Industrial Design: Live in a Contemporary Home with an Attitude

Martis Camp residence by Jamie Bush - industrial design

Daring, sophisticated, raw, timeless. These are just some of the words that can be ascribed to industrial interior design, an approach to interior decorating that has been gaining popularity with interior designers and homeowners across the globe in recent years. In fact, it’s currently on the hottest interior design trends on the market, and for a number of compelling reasons. Most interestingly, though, industrial design is synonymous with uniqueness and personality. It has the distinct ability to give any home a dash of attitude and make it truly unique.

Through the combination of certain building materials and décor elements that create the perfect symbiosis of form and function, you can breathe new life into your living environment and create an intimate setting imbued with passion, positivity, strength, and a unique personality. Let’s take a look at the essential elements of the interior design you can introduce into your home.

Essential Elements of Industrial Interior Design

Emphasize Exposed Raw Materials

Firstly, let’s talk about the fundamental pillar of the industrial approach that gives it its unique personality – exposed, raw materials. Think pipes and beams. Or one of the most popular materials to create a focal wall or point – exposed red brick. Exposed brick introduces an accent color into the space. It also helps create a comfortable, intimate ambiance that not only radiates positivity but also gives the space a sense of calm and composure that can elevate one’s quality of life. You can introduce an exposed-brick wall as a focal point in any room. However, be sure to keep the size of the space in mind. In a medium-sized bedroom, an accent wall works best if the other walls boast a neutral hue. This makes the space feel more capacious. However, in a grand area such as the living room, exposed-brick can work across the entire room.

Wood, Metal, and Faux Leather: The Perfect Industrial Design Materials

When it comes to décor and furnishings, there are many materials that can complement the industrial look and feel, yet only a handful of them represent the very essence of this style. These are wood, metallics, and leather – or faux leather, better yet. If you succeed in creating a healthy mix of these materials, you will bring a beautiful living environment to life. An environment that also emphasizes the functionality and comfort of modern living.

Martis Camp residence by Jamie Bush - industrial design
Martis Camp residence designed by Jamie Bush (Photo by Ngoc Minh Ngo / Courtesy of Jamie Bush)

To achieve this balance, though, you will need to experiment with these materials first. You never want a single material to dominate the room. Too many metallic features will make the space look sterile. While too much wood might make the space look like a rustic cottage, which is a whole separate design approach. Instead, consider metallic frames for the furniture, faux leather for the furnishings, and wood for the floors, cabinetry, shelves, and storage.

Complement with Comfortable Accents

One of the common mistakes that homeowners make when trying to bring an industrial interior to life all on their own is that they focus too much on the fundamentals without considering the role of accents and those finer décor elements. While it might seem like the industrial look is all about functionality on the surface, true industrial is actually about comfortable living imbued with peace and a deep sense of calm. This is something you can only achieve with beautiful and comfortable accents.

The famous Eames House is renowned for its industrial style. (Photo via Edward Stojakovic)
The famous Eames House is renowned for its industrial style. (Photo via Edward Stojakovic)

Start with the floors, and emphasize key areas with statement wool rugs throughout the interior, like the seating area in the living room, the area underneath the kitchen island, or consider using comfy rugs to make the bathroom feel cozier or to create a soft landing spot for your feet in the bedroom. Moving up, don’t be afraid to scatter complementary throws and accent pillows on the furniture. You can also consider taking this sense of comfort even higher by letting sheepskin drape on the side of the sofa or the armchair.

Combine Rustic Décor with Contemporary Appliances

Speaking of the sofa and the armchair, industrial design thrives on the symbiosis of different eras and décor styles. This might not be an eclectic design per se, but it is a design that looks to bring rustic and contemporary décor together, so consider introducing rustic furniture and combining it with modern appliances. Wood works wonderfully with stainless steel appliances, for example, as these contrasts paired with industrial accents and raw materials will make a truly unique setting come to life. 

APR - Beefbar Paris - Humbert & Poyet - (c) Francis Amiand (26)
Beefbar Paris designed by Humbert & Poyet (Photo by Francis Amiand)

Let It Thrive On an Open Layout

On a final note, always remember that industrial design requires plenty of room to breathe. This doesn’t mean that you can’t create an industrial interior in a small home, rather, it means that you should create an open layout and break as many barriers as possible between different zones in your home. To achieve this, focus on the functionality of each décor element, leverage negative space and keep a clutter-free setting, and let plenty of natural light saturate the interior throughout the day.

Meet Melanie Fowler of Clos-ette, A Professional Organizer Design Connoisseur

Industrial design is a highly beloved interior solution nowadays, as you will rarely witness a similar approach that brings form and function together in such a powerful way. Using these insights, you will be able to build a contemporary home that boasts a unique personality.

Words by Lana Hawkins