When you first think of industrial design, your first thoughts might be of a New York loft, with soaring ceilings, mezzanine levels and exposed vents and pipes. While this is certainly a great example of industrial interior design, you might be surprised to know industrial interiors are much more varied and even just using one or two elements of industrial interior design, you can recreate an industrial space.
We’ll take you through the history of industrial interior design, exploring the different design elements that came together to create the style, and then looking at how these elements are used today in modern industrial spaces. Finally, we’ll discuss how you can easily incorporate them into your space to give you an industrial edge.
This sharp design style first exploded onto the interior design scene in the 1970s, particularly in New York, as bohemians and artists were forced out of their communities by skyrocketing house prices. They moved further out of Manhattan, towards industrial districts more known for packaging, shipping, and storing than for glamorous homes.
These spacious warehouses and lofts were quickly adapted by the artists into homes that were renowned for being contemporary and cool, with minimal furniture, exposed elements like brick and metalwork, and sweeping ceilings that made them great places to showcase art and sculpture.
They adopted mezzanine levels that would have once housed desks and offices into sleeping and living quarters, while their workspaces took up the majority of room on the spacious lower levels. This influence spread like wildfire through the UK and Europe, with many old or abandoned factories and warehouses being turned into luxury accommodations.
Industrial interiors have shown no signs of sliding off the radar, with demand for industrial properties still very high and landmark former sites like Battersea Power Station in London recently turned into luxury and expensive accommodation. Modern industrial interiors, however, are not quite as spartan as those of the original artists who first brought them into being. While minimalism is still encouraged (as well as bold artwork adorning the walls), there’s a lot more room for opulence and comfort in these spaces today.
The key elements remain, however:
Here are some of the ways in which you can bring a little industrial edge to your space, by using these key elements of industrial design to your advantage to take a space from plain to cool.
Exposed brick is one of the classic elements of industrial design that first springs to mind when you think of New York lofts and warehouses-turned-flats in the UK. Creating a feature wall of exposed brick or leaving exposed brick around a fireplace can be a great way to bring in the industrial interior design style. You can even make the exposed brick more subtle by painting over it, however, to keep in with the industrial theme, it’s best to either leave it bare or paint it your preferred shade of white.
Leather furniture is another staple piece of industrial style that’s been adopted by tastemakers and online influencers. That’s because it’s minimalistic in style as well as practical. How many sofa materials can you think of where you can wipe up a spilt drink easily? You can also soften the masculinity of the leather with soft throws and cushions to create some balance.
Large overhead lights, such as old strip lights or large metal pendants are another easy way to bring in that industrial interior design style. The low-hanging lights are reminiscent of factory floors and sweeping ceilings, so you can raise the height of your room by introducing a low-hanging light over your dining table or kitchen island. Want more kitchen inspiration? Have a read of our guide on the best flooring for modern kitchens.
Different metals were used in the original building of warehouses and factories that make up industrial homes today because they were cheap, practical, and sturdy over time. Bringing in metallic accents in décor and furnishings is a great way to introduce this element of industrial interior design style – such as the feet of your furniture, lamp stands, and bar stools. This looks particularly great in marble kitchen designs, which you can read all about in our dedicated guide.
Concrete and wood were used a lot in the flooring of old warehouses and factories, as they are both so functional. It’s rare to see carpet or intricate tiles in industrial homes, as neither were practical and could be easily ruined. Try using stone effect LVT to create this industrial edge, or wood effect vinyl in a more distressed look to create a worn effect.
If you’re looking to bring some industrial style décor into your home, get in touch with our Tapi floorologists, who’re always happy to help you find the best flooring for your space, and can make some excellent recommendations of different flooring that would suit the style you want. Here at Tapi, we’ve got lots of different options, from vinyl to laminate and lots in between.