Interior design styles: the industrial style and what it can do for your home

By Editor Nicole , Apr 14, 2021
Interior design styles: the industrial style and what it can do for your home

Interior design is about more than aesthetics and making your home look pretty. When it’s done well, interior design can also support your lifestyle and make little things a little more convenient from day to day. Today, we’re here to talk about the industrial style of interior design – the trademarks, the aesthetics, as well as the good and the bad it can do for your home.


Industrial interior design: trademarks and early influences

The industrial style is a popular icon in modern interior design, but it actually has its roots in old factories and warehouses. As you probably know, factories often needed to maximise efficiency and function, so their interiors were modelled for safety, necessity, and ease of mobility. And when these disused factories were eventually converted to living quarters, many of their features were preserved to give us the industrial style of interior design.

That’s why some of the key trademarks of an industrial style include:

Open floor plans


Industrial-style homes often leave plenty of open floor space, with minimal clutter and frills. There are usually very little overlapping shapes – everything has its own space to make it easier to function and move around in the area in an orderly fashion. Top the space off with clean and neat lines or curves to maximise the feel of industrial efficiency.

Raw, textured finishes


A lot of the charm of the industrial style comes from its willingness to embrace its raw materials. That’s why industrial-themed homes often feature weathered or reclaimed wood and cement screed, which creates the strangely enchanting atmosphere in living room you see above. Other common signatures you’ll see in industrial living spaces are wrought iron frames, exposed brick, textured concrete, stainless steel, glass, chrome, and other metals. All these contribute to the essence of the industrial style of design – an authentic, unpolished aura without frills.

To find out more about the materials used in industrial interior design, click here!

Exposed piping


In addition to embracing the raw materials that were used to create the furniture and the building, the industrial style also celebrates architectural elements that most other styles hide. That’s why exposed piping is a key fixture of industrial-style homes.

Industrial lighting


Industrial light fixtures are also unique from any other interior design style. Forget recessed lighting, cove lighting, and any of the other more modern light fixture styles. Instead, industrial homes tend to opt for simple Edison-style light bubs for that retro-chic vintage look.

As charming as these traditional light fixtures are, there are also usually turned off during the day. That’s because industrial styles always leave plenty of room for natural light to stream in through the windows. Bare windows with black metal frames are the classic trademark of the industrial style, but these days, many homeowners prefer to opt for simple blinds to give them more control over the ambient lighting.

Neutral colours


The industrial design pretty much adopts a “no frills” approach to interior décor, so it’s no surprise that most industrial style homes feature neutral or taupe colour palettes, with little to no bold or bright colours. This keeps the aesthetic clean and efficient. That’s not to say you can’t have fun with your colours, though! In order to make your home more welcoming, try not to go full on “black, white, and grey”. Instead, layer neutrals on top of one another – earthy brown usually works great as an accent.

Industrial interior design: aesthetic effects

The industrial style is special in interior design – it’s aesthetic is simple, raw, and sometimes even unfinished, yet somehow, it contains an undeniable depth of charm, personality, and character. Homes that really capture the essence of the industrial style will radiate functionality and ruggedness from every room, and yet still appear laid back and welcoming.

One of the most refreshing things about the industrial design is that it can somehow make old-fashioned design elements look modern and fresh again. Since the fact is that we now live in modern times, there will undoubtedly be modern fixtures in our home – whether it’s a flat screen TV or a gas stove. These create a beautiful juxtaposition with the more vintage industrial elements (e.g. the Edison bulb-style of lighting and the exposed piping), which means that design elements from many periods can find their place in an industrial-themed home, whether it is modern, vintage, or rustic.

Industrial interior design: the good and bad it can do for a home

Where your lifestyle is concerned, the main advantages of an industrial-themed home is that the style facilitates mobility and function. So even though it’s a beautiful style that anyone could choose, it might be especially well-suited to those who place a high emphasis on efficiency and order in their daily life, or those who have many people in the home with tight schedules. Because of the extremely low level of clutter, keeping things organised and neat is a must in the industrial style. This makes the style perfect for those who have strong organisational skills, and/or a well-established daily routine.

But of course, the industrial style is not for everyone. One common complaint against the industrial style is that without the right balance, it can make a home come off as cold and unwelcoming. And it’s true – it can be difficult to achieve this balance. You might also want to steer clear of this style if you love bold colours and accents, or if a lot of your furniture falls under this category.

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