One of the most popular decor styles today is not just modern design but industrial interior design. Although very distinct, it’s actually a very simple and easy look to achieve. All you need to do is be consistent and follow our six key styling rules. Yes, just six guidelines, it’s so effortless – this is why industrial design is growing in popularity! Unlike other interior decor styles, industrial interior design is not limited to age, gender or budget. It’s not even restricted by use. Both commercial and residential buildings alike use this stylish decor.
Industrial interior design history
The interior design style started in the 1970s with the conversion of old factories and warehouses into living spaces. As opposed to modern or traditional styles of interior design, industrial interior design actually makes a point of showing off the ‘ugly’ parts of a building.
This is why in industrial interior design, we have a style which incorporates the form and function of buildings with everyday living.
Industrial interior design concepts
Industrial interior design follows a simple rule: make the original elements of the building the central theme.
This means exposed brick, metal and piping are not covered under wallpaper but become the main focus of the room. They get transformed from their original function to make everyday living much easier in awkward spaces.
Windows in loft apartments or converted warehouses are either floor-to-ceiling or are extremely wide, which allows for plenty of natural light. If this is limited in a small apartment then make sure you invest in lamps and lights to create the feeling of space.
Furnishings made of natural fibres and colours create a striking contrast against the building’s architectural features. This is where the unique style of industrial interior design differs to other decors.
1. Industrial interior design colours
Industrial interior design colours are warm, neutral and rustic. They are earthy and muted, which is carried throughout the style into the decor. It is common to see one or two boldly coloured accent pieces in an industrial interior design living room, but these are limited. When they are used it’s to add warmth against ‘cold’ materials, like concrete. So, bold oranges, dark reds and warm yellows are colours you can mix into an industrial interior design living room.
Reds and browns create a warmth to this living room, which is consistent throughout. Even the lights, which are the brightest part of the room, have a soft glow.
Although not common in every industrial interior design living room, bold colours can really work for this style, if they are used sparingly and if they’re warm. Any deep orange, yellow or red works well in the industrial interior design style because these create contrast against the ‘cool’ materials of the building.
In this living room, we see just the use of one bright colour: orange. It lifts the coldness of the concrete walls and provides a focal point, which is the inset fireplace. Very creative, yet simple!
2. Industrial interior design uses the walls and metal structures as part of the style
One of the main defining features of industrial interior design is the very strong use of wooden beams, exposed brick walls and metal pipes. No other interior decor uses the building’s architectural characteristics as actual design elements, so it’s truly unique. Another great thing is that all buildings are different, so the beams, pipes and walls can be used in anyway you want.
This beautiful mezzanine uses soft bronze coloured piping as a design feature, but also doubles as a railing to make this upper level extension possible. It’s already part of the building so utilizing these pipes is not only free but safe!
This gorgeous warehouse conversion features great use of the original beams with a large hanging shelf. Suspended from the ceiling beams, this creates more display space for decorative items and also makes this industrial interior design living room more cosy by reducing the vertical space.
But, do you have a small apartment? Need to create more space not less? You can utilise other piping works as shelving to tuck your knick knacks away in style. Just be creative!
This bookshelf doubles up as a lamp. These are added features and not original to the building, so it’s still possible for you to create industrial interior design in a small modern apartment.
Exposed brick work adds texture to any room and provides so much character. Because of its deep, rustic colour, red brick is not only calming and warm, but is the perfect blank canvas. You can add a few artworks to the walls, or nothing at all. Industrial interior design walls of exposed brick are perfect feature walls in themselves.
3. Industrial interior design flooring is made of hard surfaces
Hard flooring are key in industrial interior design. Usually complemented with a rug of natural fibres, but you will never find carpet as part of this decor. Floors for converted warehouse apartments will always be either polished concrete, wooden floorboards or stone.
This cosy bedroom uses furniture sparingly. This reduces clutter but also makes the books both decorative and functional items. With more space the wooden flooring becomes a feature in itself, especially in contrast with the classic metal barrel side table. Wood and metal are definitely best friends in industrial interior design!
This polished concrete flooring is clean and smooth but the coolness of it is offset with this textured grey rug. Hard, cold flooring is a definite architectural feature of industrial interior design, which is why leather couches are a must-have.
If you don’t live in a converted warehouse apartment you can still get the hard flooring look. Stone floor tiles are widely available in a variety of greys. These are easy to clean but are also textured. Install in any kitchen to achieve that cool, rustic look.
4. Industrial interior design furniture is unique
Wood and metal mixed together is the typical industrial interior design look. A lot of furniture from this style is upcycled from other original pieces with extra modifications added. You can even make some of these yourself. Get creative!
Don’t forget to mix in woven or natural materials, like soft throws and cushions, for contrast. Textured accents are key to achieving comfort as there’s a lot of hard surfaces in industrial interior design.
The cold flooring of this warehouse apartment has been reduced with the addition of the soft rug, as well as metal and wood drawers.
What a beautiful and classic combination! Soft brown leather couch with a variety of soft textured cushions. Against the black metal trunks and polished concrete flooring, these natural fabrics inject a stylish but homely feel.
5. Industrial interior design lights
Free standing metal floor lamps are a staple for any industrial interior design living room. Also, if you have the space then pendant bulbs are an absolute must-have!
This copper lampshade injects some warmth and colour to this industrial interior design living room. Not every apartment has large windows, so then it’s even more important to make sure that you invest in a good variety of lights as industrial interior design furniture can be quite dark with its rustic colours and mix of metal and wood.
These lights vary from simple warm glow edison bulbs to highly designed cage lights. The great thing about these is that no matter the size of your home, there’s a bulb shape for every large or small industrial interior design living room.
Because this type of decor is so simple and free of clutter, pendant lamps can be thrown over any hanging hook. It’s so effortless to have such a stylish lightsource.
But if you’re wanting industrial interior design ideas for small apartments then why not consider creating one of these lights, which are flat against the wall and take up minimal room.
6. Show off mechanical features
We’ve seen that industrial interior design has some very unique pieces of furniture. A lot of it is upcycled from other original items and combined with something slightly mechanical. This is where the industrial features are really showcased as it’s something you won’t find in other styles of interior design or decorating. Take a look at these weird and wonderful accessories, suitable for any industrial interior design living room.
Edison bulbs encased in old glass jars, suspended from a metal pulley. There’s so much going on here, yet it’s such a simple decorative idea, that it works well. The light is given space, both by being suspended, and within the jars. This balances with the heavy metal pulley hooked to the iron chain.
This industrial interior design home office shows off quirky cogs and clocks, which are so typical of this style.
Cogs and machinery are such a defining feature of the industrial interior design style. This small apartment has a dining table which also doubles up as its office space. Here, they’ve used the plain backdrop of the multipurpose room to be a mechanical feature wall!
Where to find the best, unique interior design furnishings
Check out our iDoo interior design partners for high quality furniture and home decorations. From art to textiles, they’ve got you covered!
Liked this article? Check out these trending topics: