How to Incorporate Industrial Elements into Home Decor

So, what on earth does 'industrial' mean in home decor?

In layman's terms, industrial design is a blend of raw, unfinished, and often rugged elements that tell a story of the past. We're talking bare brick walls, exposed pipes and ducts, distressed wood, and metal fixtures. 

Think of it like giving your home a 'behind-the-scenes' look. It's about stripping back the layers and revealing the inner workings, the skeleton, the heart of the building itself. It's the rough edges and unfinished surfaces that give the industrial design its distinct personality. 

Sound a bit too much like a construction site? Well, fear not, it's all about striking a balance.

Why should you care about industrial design?

Why not just stick with cozy cushions and flower vases, you ask? 

Well, here's the thing - life isn't always polished and perfect, right? So, why should our homes be?

The industrial design brings an authentic, raw edge to your space, making it feel lived-in and real. It's like wearing a worn-out leather jacket over a fancy dress or a suit - it adds a layer of toughness, a dash of street-smart style that says you're not afraid to embrace the imperfect. And let's face it, it's a refreshing break from the usual polished, matchy-matchy decor.

Characteristics of Industrial Interior Design

brown wooden dining table near white and brown mini bar

Industrial interior design is a unique style that finds beauty in the old and the raw, and it's often characterized by the following key features:

Raw and Unfinished Look
The industrial style often involves exposing the building materials that many try to conceal. This includes exposed brick walls, visible ductwork, and uncovered pipes and beams.
Neutral Color Palette 
Industrial interior design tends to stick to a neutral color palette that focuses on the use of greys, blacks, and whites. This helps to keep the overall look simple and clean, allowing the architectural elements to take center stage.
Use of Metal and Wood 
Metal, especially iron, steel, and aluminum, is a prevalent material in industrial design. This can be complemented by the use of wood to add warmth and softness to the space, often through flooring or furniture. If you’re on a budget, you can get cheap UPVC windows in a dark color to fit in with the whole theme.
Open Floor Plan 
Industrial design typically embraces open floor plans. High ceilings and open spaces are key characteristics, harking back to the style's origins in factory spaces.
Functional, Unpretentious Furniture 
Furniture pieces in industrial design tend to lean towards functionality over form. This often translates into minimalist pieces that are as utilitarian as they are stylish.
Vintage Accessories and Decor
Items like old street signs, vintage bar stools, and antique lamps are common in industrial spaces. These pieces provide a sense of history and character that's integral to the style.
Industrial Lighting 
Lighting is another crucial element in industrial design. Pendant lights with metal shades, floor lamps with exposed bulbs, and sconces made of metal or wire are all typical of this style.
Raw Textures 
The industrial design embraces raw, rough textures. This can include anything from a concrete floor or countertop to a reclaimed wood table or metal shelving, and raw wooden composite doors

In essence, industrial interior design is all about proudly displaying the building materials that many try to conceal while combining raw and unfinished surfaces with functional, utilitarian objects.

How to Incorporate Industrial Elements into Your Home Decor

Walls and Colors

Creating a Neutral Backdrop
First things first - let's start with a blank canvas. Industrial design thrives on neutrality, so think about painting your walls white or light grey. It's like prepping your space for an art installation - the subtlety of the backdrop lets the bold, industrial elements take center stage. Plus, it reflects light beautifully, lending a sense of openness and space.
Bricking it Up
Ever thought about baring your brick? Exposed brick walls scream industrial chic. They offer a raw, edgy look that's equal parts rustic and modern. It's like a nod to the time-worn factories and warehouses of the industrial era. If you don't have brick walls, don't fret. Brick veneer or faux brick panels can give you a similar vibe.
Concrete Statements
Nothing says 'industrial' quite like a bare concrete wall. It's like bringing a piece of the cityscape right into your living room. Concrete walls can act as a striking focal point, adding texture and depth. Don't want to go all out? Even a concrete feature wall or concrete accents can do the trick.
Playing with Metal and Wood
Who said metal and wood can't be friends? Incorporating metal or reclaimed wood paneling is a surefire way to inject an industrial vibe into your space. It's like merging the ruggedness of a construction site with the warmth of a log cabin.
Wallpaper or Wall Decals
Think wallpaper is just for granny's house? Think again. Industrial-style wallpaper or wall decals can add a unique touch without requiring major renovations. Look for designs featuring brick, concrete, metal or distressed wood for that edgy, industrial feel. It's like putting a trendy jacket on your walls, ready to steal the spotlight.

