” architect Kyu Sung Woo says of his son in regards to their New York City loft. “By combining two dimensions—the height of the bed and that of the closet (the top of which forms the bedroom floor)—we made that possible.” Photo by Adam Friedberg.
Add a central volume to fill out the space—bonus points for organic materials, like wood. The tactic paid off for this California couple who worked overtime for two years to tackle their all-in-one loft renovation. The wooden box is as functional as it is finely crafted, with room for clothes up top. Each niche holds treasures from travels, family keepsakes, books, and more. Photo by Drew Kelly.
Add and subtract space with flexible furnishings that stow away when not in use. When it’s time to eat or do homework in this renovated New York City flat, the adults lower the tabletop, revealing a dozen book cubbies. Photo by Raimund Koch.
Consider going bold by kitting out the space with an entirely different geometry, like how Openshop|Studio designed a hivelike structure in the middle of a Brooklyn loft to be chrysalis of comfort for a couple and their baby. A large OSB structure with skylights, a bathroom, enclosed baby’s room, and master sleeping alcove dominates Ryan and Showalter’s Brooklyn loft. Photo by Jesse Chehak.