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Higher purpose: Alternative uses for sleeping lofts in NYC apartments

A Moroccan tea room/meditation loft space with living moss wall—in a converted church in Williamsburg.

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New Yorkers are used to living in less-than-expansive apartments, as well as making the most efficient use of the space they do have. One way to maximize an apartment’s square footage is to create a sleeping loft, which is usually open to the floor underneath. After all, the square footage isn't included in the total area for the apartment, or at least it shouldn't be—that would be like paying twice.

But it doesn't seem like New Yorkers are actually doing much sleeping in sleeping lofts these days. Typically found in brownstones, and prewars, especially loft buildings, it does seem as if the sleeping loft has fallen out of favor; Brick Underground's search for apartment listings that featured them produced some, but not many.

What we did find were some unconventional uses for the spaces, which confirms that one New Yorker’s sleeping loft, is another person’s something entirely different.

The sleeping loft in this apartment, 155 West 15th St., #2F, is larger enough for an office.

Douglas Elliman

Get to work

Using a sleeping loft (or part of one) as an office space makes sense, as was done here. And this Brooklyn Heights one bedroom features a loft space that appears to be just gravy—and we don’t even get a photo of it. 

This Park Avenue one bedroom has what’s described as a “sit-uppable” loft space; the apartment already has an office, so the loft could serve as storage or perhaps a sleeping nook for guests. And this Greenpoint one bedroom uses its loft space (dubbed a “mezzanine”) as a cozy conversation nook. (Our favorite? The Moroccan tea room/meditation space—complete with living moss wall—in a converted church in Williamsburg, shown above.)

There's a loft above the kitchen in this apartment, 346 West 47th St., #5D.

Spire Group

Other times, loft spaces are less successful or strange, such as this oddly-shaped platform near the front door, and at least partially over the kitchen in this Hell’s Kitchen studio, or this unusual pair of sleeping lofts with cubbyholes connecting them. (These seem more suitable for hide-and-seek than sleeping.)

Circus and sensei space

“We once had a circus performer who practiced her trapeze and ribbon routines in her loft space – it was her ‘jumping off point.’  We also had a Shotokan Karate instructor that set up a private dojo space for himself to practice up there.” —Danelle Davis and Drew DeMaio, leasing staff for The Chocolate Factory Lofts at Citi Habitats

Dog run on high

“I have seen a loft space made into a dogs’ playpen. The owners put up a good security gate at the opening of the loft to ensure it was safe.  Their dogs love playing and interacting with each other up there. It also keeps them out of the way when it’s time to clean, vacuum etc. It’s pretty fun—their neighbors and friends bring their dogs and chill in the living room, drinking wine and snacking - while the dogs entertain themselves within sight.” —Oksana Campbell, agent, Citi Habitats

Walk up—and in

“I’ve rented a really well-designed apartment with two sleeping lofts. The first was outfitted with the standard bed, nightstand etc., but the second was transformed into the ultimate ‘walk-in’ closet with custom cabinetry and shelving. It maximized every inch of what could have been an awkward space—and what’s more useful than extra storage in a Manhattan apartment?” —Zain Chamoun, agent, Citi Habitats