For an urban loft apartment or condominium, or for rooms decorated in the urban loft style, furnishings with an edgy, modern, industrial style best suit the space, for good reason. Urban lofts have their roots in the Industrial Revolution, when manufacturers built factories in cities to take advantage of ready labor, be close to suppliers and have access to transportation hubs. The boom in manufacturing drew the labor force away from farms to the cities, leading to a new phenomenon in American culture: an urban life style.

Zoning laws began to be enacted in the early part of the 20th century in American cities, partly to keep separate incompatible uses of land, such as factories and residences within the same structure. Manufacturers sought locations outside the cities, abandoning structures that had been designed for light industrial use. Struggling artists of the 1950s and 1960s saw the potential of the neglected buildings, realizing that their high ceilings, tiers of windows and large, open floors plans would make ideal spaces in which to both work and live.

At first, municipalities generally opposed the conversion of industrial space into lofts. Early loft dwellers in New York grew adept at hiding evidence that they lived in the space, presenting them as artist studios only. This influenced both the layout and the design of lofts, with the work space typically prominently displayed, while living areas were restricted to “lofts within lofts,” sometimes only accessible by ladders. Influenced by a modern aesthetic, furnishings were chosen for function as much as for looks, with spare, clean lines that suited the industrial style.

After World War II, a general flight from the cities to the suburbs left many cities dealing with urban blight, and city officials that once banned the use of structures for both work and residence began to see the possibilities of loft living from a new perspective. Eventually, gentrification became a new strategy of city planners. Empty buildings began to be bought by developers, renovated, then sold, leased or rented as loft apartments or condominiums.

Loft living has become so popular in recent years that some developers build new lofts to meet the demand. Realtors differentiate between the two types of lofts, calling existing ones “hard lofts” and new units “soft lofts. Lofts are no longer the domain of struggling artists, but their legacy endures. Loft living has an intrinsic “cool” factor that no amount of added amenities can erase, so much so, that the sensibility of loft living has evolved into an established decorating style.

The Urban Loft Style and Decor

For the urban loft decorating style to be effective, it should both reflect and energize an urban life style. While the right selection of each individual piece of furniture is important, creating the right atmosphere is the key. Done right, the style sets the scene for those who revel in the energy of the city, for those who want to be participants in the metropolitan life around them. Interior design is always most effective when the approach is to create a mood that best suits the temperament of those who live in the space.

Contemporary Urban Design Elements

A number of design strategies can be employed to create a living space with a modern, urban feeling. An effective use of space and scale, a careful consideration of line, form and shape, a spare color palette and effective lighting are essential. The modern urban style demands that each piece of furniture and every accent contributes to the overall mood of the room, yet has an intrinsic interest of its own as well.

Eco-Friendly

As the urban loft style evolved from a sensibility that embraced a re-use of space, it’s natural that the style includes eco-friendly materials and products as well. Whether it’s a table crafted from renewable bamboo or a fireplace that uses clean-burning ethanol, furnishings that are kind to the environment are welcome in an urban loft style. Novel uses of green materials, such as jute or hemp for upholstery, not only make the space more environmentally sound, but add a clean, textural feeling to the furniture as well.

Technological Innovations

One aspect of modern design is to incorporate technology into the environment, showcasing electronics as a decorative feature of the urban loft style. From media centers that stand alone as a stylish piece of furniture, to innovative sound systems that include docks for mobile phones as well as CDs, a sleek presentation of a home’s electronics adds to the energizing décor of the urban loft style.

Classic Modern Urban Loft Furniture

No room decorated in the urban loft style is complete without classic modern pieces of furniture. Sectional seating is the star of the loft style, with strong and sleek horizontal lines that emphasize the loft’s open space. The best sectionals are as comfortable as they are stylish, constructed with durable fabrics and materials and presented in functional proportions that work well both for social occasions and for family lounging.

Creative storage solutions are another hallmark of open, modern spaces. Clutter has no place in a clean, contemporary room. Cabinets, bookcases and credenzas crafted from quality materials, presented in innovative shapes and forms, provide both storage and an additional layer of style. Stellar storage is ideal for showcasing personal collections and fine pieces of art and sculpture. To manage everyday clutter, storage units that draw attention to themselves and away from day-to-day household items are best.

Occasional chairs in modern urban décor often serve as showcases for the creativity of modern designers, making them an essential component of the best contemporary rooms. Following the modern credo of “form follows function,” accent chairs typically feature designs that find their style by a focus on comfortable seating. Benches, foot stools and ottomans play an important role in modern rooms as well. In contemporary rooms, furnishings that are low and lean play up the expanse of open floor plans and help to create a visually cohesive space.

Beds that reflect a loft feeling, such as platform beds, are another classic choice for urban loft living. Beds that include storage or that have a headboard or night stand built into them keep the space looking sleek and modern.

Statement Pieces

Striking modern urban rooms contain striking decorative elements. From a distinctive mirror to a statement chair or table, stand-out pieces are the signature of modern design. While the urban loft style has a more casual approach to cosmopolitan living than the spare and sometimes sterile rooms of modern purists, statement pieces are essential to keep open floor plans from getting lost in their own space. Striking designs anchor the space, providing focus and visual interest.

