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Industrial Interior Design: Everything You Need To Know [+40 photos]

What is Industrial Interior Design?

It’s about proudly displaying the building materials that many try to conceal. It’s about adding a raw, unfinished look to the most thoughtfully designed homes. It’s about selecting pieces that are as much about function as style. It’s industrial interior design, and today’s post celebrates this growing trend. Used in loft apartments, modern homes, and commercial spaces around the world, industrial design showcases neutral tones, utilitarian objects, and wood and metal surfaces.

Photo Credit: Jean Stoffer Design – Stylish black sunroom features a glossy black plank ceiling lined with black crown moldings accenting a red brick wall and black and white harlequin floor tiles.

The result: a “warehouse look” that combines a true industrial feel with a range of other styles, from the earthy to the polished. This look isn’t just for “unfinished” spaces. In fact, many design enthusiasts who celebrate upscale interiors are incorporating industrial style into their homes through features such as stainless steel surfaces, metal light fixtures, and vintage furniture.

Retailers such as Restoration Hardware have helped foster a love of industrial design with their thoughtfully designed pieces based on specific furnishings of the past. Today we highlight a few key traits of industrial interior design so you can bring this look home…

Key Characteristics of Industrial Interior Design

Exposed Pipes and Ducts

One signature element of industrial interior design is the presence of features that people typically try and conceal, such as pipes and ducts. You can imagine what a liberating strategy this proved to be when the concept of warehouse apartments began gaining popularity! Converting former industrial spaces (such as factories) to residential living may have been a challenge, but leaving a few raw elements exposed reminded residents of the buildings’ original purpose and eliminated further construction. [from Lucy Call]

Industrial living room with an exposed ceiling and open windows

What may have started as a necessity became a sought-after style, and many design enthusiasts now specifically seek out this “unfinished” look. [from Apavisa]

Industrial dining room in a warehouse apartment with exposed brick walls
Photo Credit: Zoe Feldman Design – The eclectic foyer features a blue chinoiserie console table against an exposed brick wall with blue crown moldings and baseboards. The console is styled with wall art and a lips vase bringing a custom, eye-catching appeal.
Photo Credit: Change and Co – White fringe pillows on a light gray sectional in a condo loft room with red brick exposed walls.
Photo Credit: Zoe Feldman Design – Eclectic foyer boasting a floating-style staircase and an exposed brick wall finished with gallery wall art in various placements and frames.

Exposed pipes can also be a fabulous choice for all-white spaces, as the brightness of the walls and ceiling are a sharp contrast to the metal of the piping, as shown below. [from Christopher A. Dorsey]

Industrial New York living room with polished concrete floors and exposed pipes

In addition to metal pipes and ducts, the presence of metal on walls and doors is another key feature of industrial design… [from Lucy Call]

Industrial bedroom in neutral colors
Photo Credit: Hazel and Brown – Chic living room boasts an industrial metal and glass sliding door on rails positioned behind a black comfy sofa paired with a gold accent table and positioned on a gray rug facing a round black coffee table.
Photo Credit: Patterson Custom Homes – A concrete top washstand accented with oil rubbed bronze legs is fitted with a polished nickel cross handle faucet mounted beneath a tall black framed mirror illuminated by a black industrial pendant.

People who long for the industrial look may even incorporate the concept of exposed pipes through furniture finds. For example, this Maritime Shelf System in Polished Nickel from Restoration Hardware features metal brackets and tubes finished in polished nickel. Inspired by the pipes that hug ships’ bulkheads, this piece has a true industrial feel:

Metal and wood industrial shelves
Photo Credit: Hoedemaker Pfeiffer – Cottage style mudroom features a brown oak ladder that leads to a loft with pipe plumbing rails, a mudroom locker with shelves and blue grasscloth wallpaper, a built in mudroom bench with metal storage show bins and a tan rug lit by vintage industrial light pendants.

