With more and more spaces being reclaimed in former industrial sectors in cities, many designers and homeowners have decided to embrace the former styles, rather than to cover them up. As a result, a true 21st century design trend has emerged – modern industrial chic.
To talk about some of the details of this trend is our friend, fashion blogger, and returning guest writer Adria Saracino.
Industrial style has grown so much in popularity over recent years that, at this point, you can find elements of the look in practically any well-designed room. And the reasons are sound: it’s a historical look that’s grounded in functionality and practicality, and it works perfectly when mixed in with almost any other style: traditional, eclectic, modern, and even mid-century modern are all improved by an industrial addition.
Industrial pieces have exceptionally strong lines and bold finishes that are a bit too much if they’re overdone; the look is too cold and harsh. But a few touches of the style add the perfect amount of contrast against softer pieces.
While high-end warehouse-style pieces can be ridiculously overpriced, there are a surprising number of ways you can incorporate the look into your home. After all, it has its roots in humble beginnings; the heavy use of metal and the utilitarian look was developed for reasons of pure practicality, and for entirely non-decorative use. But as is so often the case with great designs, pieces that were originally prized for their functionality gradually came to be appreciated for their beauty.
How to add industrial style decor to your space
A few of the most practical ways to add an industrial look into your home are with your shelving, lighting, and seating. These types of items work particularly with the style because they’re functional, practical, and about sturdiness as much as comfort.
In an interview with Nate Tarin from Staples Industrial [Ed: on whose behalf this post is written], he confirmed that pieces like these are industrial style’s origin points, which is why they look so much more legitimate than, say, coffee tables or couches. Obviously, neither of these items would ever have been seen in a warehouse, so they’re just taking elements of the originals and slapping them onto other types of furniture. It’s when too many of these types of pieces are added into a room that it starts looking overdone. Stick with furnishings that have a legitimate origin in the style, and not only will they look more authentic, but they’ll also be a lot more affordable and easy to find.
Industrial style lighting
If you’re looking for a cheat-sheet for incorporating industrial lighting, start by bringing outdoor lighting indoors. Simply stroll on over to the outdoor lighting section of your local hardware or lighting store and you’ll be astonished by all your options. You’ll find that caged pendants and metal shades look just as good over your kitchen counter as they do on your porch. In other places, look for scissor-arm sconces or pharmacy lamps; these styles are both beautifully historical and functional.
Caged lights are one of the classic elements of industrial lighting. For a seriously inexpensive way to adapt your current lighting, all you need is a plastic cage and metal-effect paint. Replacing your plain light bulb with an elegant Edison bulb is the finishing touch that adds authenticity to this simple DIY.
Another item you can simply grab at your nearest hardware store is industrial shelving, such as you’ve seen in any garage or workshop (once more the utilitarian outdoors is transplanted into the indoors). You can easily adapt this humble shelving with more luxurious touches; layer slabs of marble or wood on top of the metal for some contrasting texture, or spray paint them in a dull black or shiny brass finish to make them recede or stand out more against your other furniture. There’s no need to be too careful with these pieces; they’re meant for heavy use, and they’ll hold up to any amount of alteration.
If you’re looking for a shelving solution that’s a little more unique than the kind you can buy, there’s any number of gorgeous industrial-style shelving DIYs you can try your hand at. One of the most striking is this system, which uses little more that plumbing pipe and slabs of wood in its clever construction. And the best thing is that it can be customized in the exact shape and configuration that you need, and dismantled with ease.
Industrial style chairs
Although it’s unlikely that you’d want to sink into an industrial-style chair for a cozy night by the fire, they’re the perfect choice for dining, outdoor, or counter seating. Once more, chairs in this style are easy to find and often quite affordable. And as you can see, they look wonderful when mixed in with an elegant wood dining table. As aforementioned, the genius of industrial pieces is the contrast of their cool, modern lines with the warmth of wood or upholstered furniture.
One of the most legitimate-looking ways for warehouse style to be incorporated into a home is through the architecture. But, unless you happen to live in a loft in downtown Manhattan, it’s unlikely that your living space has much in the way of soaring ceilings or exposed pipe. Luckily, there’s a way to incorporate the most classic of industrial elements into any home: the exposed brick wall. You can use thin brick veneers with an aged finish to achieve the been-there-forever look of a gorgeous old brick wall. Against this backdrop, furniture in almost any style will effortlessly acquire that old-world industrial vibe.
The darling of design
Whether you choose to purchase or modify existing pieces, you’ll be sure to find that industrial styles can work in any type of home, as long as you don’t go overboard and lose sight of their original utilitarian purpose. With so many pieces that are beautiful, affordable, and easily within reach, is it any wonder that industrial style has become the darling of interior design?
Adria Saracino is a fashion blogger and obsessive home décor pinner. You can check out her Pinterest profile for more creative ways to incorporate industrial chic into your home.