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How to decorate with the industrial style

Sheila Byers Sheila Byers
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In New York in the fifties, people began recovering old factories and warehouses to use as dwellings, creating the concept of loft living. With these lofts came a very particular style of decoration, the industrial style. Now more popular than ever, this style reclaims the beauty of what until then we considered only grey. It is a different way of conceiving of décor where the raw and useful is valued over the merely decorative. Spaces with industrial style generally have a few things in common, like spatial continuity, exposed beams and structures and high ceilings with large windows. But if you do not live in New York in the fifties or have a spacious loft, you do not have to rule out the industrial style. Today we look at the key ways to bring this look into your home décor. 

Everything on display

The industrial style does not hide anything. Beams, pipes, brick: the more on display, the better. If we chose to apply this style to any room in the house, we display those structural aspects than any other style would try to conceal. The same idea applies to furniture, where it’s okay to display the metal structures or bare frames. This house converted into a loft has managed to use the building structures and not hide things like the electricity and air conditioning installations. Also, the kitchen uses stainless steel, combined with a wooden countertop. Metal and wood should never be lacking in any room that you want to feel industrial.

Shades of grey

If there is a colour that is permanently associated with the industrial style, it is grey. Whether on furniture or metal lamps, or textiles for sofa or bed, grey is the undisputed star, which is often combined with beige, white and black. But if you want to bring in some colours to contrast, you can always find a piece of furniture that is out of this range of neutral colours, such as the red sofa we see in this study. You can also paint furniture with a strong colour, and then use a stripper to achieve that worn look.


As we said at the beginning, the industrial style goes hand in hand with the birth of lofts, open spaces with large windows that let in lots of natural light. Light is very important in this type of decoration to lighten the mood, as metal furniture can be quite heavy visually. But even if you don’t to live in an old abandoned factory, you can find other ways to achieve industrial lighting in your rooms. It is best to seek the kind of large lamps that you could picture hanging in old factories, as we see in this loft in downtown Barcelona, giving direct light to the room and keeping the industrial spirit of those New York fifties lofts.

Antique furniture

A visit to the flea markets and antique shops is always a good idea when searching for industrial. There you can find a lot of furniture that can be reused and given new life in your home. If you want to restore the old items yourself, be careful not to leave them looking too perfect. A good dose of rust, a few scratches, or some slightly chipped paint will let your pieces display their rich history.

Mix and match

One of its main advantages of the industrial style is that it can mix well with other looks. In this room, with its exposed brick, the wood and metal coffee table and industrial lamps do not clash at all with the elegant marble fireplace. On the contrary, this anachronistic touch fits perfectly in the living room, bringing warmth to the space.

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