Industrial Style - Why is it so popular?

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

What comes to your mind when you hear the word « industrial »? Does it make you instantly think about huge metallic structures and mass productions? The word might make you think about the sort of establishments that we eventually see along the road while we are driving, but which we do not see in our daily lives. Something raw and edgy, that you never thought about associating with the description of a room at your house.

But « industrial » is also known as an interior design trend that has gained some fame over the last few years. Industrial design is easily achievable because it is meant to look unfinished. You do not have to conceal the building materials, as they are the stars of this style. It can be surprisingly sophisticated and can give an interesting new touch to your house or to your office.

You might ask yourself: but where did it come from? This is why we talked a bit about the meaning of the word « industrial » to begin with. It is inspired by old factories built to last for a long time, erected mostly between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Made of concrete, apparent bricks, and steel, these buildings were meant to comprise more personnel - comfortably - in order to improve work efficiency. As time passed by the industry changed and so did those kinds of buildings. They became firstly obsolete, but designers took some inspiration and rethought those places, transforming them into incredible spaces. The industrial style became then popular and keeps inspiring us nowadays.

Once you learn a bit more about the origin of industrial design, you tend to associate it even more to warehouses and factories, the kind of space composed of huge windows without curtains and exposed bricks. They are indeed characteristic of the industrial style, but they are far from being the only aspects. It is nicely adaptable for a house or a small office. And you will be surprised by how you can benefit from this style and recreate some spaces by your means.

We will start by talking about some main elements that will help you recognize quickly the industrial style in an interior.

Colours: the baseline!

The main typical colours of industrial design are related to building materials. So it is known mostly by the use of grey, black, white and brown. You can also increase a bit your choices by picking dark green or brick red. Don’t you think these are nice options? It is a monochromatic and neutral palette that can be thought of as the baseline of your style. They will be the starting point as you have to choose one (or eventually two, if you keep it neutral) colour for the walls. Then you will be able to choose the colour of the furniture, which should respect the palette and complement the colour of the wall. For the decoration, you can furniture the space with objects made of chrome, iron, glass, and steel. We will go through decorations items over the last paragraph.

And how can I create an industrial style at home?

Have you heard about decluttering? It consists of getting rid of things you do not need. If you want to learn more about it and how you can benefit from this practice, you can check this article. If you are familiar with decluttering, you already have what it takes to become an industrial design adept. Like the old factories that inspired the style, spaces are supposed to be uncluttered. Industrial design is affordable because it asks you to keep it simple.

When you start to study the structure of the room, think about spacing the furniture. Open spaces increase the perspective and make the room look larger, which is something you want to accomplish with this style. If you have any piece of concrete, pipes or ductwork showing up, do not try to conceal it. They are there to be shown!

As we mentioned in the beginning of this article, it is known by the unfinished look, specially in what concerns the furniture. If by instance, you have an old shelf that you were trying to renovate and which still looks unfinished, it can be the perfect match to your new industrial design room. In general, industrial design furniture is free from patterns. They look raw, with large scale and strong lines.

What about the decoration?

Now you can think about putting some sophistication on it. For the decoration, you can start by picking items made from steel or wood.

The neutral palette also applies to the decoration. You want something “sober”, but also classy. If we think about the dark green, it can be highlighted by green plants in pots made of steel, for example. Wire baskets also create a great match, and they can go well with coasters made of wood.

Vintage photography speaks to industrial design, so you can decorate with some black and white or sepia pictures. When it comes to lightning, you can add a modern touch with copper pendants or floor lamps with one of the colours of the palette.

Industrial design screams for minimalism and simplicity but it also gives you many creative possibilities that you can match with your personality. Do you think you can spot the industrial style in an interior now? How do you feel about bringing it to your own space?

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