Raw, rough and rugged – this is how the industrial design style looks. The rustic appeal of the city vibe and the working class during the Industrial Revolution became the inspiration for this unexpected architectural trend. Its utilitarian and authentic style appeals to the easy-going, unpretentious types who need no fuss and frills.
To create a sense of edginess and sophistication, the industrial style draws from the details of the rustic buildings of the past. The basics include exposed brick walls, steel columns without drywall, visible piping and ductwork, dangling metal fixtures, timber roof trusses, concrete floors and high ceilings. Besides these, here are other ideas for achieving the industrial look:
1. Bare the necessities tastefully.
The most significant feature of industrial decoration is all about exposing what lies beneath. The industrial infrastructure is often fully displayed, leaving no need for plaster or drywall. Leaving structural and mechanical elements uncovered is a bold move, since other styles always conceal them. But in the same way other interior design styles have been concealing elements in style by using different ceiling designs and smooth, plastered walls; the industrial design can also bare it all beautifully by keeping the metal ductwork shiny, or by painting the pipes with strong colors.
2. Pair heavy metal with wood and stone.
Metal is a go-to material for the industrial style. Use steel, iron, aluminum and tin – not brass or gold – to create the right touch of rawness and sleekness. Tone down the metal by making use of earthy and grainy wood, as well as textured stones. A living room with exposed aluminum beams on the ceiling can look homier with brick walls and wooden furniture.
3. Choose warm, neutral colors.
While the standard color palette for industrial styled homes consist of rustic colors, you may still want to tone it down by choosing neutrals. Industrially designed homes often have large and open spaces, so you can use them to create a warm vibe to contrast the coolness of the steel pipes and metal ducts. You may paint the walls white or pale gray, and use cream or beige furniture when not using wooden or metallic pieces.
4. Leave the surfaces concrete.
Industrial design goes with basic such as plain concrete. It might be the only reason why concrete floors are still considered as one of the major flooring choices for homes. You may want to polish it for a glossy effect or leave it matte and unfinished for a rustic look. Smooth and polished concrete also goes well for kitchen countertops, bathtubs, sinks, fireplaces and other areas. Some also incorporate unfinished, concrete wall even on the interior.
5. Choose basic materials for flooring.
Besides concrete (because you may not like a concrete gray floor), you can also make use of other materials for flooring such as epoxy, wood, simple tiles and rubber. If flooring gets cold or if your legs ache from unyielding surfaces, try to have insulation or radiant heating installed beneath your floor. Or perhaps you might want to splurge on portable cushioned mats for high traffic areas such as the kitchen. If you’re unsure about what to pick, remember this tip: if you would see it in a warehouse, then it a good choice.
6. Recycle and reuse old materials and furniture.
Many design styles may emphasize on pieces that are looking good and new, but the industrial delights on the functional and used. Recycling, reusing and repurposing is important to this style to achieve the rustic look of the industrial style. Look for something to recover from flea markets, garage sales and thrift stores. Watch out for demolitions or renovations in your area and don’t be shy to ask for their used lumber and metal structures, or perhaps their unwanted items. Battered ladders can be turned into shelves, old lockers can be used as storage, and worn-out timber can be used to create faux planks for your ceiling. Salvage unique finds such as typewriter tables and oversized gears and turn it into something useful or decorative.
7. Mix and match new items with rustic elements.
Picking distressed and worn-out items truly adds beauty and interest to an industrial designed space, but you can still achieve a modern look by matching them with your shiny and new pieces of furniture. For instance, you can modernize a dining space that has brick walls and plain tiles by making use of brightly-colored chairs with steel legs. A kitchen with modern and minimal cabinetry plus stainless steel appliances would match with beamed ceiling and brick walls, creating an interesting industrial effect.
8. Incorporate raw textiles.
When it comes to textile options, the industrial décor gives us limited choices. Avoid those that are chic and vibrant, and those that have distinct geometrical patterns. Use those that are either faded, dark, distressed, or made of natural materials such as jute and rattan. A den or family area can be made comfier with textured solid or ethnic-styled rugs. Sofas and chairs are often finished with leather. But if you don’t like leather, you may opt for linen-upholstered ones.
9. Make a space feel welcoming with the use of accessories.
Soften the edgy feel of your industrial styled home by putting green, healthy plants as corner accessories; basic and neutral rugs for your floor; as well as simple, nature-inspired artworks for your wall. The key is to choose muted colors so as not to steal the attention from the architectural features and raw materials.
10. Use hanging lighting.
Like we said earlier, dangling and pendant style lightings are common in industrial styles. Usually, these fixtures are made of metal. To create a statement, choose lights that are big on scale or are supersized. You can also choose retro ceiling hanging lamps in white or black. Or, you may use those that look like it has been salvaged from a warehouse, like those made battered steel with dashes of patina.
11. Maximize use of windows.
Old warehouses converted into homes have huge windows, so if you want to achieve the industrial look, install some big, plain, grid-like windows framed in black or brown metal. The size of the windows also allows for more light to come in to avoid making your home feel unwelcoming and stark. For privacy, you may consider a frosted treatment or film, but don’t make use of curtains and blinds because it won’t match the industrial style’s rigid appeal.
12. Decorate with edgy art.
Giant abstract artwork, black-and-white graffiti and old road signs – these look great in an industrial interior. Most probably, those that would look awkward in a dainty cottage or a traditional home may suit an industrial interior. Add some swag by mounting unlikely objects. Instead of hooks, hang your towels on a mounted faucet handle; and instead of a painting, hang an antique pulley wheel on your living area as a wall centerpiece.
Make your house feel cooler and more unique by incorporating industrial styles and decorations. If you like recycled furniture, hate plush and dainty things, and feel more at home with an inner city warehouse vibe, then you’ll surely love this design style.