Add a commercial, indie cafe vibe to your kitchen by using all the right industrial tricks for your space, from neutral hues to brick walls and metal and wood combinations.
Unlike more decorative and traditional interior styles, industrial kitchens replace ornamental elements with the barer and rawer appeal of old factories and commercial spaces, embracing a more streamlined and minimalist approach to decor.
While industrial interiors are especially popular for living rooms (as well as actual cafes and restaurants), your kitchen offers lots of opportunities to incorporate them in a way that complements your unique vision and layout.
To help you create the right style while matching your practical needs, our interior design experts have put together a varied list of industrial kitchen ideas, ranging from the most iconic combinations like brick walls and metal accents to more unusual takes on this decor.
1. Stick to neutral colors to create an industrial palette
Forget about the bright hues that you find in more traditional homes! Industrial kitchens are all about neutral shades like white, black, gray, and brown.
Some of the most characteristic elements of this style tend to complement them naturally, like exposed brick walls, salvaged wood, or metallic accents.
However, consider looking for actual furniture and items in these colors to achieve a cohesive result.
2. Introduce a black chalkboard
Chalkboards are ideal in industrial kitchens: they reinforce their commercial inspiration by nodding to the menu boards you can find in similar cafes or restaurants, and they’ll complement your neutral palette, too.
At the same time, because you’ll get to personalize its message, your new blackboard (or a chalkboard section like on this fridge) can also highlight your home’s familiar sense of coziness.
3. Prioritize open storage in your industrial kitchen
A few traditional cupboards can still come in handy, but in an industrial kitchen you really want to use your open shelves to showcase your pots, pans, pantry items, crockery, glassware, and even your functional equipment.
Don’t forget that this style has a strong, intrinsic minimalist approach, though! Consider starting with a declutter and then finding a way of arranging these items neatly.
4. Have at least one exposed brick wall
Let’s face it: that’s still the most industrial element par excellence! To really embrace this decor to the fullest, you want to have at least one wall in this style, perhaps the one behind your main kitchen furniture like in this example.
You might also wish to balance it with some white walls and ceilings to prevent an overwhelming feel, especially if your kitchen is on the small side.
5. Experiment with a coastal industrial twist
Thanks to its minimalism and neutral colors, industrial interiors mix well with a few other styles. Coastal decor, in particular, is an excellent choice if you were hoping to soften your industrial kitchen.
The trick is to focus on mutual elements (for example, reclaimed wood and white) and then add some coastal touches: think maritime colors—much like this blue kitchen furniture—and items made of rope, jute, or rattan.
6. Use white in a small industrial kitchen
If your kitchen isn’t the largest, create a white base before adding darker furniture or stripping your walls bare.
This will inspire an airy sense of space that’ll trick your eyes (and your guests’) into seeing a wider and less cramped room, and you can emphasize it even further by letting plenty of natural light in.
As well as walls and ceilings, consider white floors, maybe made of marble?
7. White wall tiles can be industrial, too
In kitchens, a slightly more niche industrial decor trend consists of blending the separation between the backsplash section and the rest of the wall.
White tiles in simple, symmetrical designs are one of the best ways of doing so. They’d also help you maintain a wide and breezy feel in your room while complementing your neutral palette.
8. Save space with some backless stools…
Whether you can fit an actual island or turn a countertop section into a breakfast bar, choose your stools strategically.
Backless models are a much wiser option in busy kitchens: by getting rid of the backrest, they won’t get in the way of your room’s visual flow, and you’ll physically get to push them underneath the top surface to save even more space.
9. … or get comfy with some stools with back
At the same time, we can’t deny that a backrest makes for a much more comfortable experience, which is especially relevant if you tend to use this space often or if one of your family members needs some back support.
As for styles, a streamlined design involving a combination of wood and metal is the most industrial seating solution.
10. Metal stools will look super industrial, too
Whether you include the wooden seat on top or opt for the all-metal design, the stools you see in this stunning kitchen are another popular industrial choice.
We recommend pairing them up with islands in a contrasting color so that your chairs can really pop against their background.
