Industrial elements tend to appeal to those with minimalist tendencies—the sharp lines and functional philosophies of industrial design are a natural fit if you’re into clean, uncluttered spaces. However, antiseptic interiors aren’t to everyone’s tastes, and there’s no design law that says industrial interiors must equal sterility.
In October 2018, Living Room called industrial design a celebration of bricks and mortar. It’s a style that continues on in new condo and loft construction, though more likely features concrete along with high ceilings and exposed mechanicals.
Warming up an industrial space may be easier than you think, too. The walls, floors, and ceilings of any space are the blank canvas upon which you can paint your personality. Here are a few things to consider as you adapt your personal style to an industrial space.
Consider the bare brick walls of a vintage warehouse-turned-loft space. Right there, colour delivers warmth, though classic brick walls and are perhaps best classed as factory design–a bit of twist on industrial. It does illustrate how colour palettes can quickly transform design direction.
Even if you’re working with the neutral tones of concrete or cinder block, large swaths of terra cotta, bare wood, sand, and other naturally warm earth tones make a significant modifier to an industrial setting. Don’t cover all the concrete, though. Ultimate Gray is still in vogue and is one of Pantene’s 2021 Colours of the Year.
Steel, glass, and concrete textures are key to industrial design, and each of these tend to lean toward the smooth side of things. Contrast is a powerful tool in design, so adding heavily textured fabrics takes the sterility of an industrial space down a notch. Bonus points when you combine texture and colour to dial down the cool tone of structural components.
Fixtures and furnishings
Colour and texture will also serve you well when it’s time to furnish your industrial home. Consider the impact of a tight, modern black leather sofa versus a mid-century modern fabric version in period-appropriate colour. Both looks work, but the latter adds a warmer impact on the interior space.
Lighting is another way to add warmth. Try an internet search for “vintage LED bulbs” and marvel at the options. Many of these bulbs fall on the warmer side of the lighting spectrum to give a classic incandescent look, but with contemporary energy efficiency. With a variety of shapes and styles, it’s easy for a bare bulb to shine on its own.
Pure versions of design styles may not exist outside of show homes and design schools. Real living spaces are compromises of family, lifestyle, evolving taste, and the bustle of daily living. We appreciate you might not be thinking about design 24/7.
Pairing industrial aspects with another design style is one way to alter your course without changing direction. If you like clutter-free, but find minimalism too severe, consider Japanese, Scandinavian, or their hybrid Japandi. Each of these styles retains a minimalist core, but with softer notes that invite comfort.
Biophilic design elements bring nature and your senses into the same space, adding elements industrial alone doesn’t touch. Natural light, plants, and artwork that echo green spaces connect indoor and outdoor spaces while providing a calm and meditative organic presence. It’s a great way to invite positive vibes into your industrial styled home.
Plenty of other design styles mesh well within industrial frameworks. Consider Bauhaus, Transitional, Bohemian or Eclectic designs. Upcycling and Shabby Chic can counter the naturally modernist feel endemic to industrial.
It’s your space and your palette, so don’t be trapped by rigid definitions. Decide what “warm” means to you, and you’ll find a way to bring it to your industrial home!