Stripped bare, exposed and gritty. No, we’re not talking about your bedroom antics; we’re talking industrial inspiration for the home.
Industrial style hinges on minimalism and utility using simple materials and few colours. Don’t have a home endowed with steel columns and timber trusses? No worries. Whether you live in a dingy loft above a Thai restaurant, a suave high-rise apartment or your mum’s garage, it is always possible to achieve the industrial look. Read on to learn how to achieve a mechanical, yet cosy, home with industrial design elements that will transform a drab pad into the ‘loft’ of your dreams.
Since Andy Warhol moved into The Factory in NY in the 1960s, warehouse spaces and dingy factories have attracted cool kids like a kale smoothie on a summer day in Double Bay. Industrial style has remained fundamentally unchanged in the intervening years, with a slightly sleeker end result.
#1 Monochrome Is The New Black
Industrial design is punctuated with black, white and grey accents. Photo frames, trims, mirrors, appliances and haberdashery in shades of black and grey will allow for maximum impact.
Get handy with a paintbrush and consider dip painting. For example, timber table and chair legs can be painted ankle deep in black or grey for instant industrial flair.
Tip: Black sheets are not recommended, unless you fancy having all your bodily fluids visible to the naked eye. Grey and white bed lined is more forgiving.
#2 Be An Exhibitionist
We’re not suggesting you walk around nude with the curtains up, unless you’re into that kind of thing. Instead, leave nail heads exposed and embrace construction elements that are visible – like beams and brick.
#3 Wheel-y Good
Don’t know what casters are? Well, it’s time to get acquainted because these little wheels give an instant industrial update to any piece of furniture. Oversized casters produce the best effect and can be put on almost anything: coffee tables, dining tables or kitchen and bathroom storage units.
More than just stylish, casters make rearranging a breeze and are convenient for those impromptu Fifa marathons that hijack your living room every Friday night
#4 Reclaimed Or Weathered Wood
Forget perfectly polished floors and shop around for weathered varieties that have character and industrial style. Reclaimed wooden boards are great because they welcome wear and tear, eliminating concerns about scratching newly installed floors. In fact, a few extra scratches will add more character to the room. You can also turn reclaimed floorboards into interesting wall panelling or headboards.
#5 Got Brick?
If you’re lucky enough to have exposed brick walls in your home then you have a head start. Make the most of your bricks and mortar and leave them relatively bare (if you feel the walls need some adornment, consider a flag or row of picture frames).
For those of us without a brick abode, brick veneer is an affordable alternative. A feature wall or kitchen splashback are just a couple of places to start.
#6 Let There Be Light
There are some keywords to keep in mind when shopping for industrial-style lights, lamps and fixtures: pendant, porcelain, ribbed glass, cast aluminium and steel are just a few. Bulb cages, Edison bulbs and pulley lighting designs are effective, but our favourites are those of the scissor accordion variety. Not only are they industrial and mechanical in appearance, but their ability to be extended make them extremely versatile.
#7 Arty Farty
Big, bright and bold pieces of art are the perfect way to personalise your industrial outfit. Own your own home? Paint a mural directly onto a stark white wall or exposed brick.
#8 Concrete Jungle
A staple building material of the industrial age was concrete, and the humble mixture of water and powdered cement is enjoying a revival. Concrete floors are particularly popular and provide a masculine functionality to the home. Plus, concrete floors (polished or matte) are functional, easy to clean, and will last a lifetime.
Concrete cinder blocks make unique bookshelves, while sinks, bathtubs and concrete bench and table-tops are subtle ways of incorporating concrete into your home. If you have wooden floorboards, this will make for a pleasing contrast.
#9 Stylish Steel
The old maxim of ‘less is more’ applies when it comes to steel. A house littered with steel accents like doorknobs, kitchen appliances, picture frames and other little bits and bobs will add a cohesive finish to your industrial pad.
#10 Wrought Iron
Wrought iron is a great way to bring industrial charm into any room. Brushed nickel will also do the trick, as will cast iron and copper. Consider a chic wrought iron bed with a bedside table on wheels and makeshift wooden headboard to complete the look.
#11 Strap On The Toolbelt
Can’t afford expensive industrial interiors that look like they were dragged off the side of the road? Put your handyman hat on and make a few pieces yourself. Pick up some timber and culverts and make your own table, create a sawhorse workbench, or pop out to Bunnings for a bunch of pipefittings and sheets of wood to create interesting wall-mounted shelves.
Spending thousands of dollars of faux-rusted metal décor and industrial-inspired items can be counterproductive to authentic industrial design. Instead, pair a couple of expensive pieces with DIY jobs, hardware shop pieces and council clean-up finds.