If you’re like me and can’t get enough of HGTV shows like “Tiny House, Big Living,” you have had serious cabin envy – or cringe. As an armchair expert, I can tell you the major trend I am seeing that WORKS: a loft cabin. By design, the rustic and distinct charm of cabin life creates its warm atmosphere, BUT when you add this simple upgrade, you have opened yourself up to many fantastic opportunities.
Before we get into the listicle, let’s clarify: what is a loft cabin? Any cabin that has a loft space (which is so generic that it is practically useless, right?). By definition, a loft cabin can utilize that space by being an added bedroom, reading nook, or storage area. Now, when I see these layouts, usually the cabin opens up to a studio-like space where all of the rooms – kitchen, sitting area, ladder to a loft bedroom/creative space – flow into each other to maximize limited square footage.
Transforming your getaway into a loft cabin can mean varying levels of financial commitment. But we’ll get to the nitty-gritty of how to create your loft cabin getaway as soon as we figure out how perfect it is for you.
1. You Have Too Many Friends
Or, in my case, family. Way, way too many family members. My cousins and I would sleep in sleeping bags in my grandpa’s TV room when I was growing up. Now that we are starting to have kids, the number of heads that need beds. (Seriously, the multiplication is off the charts.)
Whenever there is a holiday or a long weekend where we get to escape the workweek, we like to gather together as much as possible. Whether it is a girls’ weekend retreat or a family barbecue/nature recharge, you want the ability to be the best possible host you can be.
Pro-Tip: There are so many unique ways to increase the sleeping situation. Whether you are doing budget and space-friendly air mattresses or are interested in upping your aesthetic with amazing pull-out couches, trundle, or bunk beds, I adore the convertible sofa with a full mattress, and a twin trundle tucked away beneath. Make it even cozier with some throw pillows and the perfect fuzzy blanket.
2. Your Friends Have Kids
It’s lovely to have a space that kids can make their own, especially when separate from your space. With cabin living, that can be challenging. But, if you make your space a loft cabin, you have the opportunity to create another separate kids area while you enjoy some wine and cheese in front of the fire and the delicious comfort of bundling up by the fireplace.
In case you aren’t crazy about letting a six-year-old take over your space, keep in mind that there are so many ways to keep your aesthetic while also leaving room for little monsters – I mean, visitors.
Pro-Tip: Let the kids in your life make the space theirs! Do they want a toy chest? A special reading nook? An art studio? What about an adventurous way to climb up a secret ladder or rock wall? Remember, you’ll want to make your loft kid-safe by installing a smart railing and perhaps even a kiddie-gate (depending on their ages).
3. You Deserve a She-Shed
Shifting your cabin into loft cabin territory only has benefits. With that extra room, take a hobby to the next level! Your sewing machine and craft table could have a new view by a second-story window.
You always wanted to write the book will come to life while listening to the peaceful stream outside trickle. The elegant bar you always wanted but thought was too impractical is a small staircase away.
Pro-Tip: Even on a budget, make this your most indulgent space. Keep a stash of your favorite treats, comfy slippers, and best candles around, so no matter how you elevate the place, this room is your slice of heaven.
4. You’ve Earned a Man-Cave
The wifey might not allow you to decorate the house, but the cabin is where you get to show off your game trophies. Make it a loft cabin, and you have earned the right to throw a pinball machine or a poker table set up. Mount your guitars on the wall, ready for a jam sesh. Add a beer fridge for max-relax, bruh.
Pro-Tip: Don’t forget to decorate the walls with those movie posters you’ve had boxed up since college or awesome nerd art you never had a place for before. Perhaps an artistic rendering of you as Aragorn leading the charge into Mordor? Something nice and tasteful, yet bold.
5. You Work from Home
More often than not, the flexibility to work from home, either part or full time, is required in today’s job market. Provided you have an internet setup, mix up your dreary workday by granting yourself the option to picnic outside for lunch or lean back in your Adirondack chair after hours.
Instead of killing your special place, the separation of church and loft will let you have a mindful workplace that you can clock out of and plug into a refreshing breath of fresh air.
