Industrial Interior Design: Its Unique History and Style Elements

Industrial interior design embraces raw materials for a look reminiscent of an old factory. It’s modern but pairs well with other styles for a unique look.

Industrial interior design is a good match if you’re a fan of exposed brick, ductwork, metal, and concrete. Here’s how this style gained popularity and how you can achieve the look.

The History of Industrial Interior Design

Industrial design

Industrial interior design started in the 1970s. But it wasn’t until the early 2000s when large cities like New York, facing housing crises, turned empty 19th-century factories into living spaces. 

Builders transformed these factories into multiple units, leaving the factory finishes like exposed brick walls, concrete floors, and exposed ductwork but adding elements such as lofts to create bedroom space. 

Because these industrial apartments were commonplace in urban areas, the style quickly became mainstream across the United States.

Industrial Interior Design Ideas: How to Get the Look

Industrial design is modern and minimal, without feeling cold. It has similar elements to Scandinavian designs, focusing on raw materials and sparse decor. If you want to incorporate some industrial style into your home, here’s how to get the look.

Leave Ductwork and Piping Exposed

Industrial designs are open, often featuring unfinished ceilings so you can see all the HVAC and plumbing system details.

If you don’t want everything in your home out in the open, try a bathroom sink with exposed piping.

Opt for an Exposed Brick Wall

Most factories from the late 19th century and early 20th century were brick, so the first industrial living spaces boasted exposed brick walls. 

Adding brick to your space can give a raw but warm look. Consider a brick veneer accent wall if you don’t live in a brick home.

Mix Metal and Reclaimed Wood

Metal and reclaimed wood offer texture and complement each other. Reclaimed wood offers warmth to a space, while metal contrasts it. Consider metal and wood dining tables, console tables, and chairs.

Use Edison Light Bulbs

An easy way to get an industrial look is to use exposed Edison bulbs in your light fixtures. You can also use caged light fixtures or those with large metal domes.

Focus on Natural Light and Open Spaces

Industrial interiors feature large windows, allowing abundant natural light. The spaces are open, with a bedroom loft.

Add Concrete

Concrete floors and countertops are true industrial style. Consider rustic hardwood if you’re not ready for a bare concrete floor.

Stick to the Industrial Interior Design Color Palette

The industrial interior design color palette is neutral, with shades of gray, black, white, brown, and rust. The colors come from raw materials like concrete, brick, wood, and metal.

Decorate with Industrial Interior Design Furniture and Decor

Use natural materials like leather and linen for industrial interior design furniture. You can opt for a modern silhouette or choose something oversized and comfy, based on your preferences. Keep decor sparse, and opt for raw materials.

How to Mix Industrial with Other Styles

Industrial interior design mixes well with other styles. It works with rustic, farmhouse, modern, mid-century modern, and Scandinavian. To add an industrial touch to your room, consider a caged light fixture, exposed piping, or metal chairs.

There are even subsets of industrial design, like the following:

  • Industrial farmhouse design – A rustic farmhouse look that contains a lot of metal finishes in its design.
  • Modern industrial design – A modern industrial design uses raw materials like concrete, brick, wood, and metal but incorporates streamlined furniture and pops of color.
  • Luxury industrial design – Luxury industrial designs are modern, with sleek-looking concrete floors and high-end furniture and accessories.

Examples of Industrial Interior Design

Here are some pictures of industrial interiors to help inspire your next home makeover.

Industrial Kitchen Design

Industrial Interior Design in the kitchen

You can find a nice mix of raw materials like wood, metal, and concrete in this industrial-style kitchen. The kitchen features exposed wood ceilings that help warm up the cool color palette.

Modern Industrial Living Room

industrial living room decor

While many industrial designs are rustic, this industrial living room is modern. The concrete walls and floor give it a raw look, while the punches of orange and furniture add a contemporary feel.

Industrial Loft Bedroom

Industrial Loft Bedroom

In this example, the exposed ductwork leads the way to a cool-toned modern industrial loft bedroom. But don’t be fooled – the area behind the bed is a collection of mirrors, not an actual window.