The industrial look has been with us for a surprisingly long time. Originating in the 1970s, it began when disused factories and warehouses were being converted into homes. Since the original buildings weren’t designed for living in, they presented a challenge to interior designers – one that was more easily overcome by making a feature of their original purpose rather than trying to hide it. With converted warehouses being turned into highly sought-after properties, the influence of the industrial look can be found in all types of homes.
Exposed pipework is a good example of making a feature out of a component most designers try to hide. Whether they’re brushed steel, copper or chrome, they offer a great contrast to brick or tiled surfaces. Incorporating pipes into fixtures and fittings such as shelving or as part of the furniture design can provide other ways of giving your living space an industrial makeover.
Another way is using reclaimed materials to give your room an authentic feel. It doesn’t need much – just a reclaimed lampshade from an old factory looks great hanging over the table in a modern dining room. You can also use Adjustable Pallet Racking to give your storage solutions and shelving an industrial feel. These are available from companies such as rackzone pallet racking
Column radiators, once considered ugly but necessary fixtures most commonly seen in institutional buildings, have become a fashionable addition to the industrial look. Made to order, they can be long and low or tall and narrow and any size in between. Complete with optional attachments such as towel rails and rings, these radiators are just one of a new generation of industrial-style radiators available.
Metal cabinets contribute to a semi-commercial look for a kitchen, especially if ducts are left exposed. And vintage furniture and accessories, or even modern pieces inspired by the industrial styles of the past, put the finishing touches to your home.
As Industrial as You Feel
As demonstrated in architecture and design magazine Dezeen, it doesn’t have to be all cast iron and metal finish. One example shows warm reclaimed wood floorboards complementing whitewashed brick walls, white kitchen units and shelving, softened by the pastel colours of the living area’s furniture, and yet none of it attempts to hide the building’s original history and purpose.
Sometimes just one or two touches can make a huge difference to the look and feel of a space. What’s right is up to you.