Furniture and Decor

brown wooden table near green potted plant

Choosing Furniture with Clean Lines
One of the key aspects of industrial decor is simplicity. You'll want to opt for furniture that has clean lines and a minimalist design. These pieces can brilliantly echo the straightforwardness of industrial style. For instance, a streamlined metal coffee table or a straightforward wooden bench can become standout pieces in your space. Their function is as important as their form, bringing practicality and style to your rooms.
Mixing Materials
Industrial decor is all about embracing raw, natural materials. A combination of metal, wood, and leather is often seen in this design style, creating a warm yet robust ambiance. Leather sofas, for instance, can add a touch of luxury, while metal light fixtures bring a robust edge. Wooden side tables can add a sense of earthiness, and altogether, these elements bring a unique texture and appeal to your space.
Vintage or Salvaged Pieces
To infuse character into your industrial decor, consider incorporating vintage or salvaged pieces. These items often carry a sense of history and depth that can add a layer of intrigue to your interiors. For instance, old factory gears or salvaged signs can serve as striking statement pieces. Even a vintage typewriter can add an unexpected yet charming touch, sparking conversations and storytelling.
Shelving Units and Storage Solutions
Storage doesn't have to be boring, especially in an industrial-style home. Shelving units and other storage solutions can be both functional and stylish. Envision a large metal bookshelf against a white wall, serving as a focal point in your living room, or wooden crates acting as storage bins in your study. These elements can enhance the industrial aesthetic while providing practical storage solutions.
Industrial-Inspired Seating
Finally, seating options can significantly shape your industrial decor. Industrial-inspired seats, such as metal stools or leather armchairs, can add a defining touch to your space. Imagine metal stools tucked neatly under your kitchen island or a plush leather armchair in a cozy reading corner. These pieces can complete the overall look of your space, adding the final touches to your industrial design.


clear glass bulb decoration

Baring the Bulbs
Have you ever thought of simplifying your lighting to its most basic form? Exposed light bulbs are a staple in industrial design. They put the simple beauty of the bulb on display, without any unnecessary adornment. Whether hanging over your dining table or serving as bedside lamps, exposed bulbs instantly infuse an industrial vibe into your space.
Pendant Lights and Chandeliers
Pendant lights and chandeliers with metal shades take industrial lighting to new heights. They're the standout pieces of your ceiling, drawing the eye and setting the mood for the room. With their raw, metallic allure, they can bring an edgy yet sophisticated feel to your space.
Floor Lamps and Task Lighting
Floor lamps or task lighting in the industrial style can brilliantly blend function with aesthetics. They're the practical elements of your decor, ready to illuminate your activities while contributing to the overall style of the room. For a truly industrial feel, search for lamps with metallic finishes or adjustable arms.
Sconces and Wall Lights
Your walls can also partake in the industrial charm with the addition of sconces or wall lights. These lighting fixtures can add a new layer of interest to your decor. A metal sconce next to your bed or a series of wall lights along your hallway can not only provide practical lighting but also create a warm, inviting ambiance.
Edison Bulbs and Wire Cage Light Fixtures
Edison bulbs and wire cage light fixtures can add a delightful finishing touch to your industrial decor. Edison bulbs, with their visible filaments, bring a touch of nostalgia, reminiscent of a bygone era. Wire cage fixtures, meanwhile, contribute a sturdy, raw edge to your decor. Both these options can create a unique lighting experience, adding to the charm of your industrial scheme.

