Rising to popularity with the trend for converting old factories into upscale apartments, industrial design delivers sophistication with an edge. What draws many people to this pared-down, utilitarian style is its honesty and boldness. Features that other design styles might try to disguise, like exposed ducts and pipes, brick and cinderblock walls, or unfinished materials, industrial homes put on display. Still, you don’t have to live in a converted warehouse to achieve this blend of form and function. When you follow a few simple tips, industrial decor is attainable in any home.
Pick Neutral Colors
Because industrial homes take their inspiration from functional factory spaces, the traditional color palette tends to be neutral without many pops of bright color. Hues that would naturally occur in wood, metal, and leather are good choices, with cool colors, especially grays and whites, being preferred. To add some variety while keeping within the industrial aesthetic, choose warm hues of rust, brick, sand, or moss for accessories and accents.
Select Quality Raw Materials
Nothing says industrial like concrete, metal, and natural wood. Many decorators choose to incorporate salvaged or repurposed machinery, recycled pallets, or antique fixtures into their designs to add authenticity and history. In fact, raw-edged materials associated with manufacturing are one of the main features that separate industrial style from sleeker, more finished modern decor. Where a modern home might feature sparkling glass tables and glossy molded plastic chairs, a scarred wooden farmhouse table surrounded by aluminum chairs has a more industrial feel.
When trying to create this style at home, many people worry that cinderblock and rusted iron just won’t translate into a space that feels cozy and inviting. We want our furniture to look factory-inspired, not to feel like sitting on it is actual work. The solution is to pick your salvaged finds wisely. Many people use unfinished or antique pieces as decorations or for furniture that doesn’t need to be comfortable. Pallet coffee tables, metal lockers, and stainless steel countertops are staples of industrial design that look great while remaining functional. If you do want to incorporate a wrought-iron bench, concrete floor, or lightly padded leather couch, accessorize with plenty of pillows, rugs, and blankets.
Choose Lighting Fixtures That Could Be From A Warehouse
The easiest way to give your space an instant hit of industrial chic is to choose functional but fashionable lighting. Metal pendant lights, table lamps with wire cage shades, adjustable metal desk lamps, and iron or copper floor lamps are all popular finds, especially when fitted with vintage-style Edison bulbs. Picking pieces that showcase the engineering and architectural side of industrial design is a smart way to add drama and sophistication to otherwise simple decor and unfinished materials.
Since many homes in this style are renovated warehouses, large and open rooms are a common lighting challenge. To keep these spaces from seeming too dark or severe, place lighting at multiple levels throughout the room. Use ceiling-mounted globe lights or hanging pendants to illuminate large areas. Strong desk or floor lamps provides more concentrated light to make reading or studying easier. To add a warm glow, finish off the room with accent lights from small table lamps to novelty lanterns. Your industrial room will be more inviting and practical if all three types of lighting are present.
Keep It Minimal
Industrial design is about admiring the beauty of things that work, so function is just as important as aesthetics when picking out furniture and accessories. Decor in this style generally doesn’t have many extra frills or elements that serve no purpose, preferring to cut out clutter for a more streamlined look. To stick to this philosophy, try decorating with functional items like vintage metal fans, mirrors with plenty of patina, or wooden crates for extra magazine and blanket storage. You can also turn items you’ll need to store anyway into display pieces with open shelving. Industrial metal bookcases or floating wooden wall shelves are both practical space savers and striking accents.
Industrial on a Budget
Although many industrial homes have an upscale look, the beauty of this style is that it doesn’t have to break the bank. Some of the most interesting pieces can be picked up for a few dollars at a flea market or even made yourself from materials available at any hardware store. For the items you want to buy, make sure to shop around online to find the best deals. Many stores carry industrial collections including true antiques and vintage-style items at a reasonable price. Consider using a local sales finder, like the one available at Furniture.com, to locate the best prices on industrial decor in your area.