History of Industrial Interior Design
Who would have thought that the damp, fairly grim Victorian factory that little Oliver worked at would turn into the most sought after loft conversion in town 150 years later?
Certainly not Oliver.
Yet here we are and a lot of people are styling their home with the industrial feel too.
There is less of a defined origin for the Industrial design but it goes back to the turn of the 20th century, once the industrial revolution had matured somewhat.
Simply owning a factory was no longer enough, everyone was doing it! Now you needed to not only own a factory but to own it cheaply as well. Tough break. This led a lot of factories either moving cities or moving countries altogether for cheap labor.
Without workers, the buildings lay dormant. Patiently biding their time.
Cities became more expensive for the Average Joe to afford and so the population gradually moved further out from the center and into the industrial heartlands.
The spaces were large and that meant they were perfect for converting into residential complexes for the middle class. So that’s what happened.
Unlike most interior design styles, industrial design doesn’t conceal the blemishes. Every time you switch your gaze it’s like turning a page in a book, there’s a big story to read.
The thought was if you can embrace the past then you don’t have to create an artificial present, there’s certainly nothing sterile about this approach.
Industrial Interior Design Features
The aesthetics of industrial design can vary but there are common themes.
If you close your eyes, I bet you picture:
- Exposed brick
- Heavy structural elements incorporated into the room or building
- An open ceiling with pipes running the length of the room
Although you won’t find many bold colors in industrially designed rooms, that doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily find pale colors.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large property then making it livable has to be your first priority. If half of the apartment is brick, metal and pipework then the other half should be cosy and warm feeling.
Too much use of the white and the place is going to feel sterile. We don’t want sterile, we want laidback.
Industrial Design Layouts
Industrial properties are almost always open plan to allow the space to become multi-functional. If you live in an expensive city like London or New York, you need to make your money go further.
Open plan lets you experience as much of the building in one go as possible.
Wherever possible, leave the original brick, wood or metal work in place. As long as it’s structurally sound, it’s got a place in your home. Anything that would be covered up or camoflaged in other interior styles should be considered for being put on show.
Included in this list are:
Air conditioning ducting
It doesn’t matter that the sofas cost an arm and a leg, it’s extremely important that the leather looks like it’s had a marching band play a procession on it. Distressed is best. It’s similar to how people buy pre-ripped jeans – you just have to go with the flow sometimes.
Make it brown leather. I love brown leather.
- Industrial accessories
- Industrial light fixtures
Fittings such as shelves or cupboards often have the industrial appearance too. It doesn’t matter too much is you choose these to be predominantly wood or metal but I think it’s a great touch to always have metallic fixings.
Because most apartments designed with an industrial style are large, open place spaces, there’s a lot of emphasis on getting the right lighting.
Getting it wrong means you’ll have a dank and dingy home. When has that ever been someone’s intention?