Living May 10, 2022

What is Industrial Design?

Although primarily found in lofts, large apartments, commercial buildings, and other industrial spaces, you can easily borrow elements of industrial design when decorating your home. Born out of the Industrial Revolution, industrial’s unique style can create dynamic and visually striking interior spaces that feel clean, minimalist, and above all, modern.

What is Industrial Design?

The industrial style is based on the revolutionary concept of showcasing the building materials themselves as a design element. It creates an atmosphere akin to that of shipyards, places with reclaimed and repurposed materials, ports, etc. The common thread between all these places is openness. Industrial design prioritizes open spaces and a minimalist approach to filling the negative space. Whereas craftsman and cottage style homes were designed to evoke comfort, industrial design seeks to highlight architecture.


A loft apartment showcasing various industrial design features.

Image Source: Getty Images – Image Credit: vicnt


Industrial Design Elements

When you walk into an industrial space, you know it right away. The ceilings are higher than your typical single-family home. This stretches the scale and proportion of the space, which opens up new possibilities when decorating. Industrial spaces allow for vertical décor: ladders, vertically arranged gallery walls, and loft beds. A tenet of industrial design is the harnessing of natural light, so you’ll often see a preference for floor-to-ceiling windows. Features like weathered wood floors, bare ceilings, prevalent light bulbs, and structural beams help to tie industrial spaces together. These features are generally exposed, which helps the room from feeling too empty. Go-to materials for industrial décor include wood, aluminum, copper, steel, brick, and stone.

In modern and contemporary residential design, there has been a shift toward fusing elements of industrial design with other styles, such as mid-century modern or farmhouse, to create edgy yet comfortable living environments that look and feel sustainable. This is further proof that even if your home doesn’t have typical industrial features, you can blend in pieces of it to create something unique.