STYLE FILE: Urban Industrial
Industrial interiors expose things others try to cover up. Beams, pipes, and ducts are all welcome in your space. The lofty, warehouse look of it all is what makes it home. Raw materials and neutral tones as well as some cool found objects will make your space come together.
A Little History
Industrial home design has been a popular style since the 1700s, when factories and other commercial buildings were considered to be unsafe environments for workers by inspectors and insurance agencies. Over the next 200 years, mills and other commercial buildings would see a variety of architectural changes that would create safer environments as well as shape the look of industrial design we know and love today. Open floorplans, the disappearance of ornamentation (to hide duct work, brick, etc.) and isolated stairwells were among a few of the changes being made throughout these buildings to help with fire suppression. Updates to building materials made it easier to create larger, more robust spaces- at a hefty price. Industries looked for cheaper, larger plots of land to build on, leaving the old factories in rapidly growing cities behind. With a rising number of commercial buildings becoming decommissioned for work as well as an ever-growing need for housing- cities began turning these buildings into residential dwellings in the ‘60s.
The color palette of industrial design relies heavily on the building materials used. Neutral colors of stone, brick, and wood create an inviting backdrop for a variety of colors. These neutrals pair well with light creams and whites to give the space and open and inviting feeling. For a more dramatic effect- dark grays, espressos, and black all help give the space a more dramatic edge. Deeps reds and shades of blues and greens are great accent colors for natural materials.
Fabrics found in an industrial home are often solid and neutral in color matching the finishes throughout the space. Linen, canvas, and natural textiles work great for upholstery, window treatments and throw pillows.
As with most design styles, a variety of surfaces keeps your eye moving through out the space. Distressed or aging wood floors, concrete, and exposed brick are all to be used to your advantage in your space.
Furnishing an industrial home is a practice in repurposing. Finding salvaged furniture at thrift stores, flea markets, and estate sales are essential to creating your look. Mix with new, minimal pieces with streamlined profiles. This creates a cohesive look throughout your space. Upholstery can help "lighten up" dark areas of the room. Be sure to keep upholstery streamlined like furniture profiles. Mix and match different pieces;
- A leather armchair
- Reclaimed architect's stools
- Salvage pieces
- Plumbing pipe shelving
- Furniture on wheels and castors
Decor + Details
The best industrial design strips interiors down to their bare bones and sheds light on functionality.
Architectural features in your room will be the base to your design. Showcasing these features will be an important factor in creating your perfect space.
Keeping A Balance
A great way to keep your home from feeling too cold and sterile is by adding house plants. The objective is twofold in your space- plants help check off your list of decor items and fill in bare spots. They also help balance out your color palette. (Not to mention the all the health benefits adding a house plant or two to your home boasts!)
Be on the Hunt
Industrial design lends naturally lends itself to found items. Searching antique shops, estate sales and flea markets are the a great way to find unique pieces in need of a second life.
Incorporating the Weird
When searching for the perfect pieces to furnish your space, you will need to decorate as well. Don't be afraid to bring something home that you wouldn't normally think has a place in a residential space. Maybe you fall in love with an old neon light box that used to be the sign for a store. Use it! Items like these add a sense of place to your home and let your personality shine through.