11. Emphasize your kitchen’s structural elements
Another decorative choice that characterizes this raw style is its tendency to embrace large and functional architectural elements instead of hiding them or painting over them.
So, if your kitchen layout already incorporates a quirky section (for example, a column or the wooden beams of this slightly more rustic setting), consider yourself lucky.
12. Add the right decorative items
Just because industrial decor isn’t big on ornamental pieces, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have any at all!
We simply recommend that you are intentional with them. If possible, choose items that reinforce this decor’s raw inspiration by being second-hand, looking worn out, or involving some upcycled functional pieces. Have you noticed this charming collection of plate numbers?
13. Make your industrial kitchen more vintage
Another creative take on traditional industrial interiors involves a nostalgic retro touch.
To achieve it, focused on the rawness and agedness of the most utilitarian and functional pieces or items. Some useful tricks consist of looking for furniture in distressed wood finishes, slightly discolored items, or even recognizable vintage designs like these table lamps.
14. Plan it around your loft apartment
Lofts and open-plan settings are the best-suited spaces for industrial interiors as they highlight this decor's commercial and factory-style inspiration.
If you have particularly tall ceilings, you could even create your own loft effect behind the actual kitchen by including some additional top storage (perhaps hanging from the top) and a ladder to reach it.
15. Find the right clock style
Industrial decor tends to prioritize metal clocks with roman numerals and a faceless design. However, unless you have an open-plan setting, that might be a more logical choice for your living room.
Since it’s handier to rely on a more immediate solution when you’re busy with food prep, don’t be afraid to opt for a contemporary digital clock in a minimalist design, even better if it matches your existing finishes.
16. Work towards a balanced dining room/industrial kitchen idea
If you need to fit your industrial kitchen and dining area within the same room, you must be extremely strategic with your existing space.
You can mark the separation between the two by adding a rug underneath the table or by using the back of your furniture as a visual divider, just like the row of chairs on the right side of this long dining table.
17. Embrace your kitchen’s quirks
Be sure to emphasize your room’s unique features, especially from an architectural perspective. You want to give off the impression that ‘this is the raw space we bumped into, and that’s how we made it into a home.’
For instance, we love how these interiors actively complement the sloped ceilings by involving progressively smaller wall shelves.
18. Add a sprinkle of brutalist decor
This is another interior style sharing many similarities with industrial homes.
Brutalist interiors also thrive on raw settings and materials, clean lines, and an unfinished feel, but they prioritize heavy-looking items, rough and textured surfaces like concrete, and geometric shapes.
If you’re fascinated by both, find your own balance between these love-them-or-hate-them styles. For instance, this kitchen involves typical industrial stools and shelving but more brutalist surfaces and concrete walls.
19. Use furniture to divide an open plan setting
Embrace your open spaces while creating separate areas strategically, without introducing large elements (such as walls or room dividers) that would block their visual flow.
If your kitchen and living space occupy the same room, you could use your kitchen island or long countertop to mark their separation. This design with bookshelves clearly focuses on food prep and dining on one side and leisure on the other.
20. Make your industrial kitchen cozy
There’s this misconception that industrial interiors give off a cold and impersonal vibe. While we can’t say they’re the most ornamental of all styles, we disagree!
There are plenty of ways to make your industrial home cozier and more inviting. For example, focus on natural wood furniture (reclaimed wood in particular), tactile elements such as cushions for your stools, and delightful touches like pots of flowers or even herbs.
21. Factor in some factory windows
Just like the ones you’d imagine if you were to picture a large warehouse or a factory during the industrial revolution, these windows can really elevate your decor inspiration.
They consist of a metal frame (usually steel in a black finish) dividing them into smaller and symmetrical glass panels.
Extra industrial points if you can use it for both your main window and a wall section like in this kitchen.
22. Draw inspiration from pipes
Any fan of more decorative interiors like shabby chic or glam would recoil in horror in front of elements like pipes and air ducts. Industrial decor, on the other hand, will emphasize them!
