Industrial style decor has become increasingly popular in recent years. The rugged, raw, and edgy aesthetic can transform any space into one with grit and character. If you’re drawn to exposed brick, distressed wood, galvanized metal, and factory-chic, then embracing the industrial style is for you. We’ve put together this comprehensive guide on everything you need to know to nail the industrial look in your home or office.

What is Industrial Style Interior Design?

Industrial interior design pulls inspiration from turn-of-the-century factories, warehouses, and other industrial buildings. It highlights the skeleton of a space by exposing pipes, vents, brickwork, and wood beams. This type of decor embraces imperfections and celebrates the weathered, well-worn, and industrial aspects of interiors.

The industrial style is all about mixing raw, industrial elements with vintage and modern pieces. Think combining a distressed leather sofa with a rugged metal coffee table and charming Edison bulb pendant lights. The fusion of old and new, rugged and refined is the essence of industrial style.

Key Elements of Industrial Style Decor

There are several key components that sum up the industrial decor aesthetic. Keep these elements in mind when designing an industrial-chic space:

Exposed Brick

Exposing original brickwork and masonry is a quintessential part of achieving the industrial look. Brick provides texture and adds to the rugged, raw ambiance. Look for ways to highlight existing brick walls or consider faux brick panels and wallpaper if exposing real brick isn’t an option.

Distressed Wood

Wood with chips, scratches, stains, and other signs of wear adds character and charm to industrial spaces. Distressed wood can be integrated as flooring, furniture, ceiling beams, and other accents. Opt for lighter stains to complement the worn, rustic look.

Metal Accents

Metals like wrought iron, galvanized steel, and stainless steel emphasizing the urban, machine-driven industrial aesthetic. Use metal for lighting fixtures, furniture, stairs, railings, hardware and other details. Look for salvaged pieces or new items made from repurposed materials.

Exposed Ductwork and Piping

Leaving structural elements like ducts, vents, pipes, and conduits exposed highlights the practical side of industrial design. If these features aren’t built-in, faux finishes can mimic the look of exposed utilities. Copper and galvanized steel work well for an authentic vibe.

Vintage-Inspired Lighting

Edison bulb lighting sets the mood in industrial spaces. Vintage-style filament bulbs, edison pendants, and retro lamp designs shine in industrial interiors. Black and brass metallic fixtures keep the ambiance edgy and sleek.

Minimalist Style

Industrial decor embraces a minimalist, less is more attitude. Keep furniture clean-lined and decor simple to let the architecture and textural elements shine. Add pops of color and warmth through rugs, pillows, and other accessories.

The History of Industrial Interior Design

The industrial style grew out of necessity – transforming old factories and warehouses into living spaces in New York City in the 60s and 70s. Converting these commercial buildings into apartments was cheaper than building new residential high-rises at the time.

Exposed brick, ductwork, and original wood beams weren’t design choices in these adapted industrial spaces – they were fundamental parts of the structure. While at first, the raw look was merely practical, it eventually became a desirable aesthetic.

By the 90s, the industrial look had expanded beyond NYC converted lofts to homes and businesses seeking an edgy, urban vibe. Today, industrial inspires everything from luxury hotels and restaurants to condos and private residences. The adaptable style continues to evolve while staying true to its ruggedly chic roots.

Designing an Industrial Living Room

The living room is a great place to introduce industrial edge. When planning an industrial styled living space focus on a few key moves:

Expose the Bones

Look for ways to highlight pipes, beams, brick, and other structural elements in your living room. Consider stripping back drywall to expose the wall’s skeleton.

Add Metal Accents

Introduce metal through lighting fixtures, furniture legs, stairs, railings, or fireplace tools. Look for a blend of polished metals like brass and raw iron and steel pieces.

Choose Distressed Wood Furniture

Bring in wood furnishings with nicks, markings, stains and a weathered patina. Favor lighter stains over dark for a more rugged look.

Incorporate Vintage Touches

Add industrial character through salvaged signs, repurposed shipping crates, and antiqued storage containers. Area rugs and pillows made from old grain sacks also fit the vintage industrial aesthetic.

Focus on Function

Opt for clean-lined furniture in your industrial living room. Prioritize pieces designed for practicality and purpose over ornate decor. Sectionals, benches, and ottomans tend to work better than delicate furnishings.

Creating an Industrial-Chic Bedroom

The key to pulling off an industrial bedroom is finding the right balance between edgy and cozy. Follow these tips for nailing the industrial bedroom vibe:

Spotlight the Walls

Take advantage of original brickwork or add weathered wood panels for texture. If your walls are drywall, consider a brick or concrete faux finish or wallpaper.

Add Pops of Color

Balance out raw, neutral walls with bright bedding, rugs, curtains, and art. Bold hues like red, yellow, and teal complement industrial’s moody palette.

Incorporate Metal Furniture

Bring in metal nightstands, side tables, beds, and lighting for urban edge. Powder-coated steel in black, white, or silver has an industrial loft look.

