How to Get the Industrial Home Look

August 20, 2018

Industrial style home décor is unusual because it follows all of the “no-go” rules for conventional interior design. Instead of covering bare walls and structural elements, it makes a point of keeping them on display. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but when done right it can add an alternative, edgy style to any room.

The basic components of industrial style are simple: exposed brickwork, reclaimed wood used for furniture or decoration, copper and iron piping, and a stripped-back feel. When done right it can add a very raw, very modern style. It’s particularly suitable for apartments in old renovated buildings as it celebrates its original design and function.


It’s not really known when industrial style started, but it’s likely to be around the beginning of the twentieth century. It was around this time that Western countries began shutting down industrial areas because globalization meant there was cheaper labor available. The factories and warehouses were abandoned and turned into living spaces because it was cheaper than building new apartment blocks.

Instead of plastering over walls and fitting new floors, the architects left them alone and designed the space around these features. It was probably to save money on building conversion, but it proved very popular with residents. They had bare walls, floors, and ceilings, and massive windows. This led to the interior design being full of character, and really taking advantage of the space.

For most of the twentieth century industrial style wasn’t necessarily popular, but it was a functional use of the space available. It really took off in the last 2000s, and has remained popular to this day. More and more people are choosing the industrial aesthetic when decorating their homes.

What are the elements of industrial style?

Exposed brickwork

One of the most important elements of the style is leaving brickwork exposed. Bricks give the stripped-back style some color, and stop it from feeling too harsh. If your room has been plastered you’ll have a very difficult time trying to get it off. To save time and money, buy some brick effect wallpaper instead. There are some incredibly realistic ones available, and they’re not too expensive. Many of them are 3D, which look just like real life.


Reclaimed wood

Old wood makes a room look like it’s had a previous function, and is a great way to add character. It shouldn’t be difficult to get your hands on a near limitless supply of reclaimed wood, such as barn wood or shipping pallets. It’s really easy to convert it into furniture, and looks great as tables, bookcases, and decorations. Find old wood that has a story and give it center stage. It’ll be a great talking point when you have guests round.


Bare floors

A typical feature of an industrial style room is a stripped floor, usually wood or concrete. Concrete might be a step too far, but stripping your carpet back to the bare floorboards can give a room that industrial feel very quickly. You don’t usually see any rugs or carpets on the floor, however a minimalist rug can be a great way to keep a warmer atmosphere in the room.

Copper or Iron Pipes

Using pipes for furniture or decoration is one of the most recognizable elements of industrial style. Interior designers usually use copper or iron because it gives the sense of factory machinery, and they’re incredibly versatile materials. They can be used for pretty much anything: lamps, towel racks, as brackets for shelves or wall lights, tables and chairs, toilet paper holders, and so much more. You can buy new or recycled piping for very little money, although there is plenty of ready-made furniture available. Iron pipe will give your interior a slightly colder and more modern feel, whereas copper will make it feel warmer, and give it a touch of Victorian/Steampunk aesthetic.


Lighting plays a key part in industrial style rooms, which traditionally would have massive windows to provide most of the light. Obviously this isn’t something you can change in your home, so focus on getting the right lighting. Inconspicuous wall lighting and desk lamps are the original choices, but this is because artificial lighting wasn’t really needed. You can add a lot of character to a room with a statement lampshade or floor lamp, and this can be a great way to bring in metal piping. Use lighting intelligently to highlight the key features of your new interior design.


Do any other styles bring in industrial elements?

Since the industrial style has risen in popularity elements have been incorporated into other aesthetics. It can be interesting to contrast industrial elements, such as metal piping and reclaimed wood, against traditional interior design styles. It’s a great way to add a modern twist to you room, and will certainly make it individual. Here are some other interior styles that bring in industrial elements:

Country rustic

Country rustic doesn’t require much introduction because the name says it all. It celebrates natural materials, and feels rough, but still comfortable and homely. It typically features natural, untreated wood as furniture and decoration. Industrial and country rustic work very well together because they have many elements in common, such as the use of wood and natural materials, and a focus on furniture to show character.


Modern interior design owes much of its inspiration to industrial. They both focus on stripped-back, minimalist design with bare walls and floors. Wherever possible, modern rooms will have massive windows and inconspicuous lighting. They also both feature colder color palettes and a use of metal and glass. It’s really easy to fuse the two styles and create an interesting and ultra-modern space.

Industrial interior design is a great way to show your individuality and personal style. It’s very easy to incorporate Steampunk elements, and using copper for furniture and decoration will give your room that neo-Victorian look. Industrial might not be for everyone, but it can be a great way to modernize your home.

-Audrey W.

Nerd | Entrepreneur | Blogger

Hi I’m Audrey W. the owner of Piping Hot Art Works & creator of Steampunk Love & Blog. I began this site because I wanted a more complete steampunk experience where I could find interesting articles, more diversity in a steampunk store & to have fun! I hope you enjoy the site & blog 🙂

-Audrey W.

Nerd | Entrepreneur | Blogger


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