It doesn't take a (bare) light-bulb moment to realize that industrial decor has been growing in popularity over the past few years.
You've probably recognized it as soon as you walked into a hipster cafe with exposed brick walls or large open-plan offices with wooden and metal desks… but what other elements characterize it? If you want to incorporate it into your interior design, what should you focus on?
Let's start from the basics.
What exactly is industrial style decor?
Industrial decor is a no-frills interior design style inspired by the raw feel of warehouses, lofts, and factories.
Its main elements are large spaces showcasing their structural features and minimal decor, a combination of wood and metal, and turning reclaimed objects into functional pieces.
The result? A bare factory feel with a slightly more rustic twist.
Industrial decor checklist: 11 most iconic elements
Now, we're not (necessarily) saying that you must go out of your way to tick all these boxes. For example, if you're currently renting, you might not have the chance of stripping your walls bare, or you might personally prefer taller upholstered frames rather than platform beds.
These are just some ideas to get you started, but we're not going to lie: the more of these elements you incorporate, the more your home will look like a Pinterest board for industrial decor.
1. Exposed brick wall
A staple of industrial interiors, exposed brick walls will immediately convey the rustic but raw vibes of this style.
If you live and breathe this type of interior design, you might want to adopt it in your entire house. However, keep in mind that the result could be a bit overwhelming.
That's why we recommend breaking it up visually by maintaining a few walls in a neutral monochrome finish (especially white).
Some other industrial ideas to decorate with exposed walls are:
Instead of maintaining their red finish, you can strip your walls bare but then paint them white while still showcasing the bricks' pattern
You can emphasize their unfinished raw feel by only exposing a few sections of the wall and painting over the rest to obtain an aged finish
Just like brick, concrete walls work wonders in industrial homes, too. And, if you love the idea but haven't actually got concrete walls, you can paint over them to obtain a faux concrete look
From your bookshelf to tables and nightstands, there isn't a more industrial pairing than wood and metal.
Rather than carvings, decorative details or elegant finishes, you want simple furniture pieces in streamlined designs, with clean lines, and natural or distressed wood.
When it comes to chairs, you have a few more options. You could:
Maintain the metal and wood pairing
Stick to all-metal bistro chairs
For dining chairs on which you're planning on sitting for long periods of time, consider combining a metal frame or legs and some comfy leather (or faux leather) seats
3. Leather sofa
As you've probably just figured out, leather is another popular material in industrial decor, but forget about the most polished and sophisticated finishes: we're talking about aged and distressed ones.
Brown tends to be the most obvious choice, especially when it includes a tufted look, but you can always choose a color that better suits your palette.
As for designs, the two most industrial options involve a vintage Chesterfield sofa with high rolled arms or bare metal frames.
While this might easily be all you need, you can also decide to add some cushions in your brightest accent hue to lighten the mood.
Remember when we mentioned reclaimed pieces? Crates tend to be the most common ones in industrial homes, perhaps thanks to their hardwearing factory feel and their practical potential.
For example, you could use them to replace a more traditional piece of furniture (such as your nightstands or side tables) or incorporate them into existing ones, perhaps by turning them into drawers.
Remember to choose crates in a rustic or distressed wood finish. Or, if you want to go all hipster cafe-ish, scout for some that still include some faded letters in a vintage typeface.
5. Bare or caged light bulbs
If you're committing to industrial interiors, you must have a few exposed light bulbs dangling from the ceiling in your home.
The iconic Edison bulb is perhaps the most recognizable industrial fixture, but it certainly doesn't have to look bare or boring. Nowadays, you can find tons of takes on this idea, such as multiple lightbulbs on strings wrapped around a wooden piece, in a shade made of reclaimed items (like glass bottles), in a caged design, or more.
Some other industrial lighting fixtures that might be a better option for task lighting are metal dome pendants in a neutral color and with an aged feel.
What you'd probably wish to hide in more traditional interiors, you'll actually want to showcase in your industrial home, and that's the same with pipes, steel beams, and even ducts.
In fact, they're often introduced as decorative elements even in homes that don't include them to begin with! For example, you could look for a pipe-style clothes rack, lighting fixture, or wall shelf.
It's always industrial o'clock when you have one of these bad boys as your main focal point, particularly when in a frameless or see-through metal design!
Some other takes on industrial clocks involve gears and train station-style models.
8. Copper pans & pots
Your industrial decor doesn't end in your living room. Your kitchen can be another tactical place to showcase it.
Since copper cookware is so characteristically industrial, why not display a few pieces by letting them hang from your shelves?
9. Windows with a black grid frame
Especially popular in old factories and lofts, traditional black-grid windows can help you enhance your vertical space and reinforce your industrial inspiration.
As for curtains, we recommend sticking to monochrome neutral models or very basic patterns.
10. Low platform bed
This type of bed really adds to this style's unfinished and reclaimed vibe, once again emphasizing your room's height and visual flow.
Other industrial bed ideas involve:
11. Open-plan spaces
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock
Finally, if you can introduce an open-plan layout anywhere in your home, do it!
With industrial interiors being inspired by spacious warehouses, open-plan spaces are the most natural choice, whether that's your kitchen/dining room or a mezzanine loft for your bedroom.
So, how many items from this industrial decor checklist have you ticked? Most importantly, have fun experimenting with a few of the remaining ones.