18 Interior Design Experts Reveal Their Top Tips For Creating The Perfect Loft Conversion

Posted by James Dalrymple on

Interior design experts

Thinking about investing in a loft conversion for your home? Loft conversions are a fantastic way of adding extra living space to your home, a great way of accommodating bigger families and a brilliant investment opportunity, according to a report from 2016:
Whether you've already started to put together your loft conversion plans, haven't started the plans yet, or hadn't even thought about the idea of a loft conversion until now, check out our experts guide below and discover some of the leading interior designers out there and what advice they have. We asked the below design experts one simple question:

What would be your top design tip for creating the perfect loft conversion?

Here’s what they told us...
Jaime Derringer - Design Milk
"Working with the existing architecture of the room is essential with a loft conversion. These areas typically follow the roofline, so taking advantage of these slopes by adding windows/skylights or built-in storage will create a more homey or functional space. Adding windows gives dark spaces much-needed natural light and will result in a warmer space. Building bookshelves, closets or built-in media furniture along the roofline will minimize its dramatic shape and create additional storage space. Ultimately, taking advantage of the roofline will make your space feel more like part of the rest of your house."
"I crave the feeling a loft space gives me….in fact my first place was one. Having grown up in Montreal, (the Mecca of gorgeous lofts) it’s always a treat when my award winning interior design boutique Toronto Interior Design Group has this type of project on the go. My top tip for creating the perfect loft conversion space would be to absolutely preserve the integrity. In addition to these spaces having a wide-open feel, they are also characterized by oversized windows, soaring ceilings, exposed ductwork, piping, and metal support beams; along with wooden or concrete floors. Maintain these bold features by filling the space with large pieces of furniture, but not too many of them (avoid the “furniture showroom” look) – use streamlined and noninvasive window coverings – and create a cohesive look through colour palette and scheme: develop a design story, and have it flow throughout…but, most importantly, don’t try to get rid of all interior imperfections, instead embrace them whole heartedly!"
Sam Hood - Amara Interiors
"Loft conversions are the ultimate escape room in the house. To create a strong sense of escapism, it’s really important to make sure your loft conversion is well-designed to maximise the limited space. Our secret is to think outside the box, particularly when it comes to storage. Each loft is different, so a customised storage plan will help you maximise the space without it feeling cluttered. There are plenty of beautifully designed storage options to suit your style and your loft. Plan carefully, and you can create your dream space where you can get away from it all."
Jonathan Legate - Interior Consultant
"My top tip for creating a perfect loft conversion is to embrace imperfection! The imperfections of a loft conversion are what make it so sexy and hip. Don't try to over decorate the space, use exposed building elements but keep it real, highlight what's existing and don’t add extra “lofty” features like fake brick or barn board walls. The contrast of what is new and what is old will play off one another, the rough and the smooth create a balance that doesn't look too staged or too perfect. Bonus tip: Paint your ceilings and exposed overhead ductwork and pipes all one dark colour. Dark colours fade into infinity and add height while keeping the visual clutter low."
Ryan Saghian - Interior Designer
"I would use beautiful sheer fabrics as partitions to divide the space appropriately yet continue to make it feel like one."
Maxine Brady - Interior Stylist
"A large mirror can be the perfect addition to a loft conversion, reflecting the style or mood you are trying to create in your home. Pick a frame that reflects the look that you are going for. For a vintage feel - go for a mirror Art Deco frame. Adore Loft Living? Then pick one a Crittall one which look like warehouse windows. Love a fuss-free look - then you’ll want one with a simple frame. The right mirror can tip the balance of your room style. Get it right, and you’re making the perfect statement. Trust me."
Rachel Newcombe - Fresh Design Blog
"Think about how you could include clever storage options. A loft conversion is great for adding much needed extra space to a home, but you do lose the place you've always stored your Christmas tree, suitcases, memorabilia or old children's toys. So when you're planning the design of your loft conversion, think about ways to build storage in. For example, a low space under the eaves could become an excellent cupboard or you could create one small area to become a walk-in storage cupboard. When it comes to finding somewhere to put all your stuff that was in the loft, you'll be very grateful for it!"
Elisabetta Rizzato - ItalianBark
"For a perfect loft conversion consider the power of daily light : take into consideration to add skylight windows, that usually are relatively easy to fit on an existing roof and do not need lots of structural alterations. A décor which works on a white and light palette also helps to add light inside a space, so consider these colours while decorating your new loft space!"
Ivan Meade - Meade Design Group
"In any Loft Conversion it is very important to maintain and respect the character and history of the space. The texture and warmth that an old brick wall gives you, or other industrial details, often have more personality than any new build. These elements are almost impossible to recreate authentically, and playing with textures as much as you can will have a huge impact on the visual interest in your space.Another important factor is to play with the (typically ample) height and scale of the space. You want to emphasize scale as much as you can as it is one of the reasons converted loft spaces are so coveted. You can enhance the height with tall window treatments to frame the windows, this will also add softness to the space and absorb sound. The addition of over-scaled furniture or massive art pieces will create interesting juxtapositions.Lastly, lighting is also very important. Since these spaces were created as warehouses, the lighting requirements for residential use are completely different. You might have enough light during the day, but consider how you can add functionality and drama at night."
