Loft kitchen.

Sure, it's industrial but this loft kitchen is functional and so inviting it simply begs to be the center of entertaining a crowd.

Lots of us live in industrial spaces that have been reinvented as homes. The big expanse of space, oversized windows and looming blank walls is compelling. The challenge can be in domesticating these steel and concrete caves with their echoing corners and exposed mechanics.

Loft kitchen.

This playful design uses strong pops of color and warm golden wood countertops and floor to brighten a loft kitchen. The industrial lighting is a nod to the nature of the original structure.

We don't want to change the character of the space that intrigued us in the first place. Respecting the character of the original construction is crucial to making a loft livable. Wood countertops marry perfectly with the materials usually found in a loft. Steel, concrete and sometimes lots of glass need a infusion of  organic warmth if they aren't to feel cold and even forbidding.

Loft kitchen.

Stainless steel and industrial lighting give this space a laboratory feel that's softened by the use of warm wood countertops and mellow brick.  Artificial light allows for lush indoor plants that add a splash of color and life.

Light is another basic requirement of a living environment. In spaces that can seem pretty cavernous it can be used not only to provide illumination but also to delineate individual areas and soften the hard edges of the design. The visual weight of concrete and steel can be a little overwhelming. Careful use of light is the answer to that dilemma.

Loft kitchen.

Wood and light are the key factors here that make the difference between bleak and cozy. Light is one of the elements of loft conversion that sometimes can be too much of a good thing and has to be taken down a notch to make a space inviting and private.

Building walls isn't the only way to designate space. Lighting and "ceiling footprints," are a couple of methods used in this kitchen. The dropped ceiling creates a defined area while the can lights help mitigate the lack of natural light. The blonde wood eat-at bar brings in a warm organic counterpoint to all the stainless steel.

Loft kitchen.

Visually assigning space to certain functions as the ceiling does with this kitchen brings order to large open areas. The subtle lighting is important in situation where very little natural light is available.

Loft kitchen.

The use of the overhead panels works to designate the area and give the illusion of natural light.

Using a large open area creatively isn't as easy as it sounds. In making a loft into a home clever use of space, appropriate materials and light is a bigger challenge than it is in a "normal," house or apartment. Careful planning and innovative problem solving are key. Don't be afraid to use materials and applications you wouldn't ever turn to in a typical design. Take a chance. In loft renovation fortune really does favor the bold.

It's great that these old, often abandoned, structures are being given a new role. Loft living isn't for everybody, but many wouldn't think of exchanging our cozy nests in old factories and warehouses for a conventional home. Long live these great old buildings in their new role as shelter and security.