Use Rug Layers

Rugs add warmth and softness to hardwood or concrete floors. Layer natural fiber area rugs for extra coziness.

Display Vintage Finds

Fill your industrial bedroom with antique signs, furnishings, and accessories. Distressed wood crates and boxes work great for stacking books and displaying trinkets.

Designing an Industrial-Style Kitchen

The kitchen is a place where industrial style can really shine. When planning an industrial kitchen, focus on these elements:

Exposed Beams and Ductwork

Uncovered ceilings show off pipes, vents, wiring, and beams, putting the kitchen’s skeleton on display.

Stainless Steel Appliances

Sleek stainless steel appliances complement industrial kitchens. Focus on pro-style ranges, oversized fridge/freezers, and dishwasher and microwaves with handle-free fronts.

Galvanized Metal Surfaces

Use galvanized metal for countertops, backsplashes, islands, and even sink basins. The matte gunmetal finish has an authentically worn industrial look.

Factory-Style Lighting

Vintage pendants, edison bulbs, and retro-inspired fixtures bring character to industrial kitchens. Go for black, brass, galvanized or nickel tones.

Unfinished Wood Shelving

Rough-sawn reclaimed wood or wall-mounted pipe shelving are fitting choices for industrial kitchen storage. Leave wood naturally distressed for the working warehouse aesthetic.

Industrial Bathroom Ideas

The ultra-sleek industrial look can upgrade even the most basic bathroom. When going for an industrial bathroom design, focus on these strategies:

Spotlight Built-In Materials

Expose original tilework, concrete, brick, and other architectural elements to highlight the room’s bones.

Add Metal Fixtures

Bring in metal through cast iron or enameled steel bathtubs, stainless showers, brass faucets, and silver lighting. Aged metal patinas work especially well.

Incorporate Concrete and Wood

Concrete counters and floors paired with aged wood vanities create an on-trend industrial look. Favor white concrete and light wood tones to keep things airy.

Use Vintage-Inspired Accessories

Roll up towels in old whiskey barrels or galvanized metal buckets for an industrial touch. propagated plants in worn planters also enhance the vintage vibe.

Opt for Matte Black Plumbing

Swap out polished chrome fixtures for matte black. From rainshowers to sink hardware, black piping has an edgy, industrial warehouse look.

Tips for Small Industrial Spaces

Just because your space is on the smaller side doesn’t mean you can’t add big industrial style. Use these pointers when designing a small industrial area:

  • Stick with clean lines and multi-functional furnishings to avoid clutter.
  • Look up instead of out – expose overhead pipes and structural elements.
  • Visually expand boundaries by eliminating room dividers and opening sightlines.
  • Add oversized lighting, like extending pendant lamps, to draw eyes upwards.
  • Utilize reflective surfaces such as polished concrete floors to enhance light.
  • Create vertical storage with wall-mounted shelving and floor-to-ceiling cabinetry.
  • Scale-down furniture proportions – nesting tables, narrow console tables, and compact sectionals maximize space.
  • Make bold color choices – darker paint colors downplay boundaries.

With smart, space-savvy design choices you can still achieve the full-scale industrial aesthetic in cozy quarters.

Common Questions about Industrial Design

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about creating and living with industrial decor:

Is industrial decor expensive?

Industrial design can be budget-friendly. Sourcing vintage and salvaged materials cuts costs. And exposed brick, concrete, and metal come built-in to many industrial buildings. Focus budget on statement pieces and use thrifted, DIY, and minimalist pieces to fill out the space.

Does industrial decor work in warm climates?

Yes, you can absolutely embrace the industrial look in warmer regions. Just opt for lighter color palettes and natural materials to keep things airy. Think white washed woods, light concrete, metal finishes in silver or nickel, and sun-drenched paint colors.

Is the industrial look dated?

Industrial style has been popular for decades and continues to evolve and feel fresh. The mix of vintage and modern makes industrial decor stand the test of time. To keep your space current focus on clean-lines, warm metals like brass and gold, and plants.

How do I make industrial decor cozy?

The key to ensuring industrial spaces feel inviting is layering in comfort. Wool rugs, cozy textiles, curtains, and plants all add softness. Have designated lounging areas with deep seating sofas or chairs. Use lighting to create a moody, intimate ambiance during downtime.

How do I pick industrial lighting?

From edison bulbs to retro factory pendants, vintage-style lighting sets the industrial mood. Stick with filament bulbs, black fixtures, visible sockets, clear glass shades, and brass or nickel metals. Mix single statement pendants with rows of matching utilitarian lights.

Tying It All Together

Industrial style is all about revealing a space’s raw bones and infusing vintage character. With the right balance of materials and furnishings, you can create a home or office that feels both rugged and refined. Remember, not every aspect needs to scream industrial. By thoughtfully mixing distressed and sleek pieces you can avoid an interior that feels too cold or overly rustic.

The industrial look provides the perfect canvas to add personality. The more you layer in meaning with cherished finds, plants, artwork, and decor, the more your unique story will shine through. By embracing both high-tech and handmade, your industrial space will feel curated, current, and completely you.