Putting Industrial Style Design into Your Living Space

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By Liz Filman / Published by Liz Filman
How adding industrial style furnishings can bring a bit of factory floor to your decor.

(Photo Credit Above:  Asbe - iStock by Getty Images)

The industrial design aesthetic has become wildly popular in recent years. One of the primary reasons for this is that industrial design blends the rustic warmth of exposed brick and wood with the cool utility of steel and iron in a fashion that results in a stylish, urban vibe.

One of the main advantages of industrial design is that the furniture is crafted with utility in mind and is often as durable as it is beautiful. The furniture is also often placed on casters which further enhance its beauty as well as its practicality since it's easier to clean and move heavy furniture when it's on wheels.

Another benefit of industrial style design is that when implemented properly, the motif lends itself to a gender-neutral aesthetic without imposing a sterile effect. When the cool harshness of steel and iron is properly balanced with the warmth of wood, brick and a colorful mix of fabrics, an environment is achieved that appeals to both men and women alike.

Industrial furniture adheres to the quality and craftsmanship of a time when no vintage detail was overlooked.

The Industrial Look

Industrial design is centered around achieving comfort and utility with a nod towards minimalism. Centerpieces made of steel, wood and glass can serve as the foundation that the design is built upon.

You can enhance the look by mixing things and introducing accenting elements. When you blend industrial design with bright, airy accents or deep, rich colors, incorporating large furnishings with soft accents and vintage factory light fixtures you can achieve a look that is inviting. Blending your materials, introducing soft fabrics and playing off exposed brick walls add to the appeal.

Decide first on a couch and sofa set from either a rich blue, warm red or chocolate brown hue that will accent and contrast the neutral tones of your home. Embrace those neutral tones by introducing a large, industrial-style bookshelf and coffee table on casters. Finally, a large, soft and dramatic rug on your floor and a vivid piece of art will bring your living room together as a whole.

You can continue to play on the industrial theme in your bedroom using a bedframe made of reclaimed wood and steel headboard, but with linens that evoke a soft warm environment. A dining room might feature a long, live-edge wood dining table on a cast iron base, surrounded by bold leather upholstered chairs. There are so many ways you can use and contrast industrial design to make your home a place you'll want to linger in. You are limited only by your imagination.

What to Look For

The main thing to look for in any industrial furniture piece is how it adheres to the quality and craftsmanship of a time when no vintage detail was overlooked. Durability and retro design is key. Look for rivets, accent brackets, iron casters and boilerplates design motifs to complete the look. Look for furniture that is built to last using indestructible materials and design. If your furniture comes in a flat box ready for assembly, it may look nice and fit your budget, but you may find yourself on the market for a replacement in short order. Invest in something that will grow with you and display the beautiful patina that only time can provide.

If you were to look for a bookshelf in Toronto for example, look for something artisanal, handcrafted and built with utility and beauty in mind and make sure it features classic industrial motifs like rivets and casters. An industrial bookshelf is much more than a place for you to simply store your books and knick knacks, but instead it should be a focal point and impact piece that delights you when you enter a room.

Finally, when setting up your bookshelf, add a few vintage keepsakes that play upon the industrial motif, such as an antique typewriter, apothecary's jar, or an old corporate seal stamp as examples. This way, your shelf will combine the vintage and modern decor elements that truly reflect your own personal taste.

Putting Industrial Style Design into Your Living Space - Photo 1 of 1 -

Research Pays Off 

(Photo Credit Above:  From Away Media)

My husband and I have long held a deep appreciation for the strength and appeal of industrial furniture. After years of collecting pieces from larger retailers, where we found quality was sometimes sacrificed for mass production, we started to design and manufacture our own line of furniture. We started small, launching our company first with our cornerstone bookshelf and built out from there introducing other pieces to complement a full living room set. We are a small, artisanal and local company based in Toronto that designs, creates and sells industrial furniture online, but there many other good artisans out there as well. Do your research online and you will find a treasure trove of pieces that appeal to your taste and can deliver on your desire for quality. The internet is bursting with skilled artisans who are able to craft high quality industrial pieces to complement your home and who can deliver to you from almost anywhere. There are some obvious places to look, such as Etsy, Houzz and of course the Shop here on Dwell. If you get creative, you will find a large number of craftspeople who are as passionate about industrial style design as you are and can help make that piece that suits you perfectly.