Industrial design is known for its rugged, utilitarian aesthetic. Exposed brick, concrete floors, galvanized metal – these are the hallmarks of the industrial look. But this week’s featured kitchen shows the softer side of industrial style. With warm wood tones, natural materials, and elegant detailing, this kitchen bridges the gap between industrial and traditional design.

Overview of the Industrial Design Style

Before we dive into this week’s kitchen, let’s review some key characteristics of industrial interior design:

  • Exposed structural elements – This includes exposed brick, ductwork, pipes, and wooden beams. Industrial designers highlight the bones of a space rather than covering them up.
  • Neutral color palette – Grays, blacks, whites, and earth tones create a muted, neutral backdrop. Pops of color come from accessories or accent walls.
  • Distressed and worn finishes – Industrial spaces feature chipped paint, rough wood, scratched metal, and other imperfections that add to the lived-in, weathered look.
  • Function over form – Practical furnishings like metal stools and wooden worktables emphasize utility in an industrial space. Comfort takes a backseat to purpose.
  • Vintage and salvaged materials – Old machinery, factory carts, and other repurposed items reinforce the industrial heritage.
  • Large-scale lighting – Exposed ceiling pipes, hanging bulbs, and oversized lamps provide dramatic, no-frills illumination.
  • Minimal ornamentation – You won’t find intricate moldings or lavish furnishings in an industrial space. The structural elements and raw materials take center stage.

Blending Industrial with Traditional Elements

This week’s kitchen retains some classic industrial features – a neutral color scheme, exposed brick wall, and factory-style pendant lighting. But it also incorporates natural wood, ornate legs, and other traditional accents for a softer look. Here are some specific ways the designer blended these two styles:

Warm Wood Tones

The medium-toned wood floors and rustic dining table bring warmth to the sleek stainless steel and exposed brick bones of the space. Wood softens industrial’s hard edges.

Elegant Table Base

The metal Tolix-style stools fit the industrial aesthetic, but the dining table base has an elegant, almost baroque feel with its curved legs. This ornate traditional detail contrasts with the tabletop’s rustic wood.

Natural Materials

Nature-inspired materials like the marble backsplash, granite countertops, and wood cutting boards add softness and texture to balance the room’s rigid surfaces.

Intricate Molding

Crown molding trimmed in a coordinating wood grain dresses up the kitchen’s high ceilings. This ornamentation makes the space feel more inviting than stark industrial design normally feels.

Woven Pendant Shades

The 3 globe pendants have an industrial shape, but the off-white woven fabric shades give them a softer, more organic look than bare bulbs. It’s an industrial lighting fixture with traditional materials.

Vintage-Inspired Hardware

The drawer pulls and faucets have a vintage design that references industrial aesthetics but with the warmth of bronze rather than cool stainless steel. Weathered metals bridge industrial and traditional styles.

Benefits of Blending Industrial and Traditional Styles

When industrial and traditional designs meet in one kitchen, the benefits include:

  • A space with character and depth – the blended look tells a story
  • The ability to highlight historic architectural elements while softening the overall aesthetic
  • A versatile space fitting casual gatherings and more formal occasions
  • Traditional coziness and comfort with an edge of industrial cool
  • Rugged, durable materials paired with ornate accents and natural textures
  • A unique, eclectic style that draws from two iconic design eras – industrial and traditional

The key is striking the right balance between the two aesthetics. This week’s kitchen skillfully brings in enough traditional details to soften the industrial vibe without overpowering it. The result is the best of both worlds – a space with timeless, inclusive appeal.

Q&A About Blending Industrial and Traditional Kitchen Designs

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about incorporating traditional elements into industrial kitchen designs:

How do you add warmth to an industrial kitchen?

Use wood finishes for floors, tables, and cabinets. Incorporate natural stone like marble. Add woven, textural fabrics. Use vintage-style lighting fixtures. Bring in greenery with plants. Paint one wall an accent color.

What are some traditional materials that work in industrial kitchens?

Wood, marble, granite, woven textiles, ceramic tiles, wallpaper, brass and bronze metals, glass pendant lights, and oxidized metals can soften the industrial aesthetic.

Should all the finishes be distressed in an industrial kitchen?

Not necessarily. Consider combining some worn, salvaged finishes like a brick wall or rustic wood table with sleek new stainless steel appliances and factory carts. This blend of old and new adds depth.

What traditional kitchen island designs suit an industrial space?

Opt for an ornate antique-inspired island base paired with a thick wood top or marble top. Or try a streamlined island on casters with a natural edge wood top for contrast.

What kind of seating works in both traditional and industrial kitchens?

Benches, leather-seated stools, and woven chairs can fit both aesthetics. Barstools with either wood seats or metal seats also bridge traditional and industrial styles well.

How can you make an industrial kitchen feel welcoming?

Incorporate textiles like curtains, table linens, and accent pillows. Add artwork for visual warmth. Style the space with greenery and vignette-like accessorizing. Use an accent color like navy blue on the walls. Paint or replace the ceiling with wood.

Designing Your Own Soft Industrial Kitchen

If you want to strike that perfect blend of industrial edge and traditional warmth in your own kitchen renovation, keep these tips in mind:

Highlight architectural interest – Keep any original beams, pipes, brick walls, or unique structural elements and make them a focal point. Consider painting them an accent color so they really stand out.

Choose a soothing natural material palette – For cabinetry, counters, floors, and walls, select materials like wood, stone, cement, and oxidized metals. Soft, tactile materials balance sleek ones.

Incorporate vintage elements – The older and more weathered, the better. Scour flea markets for antique factory carts, filament bulb lighting, worn cabinet hardware, and the like. Vintage items bring that perfect patina.

Add woven textural fabrics – Use textiles like curtains, tablecloths, chair cushions, and rugs to soften the look visually and physically. Linen, wool, cotton, and jute fit well with industrial.

Use an accent color strategically – Paint one wall a bold color or choose bright blue, green, or red for your kitchen island base. Pops of color liven up neutral palettes.

Mix matte and glossy surfaces – Try combining matte finishes like chalkboard paint walls with glossy surfaces like subway tile and polished concrete floors. Varied textures provide visual interest.

Incorporate ornate accents – Look for opportunities to bring in traditional decorative detailing. Options include framed mirrors, crown molding, glass cabinet doors, and brass hardware.

Layer greenery and lighting – Potted herb gardens, hanging plants, and fresh flowers paired with dramatic pendant lights energize industrial spaces in a natural way.

Don’t hide all the mechanics – Some exposed pipes, ducts, conduits, or electrical elements retain that raw industrial vibe. Just be selective about what you leave uncovered.

With the right blend of materials, colors, textures, furnishings, and decorative accents, you can design a kitchen that brings out the softer side of industrial style.


Industrial kitchen design doesn’t have to be all hard edges and sterile surfaces. With the addition of warm woods, natural materials, ornate accents, and vintage patina, industrial style takes on a softer, more welcoming personality. This week’s kitchen of the week exemplifies how to artfully blend traditional and industrial aesthetics for spaces with timeworn charm yet contemporary functionality. The combination results in kitchens with unmatched character, versatility, and an irresistible sense of home.