Loft lovers are drawn to high ceilings, open spaces and crisp design plans. The challenge comes when you need to light that loft, to figure out how best to use lighting to enhance the space and to work with the modern design elements of loft living.
Maintain Open Space
One of the things that likely led you to loft living in the first place was the open feel that defines a loft. Don't waste that by placing floor lamps throughout the loft, but use those high ceilings to suspend modern pendant lights over spaces such as bars, dining areas and kitchen islands. The lights should be large enough to provide light but not so big that they obstruct a clear view of the loft. Choose cable lighting, which offers a variety of pendant fixtures that are suspended from thin cables. They're cool, clean, modern and unobtrusive.
Your loft may be one large room, but you can create a number of different "rooms" by delineating them with light. For instance, if you want to create an intimate dining area and a well-lit office, position task and accent lighting on those specific spots, and leave darker areas between them. The lack of light in some areas of the loft will accentuate the better lit spaces. You may want to add two simple lamps to a sofa table in the entertaining area to give that space a little "lift."
A number of linear lighting systems, including track, cable and monorail, work well in a loft due to their ability to perform from a single point of power. The single point of power may feed 20 or more different fixtures along the rail system. Besides being practical, linear lighting systems fit well aesthetically into a loft. They're sleek, modern and uncluttered.
If there ever was a space in which you could introduce new, unusual sources of lighting, it is in a loft. A block holding a single light bulb, a lamp that looks like a plumbing fixture, an industrial-looking ball of steel that serves as a large light -- these are the kinds of off-the-beaten-path light elements that will work in a loft. Lighting a loft allows you to take decorative chances that you might not ordinarily take.