As well as showcasing them proudly, you could take this even further by including elements that incorporate them within their design, such as stacked shelves kept together by pipe-style brackets or even some creative table legs.
23. Wood and metal are the most industrial combination
Name a more industrial duo: we’ll wait! Rough metal and wooden surfaces are the best combo when it comes to your industrial kitchen furniture and even some decorative items.
Some key spots to introduce these materials are stools (as you can see in this example), tables, and wall shelves, but you could find some quirkier ideas, too: for instance, how about a wood and metal kitchen cart?
24. Hang your pots and pans
Leaving them in plain sight works so well with industrial interiors because it emphasizes both their raw vibe and commercial inspiration, much like you’d see in restaurant kitchens.
While you can do so through some open shelves too, a more practical, space-saving, and aesthetically pleasing solution involves hanging your pots upside down. Just scout for shelves or dual furniture pieces with hooks… and choose a cohesive set, of course.
25. Find some attention-grabbing accent pieces
In industrial interiors, it’s common practice to use everyday items in a more creative way (for example, by turning humble crates into storage cupboards or shelves).
Another take on this idea consists of choosing furniture pieces that are made to look like a completely different item, utilitarian ones in particular: check out these metal stools shaped like a giant spring!
26. Include the right lighting fixtures
No ornamental chandeliers or sparkly beads! In your industrial kitchen, you need an overhead light that emphasizes this style’s raw vibe.
Some iconic options are exposed bulbs (whether as a standalone element or a combination of a few) and pendant lights in neutral colors and streamlined designs like in this example.
27. Maybe even a caged design?
If you’d like to inspire a cozier and slightly more traditional atmosphere in your industrial kitchen, caged designs with glass and metal are a superb compromise… as long as they also include an exposed light bulb in the middle, of course!
28. Metal accents will easily complement your industrial kitchen decor
You already have a neutral palette and functional elements in the same colors, from pipes to air ducts: it’s only logical to include more metal items to tie the room together!
Some strategic spots are faucets, shelving brackets, lighting fixtures, and sections of your kitchen furniture and appliances, such as your cooker hood or fridge.
At the same time, don’t forget about smaller items like coffee machines and equipment.
29. You can still add a more colorful hue
Yes, industrial decor prioritizes neutral colors, but that doesn’t mean that you must force yourself to like them when you personally prefer brighter options!
Just find the right compromise by bringing the two together tactfully.
As you can see, this kitchen incorporates some cheerful blue furniture but balances it out through the white surfaces, walls, tiles, and lighting fixtures, as well as the smaller black accents.
30. Copper is another relevant choice
Most industrial metal finishes are dark or black, but this beautiful option can help you soften your interiors while introducing a new accent hue.
Copper works divinely in industrial kitchens, and we especially recommend choosing a cohesive set of pots and pans in this material (and displaying it instead of hiding it behind some cupboard doors!).
You can then keep it consistent through other smaller accents like a copper faucet.
31. Making your industrial kitchen more rustic is easy
Because they both rely heavily on wooden furniture and surfaces, combining industrial decor with a rustic touch couldn’t be easier!
Rather than laminate or polished wood options, prioritize salvaged or natural pieces that showcase this material’s unique veins and patterns.
Choose items in rough and aged metal designs, too. Once again, displaying your pots will work in your favor for both sides of this decor inspiration.
32. Don’t forget about the rug
A rug can soften the roughest elements of your industrial home while actively complementing your palette and decor. Plus, you can use it to separate some areas (if relevant), such as the kitchen from your dining table or living space.
The most industrial designs mimic actual metal, rely on neutral colors and simple patterns, or consist of vintage and Persian-style rugs but in an aged and distressed finish.
33. Make the most of a large industrial kitchen
If space is the least of your concerns, create the kitchen of your dreams but without filling it up with furniture pieces: after all, industrial decor prioritizes a minimalist approach and large spaces with a clean visual flow!
You could even incorporate a large island in an less predictable design: that way, you’ll have plenty of surface space for food prep while obtaining a separate breakfast area.