Wood and Metal Surfaces Add To Industrial Interior Design

A plethora of wood and metal surfaces can be found in industrial-style interiors. It’s no wonder that earth tones and neutrals are popular color choices for these spaces. Below we see an abundance of metal on ceiling, staircase and window. Also note the use of wooden panels on the ceiling… [from dSPACE Studio]

Metal staircase and a modern floor lamp in an industrial home living space

A wooden table paired with metal chairs. Exposed pipes and ducts. A kitchen with stainless steel counters. These industrial elements combine to create the chic modern home below. [photo by Lincoln Barber for Emerick Architects]

Metallic details paired with distressed leather in an industrial home

In another photo from the same residence, we see a machined hood, custom stainless cabinetry and exposed ducts, which together create the feel of a commercial kitchen. This stylish approach is also undeniably functional. [photo by Lincoln Barber for Emerick Architects]

Stainless steel surfaces in an industrial kitchen

We often see metal and wood incorporated into the same industrial pieces, as shown by the kitchen island and shelving below… [from Natsumi]

Metal surfaces paired with wooden floors in an industrial kitchen

Industrial design enthusiasts often seek out a metallic feel through the use of colors such as gray. The industrial bathroom in the next featured image is filled with stylish details. Weathered gray walls enhance the steely look. [from John Lum Architecture, Ltd.]

Gray color palette  in an industrial bathroom

Vintage Furniture and Accessories Will Complete The Industrial Decor

Let’s talk furniture. We know that industrial design for interiors involves the use of metal and wood. It is precisely these materials that combine to create a large number of industrial-style furnishings.

Many are truly vintage, while others are inspired by old factory and laboratory pieces. Note how the industrial bar stools in the kitchen below fit the space perfectly. [photo by Eduard Hueber, from Jane Kim Design]

Industrial kitchen with vintage-style seating

As mentioned, retailers such as Restoration Hardware celebrate a love of industrial design through new pieces that evoke the past. Below we see the Vintage Toledo Dining Chair in Antique Green, a reproduction of the classic vintage-inspired draftsman’s chair. Metal meets wood for an earthy modern look.

Vintage industrial dining chair

For a backless and slightly more polished version of the seating above, we have the Vintage Toledo Dining Stool in Grey Enamel. Shiny, steely and compact, it makes a big statement without overpowering the room.

Vintage dining stool

The Remy Bar and Counter Stools from Restoration Hardware are modeled after early-20th-century French café chairs. A powder-coated steel frame and an over-sized vertical slat create a sleek industrial look:

Industrial seating from Restoration Hardware

In addition to vintage furniture, antique light fixtures are popping up in industrial homes, adding weathered flair as they dangle from the ceiling in style… [from ROMA]

Industrial kitchen with vintage lighting

Let’s not forget about the resurgence of vintage industrial metal furniture in the form of cabinets. In fact, many antique dealers are stocking up on metal doctor’s office furnishings and selling these pieces for thousands of dollars. You can also buy these items new.

For example, below we have the Circa 1900 French Linen Factory Medium Bath Cabinet from Restoration Hardware. The piece was inspired by a pair of metal cabinets built around 1900 for a French linen factory.

Industrial metal cabinet

This 1930s Laboratory Stainless Steel Storage Cabinet from Restoration Hardware boasts a design based on cabinets that equipped 1930s American laboratories. Hand-welded stainless steel, zinc hardware and bullet hinges give this piece true style…

Vintage-style laboratory cabinet

As you can see, industrial style takes many forms. It combines wood, metal, open spaces, neutral tones, and utilitarian objects to create an unfinished and raw look. From exposed piping on ceilings and walls to wood and metal furnishings and accents, there are many ways you can get the industrial look at home. Whether you go vintage or stick with new items, there’s are pieces for every price point.