Pro-Tip: Go beyond a fancy office chair and desk. What are things that make a workspace special for you? It is easy to skip spending the dollars on yourself if you are budget-minded like I am. Spend a few extra smart dollars, so this is a space where you can thrive and keep positive energy in your home.
Whether that is an over-the-top coffee station, an obscenely large corkboard, or that printer that was more expensive than the one on sale, make your home office just as cheery as the Googleplex! (Don’t forget to liven up your walls and throw in style in small ways like rugs.)
6. Your Container Store Addiction Wants to Live Up to its Full Potential
Some people, I’m not saying me, have a problem buying too many decorations for every occasion again. Some people have a hard time resisting the perfect seasonal buys when clearance time comes around. Some people, “people,” being definitely, absolutely not me, also have minor hoarder tendencies and struggle to let things go if they can think of one tiny use that item might still have.
Here’s how to use your loft space without killing it with your inability to Marie Kondo.
Be smart. Be honest. Be brutal.
Be firm that this space is only for this category and this number of boxes. Before moving everything in, make sure you inspect and really think about if this is worth keeping. Re-evaluate and declutter seasonally. The last thing you want to do is make a great addition useless, so be specific with what you want to store.
Most importantly, make sure it makes sense to keep them in the loft cabin instead of offloading junk from your garage to a new place. The best things to store are things you will use at your cabin, so let that be your compass.
Perhaps this is the perfect place for your hunting equipment and a new gun safe. Pick a select number of categories to store in your loft cabin. Use The Container Store to lovingly sort, label, and stack your items to make the most of the square footage without forgetting where you put the extra cleaning supplies.
Pro-Tip: The Container Store may be more expensive than you are willing to pay but can be a great source of inspiration. Allow yourself to walk around and determine what items you may need before shopping around for what makes the most sense for you. Perhaps there is an environmentally friendly brand you would rather use? Is there a way to limit plastic? Do you need the cheapest online option that causes the least amount of hassle? Make the choice that best suits you, and that choice could still be The Container Store.
7. You Are Money Smart
Every Real Estate is terrifying, yet consistent. Location always adds to your property value, as does finished square footage. This wise investment that you get to enjoy immediately will only pay more dividends, no matter the future of your property. Enjoy it now while having the bonus of doing a renovation that makes your little gem shine bright.
Pro-Tip: When playing the real estate angle, be extra thoughtful in designing how to get up into the loft. That rope ladder that is super awesome for your boy scout might look scary to a middle-aged couple. Having multiple options to access the loft, including railed stairs for the safety and comfort of older and younger folks, is going to be the smartest bet. Measure twice. Cut once with your design!
And finally, the one and only conceivable reason you shouldn’t upgrade your cabin into a loft cabin?
1. The Biggest Con – You Don’t Have a High Enough Ceiling
Just like needing to measure twice and cut once when designing how to get into your loft, consider the limitations of how tall your cabin is. Some ideas (like a Kids’ Playhouse, a Reading Nook, or Storage Galore) WILL still work with a lower or regular ceiling instead of a vaulted one but KNOW what you are working on within the planning process to see if this is what is right for you.
So, How Do I Get One of These?
Like everything else, you can YouTube ideas if you are handy and enjoy doing some light carpentry. I really like these videos by Alex Rossier and Off-Grid Cabin to jog ideas. (Alex even itemizes the cost for his simple loft addition.) Obviously, it is significantly cheaper to build your own. Sites like Etsy sell cabin plans with a variety of designs so you can satisfy your aesthetic, whether you are starting from scratch or taking on an addition. However, you might not have the time or ability to do this project solo. If you want to hire professional help, contact a local contractor or two to get quotes.
Are you starting from nothing? No worries. If you are going the buy-a-turn-key-ready-
Cozy-dream-house route, websites like Lancaster Log Cabins and Den Outdoors are sure to get you started. Just be sure you understand how big that square footage is in the floor plans so that you are happy when your premade cabin arrives.
Tall Order, Great Choice
In summary, loft cabins really shine and add an element of magic, no matter what you decide to do with the space. They work best in naturally high ceilinged spaces, so perhaps consider something outside the box like a charming A-frame cabin. Whether you are upgrading your beloved sweet escape, are looking to buy a prefabricated model, or are still in the daydream stage, start your new year right with plans for your paradise.