Small Details and Accessories

Gears, Pipes, and Metal Accents
Infuse a touch of industrial charm into your decor with gears, pipes, and metal accents. These elements can subtly transform your space, adding a unique industrial edge. From metal bookends to pipe shelving, the possibilities are as vast as your imagination.
Wall Art, Clocks, and Mirrors
Industrial-style wall art, clocks, and mirrors can bring an urban chic vibe to your walls. These pieces are like the personality badges of your home, each one reflecting your style and character. Consider items with raw, metallic finishes or industrial-inspired patterns.
Industrial-Inspired Textiles
Who said textiles have to be soft and fluffy? Industrial-inspired textiles can encompass metal or wire baskets, woven jute rugs, or canvas cushions. They're the versatile components of your decor, merging practicality with style.
Vintage Signage and Typography
Infuse a bit of nostalgia into your decor with vintage signage or typography elements. These items act like little time capsules, whisking you back to the peak days of the industrial era. An old factory sign or typographic wall art can become a unique conversation starter.
Hardware for Cabinets and Doors
Remember, details matter. Industrial-style hardware for cabinets and doors can bring an unexpected twist of industrial chic to your home. They're like the jewelry of your furniture, adding subtle sparkle and personality.

Balancing Industrial Elements

Mix and Match
Your home should reflect your unique style, not look like a factory showroom. Don't hesitate to blend industrial pieces with other styles for a tailored look. It's about crafting a mix of styles that's distinctively yours.
Experiment with Textures, Colors, and Materials
Dare to experiment with different textures, colors, and materials. It's like painting a canvas, where each brushstroke adds depth and interest.
It's your space, so make it reflect you. Personalize it with family photos, travel souvenirs, or any items that tell your story.
Balance with Soft Elements
Industrial decor can sometimes feel a bit cold or stark. Counteract this by introducing soft and cozy elements like plush rugs, throw pillows or curtains. These additions can soften the industrial feel and add warmth.
Incorporate Natural Elements
Finally, don't forget to add a touch of greenery. Plants can create a beautiful contrast to the raw, industrial elements, freshening up your space.

Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor Seating Area
Design an outdoor seating area with an industrial twist for a unique entertaining space. Think metal armchairs, rustic wooden tables, concrete benches, and even bi-fold doors to connect the indoors with the outdoor area seamlessly. These pieces, while sturdy and practical, can also contribute significantly to the industrial feel of your outdoor space.
Using Metal or Concrete Elements in Outdoor Furniture
Metal or concrete furniture is not only durable but also exudes a raw, industrial vibe. Consider a metal bistro set or a concrete dining table. These elements can withstand the elements while adding an industrial edge to your outdoor area.
Lighting in Outdoor Spaces
Lighting is as essential outdoors as it is inside. Industrial-style lighting, such as pendant lights or string lights with exposed bulbs, can illuminate your space while enhancing the industrial ambiance. Also, consider adding lanterns or floor lamps with metallic finishes for additional lighting options.
Planters or Garden Accessories
Planters and garden accessories can also contribute to your industrial theme. Galvanized metal planters or concrete pots can be perfect homes for your plants, while a metal garden sculpture or a rustic water feature can add a unique touch to your outdoor space.
Outdoor Kitchen or BBQ Area
An outdoor kitchen or BBQ area can be a fantastic extension of your home. To create an industrial-style cooking space, consider incorporating elements like a stainless steel grill, a concrete countertop, or metal bar stools. These elements can create a practical, stylish space perfect for entertaining.