In most living rooms, fireplaces are the strongest architectural element in the room, providing a central focal point around which the whole room is often organized. Stand-alone modern fireplaces offer loft dwellers opportunities to take advantage of this effective design element. While a large-scale fireplace can be a good choice for open rooms, small fireplaces have advantages as well. Small fireplaces are useful in creating a cozy conversation area with a larger space.

The urban loft look typically features large expanses of bare flooring, making area rugs essential, both to delineate the separate functions of the space and to create flow. The perspective of modern rooms are usually low and horizontal, to emphasize an open feeling, and from that perspective, area rugs are bound to draw attention. Investing in a statement area rug helps to establish an overall style for the room.

Modern Lighting

In modern design, lighting is as important as any other element in the décor. Large windows with a minimal or bare window treatment provide ample light during the day, but for the evening, a variety of light sources help establish an atmosphere that best reflects an urban life style. Whether the fixtures are lamps, pendant lighting or wall lighting, fixtures are likely to have a sculptural quality, with shapes, materials and forms that are as striking to look at when the lights are as when they are off.

Direct lighting is a necessary component of any living space, but in the urban loft style, back lighting, up lighting and ambient lighting are essential components as well. Lighting that bounces light off walls and ceilings or that casts interesting patterns of shadow and light add energizing drama to open livings spaces.

Contemporary Urban Accessories

When is comes to contemporary urban loft living, details matter. In rooms with expansive, sleek surfaces, any object that breaks the visual line will draw the eye, so it’s important to ensure that even a simple object like a vase or tray warrants attention. Every element of an urban loft should reinforce the overall mood of the room, but be interesting and decorative in its own right, too.

The best interiors create an environment that complements the life styles of those who inhabit them, and the best urban loft furniture instantly establishes an atmosphere of vigor, movement and excitement. Original, authentic modern furniture energizes and inspires. The exclusive collection of modern furniture at www.viesso.com serves the needs of those who want to be participants on the world stage, those who want their furnishings to both reflect their refined tastes and to spark their imagination.

The Viesso collection represents the innovative designs and creativity that are the hallmarks of the urban loft life style. While Viesso maintains a distinctive showroom in their Los Angeles, California, location, their extensive line of quality modern furniture can be purchased online as well. Browse www.viesso.com today to view a collection of furnishings, lighting and accessories that are at once urban and urbane.

Sleek modern lines, clean contrasting colors and natural elemental accents make the urban loft a popular design for decorators and homeowners. Whether you're actually living in a loft or you just want to emulate the decorating style by using the furnishings, lighting and wall art that characterize urban loft style, you're in for a treat. Viesso has a beautiful collection of high quality pieces that are designed with you in mind.

Urban Loft Sofa

Both the Blake Loft Sofa and the Carmichael Sofa combine casual cushioned comfort with clean solid lines for a look that's crisp yet cozy. The Carmichael utilizes a long dramatic horizontal line that would compliment a large picture window or textured wall. The Blake sofa is divided down the center for a clean, symmetrical appearance that would offset a floral arrangement or organic wall art.

Sectional sofas aren't off-limits in the urban loft, in fact they're absolutely beautiful. The Blake Loft Bisectional is designed to complement the Blake Loft Sofa, with the same airy design and removable cushions that make the couch stand out. The Spencer Loft and the Jane Loft Bisectionals use tufting to create a somewhat graphic texture that gives each piece life and personality beyond the simple design structure. True to loft fashion, both of these pieces "float" a few inches off the ground on an elevated elemental framework.

Urban Loft Chairs

To complement the sofa collection, take a peek at the chairs designed to go with the Blake Loft collection. On a sturdy oak frame, this simple, no-nonsense chair is just as comfortable in a formal living room as it is by the bedroom window. The entire Blake Loft collection is available in three neutral shades.

Urban Loft Tables and Chairs

Whether you're looking for a coffee table or a dining room table, the options at Viesso are full of surprises. We offer everything from a concrete dining room table that doubles as a ping-pong table to low-lying square, round and rectangular tables of natural wood grain, stainless steel, concrete and even glass-topped tables. The key to keeping in fashion here is to look for clean lines, smooth surfaces and decorative elements that are reminiscent of the natural world. Branched chair backs, tree-stumped table bottoms and consoles with gracefully curved legs.

Urban Loft Bedroom

Don't forget to check out the bedroom collection. Headboards and bed frames with clean and simple lines complement bookcases and dressers are designed with the same neutral colors and natural materials used in the rest of the collection. Again, comfort, form and function are key elements in the Urban loft and beds like the Arundel are excellent representations of those principles.

Simply put, the Urban Loft style is neutral, which leaves plenty of room for adding dramatic splashes of color, or not. It's all about texture and clean lines, each piece is a work of art itself, leaving plenty of room to personalize every room. For more information or to see more pictures from the inventory, VISIT VIESSO today.