Achieving the industrial look in a new build house
May 14, 2013 // Interior Design //

When introduced and applied discriminatingly, industrial design elements can make the native interior design architecture positively sing and vibrate with new and unsuspected chords of relevance and meaning. Think along the lines of old factories and warehouses and you’ll get the idea of where this mindset is coming from.

industrial interior design

All across Europe, communities that were once dominated by grim industrial urban spaces of centuries ago, especially along the canals and rivers, are reclaiming their past. They are transforming and revitalising it through refreshing new design approaches that succeed in bringing a once-grim and gritty heritage into the light to inform contemporary innovations.

The key elements characteristic of old industrial design originally had little or nothing to do with aesthetics and everything to do with practicality. Now, however, they are coveted as the latest trends and include exposed pipes and brick walls, wood or concrete flooring, enormous windows filled with small panes of glass, high ceilings with beams of exposed wood and numerous paraphernalia such as pendant lights with wire surrounds, wheels and cogs. The problem is, if you’re in love with your low ceilings and smart furniture, how do you introduce such a gritty, unfinished ambience into the home without sacrificing comfort? How can the two ideals be wed? Here are a few practical ideas for getting the gritty, basic look right whilst hanging on to the little comforts.


Go the whole hog and recycle as much as possible, in the great industrial tradition, using salvaged materials where you can pick them up. Rusted wheels, cogs, chains, old pipes, worn wood and even sinister hooks and dusty conveyor belts can be cleaned, oiled and put to new purposes in the house.


If one or more of your interior supporting or dividing walls is exposed textured brick, make this a main feature of your living space. Rub it down with a wire brush and to be on the hygienic side apply a few coatings of clear brick varnish.

Industrial colours

Colours associated with old gritty industries are the likes of greys, neutrals, aged chromes, coppers, muted browns and metals with a rich patina of neglect. If you’re doing any interior painting, choose colours that are slightly warmer than these, such as stone neutrals, and think about the way in which any artificial lighting will bring these out and enhance or diminish their effects.


Be careful when it comes to scale. The industrial look really suits big rooms with very high ceilings, so when choosing furniture and fittings bear this in mind and be prepared to downsize if your house is not quite the dimensions of Citizen Kane’s. Choose large industrial elements by all means, but not if they tend to dwarf existing furnishings and end up looking ridiculously out of place.

Allow time

The most effective and liveable interiors are the ones that evolve almost organically over time. If this is the style that suits you best, give it room to breathe, settle in and evolve naturally rather than rushing it.

Author Bio:

David Bell is a freelance writer and blogs about travel, interior design, online marketing, telecoms and small business solutions. Follow him on Twitter @DavidBellWriter

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