Ever since manufacturing and light industry abandoned city centre locations during the latter part of the 20th Century there has been a marked trend towards converting the remaining buildings and warehouses to residential use. This trend even has its own name, known as loft style living. The loft is generally a subdivision of a large industrial building with open plan, high ceilings and large windows. And the favoured interior design style for these spaces is the industrial look. These living spaces have been the preferred natural habitat for the young professional class. But the style is no longer just popular in lofts, it has moved into the suburbs as well. The key elements such as the exposed structure (often brick), visible services, i.e. air conditioning or ventilation extracts, heating pipes, electrical conduits etc. can be recreated in any interior.
The roots of the contemporary industrial style
What we call industrial décor today has its roots back in the 20th Century. English architects Alison and Peter Smithson were among the first to celebrate the building services in a visual way, at their Hunstanton School from the post WWII period. This was then continued by the High Tech architects of the 80s and 90s such as Richard Rogers and Norman Foster with their architectural expression of building services both externally and internally.
Credit: K2 Signature Homes
Industrial style living room
To create an industrial interior for the living room having a generous open plan layout is essential. High ceilings also help but even with more intimate spaces the use of hard finishes and exposed structure can create an industrial feel. Choosing hard wearing industrial design furniture in metal (a perfect example is the Navy Chair) and other accessories also helps recreate a hard-edged industrial ambience.
Industrial style kitchen
The key to introducing the industrial aesthetic into the kitchen is to feature raw finishes, such as unvarnished timber or stainless steel for kitchen tops and dining tables. Wall finishes should be robust and hardwearing like the subway tiles or cement surfaces. Light fixtures used in factories such as metal shades and other similar accessories help to create a more authentic industrial feel.
Industrial style bathrooms
As with other spaces in the home the finishes are key; the building structure can be exposed or can be faked with a brick style cladding or micro-cement finish applied to existing plaster walls. Having enough space for a free standing bath with industrial style taps is another way to get the look. Over sized wash hand basins and shower trays also contribute to the look.
Variations on the industrial décor
The steam punk style is a variant which combines a retro style Victorian era aesthetic with mechanical elements. Authentic industrial elements converted into useful objects, such as copper pipes used as lamps or shelving frames, are typical of this style. Antique clocks, and not just one, are another must-have decorative element for the Steam Punk aesthetic.