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A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Industrial Style

During the early 2000s, industrial design gained popularity and became associated with the appeal of urban living and open-format spaces. This was exemplified in popular TV shows like “Gossip Girl” and “New Girl,” where exposed brick walls and steel-paned windows became highly sought after. While elements of industrial style can be found in contemporary and modern farmhouse designs, authentic industrialism emphasizes raw functionality and a simple, no-frills aesthetic. According to designer Alison Giese, industrial design showcases accentuated repurposed pipes and uncovered ductwork, as well as finishes reminiscent of the Industrial Age, all while prioritizing functionality above all else.

Industrial style by definition

Designer Bailey Li explains that industrial style has its roots in old factories, warehouses, and firehouses that have been transformed into loft-like homes. The style is about repurposing old, commercial, vintage, or recycled items and retaining their original character. The aesthetic is minimalist and streamlined, but it also has a lived-in feel that’s difficult to replicate. Here are some key features of industrial style:

  • Color schemes that emphasize darker shades of black, brown, and gray with lighter, neutral accents.
  • Open floor plans with tall ceilings that combine multiple living areas into one.
  • High-contrast pairings that often use polished or salvaged materials alongside raw ones like glass and wood.
  • Heavy use of metals such as iron, steel, copper, and brass.
  • Reclaimed wood paneling, exposed ductwork, and architectural beams.
  • Textured surfaces like brick accent walls or concrete flooring.
  • Modern finishes paired with antique elements.

Who said that industrial style can’t go together with rustic? Take a look! Combine the wooden cabinet with black metal accents to create a rustic industrial look that is both solid and inviting. Wood and Metal Kitchen Accent from @stepbystep.home

How about dining room? To achieve industrial style, you can copy this idea. Choose dining chairs made of iron and table made of wood and iron that’s sturdy and durable. Don’t forget to complete the look with some industrial decor. Metal Dining Chair from @studioindustrial_design

This industrial reading room is complemented by a black color scheme that will give the space a dramatic feel. The touch of wood and metal furniture also strengthens the industrial style of your home. The hanging chair in the center of the space make this reading room softer. Industrial Library from @roomdesgn

You can use metal accents to create a chic industrial kitchen. The choice of metal material will also provide a unique and stylish room design. This decoration will strengthen the attractive industrial character and attract the attention of many people. Industrial Kitchen Style from @almaenflordesigns

If you want to give your industrial kitchen a natural touch, brick wall is all you need. Industrial Open Kitchen from @almaenflordesigns

Dark color scheme isn’t a thing that you should avoid. Like in the picture above, a dark industrial kitchen can look stylish. Black Color Scheme from @curiousjamesp

The black and white color scheme of this industrial living room is more than perfect!. A touch of wood and metal accents furniture will also maximize the industrial look of your space. Black and White Industrial Living Room from @deco_by_mo

This reclaimed wood coffee table complete with wheels gives your industrial living room a vintage piece of furniture.  Reclaimed Wood CoffeeTable from @studioindustrial_design

The Industrial Revolution not only brought in new technologies and mechanized manufacturing, but it also presented a modern way of life and laid the foundation for industrial style. After the peak of the movement in the 20th century, closed factories located in remote areas became a valuable source of real estate since urban communities struggled to cope with the rapidly increasing population. These abandoned mills and warehouses were transformed into living spaces, and instead of renovating or modifying the existing framework, they were kept as they were. Financial constraints played a part in this decision, but the spacious layouts, coupled with large windows and high ceilings, appealed to those seeking to escape the cramped city living.

After the initial surge of industrial design, various other design styles emerged, shifting industrialism to the sidelines. Although elements of this style were integrated into the Bauhaus school, modern architecture, and the minimalist trend of the 1990s, it was only in the past two decades that industrial style regained its popularity. The present trend of constructing homes from shipping containers, repurposing garages, carriage houses, and churches are all reminiscent of the past alternatives that industrialism offered to traditional housing.

The industrial wall in this room offers a rustic feel to your home décor. You can use reclaimed wood or press it yourself for a simpler look. This brick wall also gives a natural impression to this dining room. Industrial Dining Room from @meillakotona_fi

This pipe accent creates a unique bedroom look. Combined with concrete walls it also manages to give your home an industrial vibe. Industrial Bedroom from @mywarehousehome

This bed frame made of wood and metal is able to provide a sturdy and strong appearance. This material is also synonymous with industrial style. It also blend well with dark brick walls and wooden floors. Wooden and Metal Bed Frame from

This industrial bathroom with a concrete is so unique and sturdy. Pair it with metal accents for an industrial feel throughout this room. Concrete Sink from @rumabahagia

This metal desk shelf with solid color is so industrial. Combine it with wood accents to make it look perfect.  Industrial Rack Home Office from @gigigorenstein_arquitetura

