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Exposed Brick, Copper Pipes, and Edison Bulbs: Industrial Interior Design Is a Vibe

Interior Of Lounge With TV And Exposed Brick Walls In Modern Open Plan House Or Apartment
Industrial interior design celebrates the simple aesthetic of factories and vintage industrial spaces. It only makes sense that the focal points of industrial design are strong, unfinished, and durable materials explains Volusia County Management. Everything from exposed pipes, brick walls, concrete accents, and metal light fixtures make up the vibe of industrial interior design. While industrial interior design began within the walls of factories and warehouses, it remains one of the most influential and popular interior design styles. 


Living room in industrial style
Living room in industrial style

Embrace Raw Elements

The hallmark of industrial interior design is the incorporation of raw materials such as copper, brick, and brass.  Brick walls have always had a place in industrial buildings, serving originally as a building material known for its ability to keep buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summers.  Today, exposed brick adds a dimension of texture and color to your space.  In addition to exposed brick, exposed pipes and ductwork add to the industrial vibe.  Industrial design reverses the common practice of covering pipes and ductwork and instead embraces and even highlights the metal structures.  Old copper pipes can add color and dimension to your space while at the same time giving a nod to vintage industrial design.  Exposed ductwork and metal beams will give your home an unfinished look that will add to the industrial vibe.  If you are leery of ripping out drywall and opening up your ceiling to expose piping and ductwork you can always add in metal pieces that closely mimic original structures.  Many shelves, lighting tracks, and bookcase incorporate metal and pipe for an industrial look.  In addition to metals and brick, industrial design incorporates rustic wood.  Rustic wood is best utilized as a thick beam across the length of the ceiling or as a flooring through your house.  If adding either of these is too permanent, you can always add wood around your home in the form of a thick coffee table, floating wood shelves, and unfinished wood bookcase.  

Keep Things Neutral

Industrial interior design sticks close to a neutral color palette.  In order to keep the industrial vibe you should start by painting your walls white or a light shade of gray.  Stick with the same color scheme throughout your entire space to create a continuous neutral theme.  While your walls may be a cool white or gray, the hallmarks of industrial design will add warmth to your space.  Raw wood and copper pair nicely with neutral walls.  Remember that your industrial interior design can easily stray toward a cold uninviting space so always strive for balance between warm and cool tones.  

Incorporate Concrete

3d rendering industrial style kitchen with black wood dining zone
3d rendering industrial style kitchen with black wood dining zone

While exposed brick and copper pipes may be the hallmark of industrial interior design, homeowners can incorporate additional materials in their space. Concrete is another material that embodies an industrial vibe.  How much concrete you choose to use in your home depends on your personal preference.  Small accent pieces such as concrete side tables will bring just a touch of the durable material.  Large additions of concrete can be added around fireplaces in the living room.  Even larger additions are concrete countertops and islands in the kitchen.  How much or how little concrete you incorporate is based on your style.

Make Lighting a Focal Point

edison bulbs.Retro style light bulbs .Electric lamp hanging from the ceiling. Cozy design, trendy
edison bulbs.Retro style light bulbs .Electric lamp hanging from the ceiling. Cozy design, trendy

Industrial lighting encompasses the functionality and durability of the industrial design.  Lights are made of dark steel, metal shades, and wire cages.  The hard edges and rugged material make the light fixtures a focal point rather than a necessary accent.  Unlike regular light fixtures which cover and hide the light bulbs, industrial light fixtures use bulbs that are meant to be viewed.  Most popular is the edison light bulb which turns a basic bulb into an art piece with its unique shape and jagged sprawling wires.  Bulbs of industrial light fixtures are rarely covered leaving their warm glow fully exposed.  Light fixtures can be small edison string lights or can be large metal dome lamps.  Either will exude the industrial vibe and bring a warm glow to your space.  

Keep it Open

Industrial interior design is all about an open space, not surprising given its origin is a large open warehouse.  You can keep your home feeling spacious by taking a minimalist approach to your decorating.  Stick with furniture that has clean lines and not too many frills.  Keep clutter to a minimum and utilize storage spaces.  Your home will look more open if you allow an abundance of natural light in.  Large windows with metal black grid frames perfectly express an industrial vibe while letting in a ton of light.  If your home does not have large block windows, you can still let in as much light as possible by eliminating thick bulky curtains.  

You can easily add industrial interior design elements to your home with a few changes to layout and furniture selections.  However, if you would like to completely transform your home into a true industrial space you may need to do some serious remodeling.  Either way you can embrace the utilitarian aesthetic and create an industrial look that is all your own.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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