Home Office and Workspace

photo of dining table and chairs inside room

Desks and Shelving 
An industrial-style desk paired with shelving can create a functional and stylish workspace. Consider desks and shelves made from reclaimed wood and metal for a raw, industrial feel.
Office Chairs or Stools
Comfort is key in any workspace. Industrial-style office chairs or stools, whether made from leather or metal, can provide the necessary support while also contributing to the overall industrial aesthetic.
Exposed Storage Solutions for a Streamlined Look
Storage doesn't need to be hidden. Exposed storage solutions, such as metal filing cabinets or open shelving units, can help keep your workspace organized while enhancing the industrial look.
Incorporating Wire Mesh or Metal Grid Boards for Organization
For organizations, consider incorporating wire mesh or metal grid boards. These can be used to hang notes, reminders, or even small supplies, adding functionality and style to your office.
Ambient Lighting
Good lighting is essential in any workspace. Industrial-style task lamps or pendant lights can provide ample illumination while tying in with the rest of your industrial decor.

Kitchen and Dining Area

Kitchen Appliances and Fixtures
Industrial-style kitchen appliances and fixtures, such as a stainless steel refrigerator or a factory-inspired light fixture, can make a bold statement in your kitchen. They exude a cool, utilitarian vibe that's characteristic of the industrial aesthetic.
Metal or Concrete Countertops for an Industrial Touch
Switching to metal or concrete countertops can instantly infuse an industrial touch into your kitchen. These materials not only look striking but are also durable and heat-resistant, making them perfect for the hustle and bustle of a kitchen environment.
Open Shelving with Metal Brackets for Display and Storage
Open shelving with metal brackets can serve as a practical and stylish storage solution. They're perfect for displaying your colorful dishes, vintage canisters, or even a collection of cookbooks. They offer the functionality of traditional cabinets while also adding a touch of industrial charm.
Bar Stools or Dining Chairs
Seating is a crucial component in any kitchen or dining area. Industrial-style bar stools or dining chairs, such as those made of metal with a distressed finish or leather upholstery, can add a unique touch to your space.
Incorporating Reclaimed Wood or Metal Dining Tables
A dining table made of reclaimed wood or metal can be a showstopping centerpiece in your dining area. These materials bring a sense of history and character that's often found in industrial design.


a bathroom with a toilet, sink, and shower

Faucets, Showerheads, and Fixtures
Industrial-style faucets, showerheads, and fixtures, such as those with a brushed nickel or oil-rubbed bronze finish, can add a dash of industrial chic to your bathroom. Their distinctive designs can instantly elevate your bathroom's aesthetic.
Lighting and Mirrors
Lighting and mirrors play a key role in any bathroom. Opt for industrial-style lighting, such as pendant lights with exposed bulbs, and mirrors with metal frames to enhance the industrial vibe.
Exposed Plumbing or Pipe Shelving for Storage
Exposed plumbing or pipe shelving can be a creative and functional storage solution in your bathroom. Not only do they provide space to store your essentials, but they also serve as a unique design element.
Metal or Wire Baskets for Towels and Toiletries
Finally, consider incorporating metal or wire baskets for storing towels and toiletries. They're a practical storage solution that also contributes to the overall industrial theme.

Final thoughts

We've traveled the rugged landscape of metal accents, reclaimed wood, and exposed brick, uncovering ways to incorporate these elements into every nook and cranny of your home. And guess what? You're now fully equipped to dive headfirst into the raw and edgy allure that is industrial design!

Isn't it fascinating how something as unassuming as an exposed light bulb or as functional as a metal shelf can transform a space? A reminder of the industrial revolution, these elements bring a unique character and a sense of history into our homes. And let's not forget the charm of the old mingling with the new - the yin and yang of contemporary minimalism and industrial ruggedness.

As you embark on this journey of home transformation, remember: there's no right or wrong. This is your canvas, your stage, your story. It's all about embracing the unexpected, the unrefined, and the unconventional. So let those gears and pipes take center stage, let that concrete countertop steal the limelight, and let that salvaged sign tell its tale.

And remember, whether you're splashing a touch of industrial chic in your bathroom or going full-throttle in your living room, it's all about creating a space that feels like home to you.

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