You’ve always dreamed of living at a cool loft apartment? With the right decor and furniture, you can get that feeling anywhere: here are five tips for everyone who loves industrial interior design.

How did the industrial style come about?

The industrial style has its origins in New York City and London. During the 1960s, people within the arts and culture scene were struggling to find affordable living spaces.

The industrial style has its origins in New York City and London. During the 1960s, people within the arts and culture scene were struggling to find affordable living spaces. The solution: renting rooms in vacant warehouses and factory buildings. Venues like these thus turned into apartments that also served as ateliers and workshops at the same time. Initially, the industrial style therefore emerged out of a mere necessity: for many, old production sites were the only housing option in huge metropolitan areas.   

Toward the end of the 1980s, the trend found its way to other European countries as well. At this point, it was much more than a way to make ends meet: industrial-style furniture and decor became increasingly popular, especially in affluent, upscale communities. Today, it’s still a source of inspiration for many contemporary homes.  

What are the special features of industrial interior?

Industrial-style settings stands out with their raw, cool aesthetics – reminiscent of factories and storage facilities. The spatial concept is characterised by huge ceilings, open floor plans, and large windows. Non-plastered brick walls and materials such as metal, wood, and concrete further underscore the nitty-gritty feel. Bare light bulbs and similarly understated details are also typical for industrial decor.  

5 tips for industrial-style living

1. The right location

Creating the real look-and-feel works best if you have a lot of space and high ceilings. To that end, loft apartments and flats in older buildings provide the perfect background. Industrial-style kitchens or living rooms are usually based on an open floor plan, with fluid boundaries between different areas.  

A modern living room featuring a brown leather sofa, a patterned armchair, a marble coffee table, and a wall-mounted accordion-style lamp, with large windows overlooking a green landscape.
Unique design pieces like the KAISER idell lamp make for a great eyecatcher. Source: Fritz Hansen

2. A statement on the wall

Non-plastered walls or exposed pipes and concrete are hallmark features of industrial interior design. If you live for rent and can’t do major renovations, you still have plenty of options: wallpaper, for example, can look just like brickwork or natural stone.  

3. A reduced colour concept

When it comes to choosing colours, less is definitely more. The most common choices for homes in industrial style are neutral tones such as white, grey, and black. You could also add some eye-catching highlights in between – with rusty red, bronze, or stainless steel.    

4. Fitting furniture

Distinguished design doesn’t always have to be expensive: a trip to the flea market or a glance at local ads often yields pleasant surprises. For industrial-style dining tables or cupboards, we recommend wooden (and untreated) materials. No need to shy away from signs of wear-and-tear or patina: after all, that’s what brings out the rustic charm of your interior. 

5. The final touches

A few carefully selected details can do wonders to round off the overall look. How about some surface-mounted switches in modern minimalist design, for example? Along with that, vintage treasures such as old time clocks or vinyl record players create an intriguing play of contrasts. In living rooms, industrial-style floor lamps and couch tables with a metal finish are a good choice if you want a cosy ambience with an edge.   

Frequently asked questions about industrial interior design

Which floor coverings accentuate the industrial style best?

For your flooring, you should use robust and long-lasting materials that blend in seamlessly – wood planks, natural stone, or untreated coating, for instance.

Which wall colours match with the industrial style?

On the walls, you can set the scene with the help of earthy tones of beige and brown. Cooler shades look great as well – from light grey to dark anthracite. To throw in some sparkling highlights here and there, you can opt for metallic elements – e. g. stainless steel or bronze.

What’s the right furniture for industrial-style flats?

When choosing furniture, it’s all in the mix. Vintage finds can accentuate industrial interior just as well as modern design pieces. By way of example, you could place an old wooden dining table alongside black metal chairs or bar stools. You shouldn’t go overboard with playful details though – try to avoid decorative patterns or carvings.