Loft: a space-saving solution
When space is no longer enough, an intelligent, practical and interesting solution can be to create a loft, a corner of the house that, if well exploited, can become the real heart of the house.
So if you need an extra room, a study where you can do your work practices or, alternatively, an additional bedroom, the construction of a loft will allow you to meet these needs without making major building interventions, or at least only performing some slight technical measures if the ceiling is not too high.
Fundamental, before continuing with the reading, it is necessary to know the legislation regarding the construction of a loft. In order to proceed with this work, in fact, it is advisable to inquire about some conditions to be met.
First of all, it is mandatory that the real estate unit has the required minimum height, which, according to the building regulations, must respect the habitability of at least one of the two levels. This will not allow for a mezzanine in apartments where the internal height is 3m or less. Instead, it is much easier to proceed when you have an old building, often characterized by high ceilings, or a loft, where the realization of a mezzanine floor would create an interesting open spaceeffect.
According to current building codes, a habitable loft can only be defined as such if people can stay there. To be classified in this manner, therefore, it must allow you to be able to walk upright.
Although this regulation is subject to major changes depending on the municipality of residence, in general it is possible to say that the minimum height required is around 430-440 cm. Before proceeding with the realization of the project, it is mandatory to send the documentation to the municipality, remembering however to have it certified by a professional figure such as an architect, a surveyor or an engineer.
Even after the completion of the work, it will be essential to send new documents to the municipal office, more specifically to the land registry, as certainly such an intervention will cause an increase in surface area and, consequently, an increase in the square footage of the house.
How to make a loft
Once every legal aspect and every bureaucratic detail has been fully clarified, it is finally possible to understand how a mezzanine is built. This, usually, can be made in three different ways: masonry, wood or metal, a material capable of creating an atmosphere more similar to that of an American loft.
The masonry structure is undoubtedly the most complex to build, as it requires major construction work. It is usually made up of precast reinforced concrete beams, capable of supporting the weight of the entire structure. Precisely because of these works, the cost of this solution is in most cases higher than the alternatives. Nevertheless, you can save money by replacing the beams with metal girders. The timing is also quite disadvantageous, as it is usually long.
A totally different matter is that which concerns wooden mezzanines, which are undoubtedly the warmest, most welcoming and, above all, quickest to make. Although the costs are minor and the atmosphere created is undoubtedly pleasant, wood has a major disadvantage. In fact, over time, the vibrations may cause a sense of instability.
The last material useful to build a mezzanine floor is metal, perfect for lovers of industrial style and those who love a modern design. Even in this case, the cost is quite high, because although the price of metal is affordable, considerably difficult would be the assembly, which would require special tools.
In any case, whatever the material chosen, a raised floor requires two essential elements: a staircase and a railing. As for the first, the most common choice lies in the classic linear staircase positioned to the side, so as not to occupy too much space. Alternatively, you can opt for a more particular type, such as the spiral, which has a greater visual impact but is also more expensive.
An absolutely indispensable element is instead the railing, useful to ensure the correct level of safety. This cannot be less than 90 cm high and must be welded to the supporting structure. Currently you can choose many solutions, including a glass window or tubulars with metal grilles.
How to furnish a loft
Furnishing a loft is not a simple affair, as it is necessary to have very clear ideas. First of all, it is important to understand the use you intend to make of it and then follow the style of the rest of the house. Whatever the use, it should be remembered that this particular room is by definition an intimate area, intended for relaxation and able to ensure total confidentiality.
Should this be used as a bedroom, the advice would be to set up the space with a low bed, like the Japanese ones, two essential bedside tables, a couple of relaxing paintings and an atmospheric light. This mix of furnishings will allow for a unique experience, almost like being on vacation.
Always focused on comfort are the furnishings to choose in case the loft is used as a relaxation area. In this sense, overlapping rugs, vintage pieces, a low mattress and a bookcase would help to make the environment very personal, an open space in which to lose oneself in total idleness.
Many, on the other hand, prefer to create a studio to the previous solution. In this case, it would be necessary to distance oneself completely from the furnishings listed above and favor a style that allows greater concentration. Very common is therefore the use of light colors, able to give the perception of an increase in volume.
Equally important is the lighting, which must never be lacking and, above all, must help you do your job.
Anyway, whatever use is made of the loft, the most important advice for furnishing it is to follow your instincts and dare in the furnishings. Only in this way it will be possible to create an intimate area of the house, a personal environment in which to relax without any thought.