London and other cities in the UK have seen an increase in the number of former factories and storehouses being renovated into contemporary apartments and houses in recent decades, and for good reason. Industrial design exposes the architectural components of a space, creating compelling interiors where function becomes the form.
While you may not be working with a penthouse apartment in a former factory, any space can be given some degree of the industrial treatment, leaving you with a modern, cosy home rooted in its history.
Harness this raw, unrefined approach to interior styling with our ideas and tips for bringing an industrial edge to your home.
What Is Industrial Interior Design?
Industrial interior design is a style that embraces the features inherent to factories, warehouses, and other industrial spaces. From the structure to materials, attention is drawn to the bones of a building, bringing what is traditionally hidden into the foreground. Unrefined, exposed and raw, this approach to interior design connects a space back to its roots, often creating living spaces with a contemporary, modern feel.
The History of Industrial Interior Design
The inspiration behind this design style comes from factories and industrial buildings that were built during the late 1800s and early 1900s. These buildings were made of iron, steel, concrete, and brick. Built to last and created for utilitarian purposes, a big chunk of the population spent their working hours in these practical, uncluttered spaces. Yet as these industries grew and manufacturing became a global phenomenon, these buildings became empty and redundant. So in recent decades, people have been transforming these structures into incredibly beautiful, open living spaces.
There are many cities in both the UK and the U.S. where factory buildings and old mills have been converted into apartment buildings. These living spaces provide a blank slate for you to work with, both without frills but also dense with history and meaning. However, you don't necessarily have to live in an old warehouse to utilise this design style in your home.
Here’s some ideas of how you could invite a flavour of industry into your sanctum.
The Primary Characteristics of Industrial Interior Design
Industrial Interior Design Colour Palette
The colour palette for industrial interior design typically sticks with neutral tones; think black, white, grey, and the natural colours of wood. This versatile foundation gives you plenty of freedom to play with more vibrant colours, juxtaposing your neutral base with bold artwork and statement decor.
You can use this neutral jumping-off point as a canvas for creating a surprising and welcome contrast with the selective use of bold, vibrant artwork or decor. When you incorporate well-chosen pieces in this way, you will achieve the soft vibrancy that makes industrial home spaces so charming and inspiring to inhabit.
Photo by @AliceInScandiland
Industrial Design Silhouettes
Structures and decor that are industrial in style don't have any unnecessary decoration, just a pure appreciation of form. This means the silhouettes in industrial design are fairly modern, with blocky shapes and squared lines to promote symmetry and balance.
Industrial Interior Design Materials
You can also bring the industrial element in through your choice of materials or furniture used in your space. To achieve this, try to stick with tough, utilitarian materials rather than plush, synthetic ones. This is the perfect opportunity for some thrift shopping, where you can find wonderful pieces in antique stores made of time-tested materials like stone, steel, iron, wood, tin and copper.
Industrial Design Decor and Accessories
One of the primary industrial interior design ideas is that each piece is carefully curated. This means even things like knobs and handles can be major statement pieces. This is the perfect opportunity to exercise your curatorial muscle, being decisive and confident in which items to choose for your space.
As a DIY interior brand, we always recommend using repurposed materials and bespoke pieces for that individual finesse. Distressed, raw decor can add texture, history and depth to a space, helping you craft a home that feels unique to you.
For your industrial table, bench or desk, take a look at our industrial box section legs.
So Is Industrial Interior Design Suitable for My Home?
This is an incredibly flexible design style conducive to modern living, making it a convenient choice for both homeowners and renters. Due to its stripped back nature, it is a fairly easy look to obtain with little amenities, so you can make it work for your budget.
While minimalism and simplicity are hallmarks of the style, it is also very stark and certain. There is nothing holding you back from combining both modern elements and antique pieces too, and this juxtaposition can even accentuate the industrial aspects you have brought into focus. This style gives you the freedom to get creative and play with your space, empowering you to assemble a home that feels custom-made for you.
Ready to transform your home with some bespoke, industrial charm? If so, check out our ready-made pieces to serve as centrepieces in your new space.