Ever since soaring onto the interior scene back in the early 2000s, industrial styles that embrace exposed elements and natural materials have earned their place as a continually top trending decor idea. Inextricably linked with the minimalism, which has also taken the interior world by storm in recent years, many of us just cannot get enough of the stylish, slightly artsy finishes we can achieve by embracing the industrial interior approach.
Yet, with stark elements, dark colors, and high, factory-like ceilings often used to achieve an industrial finish as standard, many homeowners who love this style are still reluctant to embrace it fully for fears that they will lose that cosy at-home vibe. Welcoming warmth certainly does not feature high on the list of making industrialism work. But, that is not to say that you can’t create warmth within even an industrial home.
As with any style choice, it is possible to create the best of both worlds here if you simply set your mind to it. Of course, to some extent, you will still need to take risks with things like exposed brick walls that can, when left to stand on their own, make your home feel a little less homey. However, there are some ingenious ways to complement those industrial essentials with a far warmer finish, and we are going to consider the best of them here.
# 1 – Focus on key features in the right places
Intense at-home style choices like industrialism are often treated by the style world as an either-or situation. As such, homeowners are left feeling that they either have to invest in a full-blown industrial space or that they will not be able to make this design choice work at all. In reality, though, there is no reason why you cannot fit industrial elements into the right corners of even a home that generally focuses on comfort over fashion.
Something as simple as an exposed brick wall that sits alongside, say, a country fireplace, or even within a room that is got flowery wallpaper on every other wall, can end up creating a fantastic fusion of styles that does not require the elimination of homely elements. Equally, introducing industrial features like exposed floorboards and key clamp handrail fittings in a country cottage can offset styles for an industrial pop that ends up being surprisingly comforting. All it takes is stepping away from limiting, all-in mindsets to instead consider where in your home there is a place for industrialism that can complement your comforts, instead of removing them.
# 2 – Think about filling the space
Even if you do like the idea of diving head-first into a completely industrialized space, thinking about how you are going to fill this warehouse-like high-ceilinged area is essential for achieving a comforting, warm finish to your home overall.
You especially want to focus on balancing the scale of this space and avoiding additions that feel lost or leave too much blank space around the place. This does not mean that you need to go over the top, or that you particularly should considering industrialism’s links with minimalism. That said, well-placed oversized artworks, proportionately sizable furnishings, and options like pendant lights that hang lower than they might in any other space (which we’ll discuss more in a little while), can all help to bring comfort to even the most spacious, open plan industrial designs going.
# 3 – Think about your lighting
As touched on in the point above, lighting is going to have a major sway on the finished feeling of your industrialised space overall. From a scale perspective, this means stepping away from things like stark spotlights installed in an already high ceiling and instead investing in low-hung pendant lighting that makes even a large space feel comfortable.
Outside of scale, however, creating a warm industrial space with the help of your lighting relies on thinking about the bulbs you use here. While they might seem like a logical step for an industrial finish, it’s especially worth avoiding things like stark, white LED strip lighting that’s guaranteed to make your property feel more like a warehouse than a home. Instead, always opt for soft, warm light bulb choices that keep things a whole lot cosier. This need not ruin your industrial finish if you, say, avoid the use of lampshades in place of bare bulbs, or install options like reflective metal light shades, but it will ultimately help you to feel more settled in the space.
# 4 – Incorporate warm woods
Everyone knows by now that the use of natural materials is crucial to any industrial space, but we most commonly consider this in terms of typically cold options, like brick, stone, and metals including copper. However, while you probably will want to add a few of these to your design finish as well, there are also much warmer natural options worth making the most of.
The use of warm woods for things like flooring, wall/ceiling panelling, or even staircases can especially help to introduce yet more industrial elements that feel cosier than those colder options. This can work wonderfully alongside things like metals and grey stone, etc., therefore tying entire rooms together, and making sure that they are more pleasant places to spend time in general.
# 5 – Turn personal touches into features
There’s never a better way to create a homey vibe than to install a few well-selected personal touches including books, pictures, and even pieces of artwork that you’ve made yourself. However, with industrialism focused around a less-is-more approach, and with the very real risk of personal belongings failing to make any mark on high-ceilinged, stripped back rooms otherwise, success here is reliant on your ability to turn those personal touches into key features within any room.
To some extent with additions like your photographs and artwork, this again comes back to thinking about scale and making sure that you’re printing large pieces which can then become the focal points of your rooms. Equally, turning wood or cement bookcases into prime features with the addition of not only your literature but also some well-chosen select ornaments can help to draw the eye. Even something as simple as some well-selected coffee table books to place on your glass-topped industrial table can help to tell a story about a lived-in and loved space, without once needing to compromise on the stripped-back fundamentals of an industrial approach.
# 6 – Have fun with color
While industrial home finishes are not as monochrome as styles like minimalism, a focus on factory-esque materials can still see predominantly grey or silver colors taking over these spaces if you are not careful. This is rarely going to create a comfortable vibe and is perhaps the prime reason (alongside those high ceilings) why your industrial space is so at risk of feeling cold in the first place.
While it might seem less traditionally in keeping with this trend, however, having fun with well-placed pops of color can be a fantastic way to overcome this setback, and can bring this entire style together if chosen right. In particular, things like bright, unexpected colours within artworks that you place against brick walls can provide an amazingly vibrant finish. Meanwhile, as with minimalism, pops of green through the introduction of houseplants are guaranteed to help set your styles alight, while also ensuring the benefits of a far more comfortable vibe.
# 7 – Embrace textures
While they are easy to overlook, well-chosen textures are a crucial element of any industrial space, and they are also one of the best possible ways to offset any potential coldness in place of a warm and comfortable finish.
In particular, textures should be used to offset and complement raw industrial materials and should include things like throws, pillows, rugs, and even just window treatments like drapes, blinds, or curtains. Again subtlety is key here so you’re going to want to make sure you are not going overboard with textures that entirely take over the space. However, selecting a few well-chosen options which either complement your space with pops of contrasting colour or, equally, with well-matched color schemes can make a huge difference to your finishes overall. Throughout your quest, make sure that you are looking not just for the right pieces, but also for a variety of textures including satin, fur, and so on. Look out, too, for subtle patterns that you can imagine sitting nicely alongside the otherwise often stark style choices that come along with industrial trends.
There is no denying that a poorly implemented industrial home can end up feeling more like a warehouse than a space you actually want to spend time in, but if you embrace this style in the right ways, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy a stylish finish as well as the homely space of your dreams. Simply step outside of the box, take the time to understand what industrialism truly means, and make sure that you are not afraid to implement this style in a way that suits you, rather than as you ‘think’ it should be done.