Sustainability, minimalism, low impact, and zero-waste lifestyle movements have greatly influenced modern-day living. These movements have impacted our choices – from food and clothes to our homes and their designs.
Now think of an old, abandoned warehouse or factory with its worn-out brick walls, concrete or wood flooring, tall and bare windows, and exposed metal bars or pipes from the ceiling.
Instead of wasting this old industrial space, picture it converted into your home, office, or a place of business.
This is where industrial interior design comes in. It is the style of introducing new features that match the existing ones, tying everything together into a fresh contrast between old and new, rustic and modern, simple and edgy, and raw and furnished.
What Is Industrial Design?
There is not much known where and when industrial design started. The nearest piece of history we have is that industrial design started emerging after the first industrial revolution.
Industrial design is often compared with product design. Sometimes, these terms are even used interchangeably. Industrial design covers a broader and more general task, while product design is a subset of industrial design.
Industrial design is the practice of designing products that meet functional and manufacturing or production requirements, but are also aesthetically pleasing and attractive to customers. It is the industrial designer’s task to create a product that looks good and works well. The industrial designer considers the value the product adds to the end-users’ day-to-day living.
Why Industrial Interior Design is Setting a New Trend
Industrial interior design has gained popularity over the years. With its simple and rustic look, open, minimal, and well-lit spaces, this interior design style has set a new trend and attracted many new followers. It looks unique and modern, even with its worn-out and old pieces.
It is the contrast between modern and vintage that looks good together. This disparity makes a bold statement and proves to be attractive to the contemporary lifestyle.
This interior design style has gained popularity because it is environment-friendly and fits a low impact and sustainable lifestyle.
The industrial interior design style celebrates the history of the abandoned industrial space itself. This style pays tribute to the materials used for building the interior by exposing them on full display. An industrial interior design space creates an environment that is warm, cozy, and inviting.
Industrial Interior Design Qualities
Industrial spaces converted into modern loft apartments, commercial areas, and office spaces have distinct qualities. These qualities make this interior design style unique and attractive. Here are a few of the qualities of industrial interior design spaces.
Pipes and Beams on Full Display
Displaying the existing materials is a signature feature of the industrial design industry. The existing structural, mechanical, and architectural elements are left exposed and bare in industrial interior design. The peeled-off paints, unfinished walls, steel or wooden beams, metal pipes, and metal stairs and railings add to the overall charm.
These elements are left exposed and unconcealed, so they’re considered part of the interior designer’s base palette. All these features are highlighted in industrial interior design, never concealed.
Because these spaces used to be warehouses or factories, another key feature is open space. These spaces would most likely have high ceilings, high industrial doors, and bare, metal-framed windows that can welcome natural lighting and enhance the spaciousness.
These spaces often work well with open plan designs. Opening up the area makes it feel larger. It is also good to maintain the industrial area’s spaciousness by making the space undisturbed or free from boundaries, allowing natural flow as you go from one room to the next.
For example, most industrial interior designs also feature open kitchens with steel furnishes and contrasted with wooden pieces.
Adding curtains made from light materials is also a good design idea to separate without blocking the airflow and natural light.
Salvaged, Recycled, and Upcycled Materials
Salvaged, recycled materials from the existing space or a local source align with sustainability, zero waste, low impact, and minimalist lifestyles. Most designers also opt to use vintage pieces, locally-sourced products or finds from thrift stores when decorating the space.
Building or redesigning using these materials works to your advantage in two ways: by reducing your carbon footprint and saving your budget.
Polished Concrete Flooring
Industrial interior designs have polished concrete flooring. This option is more economical because it does not use additional coatings and processes. The rawness looks well with the overall industrial style aesthetics. The concrete flooring also adds that warmth and coziness that is also prevalent in industrial spaces.
A Touch of History
Converting an old factory, warehouse, or cinema should not mean leaving its history behind. The history behind the industrial space adds to the charm of the place. No matter how brief, history trivia adds extra depth to the stories that the exposed materials might also tell.
Industrial spaces are hardwearing. In fact, these buildings are still standing today as proof that industrial design can endure and last through time. Because of this quality, industrial spaces have become profitable investments.
Interior Decorating Ideas
In general, an industrial design space looks minimal and simple. The interior designer’s challenge is to evaluate the existing space, its materials, and the lighting, and then add new pieces to either serve as highlights or as accompanying or matching pieces to the current design. Here are a few interior decorating ideas for your industrial space.
Lighting plays a vital role in any art and design project. With industrial interior designs, use lighting together with the industrial features. Hang industrial light bulbs through the exposed metal pipes and beams. Add an industrial floor lamp, table lamps, or other lighting pendants.
Neon lighting is another exciting design idea to add color and light to a space. Make sure to also play with how the natural light hits certain furniture pieces, décor, or empty spaces to highlight and add that extra flair of charm and cozy.
Neutral Colors and Textures
The industrial style sticks to a neutral color palette. Like we see in most modern minimalist style homes, it’s mostly a mix of whites, blacks, grays, and browns in an industrial style interior design. There is limited use of color so as not to overwhelm the space and to tie in the entire look.
This does not mean that you can never use bold colors. You can still add a touch of whimsy by including a few accent pieces of preferably only one bold color shade. Some bold color shades that would often look good in the space would be reds, subtle orange, and greens, or those that belong to the vibrant earthly shades.
While colors are kept neutral, textures can still play an essential role in the overall design. The distressed look or a texture on a leather chair fits well with the industrial style. The key is to create an inviting, cozy, and warm environment through rustic textures and look, but in neutral shades.
Industrial furniture pieces that fit in the overall design have strong and clear lines free from patterns. It’s a good idea to use furniture materials that provide a contrast to the existing materials. Keep furniture pieces big, if possible, and minimal.
Mix and match wood and metal. For wooden flooring, add metal furniture that also matches the existing exposed metallic materials. For a brick wall, add wooden furniture pieces against it. Wood makes spaces feel warmer and more pleasant, while metal adds that modern industrial vibe.
Plants bring warmth and happiness to any space. Wherever you decide to place them, they always seem to bring sunshine together with them. Because of this quality, they add that comfort, coziness, and cheer.
Although it would be better to add big plants to match the open industrial spaces, nothing can go wrong when decorating with smaller plants. In modern-day designs, many spaces get overwhelmed with plants and still don’t look like clutter. That said, feel free to add plants wherever you see fit in your space. Do make sure the plants have the pots and vases that fit with the overall industrial look.
Industrial interior designed spaces stand out because of the functionality, simplicity, and rawness they display. Why this interior design style is trending reflects the current modern lifestyle that seeks to be minimalist, zero waste, low impact, or sustainable, but without compromising aesthetics. This design style is polished yet worn out, adding comfort and warmth to the modern and fast-changing urban living.
Although it is originally used for industrial spaces, this interior design style and its overall feel can still be recreated in your home and other smaller spaces. Just let your creativity and innovation run free while considering the qualities and décor ideas for an industrial interior design space and work it to your advantage.