While there are many styles of interior design to choose from at any one time, there are always a few that stick out as being the “in” style for a certain period in time. In recent years it seems that the pendulum of interior design has swung again, away from a slightly more boho, lived-in aesthetic, towards the upcycled, peeled-back chic of industrial decor. The ability to renovate and breathe new life into old spaces – barns, warehouses, industrial buildings – has led to a huge push in the design world to find the best way to make those spaces actually comfortable to live in. With lack of new housing being built and much more of a “make do and mend” mantra sweeping the country, it’s no surprise that homeowners and renters are trying to find ways to work with what they have!
Industrial living can bring to mind a few particular characteristics – exposed walls and flooring, high ceilings and open plan spaces, reclaimed wood, brick and concrete. Rustic and exposed, with structural elements not covered up, but enhanced and integrated into the overall look of a place. Nabru describe it succinctly, pointing out that it’s a style that is “as much about displaying functionality as it is about the way a piece looks, with minimalism a key aspect of the majority of industrial designs”. Function over form, and nothing more than what is needed to make a space come to life.
Image via pinterest/ http://johanna-vintage.blogspot.co.uk/
A short history of industrial design.
The appeal of bringing back a design age that focused on manufacturing, mechanical ingenuity and appreciating raw and unfinished interiors is a gorgeous way to bring industrial style into our living spaces. It’s easy to think that industrial interior design sounds like plunking all of your belongings down in the middle of an abandoned building, but that’s not the truth at all. At it’s core the trend is more about using that raw aesthetic, repurposing items and making the most of a skeletal, open space.
A recent article on Design Sponge looked at how industrial design has come into this renaissance, and the history of the trend. Their discussion about this trend discussed how many of the warehouses and factories that were built during the Industrial Revolution had a look based on simple lines, and materials such as metal and wood. These industrial spaces heavily contrasted with the other big design force happening at the time – luxurious residential Victorian living. The materials that came to be seen as industrial were designed for practicality, first and foremost. Not beauty. They were commonly available, often unfinished, and definitely unwanted for interiors by most people in society, including those making them. Things like caged pendant lights, metal storage and rough wood furniture were useful but not truly desired.
But all of that was a long time ago. Today, vintage shops and contemporary furniture lines are stocking pieces inspired by those from that very era, when they aren’t stocking the actual authentic pieces themselves. The style that was once purely about practicality, and veered into ugly territory according to opinions of the time, is now considered interesting and oh-so-modern.
Image via pinterest http://www.anthropologie.com/uk/en/product/29432234.
How you can do it.
Image via pinterest/ http://decor-demon.tumblr.com/post/96175567669
Industrial spaces can look a bit brutal, so it’s important to make them work for you and your lifestyle. High ceilings and exposed walls and flooring, unfinished bits and pieces – you can use however much or however little you like. The look can be achieved by renovating or reinventing spaces, and living rooms are a great place to start dipping a toe into the waters of industrial décor.
Since the main goal in decorating a room (whatever your theme) is to make it livable and a place where you want to spend your time, think about mixing the brutal industrial design with more comforting elements – a corner filled with carpets and cushions and a comfortable sofa can offset the industrial vibe and still make it a place you want to lounge in after a hard day at work.
If you don’t live in a former warehouse, or you aren’t looking to strip the wallpaper off your walls and take up the carpeting, well that’s okay too. By embracing a bit of DIY using industrial materials like metal piping for shelving, pendant or drop-style lighting, and secondhand furniture in lived-in leather or no-nonsense steel, you can easily integrate the trend into your living space (you can also get some great ideas at https://www.nabru.co.uk/get-the-look#industrialLoft , and on this Pinterest board).
You can combine industrial style with many other types of design, according to your interests. Mid-century, vintage or modern, farmhouse, and more. The qualities that define it – rustic yet streamlined – are exactly what make it simple to integrate with many other aesthetics.
Collaborative Blog Post