Charlotte Duckworth - Interiors & Lifestyle Journalist
"In gaining a loft conversion, you often lose a lot of storage space, so something to bear in mind when planning yours is to include plenty of storage! Making use of the eaves is the obvious way to do this - by building in cupboards. Keep them handleless for a seamless, clean-lined look. I also love it when lofts retain a hint of their original style, so painting brickwork rather than plastering over it will give the space a cool, industrial feel. Finally, loft conversions often have lower ceilings than the rest of the house, so prioritise lighting and include as many windows as you can to keep the space light and bright."
Sian Astley - Moregeous
"My top design tip is probably a bit scarier than most tips but that’s because I’ve seen so many poorly done conversions. It’s very easy for homeowners to simply hand over the reins to a conversion company or builders, but if you don’t get involved, you may well end up with one of those lofts with a loo only 6yr olds can use, a shower you’ve to duck to get into or zero storage. Heights are EVERYTHING and you need to get up there and stand in the space (even if it's filthy!) as it’s ripped out to ensure every last inch is being utilised and if there isn’t enough head height for usability, stop the works and discuss why not and how to rectify."
Yasmin Chopin - Interior Designer & Speaker
"No matter how large or small the space you’ve scrounged from your loft you really must give consideration to the access. Make sure your loft staircase is wide and ensure it either completely contrasts in style and design with your house stairs OR that it matches perfectly. I’ve seen too many loft conversions where the stairs have been built, but no thought has been given to their design. They transport you to an exciting place…. let them tell the story."
Sarah Barclay - Barclay Interiors
"My top tips would include light, lighting and storage!  We work with clients on loft conversions with uses ranging from cinemas to bedroom suites and always aim to create as much space and light as the budget allows, using all seemingly unusable eaves space for workable built-in storage solutions like wardrobes, shelving, drawers and eaves storage. For larger spaces, we usually install roof lights with electric blinds within them, otherwise we try to fit as many windows as we can (we recommend using built in blinds especially if you are a light sleeper). For final touches, we would create a layered lighting specification to generate that all-important atmosphere."
Kelly Davies - Interior Designer
"Really focus on installing clever lighting when designing your loft conversion space.  Work with the interesting angles of the architecture and layer different lighting sources to create sufficient illumination and highlight angles. Plug in floor uplighters are great positioned in the dark corners whilst directional ceiling spot lights can be angled to ensure you illuminate all wall and floor surfaces. Wall mounted fittings will serve as excellent task lighting, especially if fixed beside the headboard of a bed. Tackle the project professionally by analysing the amount of natural light you have in the room and considering the activities performed within the space before installing your fittings."
Jennifer Woch - House of J Interior Design
"The key to success with any renovation is plan, plan, plan! Gather up all your ideas and even choose finishes before any construction begins! A great online tool for creative inspiration and idea gathering is pinterest. Consider what your must-haves are for the space and then talk with a reputable contractor to make sure it's do-able. As with any space, important considerations would be wishlist (dream big, then narrow down), needs (the must-haves or it's a deal breaker), purpose of the loft space (tv area, office space, spare room etc.), budget and timeline. If it sounds overwhelming a designer can help you get on the right track to your perfect loft conversion."
Lucy Burt - Nest Interior Design
"Lofts offer great opportunities for bright and airy home offices or an indulgent sanctuary at the top of the house in the form of a master bedroom/en-suite. Often, particularly in period houses where loft spaces are divided into front and rear, there is the opportunity to retain a part of the loft for much-needed storage. If creating an extra bedroom then it is worth adding an extra bathroom, however compact, if space allows. This ensures that your ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms still works well and will further increase re-sale value. It is always worth spending a little extra on an architect or designer to ensure a flow with the original part of the house and to advise on maximising natural light into the space. Finally, make the most of any eaves or awkward spaces with built-in storage, you can never have too much."
Melanie Langford - All About Interiors
"My recommendation is to use wall space upwards.  For example; book shelves or storage cubes hung on walls will make maximum use of the floor space."
Monica Lenore - Interior Designer
"Before you start any conversion plans, think about the space and how it will be used. Think about all the activities that you want to happen in the space and create zones. Prioritising space will help you choose exactly the right furniture needed, making what can seem a daunting task more manageable. When decorating, use similar tones and varying textures to keep it sophisticated and interesting. Always use the highest quality materials you can afford."

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