The industrial style has become very popular in recent years. Perhaps this is because it offers all the pleasures and comforts of the modern home, without entirely forsaking history. It is a clean, utilitarian style that is especially well-suited to raw spaces, like renovated warehouse lofts or old studio apartments.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself! If you live in a country cottage rancher, don’t hesitate to go with this style. It’s about how well you use the space you have, not the space itself. There are a multitude of ways to create an industrial look, but here are the big five!
When it comes to an industrial style apartment, the amount of space you don’t use is just as important as the spaces you do use. Many of the elements used to create the industrial style apartment are bold, stand-out pieces. They deserve to stand alone and shine, like a piece at a museum. The space itself becomes an accessory in the industrial style, so putting too many elements and objects into one place can make you feel claustrophobic. Of course, this is the exact opposite of the feeling you should get from an industrial space, which is inspired by old factories and huge machinery.
If you’re working with an open floor plan, then fantastic! You have plenty of freedom to place things and move them around. However, if you’re working in a more closed floor plan, edit your decor items and use space wisely.
Again, you don’t need to have a huge space to pull off the industrial look. It just happens to be very popular for those kind of spaces because it makes sense for the environment.
One of the industrial style’s most distinct features is the way it uses the space itself. The space should look unfinished. Raw architectural elements should be shown off and played up instead of being covered up. This is one of the reasons why the style is popular for renovated factory lofts or older apartments that – in some people’s eyes – could use a little update.
What kind of elements can you play up? Ceiling beams, aged brick walls, or concrete walls. Leave any pipes and wires artfully exposed. If you have large windows with metal panes, keep them unadorned – no fancy draperies or friendly paint. The industrial style is proud of its coldness and is shamelessly utilitarian.
It’s difficult to achieve the industrial look when you have wall-to-wall carpeting. After all, carpets are not the most efficient material for factories, and they’re not too easy to clean either!
Hard floors made out of hardwood or concrete are preferable because they create a smooth, clean look reminiscent of industrial spaces. If they have a little wear and tear on them, even better! Stone can also work for this look.
Does this mean that a rug or two is out of the question? Absolutely not! There is nothing wrong with adding a little warmth underfoot. Just keep the color palette cool and the print minimalist (unless you want to add a loud pop of color, of course).
Metal is obviously a huge player in the industrial look, so playing up these elements in your apartment is a good way to highlight the rawness of a space. Have any iron staircases or industrial shelving? How about single-pane windows with metal frames? Display them loud and proud!
If you don’t have many of these elements in the architecture of your apartment, then you can introduce them via accessories. Pick minimalistic metal shelving for books and other items that you wish to display. Buy a metal coffee table with thick pane glass for your living space. No place for people to hang their coats when they walk through the door? Put an old metal locker near your entryway. The possibilities are endless.
Vintage and Salvaged Items
In many ways, the industrial style pulls from both contemporary and vintage styles to create its unique look. Vintage elements can add a great deal of warmth to an otherwise harsh look. Of course, some industrial apartments look more modern than others. It’s up to you to decide how vintage you want to go. An industrial apartment can range anywhere from a contemporary factory look to a full-fledged steampunk wonderland. Usually, it’s best to fall somewhere in the middle.
One of the best parts of the industrial style is that it’s extremely friendly to upcycling and using salvaged thrift store items. For example, you can place your clothing into a steel filing cabinet instead of a stuffy dresser. If you’re a die-hard thrifter or crafts person, then the industrial style is one of the best looks for you.
Of course, there are a few things you can keep in mind when shopping around for furnishings and accessories for an industrial apartment.
Anything that looks like it was made before the 1950’s and after the 1800’s might be able to find its own special place in your apartment. All furnishings should be minimalist and highly functional. After all, if you’re going to have a lot of open space, that means less furniture – so make every piece you buy count.
If you’re purchasing artwork, look for something edgy, vintage, or both. This will add a little warmth to your space without counteracting the industrial feel.
Continue thinking about the theme of exposure as you buy. For example, if you’re looking to buy great lighting, keep in mind that exposed bulbs and cold metal are usually a good way to go.
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