Industrial Style Interiors and How to Get It Right
Exposed brickwork, metal piping proudly displayed, fabulous airy warehouse spaces, huge windows … the trend for urban industrial interiors is showing no signs of slowing down. And why would it, when there are so many advantages to this funky, functional, modern style of home, which celebrates re-using ex-industrial spaces for the best in relaxed, modern living?
But how to get it right? That’s the question. What are the key themes of this industrial type of look? What lighting, furniture, doors, fixtures and fittings should you be seeking out in order to maximise your space? Whether you’re embarking on a self-build and favour the industrial look, or you’ve just nabbed yourself a fab new warehouse loft in the city, we hope this handy blog will help guide you through the essentials.
What are urban industrial style spaces all about?
The key ideas of this interiors trend are really all about maximising what’s already there, in order to make a style statement. Think former factory spaces in which things like pipework and bricks would have been exposed. The industrial urban look is all about keeping those elements and celebrating them.
The other central theme to this type of interior space is just that: space. These types of home tend to be beautifully roomy and spacious. They’re about fewer rooms, but bigger: living in one room which may be home to a cooking, eating and lounge area … with natural light flooding through nice, big windows that were originally created large in order to provide plenty of light for the workforce to do their jobs. Urban industrial style is all about celebrating functional, big spaces with details that enhance these natural qualities rather than diminish them.
Lighting is massively important in urban industrial style. Seek out vintage, metal shades and lights. Go as big as you dare for ceiling lights and don’t be afraid of something that looks a bit scuffed and as though it may have seen better days. If you love the shape, your space will probably be able to take it. Flaws that would look messy in smaller spaces take on a new, beautiful dimension when celebrated in an airy environment.
If you prefer a smarter look then metal shades with fabulous interior colours such as gold, silver or blood red will look pretty hot, too.
The other important point on lighting your new industrial space is that big spaces tend to attract dark, uninviting corners. However, the good news is that these areas can be transformed into delightful, cosy nooks and crannies with the right lighting. Standard lamps, lights wired into the brickwork, or even an artfully displayed set of fairy lights in a corner can really work wonders. Try to make sure every area of the space is well lit as it really will make a difference.
Many people who live in industrial-type spaces favour neutral, organic colour schemes in their soft furnishings such as cushions and throws. Khaki green, grey, taupe, off-white … all of these colours will look just the ticket next to your exposed bricks and metal pipes, creating an overall calming effect.
However, you can also veer in the other direction and go for bold, rich colours, as they will also be set off beautifully by the wide, open spaces. A fabulous, large, bright rug which would overwhelm more conventional spaces will look simply wonderful on your bare wooden floorboards, so if that’s your preferred style, then go for it. The trick, unless you are a very, very skilful interior designer or you have an expert guiding you along the way, is not to mix the two. Either go organic and natural, or bold and fabulous: not both!
A lot of urban industrial spaces have big windows. When choosing what to cover your windows with, you want to maximise these fabulous natural assets in your space. Some people prefer to leave their big industrial windows free of any type of covering, preferring to enjoy the sunrises and sunsets without having to draw curtains.
If you do like to have some type of curtain over a window, a simple, large blind in a neutral colour such as mushroom, dark grey or even black will do the job very well, and not intrude too much into your space.
If you prefer a curtain that you can draw, a metal curtain rod will probably look best in this sort of space. As with our advice above, bold colours also work beautifully. Opulent velvet curtains could look simply fabulous, but simple natural fabrics such as linen will be good too, if this is your preferred look in the rest of the space. Probably the best bet is to keep it simple, whatever look you go for.
The interior doors you choose in your urban industrial space could really make, or break the overall look. You’ll probably want to avoid cottagey type styles as this will be a tricky balance with the rest of the interior. Here at JB Kind we have launched a new Urban Industrial door range which is specifically aimed at this type of space: our ‘City’ and ‘Metro’ doors in cool white or funky black feature a bold, retro design reminiscent of a Piet Mondrian painting. The idea is to blend in with the space and the design, not detract.
When choosing your ideal doors, think about whether you want to go for a glazed or solid design. A glazed option will obviously maximise that all-important light even more.
And, as with lighting, consider your materials: metal and dark woods will look great in big spaces such as these, while more complicated designs will just look ‘lost’.
You’ve probably got the idea by now, but what you really need to think about is size, material and design, when it comes to furniture. Beautiful, sculptural pieces will look just wonderful, while in many other types of smaller homes they would just be overwhelming.
What furniture you choose really depends on how you are dividing you your interior space. If you’re choosing to live in one big room with small ‘break out’ areas, then a big, bold table for lots of people to eat at is probably a good idea. Urban industrial spaces are absolutely ideal for entertaining lots of people so it would be great to celebrate that, if you can. You can go zany and seek out quirky, funky designs such as furniture made out of other things: cars, industrial machinery … the only limit is your imagination! Sofas should be as big as you can afford, but you can also do very well with a selection of squashy, relaxing seating areas made from bean bags and huge sit-down cushions.
Any furniture that’s made from a combination of materials, such as metal and wood, will tend to look pretty darn good, too.
Again, size, colour and materials will matter with your artwork. Big, bold, modern pieces will look simply fabulous. Or, you could throw some bold rugs on the walls for big splashes of colour. Smaller works may get lost in the space, however, if you’re creating more intimate areas with clever lighting and smaller pieces of furniture, then smaller pieces of art will work absolutely fine, drawing in visitors and helping to create cosy areas.
Urban industrial spaces are absolutely fabulous to live in, if you get the design details right. They can really be anything you want: cosy, organic, bold, colourful … and above all, flexible. Just be bold and think big, and you won’t go far wrong!