The industrial look is one of the most stylish design styles and is currently big overseas – particularly in the UK where the industrial-tinged steampunk vibe has been popular.
However, it’s not all just about rust and nails. With a blend of steel, wood and recent red-hot favourite concrete, it’s a strong look that fits perfectly into the modern age.
The key to pulling the look off is to successfully blend the look’s natural masculine hard edges with more feminine counterpoints and touches.
Here then are seven easy ways to transform your home.
A healthy dose of metal – either polished or rust-distressed – anchors a lot of the industrial look. Think metal-legged chairs and metal accents. Industrial replica Tolix chairs, either in their raw state or powder-coated in a vibrant colour such as yellow, are the perfect companion to any dining table. The still-hot metallics trend also lends itself to a huge variety of industrial-friendly accents such as copper, bronze, silver or gold vases, bowls, ornaments or picture frames and will inject some pizazz.
Polished concrete floors and kitchen benchtops have been an amazing addition to the industrial look in the last few years and now concrete is a chic homewares favourite in general. James Hudson from British homewares brand Gallery Home, which is now available in Australia, says their faux concrete resin incorporated into furniture such as table tops and accessories has been extremely popular. “I first incorporated faux concrete into our furniture years ago and it’s gone from strength to strength and into the mainstream now,” says James. “In our Chilson range we have concrete framed mirrors, sideboard and dining tables. I especially love the trestle dining tables which have a faux concrete slab on a weathered oak frame. I actually came up with the idea to incorporate concrete into furniture three years ago. People thought I was mad, and said it’ll never work – no one is ever going to have concrete in their lounge or dining room! But look what happened, the elegant industrial look has just taken off.”
Raw, unfinished or slightly weathered looking wood in dining tables, coffee tables, sidetables, a benchtop or shelf is one of the main elements of the industrial look. The natural warmth of wood is a great contrast to many of the colder elements in the room. However you could also introduce wood through various accents such as bowls, clocks, planters and kitchen cutting boards.
Leather, when paired with industrial elements, is a marriage made in weather-beaten heaven. A traditional or lightly battered chesterfield lounge or modern leather sofa in tones of either brown or black will do the job. Armchairs, ottomans, cushions and leather-bound books will also finish the look.
So the big challenge of industrial is not going “too cold”. The basis of most industrial colour schemes are grey, black and brown. If your home already has an abundance of exposed brick walls, cement floors, metal surfaces or wooden posts then you’re in luck. However if you don’t liven things up with pops of colours it could come off feeling a little morgue-like. Colours such as burnt orange, yellow and red will instantly warm up the space. Cool colours such as blue and purple can make the space feel colder than it already is. However for something totally different a cushion in faux fur or a shade of baby pink nestled amongst the harshness of metals and concrete can be an amazing contrast that works.
Given that industrial design is hard in appearance it should be balanced with some softer shapes. A piece of furniture such as a Bentwood chair that features smooth, curved lines is a good choice. Also go for items that are cylindrical such as a chic flameless candle in Carrara Marble by Enjoy Lighting Australia. Other things that will create softness include bowls, circular bread boards and cylindrical vases.
Lastly soften things up further with a good dose of greenery. Indoor plants are hot right now thanks to the current nature look trend in interiors and they also work well for the industrial look. Plants will look right at home in shiny metal plant pots or concrete holders. The texture, colour and natural beauty they bring will be a perfect counterpoint.
By Fleur Michell