A smart idea for adding an industrial touch to your workspace is to use metal furniture. Using metal desks and chairs will enhance the industrial style of your home office. Metal Desk from @studionooshka

Industrialism has transformed over time from being a mere spatial or structural concept to becoming a unique design style. Brands like Restoration Hardware and elements like subway-tiled bathrooms with black, steel-paned showers have contributed to the popularity of industrial style, which has become a trend on Instagram. Industrial design has a significant influence on modern design, and its presence can be observed in a variety of interiors. The industrial aesthetic is present in minimalist Scandinavian design, which incorporates bold details such as steel and concrete to create a strong impression, as well as in one-room apartments with exposed pipes and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Industrial home office decoration with metal and wood accented furniture will make your home office look more solid and stylish. Placing a table near the window will also provide the right amount of natural light and you can see the view outside. Industrial Home Office from @badie.architects

To make your industrial entryway look more modern, you can consider to choose furniture made of metal. The combination of wood and metal materials like in the picture above create a stunning appearance. Industrial Entryway from @alelihomedecor

For an attractive industrial-style home decor, consider incorporating art lighting at the entrance of your house. A metal lamp with a distinctive shape can serve as a suitable piece of furniture to enhance your industrial decor. To complement this, you could pair it with a spacious wooden door and a white color palette that flows throughout the room. Art Lighting from @ahw___.erica

Incorporating a blend of brick accents on the backsplash and iron shelves can contribute to a sturdy aesthetic for your room decor. The brick backsplash, in particular, can provide a unique home design element and become a focal point of the room. This creative concept has the potential to produce an engaging display that you may want to experiment with.  Brick Backsplash from @senseofhome_official

The concrete walls in the bedroom will enhance your modern and industrial look. The combination with other metal accents will create a solid impression in the room. Industrial Concrete Bedroom from @designingyourhome

Wall ornaments made of iron are ideas that are suitable for you to try on your living room walls. In this way it gives a different look to your industrial living room walls. Metal Ornament from @raggio_metalart

Applying a concrete wall in this bathroom adds a deeper industrial impression. Touches of wood and metal will balance the look of this bathroom. Concrete Wall Bathroom from @boskie_wnetrze

The use of this industrial style creates a minimalist decoration in this bathroom. White walls and a dark tiled floor will give you a sophisticated look. This touch of nature will also bring freshness to your bathroom. Industrial Bathroom from @luxinteriorswa

This delightful dining room lighting arrangement with wooden furniture is a must-try décor for industrial home designs. Combining wooden furniture and wooden floors to create a cozy and warm décor. Industrial Lighting from @our_hanbury_hideaway

Industrial vs Transitional

While transitional design and industrial style share some commonalities such as the use of sturdy materials and reclaimed accents, as well as the prominent presence of metals such as wrought iron and steel, there are distinct differences between the two. According to Li, transitional design is an eclectic blend of modern and vintage elements that creates a space with character and intrigue. Industrial style, however, emphasizes the rawness of a structure and its structure, standing out with its unique aesthetic and minimal outside influence.

How to Get the Industrial Style Look

Here are some ways to recreate the industrial style in your own home:

  1. Choose a dark accent wall or use wallpaper with concrete or wood-paneled designs.
  2. Install bold lighting fixtures such as exposed bulbs or caged pendants for an edgy look.
  3. Look for vintage or upcycled furniture and décor pieces.
  4. Mix and match different materials such as metal with glass or leather with plywood for an interesting contrast.
  5. Select concrete slab counters or live-edge tables for unique, textural focal points.
  6. Work with a local reclaimed wood supplier or furniture maker to create a custom piece, such as a multi-media door or shelving unit.

To create a dramatic lighting effect for your industrial living spaces, consider using metal pendant lights. To further enhance the industrial atmosphere, you can combine dark shades with concrete walls and iron embellishments. This combination can help to imbue the room with an industrial ambiance. Industrial Pendant Lamp Dining Room from @painted.earth1

The industrial aesthetic of this kitchen is harmoniously balanced by a chair featuring metal hairpin legs, which complements the breakfast bar. Additionally, incorporating a bar dining table made of pipes can also contribute to an overall sense of balance in the room’s appearance. Hair Pin Legs Dining Chair from @wallsandfloors

Decorating your laundry room in an industrial style can result in a distinctive design. Incorporating aluminum cabinets and exposed metal shelving can effectively balance the industrial look of the room. Industrial Laundry Room from @nobilia_de

Take advantage of a few bare walls of an industrial home to hang shelving from the pipes. This rack can be used to place some of your clothes hangers and also beautify and spruce up the look of your bedroom. Pipe Cloth Storage from

Industrial-style kitchen decor boasts a distinct and masculine appearance. Using large pipes as pillars can effectively reinforce the industrial theme of the room. Furthermore, an accent brick wall can serve as a striking focal point for the kitchen’s design. Industrial Kitchen Decor from @benchmarxkitchens

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