When beginning to design a new home, many people tend to go for a themed look or atmosphere. These themed ideas can often end up looking tacky or ‘overdone’ if no careful consideration and planning was done before the design was implemented. Themes can also fade in and out of popularity, with what was once the hottest trend looking outdated within a year or two. One theme that has been consistently making waves in the design industry over recent years, however, is the industrial look. A stripped back, minimal, yet somewhat mechanical look, the industrial theme is one that is easy to apply to a room or home, and rarely ends up looking tacky or overdone.
This theme evolved from the rustic look of warehouse and factory conversions; big, old, industrial buildings that were renovated into homes for aspiring artists and creative souls. The resulting look of these conversions was so popular that others began to mimic the industrial factory look in their homes, resulting in the industrial interior design look we see now. So whether you’re designing a new home or looking to renovate, here’s how you can implement the industrial look in your home.
Exposed building systems
Sometimes it’s not convenient or possible to do so, but many original industrial buildings had exposed electrical and plumbing systems. Since the original factories were used purely for functional purposes, the need to hide these systems wasn’t needed. To mimic this look in your home, see if you would be able to have some of the plumbing on display in areas such as the kitchen. Instead of having the conventional closed-in cupboard under the kitchen sink, you may choose to leave the space open to expose the plumbing work. You could do something similar with bathroom fixtures.
Now if you’re working on a renovation, we don’t want you to start knocking walls down just for the sake of showing your electrical and plumbing work as this could be quite dangerous. If you want to see the ‘exposed’ look in your home you could instead add in features that appear to be ‘working parts’ but are actually there for decoration. An exposed part of a ducting system, for example, across the top of a kitchen or living room wall would look like your air conditioning system is on display when in fact, it’s a useless part of machinery. This is a simple alternative to adding the exposed look in current homes, without stretching your budget and demanding wall knock-downs.
When building your home, you may have a chance to discuss floor and wall coverings with the builder and designer. This will be a great opportunity to incorporate weathered wood! This kind of material can add a warm feel to any home and looks amazing and cosy. The easiest way to add this feature to a new building is by choosing flooring that looks worn or faded. This helps add to the industrial, ‘used’, feel. Adding a piece of nostalgia with the weathered wood will easily add to the industrial feel. You could even add some wood panelling on the walls as a feature.
You don’t need to relay the whole floor of your home to add a woody texture to your design, however. If you have the time and funds to do so, or you think your old carpet needs to be removed anyway, replacing the floors can be a great option. You may even be lucky enough to already have some wooden floorboards hidden beneath your existing carpet. If this is the case, rip the carpet up and get those floorboards into decent shape for everyday use.
If your budget is a little tighter, go and check out op-shops and even recycling centres if there is one in your local area. There are some great finds hiding in those places, which will often be extremely cheap and easy to use. One way you can incorporate wood into an existing home is by buying some worn out doors from a recycling centre. Try find doors that still have a good structure but are in need of a fresh coat of paint. Of course, you won’t necessarily need to paint these doors to achieve the industrial look, so simply sand back the loose paint and either use the doors for their intended purpose or just hang onto a wall as a feature element.
You may be fortunate enough to have exposed brick incorporated into your building. This is a fairly easy option when building a new home, as it simply means not having to include drywall or plasterboard on one or more walls to ensure that the brick work is still exposed. The best part about doing this is that, if you have a change of heart in the future, it’s fairly easy to add the drywall back over the brick work once again.
Exposed brick really makes the industrial look recognisable, and can quickly transform the look and feel of a space. If you don’t want a whole wall of exposed brick, consider an addition such as a fireplace with an exposed brick border, or a bar area with exposed brick features.
If you’re going for the industrial look in your current home and you know you have some brickwork hiding behind your drywall, maybe it’s time to get your hands dirty and remove the plasterboard and get the brick out in the open! Be sure that there is actually some brick behind there before you start pulling your house apart. If you aren’t able to fully remove the drywall, and find some remnants are left on the exposed bricks, don’t freak out! A bit of rugged removal won’t go astray here, in fact it will simply add to the industrial look.
Lighting can really make or break the look and atmosphere of a home. When you’re deciding on the types of fittings for your new home, take a look around home decorating and renovation stores and go for industrial themed lighting. Look out for aluminium, steel, and ribbed glass shades as they were once very popular in factories. Brass also creates a strong industrial look. Make a huge statement by including a large lighting piece over the dining table or in an entranceway; large structures that draw your attention are a classic feature of the industrial look.
You don’t need to change all the fittings in your home to make its lighting look like an industrial masterpiece. Change up the look of your home by simply changing the shades of your existing light fittings. Lampshades are easy to find from home decorator stores and even online. Choose ones that are made from aluminium, tin, or even glass. You could even remove existing lampshades and leave the bulbs bare instead. This can make a real statement without costing you any money at all.
If you really want to make a splash, consider concrete as the flooring of choice in your new home. There are many different options when it comes to concrete use within the home; colours, textures, and styles are all customisable and can really add an industrial feel to your new building. Many people think that concrete flooring looks cold and harsh, however that’s a myth.
Because you can choose different colours and styles, you can add concrete flooring without feeling like you’re actually moving into an ex-factory. You can balance concrete floors with softer features such as rugs and cushions if you feel that it’s too much without. Having said that, concrete floors are actually incredibly easy to look after and maintain.
Paint it black
Adding a touch of black can instantly make a room feel industrial. Don’t overdo the black paint as you can make the room seem very dark and gloomy, and it will drain you of energy throughout the day. Adding a touch of black to certain features, however, will go a long way in turning your theme into a reality. Trims, picture frames, or even objects such as sinks or bathtubs can be tackled to add a touch of black to your home.
Decor is going to really add the finishing touches to your home’s new look. You needn’t go out and buy a whole heap of brand new ‘themed’ furniture. The best part about the industrial look is that a lot of items are able to be made yourself or repurposed, and shouldn’t look ‘perfect’ or ‘polished’ as they’re intended to give off the industrial, factory vibe. You could start by adding large caster wheels to a piece of wood to create a new dining table. This is a very simple table to make and won’t cost a fortune, especially if you use recycled materials!
So there you have it, all you need to know to get started on implementing the industrial look in your home. This is a great theme for a laid back, modern home that is both cosy and spacious.