Industrial Style Furniture in a RoomIt used to be that industrial wasn't even a style - It was a reality of workaday living long ago. But somewhere along the way, we began to appreciate its lack of pretension and the visual appeal that lies within utilitarian surfaces - Such as stripped-back architecture and salvaged artefacts. It exploded into a fashion that shows no signs of ending, and nowadays, you're as likely to find industrial décor inside a multimillion-dollar mansion as well as in a converted loft in a grimey part of the city.

There's a hard working, unassuming quality about industrial style that resonates, and because it reveres ordinary materials, it can be quite affordable too. Pared back to the bare essentials, it showcases the fascinating interplay between pure form and functionality. It is unassuming, comfortable in its own right and additionally chic because of it.

You will appreciate this style if you dislike the regular furniture stores and what they all seem to offer. There are new shops popping up here and there that are dedicated to this style. There are still the old junk shops and auctions everywhere that are a shrine to industrial decor. Your favourite shop could even be the salvage yard or scrap heap!

Functional Furnishings

Industrial furnishings are minimal and no-nonsense, with strong, clean lines and without a hint of excess. Mix new pieces with reclaimed ones — search thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, and don't be shy about investigating curbside castaways. Repurposing is central to this style: wooden crates turned into tables, old lockers used as storage, battered ladders turned into shelving.

Although homey, cushy furnishings can feel out of place, you don't have to perch on metal stools and sleep on cots, either. Padded pieces should be simple and free of frills - Nothing breaks the tension of industrial décor like an overstuffed wing chair or a tufted ottoman. Choose solid upholstery in natural textures and neutral colours.

The Art of Salvage

Industrial style erases the line between trash and treasure and shows beauty in everyday flotsam. Singular finds with emphatic lines and forms, from old parking meters and typewriter tables to large bolts and gears, give the look its characteristic strength. And if they look a little shop worn, so much the better.

Really, it's hard to go wrong here. If a striking object or a collection of pieces appeals to you, display it with pride. You can create greater impact by grouping like objects together or turning salvaged finds into furniture.

Open Space

Industrial style had its genesis in big, cavernous buildings - Warehouses, garages, packing plants - So it only makes sense that an open floor plan is a hallmark of the look. High ceilings cap expansive rooms that often serve multiple functions, such as a kitchen, dining room and living area all blended into one.

Break up a long expanse of space with well-placed furniture. An island and twin pendant lamps visually separate this kitchen from the space beyond. You'll also want to pay special attention to creating visual echoes and a unified look throughout to avoid a jarring stop-start-stop effect.

Edgy Art

Would it feel awkward in a traditional home or a sweet, feminine cottage? Then it'll probably be the life of the party in an industrial space. Old road signs, giant abstract works, mixed-media sculptures - Risk taking gives this style its swagger. Found objects, such as pulley wheels and giant faucet handles, can be mounted on the walls or massed on shelving for a powerful graphic punch.

When in doubt, you cannot go wrong with black and white photos. Keep mats wide and frames ultra simple. The grid on this wall, bound by a custom rail-style treatment, is stunning because of its spareness.

Cool Colours

When you think about an industrial colour scheme, you probably envision grey, grey and grey, with a little black and white thrown in for kicks. And while it's true that the range of colours in this style tends to be narrower than in others, there's wiggle room in the palette - As long as you don't overdo it. Start with a background of neutrals that have cool undertones, and then you could bring in a measured dose of citron, tangerine, fuchsia or another saturated hue. Or go dark and moody, choosing colours like indigo, plum or dark green.

Even if you decide to stick predominately with greys, vary the shades - Some light, some dark, some in the middle - To keep the space from feeling one-dimensional. Because of the emphasis on materials such as concrete, corrugated metal and perhaps a smidgen of rust, industrial style usually has built-in texture to break up the monochromatic palette. But if a room feels flat, consider adding a few more tactile elements to lend depth.

Heavy Metal

If there's a go-to industrial material, it's metal. Tin, steel, iron and aluminium create a clean, cool, functional sensibility and lend just the right touch of sleekness without feeling too upscale. Anything that can be forged or welded is fair game: exposed ductwork, stairwells, counter tops, divider walls.

Choose "cold" metals that have a matte finish or a kiss of patina. Industrial style is not about shine and sparkle - Save that for your jewellery. And break up all the metal with other materials, such as wood or stone, to keep from feeling as though you live in a factory.

Architecture on Display

Architecturally speaking, a true industrial room leaves nothing to the imagination. The infrastructure is often on full display, right down to the ductwork. Unfinished walls, bare windows and exposed beams show the structural skeleton that holds the space together. It's rough around the edges, in the best possible way.

Embrace the rawness. Don't cover cinder block or brick walls with plaster, or hide ducts and pipes behind a ceiling. If privacy's a concern, consider a frosted treatment or film for windows, but obscuring them with blinds and curtains can detract from their austere appeal.

Basic Flooring

The rise of industrial style may be the single biggest reason that concrete floors entered the mainstream. Whether they're honed or polished, they create industrial chic like few other materials can. But old wood, epoxy, simple tiles, carpet tiles or even rubber can be pitch perfect. Here's a test: Would you put it in a warehouse? If the answer is yes, you're good to go.

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