Loft living could be considered the ultimate luxury. A low-maintenance lifestyle combined with wide-open space –– a rare amenity in New York City –– keeps loft apartments in demand while garnering high prices. Neighborhoods known for loft buildings include SoHo, Tribeca, Chelsea, Williamsburg, and DUMBO, but loft-like apartments can be found throughout much of the city.

True lofts are typically characterized by tall ceilings, structural columns, large windows, exposed pipes, concrete or wood floors, and no interior walls. Many warehouse lofts in NYC were once just that –– warehouses –– and have been converted to residential dwellings. In the 1960s and ‘70s, artists set up live/work spaces in many SoHo buildings, which have since been converted to condos or co-ops. These apartments are usually the most desirable.

“Hard lofts” often refer to those that were once commercial or had another use, but later converted to residential. “Soft lofts” usually refer to those built as residential units only.

Decorating a loft apartment has its challenges. Maximizing the space without destroying the loft’s elegant details is essential and often requires hiring an architect, interior designer, or both to come up with the most functional design scheme.

I found the décor in these five NYC loft spaces inspiring, and I hope you will too.

Thomas O’Brien designed this home with a neutral palette and successfully married modern and classic furnishings. Splashes of chocolate and black with loads of texture keep this space from ever feeling bland. Notice how the loft floods with natural light. And the fireplace? What a bonus.

This stunning loft in SoHo’s Cast Iron District boasts an open space with designated areas –– living, dining, and office. A kitchen hides neatly behind a partition wall, while elements such as wood flooring, built-in bookshelves, modern art, and undressed windows define the generous space.

A loft on Park Avenue –– who knew? An oversized island creates a focal point in this spacious loft apartment. Ideal for prepping and casual dining, the island separates the kitchen from the living/dining room. Unusually tall windows, exposed beams, and an eclectic mix of collectibles make this space grand yet comfortable. A white backdrop leaves plenty of room for color in the accessories. This apartment is appropriate for a couple or family.

This Jay Street loft feels primitive and modern at the same time. Reclaimed gray wood, black steel accents, floating wall shelves, ebonized flooring, and a custom home office space, complete the TriBeCa home.

A stark contrast between light, medium, and dark finishes in this Hudson Street loft please the eye. Located in the former American Express warehouse building, the architect combined two spaces to form the 3,000 square foot apartment while maintaining the industrial feel.

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