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An urban loft kitchen, photography by David. A Land.

Urban Loft Kitchen Design: Edgy Meets Elegant

by alvin wayne

Photo Credit: David A. Land

APRIL 19, 2024 | 4 min read

What is the Urban Loft Aesthetic?

The urban loft design style originated in the 1950s and 1960s in New York City when artists began to convert industrial buildings into living spaces. It combines the raw, edgy aesthetic of urban living with high-end finishes and furnishings. 

Characterized by exposed brick and ductwork, concrete floors, high ceilings, and large windows, the style emphasizes open floor plans and minimalism. The designs often feature industrial materials, such as metal and reclaimed wood, paired with sleek, modern furniture and lighting. The result is a sophisticated, yet edgy, style that celebrates the unique character of urban living. 

Today, most modern apartments and condos often feature urban loft design elements, such as high ceilings, open floor plans, and exposed brick or concrete finishes. This nod to the rise of urban loft designs reflects a growing desire for the blending of raw and elegant design styles, creating a unique and sophisticated living space. Additionally, these design elements help maximize space in these homes making them feel more expansive and airier.

A collage of a loft apartment filled with fun color and texture, paired with a blue kitchen featuring a JennAir® Professional-Style Range. A collage of a loft apartment filled with fun color and texture, paired with a blue kitchen featuring a JennAir® Professional-Style Range.

Photo Credits: David A. Land (Left, Middle), AIM Media Group (Right)

When it comes to designing the urban loft, I particularly focus on the use of space, the color palette with unexpected combinations, natural elements such as wood tones, concrete/stone, and in the kitchen the stainless-steel appliances to anchor the heart of the home. 

Integrating industrial-looking yet state-of-the-art appliances is a great way to add a modern and stylish touch to any space. JennAir appliances often combine sleek designs with advanced functionality, providing both visual appeal and cutting-edge technology, lending itself to the urban loft design and aesthetic and striking the perfect balance between grit and luxury. By blending these materials, urban loft kitchens achieve a perfect harmony of rough and refined textures. The knurled handle, brass details and cast iron grates of the JennAir® RISE™ Professional Range are great examples of this principle. Explore JennAir® Professional-Style Ranges.

The combination of exposed brick, concrete, stainless steel, reclaimed wood, glass, and metal accents creates a unique ambiance that reflects a mix of urban charm, contemporary style, and functionality. 

Achieving the perfect balance between grit and luxury in an urban loft kitchen requires a thoughtful and intentional design approach. A few of my methodologies are:

4 Design Elements for an Urban Loft Kitchen:

A close up of a JennAir® Undercounter Wine Cellar in a luxury kitchen. A close up of a JennAir® Undercounter Wine Cellar in a luxury kitchen.

1. Contrast in Materials

Emphasize the contrast between rough, industrial materials and luxurious, refined elements. For example, pair exposed brick walls with sleek state-of-the-art stainless-steel JennAir appliances or combine concrete countertops with modern light fixtures. This juxtaposition creates a dynamic visual balance between grit and luxury.

 

Photo Credit: AIM Media Group

A scale weighing two different materials.

1. Contrast in Materials

Emphasize the contrast between rough, industrial materials and luxurious, refined elements. For example, pair exposed brick walls with sleek state-of-the-art stainless-steel JennAir appliances or combine concrete countertops with modern light fixtures. This juxtaposition creates a dynamic visual balance between grit and luxury.

A close up of a JennAir® Undercounter Wine Cellar in a luxury kitchen. A close up of a JennAir® Undercounter Wine Cellar in a luxury kitchen.

Photo Credit: AIM Media Group

A close-up of a white subway tile kitchen with open shelving. A close-up of a white subway tile kitchen with open shelving.

2. Harmonizing Colors and Textures

Choose a color palette that compliments the raw, textured materials and the luxurious elements in the space. Earthy tones like warm browns, grays, and neutral shades work well with brick and concrete, while pops of metallic accents can add a touch of extravagance. Consider textures that balance rough and polished surfaces, such as pairing a leather sofa with a glossy glass or lacquered dining table.

 

Photo Credit: Odiseo Castrejon

A close-up of a white subway tile kitchen with open shelving. A close-up of a white subway tile kitchen with open shelving.

Photo Credit: Odiseo Castrejon

A set of 3 swatches of varying colors.

2. Harmonizing Colors and Textures

Choose a color palette that compliments the raw, textured materials and the luxurious elements in the space. Earthy tones like warm browns, grays, and neutral shades work well with brick and concrete, while pops of metallic accents can add a touch of extravagance. Consider textures that balance rough and polished surfaces, such as pairing a leather sofa with a glossy glass or lacquered dining table.

A JennAir® RISE™ Professional-Style Range in a white and gray contemporary luxury kitchen. A JennAir® RISE™ Professional-Style Range in a white and gray contemporary luxury kitchen.

3. Layering Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the tone of an urban loft. Incorporate a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting. Industrial-style pendant lights or Edison bulbs can be used to enhance the gritty aesthetic, while recessed lighting or under-cabinet lights can provide a touch of luxury and functionality. The layering of light creates depth and adds dimension to the space.

 

Photo Credit: Erol Ahmed

An icon of a light bulb.

3. Layering Lighting

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the tone of an urban loft. Incorporate a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting. Industrial-style pendant lights or Edison bulbs can be used to enhance the gritty aesthetic, while recessed lighting or under-cabinet lights can provide a touch of luxury and functionality. The layering of light creates depth and adds dimension to the space.

A close-up of industrial-style lighting. A close-up of industrial-style lighting.

Photo Credit: Erol Ahmed

A small living room with a fireplace and checkerboard-patterned chairs. A small living room with a fireplace and checkerboard-patterned chairs.

4. Thoughtful Accessorizing

Carefully curate accessories and decor items to reflect the desired balance between grit and luxury. Incorporate industrial-inspired elements like exposed bulbs, salvaged metal signs, or vintage kitchen utensils. Additionally, add luxurious touches through decorative items such as plush bar stools, statement artwork, or elegant tableware. This attention to detail can elevate the overall aesthetic.

 

Photo Credit: David A. Land

A small living room with a fireplace and checkerboard-patterned chairs. A small living room with a fireplace and checkerboard-patterned chairs.

Photo Credit: David A. Land

Two icons, featuring a picture frame and a plant.

4. Thoughtful Accessorizing

Carefully curate accessories and decor items to reflect the desired balance between grit and luxury. Incorporate industrial-inspired elements like exposed bulbs, salvaged metal signs, or vintage kitchen utensils. Additionally, add luxurious touches through decorative items such as plush bar stools, statement artwork, or elegant tableware. This attention to detail can elevate the overall aesthetic.


A portrait of Alvin Wayne.

Written by Alvin Wayne

DESIGNER

Alvin Wayne is a New York City-based interior designer who believes everyone deserves to live in luxury. He is known for his ability to infuse modern and timeless design with natural and organic elements with pops of personality.


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