Interior Design and You: Industrial Style | Blog Post #29
An industrial style interior design blends elements of exposed brickwork, steel, and wood to achieve a balance between deliberate engineering and raw organics. In today’s guide, we’ll be exploring how you can get started on your own industrial-themed home with no muss and no fuss.
Industrial Style and Art
The industrial style does not hail from any one art movement, but if we had to categorise it, the revivalist movement may do. Revivalism in architecture involves designs that deliberately echo the style of a previous architectural era. In the context of the industrial style, it would be modern residences deliberately including elements of an asynchronistic industrial setting.
Industrial Style and Interior Design
But we’re not saying that the style was done entirely for aesthetics – it had real practical roots too! The industrial style emerged in the early 2000s when industrial areas in developed countries were shut down as low-tier to mid-tier manufacturing got outsourced to developing countries. These industrial areas were then converted for residential purposes. Many of the new residents, deciding that complete reconstruction was a hassle, simply stuck with the existing infrastructure and built their lives around it.
Carpets and polished wood brought in by residents lay amidst the old chimneys, steel shutters, and raw brick walls of the factory or warehouse the place once was. Industrial style thus found its foothold and emerged as a deliberate interior design theme on its own. So how would you go about transforming your unassuming home into a hearty, raw industrial-styled one?
Industrial décor lies on a spectrum between raw and rugged steampunk and a more modern and chic look. On the steampunk end, expect giant cogs, chimneys, copper and steel pipes or decorative valves. The modern look is more polished, with burnished steel lamps, or steel and glass shelves and tables.
The first step is recognising the dominance of earth-tones or rustic colours. You’ll be employing colours like brown, grey, beige, maybe even dark greens. This colour scheme should guide your choice in furniture and décor, but some pieces will fall in place naturally since much of your furniture – like tables, chairs and sofas – will consist of leather and wood.
Exposed steel legs on coffee tables or chairs is a plus. You may even try more exotic materials like reinforced concrete for a full-slab coffee table or a counter between the kitchen and living room. We recommend an epoxy finish on your counter or coffee table, since raw wood or concrete surfaces don’t play nice with oily or wet messes.
You may want a rug to pull your living room together. For an industrial style, it’s easier to understand what NOT to get, rather than a specific rug. Avoid rugs that are bright and colourful, or have sharp geometric patterns. Try to go for something faded, distressed, and a darker or washed-out colour.
Lighting is a big part of any industrial style interior. You can go to an extreme with heavily-ornamented vintage lamps, or a more modern option like a simple brushed steel lamp. Ceiling lamps can include recessed dimmer lights or dangling exposed filament bulbs.
If you can get it, a raw brick wall is almost a must in an industrial style bedroom. Bedside lamps can be wall-mounted for best use of your space, and maybe even installed into wall recesses. You will want to go for warm light tones and dimmer lights.
For bedframes, you have a choice of plain dark steel, wood, or maybe darker coloured fabric. Bedside tables should be wood in earth or dark tones, or dark metal. Shelves are a wonderful addition to any bedroom, but you’ve to mind that the colour of the wood (or metal, if you’re so inclined) matches your floors and walls.
Your flooring can either complement or contrast your wall. With brick walls, aim for a wood floor with a different tone so they don’t blend into one. For contrast, you may try pale pickled wood that lets the red of your brick wall stand out. If you’ve gone with a wooden wall texture, most floorings are fine – just avoid matching tones.
Again, brick walls (if you can). Your counters should be wood or bare-bones steel, while sinks, tubs, and toilet cisterns can be porcelain. Glass sinks are a good way to mix things up, with chrome or copper-coloured faucets. Mount a frameless mirror, and maybe a cabinet behind said mirror, and you’re almost good to go.
Your traditional options for floors can go from wood to dark-coloured ceramic tiles. However, we strongly recommend an epoxy floor here, especially if you’re going for a raw concrete look and feel, since epoxy holds up to the damp of a bathroom far better than either wood or porous ceramic.
An industrial style kitchen is one of the easier parts. Since it’s often an extension of the living room, you could let the features of the living room bleed over. Otherwise, you could go with a contrast, starting with your floor. If your living room has a hardwood floor, you could go with a raw concrete feel for your kitchen’s, possibly epoxy.
It’s incredibly gratifying to see your industrial style home evolve from a barebones structure to a more personal, gritty feel. We hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s interior design piece. For more on other design styles, head over to our official blog!
Hard Work and True Grit
Getting an industrial style is hard work, almost like working in an actual factory. One of your biggest challenges is sourcing for décor and parts that match your desired feel, but if you’ve a general idea of what level of industrial style you like, it’s perfectly alright to get the hard elements – like floors, walls, shelves and counters – in first, then pick up the rest piecemeal.
Like the bathroom, we recommend using a coating like epoxy for your kitchen floors and counters to avoid the grime build up with other porous materials like wood or raw stone.
Kitchen counters can be solid, raw brick textured slabs, but you’d lose out on storage space. Wood is a sensible option, similar to most kitchens, but make sure you avoid bright colours unless you’re going for a contrasting accent. Wall shelves lit by a rack of spotlights could hold herbs, spices, and utensils. Your kitchen hood could have a vintage look with a traditional steel hood instead of a modern, compact one.