With their rugged looks and homage to raw materials, industrial interior design ideas are more popular today than ever – and it’s easy to see why this look is still so coveted.
The industrial decor trend that flourished in the 1970s gained notoriety when it became popular to convert warehouses, factories, and factories into living spaces. These abandoned spaces have been transformed into urban oases.
This is a look that celebrates practicality, imperfections and wear. Materials such as exposed brickwork, concrete and tarnished metals enabled the world’s top interior designers to explore new textures, colors and shapes.
The interior design trend has increased tenfold in the last few decades. Here we explore the best of the industrial decor trend – and how you can use this popular interior design aesthetic effectively and beautifully in your home.
Industrial decorating ideas – how to embrace this popular trend
The industrial look is all about versatility; this gives industrial interiors their unmistakable aesthetics. Therefore, when deciding how to decorate your home, the practicality and simplicity of the pieces you choose should always come first.
When it comes to decorating ideas and furnishings, an industrial interior should be practical and uncomplicated. Clean lines, minimal shapes and strong contrasts are a must, but this simplistic approach doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice comfort or warmth.
High gloss finishes and metal backsplash ideas are turning heads in the industrial decor space, but you don’t have to go for the real deal. Metallic effect porcelain stoneware tiles come in designs with full body glazes that convincingly mimic the luster of real metals.
“A metal-effect tile splashback is the perfect backdrop for a metal-topped range in an industrial-style kitchen,” says Camille Syren, Chef de Projects, La Cornue. “Porcelain stoneware kitchen tile ideas are a resilient choice as they don’t require sealing and are easy to keep clean.”
2. Take an old-meets-new approach to decorating
Classic marble may be centuries old, but this versatile material can feel just as relevant in a contemporary or industrial setting. The clean, modern lines of Piet Boon’s freestanding bathtub for Cocoon, carved from a solid piece of Carrara marble, are a case in point. Shown here on a polished concrete floor against a neutral background, the designer’s signature clean lines truly celebrate the gentle veining of Carrara.
3. Add interest with tonal and textural elements
Industrial and minimalist decor go hand in hand and should be considered together when planning an industrial living room. In the face of busy modern life, homeowners are now more conscious of their furniture choices and strive to strike a balance between streamlined industrialism and luxurious comfort for their living room ideas.
In this apartment, a monochromatic color scheme is a good industrial color choice that requires a certain level of courage as it requires careful editing and a strong design eye.
This type of interior can also appear “flat” if you don’t introduce texture and subtle color variation. But carefully put together, it’s a design-led way to elevate a minimalist living room.
4. Go for distinctive details
Paying attention to the small details when crafting surfaces can have a much bigger impact than you might think, not to mention the daily joy. Instead of standard drain grooves, opt for something a little more unexpected, like this deeply beautiful sunken dish drainer from deVOL. The aged copper finish is already beautiful, but the simple addition of tiny raised domes created by hammering the underside of the copper elevates it beyond the ordinary.
From a practical standpoint, recessed drainers are much more effective at holding and draining water than milled grooves, and help keep air-drying dishes safe.
5. Divide and conquer
A tall, metal-framed screen gives this wet room idea an industrial edge while keeping water off the beautiful marble-topped vanity. Highlighting this dividing point amplifies the design, particularly the mix of fluted and smooth glass. The former adds an element of privacy and the latter lets in maximum light through the window. It’s also a smart idea to place the controls far from the shower head so the water can reach a comfortable temperature before you step inside.
While generally viewed as a necessary evil in Britain, the American approach to cooker hoods has long been more celebratory, with bespoke designs in unusual finishes making strong and defining accents in kitchens across the country. This trend will also be strong, especially in the case of striking metal surfaces.
“Aesthetically, adding a distinctive extractor hood to a kitchen concept is a chance to break up any angular lines of cabinetry and paneling with form and sculpture,” says Bruce Hodgson of Artichoke Ltd. from Somerset Specialty crafts and traditional materials that showcase our handcrafted values whilst nodding to the past.’
7. Create a Wonder Wall
Living wall ideas were once the domain of temporary designer installations. Now, pioneering commercial areas, where carpets of plants adorn the sides of prestigious hotels, shops and office buildings, have become the essential decorative design solution for residential and urban gardens.
Tom Massey Studio collaborated with Tapestry Vertical Gardens to design this living wall, one of two tall walls covered in vertical greenery for the client’s urban garden in London. “These walls give the feeling of enveloping nature,” says lead designer Tom Massey. ‘Here this creates an inviting focal point for the dining area and includes ambient lighting perfect for evening entertainment.’
8. Bring subtle color to an industrial space
Accent colors are complementary shades that often contrast the primary colors used in the kitchen to add drama – just a little. But accent color can also play a quieter, more complementary role, as American interior designer Tamsin Johnson demonstrates in this industrial meets farmhouse kitchen.
In a bolder hue, Gio Ponti’s captivating mid-century pendant light would have drawn too much attention to the sculptural Arabescato marble island below, which is the absolute star of the show. But in delicate light green, the vintage glass faucet plays a balancing role, softening the island’s harsh angles and adding a harmonizing, feminine touch.
9. Build with upcycled materials
A ruined cattle shed might seem like an unlikely starting point for a new home, but architect Will Gamble thought differently and his vision created The Parchment Works for clients who love industrial interiors and sustainable materials.
“Originally, the owners wanted to demolish the former parchment factory,” says Will, “but I convinced them that the ruin could be celebrated through a benevolent intervention.” old walls were inserted. “I exposed the beams of the shed as well as the steelwork in the new parts. The clean lines of the kitchen (above) helped contrast the unevenness of the older structure (above) and create a contemporary intervention in a historical context.’
10. Combine industrial decor with classic furniture
If you don’t want to turn your entire kitchen into an industrial oasis, combine factory-style elements with the classic good looks of traditional kitchen ideas. Here, a neat binding hides the raw edges of this custom cut backsplash while highlighting the rich brass within.
“Creating the backsplash was about exploring the idea of blending in and standing out,” explains kitchen designer Charlie Kingham. “The frame draws attention to the material, making it feel special, but also helps smooth the transition between the bright metal and the classic painted Shaker paneling that surrounds it.
How do I make my room look industrial?
The mainstay of industrial design is no-frills, practical furniture with flat fronts — it’s a sleek look and one that ages incredibly well. In fact, much of what we consider modern design dates from the 1930s. The sleek, handle-less designs that are so typical of modern industrial design today have also been around since the 1960s.
For a while, industrial decor seemed to reach a whole new level. Furniture and kitchen cabinets were pared down and invariably gloss white, but it’s a look that can be too clinical for many. Luckily, the current trend for industrial style and minimalist decor is a much warmer affair. The clean lines and a no-frills finish are still there, but with texture, surface finish and soft colors that add character and are easy to live with. The simple lines are a testament to clever construction, form and craftsmanship, and the latest construction techniques have helped breathe new life into materials that had previously fallen out of favor.