Photo Credit: Katie Rosenfeld and Co. – Divided living room designed with exposed brick walls a metal frame coffee table and blue chevrons wing back chairs on layered rugs.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Dinkel Design – Ivory vintage barn lights illuminate an ivory center island with gray quartz countertop on an exposed painted ivory brick wall.
Photo Credit: Sarah Richardson Design – Accented with rustic wood beams, this charming media room boasts a gray oak pool table positioned beneath three copper industrial light pendants.
Photo Credit: Change & Co – Black industrial pendants hang a rustic wood beam over a black kitchen island finished with a white quartz waterfall countertop. The countertop is finished with an induction cooktop and seats wishbone counter stools.
Photo Credit: Amber Interiors – Cottage dining room features mismatched vintage chairs at a rustic oak farmhouse dining table lit by an industrial pendant hung from a truss ceiling and a black overdyed rug.
Photo Credit: Studio DB – Two types of countertops on a kitchen island adds a unique appeal to a transitional kitchen. A butcher block accents a black island illuminated by a set of brass industrial lights hanging from a coffered ceiling.
Photo Credit: Katrina Porter Designs – Country kitchen designed with a vintage industrial china cabinet featuring wine and kitchen essentials.
Photo Credit: Refined LLC – Kitchen features a blue U-shaped wet bar with concrete countertops, gray geomeric tiles backsplash, stainless steel industrial shelves on white offset tiles and large gray floor tiles.
Photo Credit: Brooks and Falotico – A large flat paneled TV is fixed in a niche over a gray industrial style double-sided fireplace warming two side-by-side light gray accent chairs.
Photo Credit: The Iron Gate -Industrial metal doors are closed behind white and gray Moroccan style patio tiles, while inset river rocks line an in ground swimming pool.
Photo Credit: Courtney Hill Interiors – Gray and black kitchen design features a stainless steel industrial hood flanked by black and brass sconces on gray glass subway tiles over a cooktop, black industrial shelves over gray cabinets, and a gray kitchen island with dark gray marble countertop.
Photo Credit: Refined LLC – Kitchen features blue bar cabinets with concrete countertops and stainless steel industrial shelves on white offset tiles.
Photo Credit: Amy Storm – Industrial cage lanterns lead to a black chevron door flanked by sidelights and located under a transom window.
Photo Credit: Kate Marker Interiors – Kitchen features an industrial wood and metal desk with built in leather stools on faded red brick herringbone pavers lit by a white and gold cage lantern and green cabinets.
Photo Credit: St Charles New York – Kitchen features an industrial stainless steel China cabinet with glass doors.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is industrial interior design?

Industrial interior design is a style that emphasizes raw materials, such as exposed brick, concrete, and metal. It often features open spaces, high ceilings, and large windows. This style can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, where factories and warehouses were converted into living spaces.

What colors are commonly used in industrial interior design?

Neutral colors such as black, white, and shades of gray are commonly used in industrial interior design. These colors help to showcase the raw materials and textures that are often featured in this style.

What types of furniture are typically used in industrial interior design?

Furniture in industrial interior design often features clean lines and simple shapes. Materials such as metal, wood, and leather are commonly used. Pieces such as metal bookcases, wooden tables, and leather sofas are all popular choices.

How can I incorporate industrial interior design into my home?

You can incorporate industrial interior design into your home by using raw materials such as exposed brick, concrete, and metal. You can also incorporate industrial-style furniture and lighting. To add warmth to the space, you can add soft furnishings such as rugs and cushions.

Is industrial interior design only for large spaces?

Industrial interior design can be used in any size space. While it is often associated with large, open spaces, this style can also be used in smaller rooms. In fact, industrial design can be a great way to make a small space feel larger.

Can industrial interior design be combined with other styles?

Yes, industrial interior design can be combined with other styles such as modern, rustic, and vintage. For example, you could combine industrial elements such as metal lighting fixtures with rustic elements such as a wooden dining table.

Here are some other design style articles that you may find helpful:

Kate Simmons

Kate Simmons is a freelance writer and design blogger with a love of all things decor. She spent her childhood writing stories and working on interior design-themed DIY projects. Kate’s published writing reflects her special interest in how design has changed through the decades. Her blog Mirror80 ( http://mirror80.com/) explores the fashion and [...]

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