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Guide to Industrial Interior Design - 7 Ways to Get the Look

September 12, 2022
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While we love the clean Scandinavian aesthetic and the sleek minimalistic look, there's something about the industrial aesthetic that screams edgy. Inspired by warehouses and factories from the late 1800s and early 1900s, this design style gained popularity when New Yorkers faced a housing shortage and began converting empty warehouses and factories into loft apartments.

Guide to Industrial Interior Design - 7 Ways to Get the Look
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Rather than concealing the raw elements such as the rough bricks, exposed metals and pipework, industrial-style interiors embrace them. Homeowners loved this new raw and authentic look, with its clean lines and open spaces that have stood the test of time. So what started out as something purely out of practicality evolved into an interior design style that remains popular even today.

If you are also a fan of industrial interior design and wish to incorporate it into your home, here is a list of key ingredients for creating the perfect industrial-style home that you'll love even if you don't live in a New York City loft.


1. Allow your ceiling to appear exposed

Industrial design is all about functionality in its most unapologetic form. So, instead of trying to hide pipes, beams and the like make them a focal point, as seen in the stunning Industrial style studio apartment below.

Henry Goulding Home, Bangsar by MIL Design & Construction
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View this project by MIL Design & Construction

But if you aren’t comfortable with a look that’s too raw, all of these features can be replicated to look exactly like the real thing. Decorative pipes, ducts, and wires can all be installed as decorative features to give your space an industrial feel. You can also consider lining your ceiling with exposed wood beams or other structural material to give your home an industrial feel, as shown below.

Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur by Seshan Design Sdn Bhd
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View this project by Seshan Design Sdn Bhd

2. Pepper your space with metal accents

The Industrial Revolution fueled iron and steel production in the United States and Europe, paving the way for metal elements to be widely used in structural solutions and furnishings. So it goes without saying that metal fixtures are a vital component of achieving an industrial-style interior.

Guide to Industrial Interior Design - 7 Ways to Get the Look
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Keep in mind though, that metal accents in an industrial-style interior go beyond just faucets and door hardware, and this condo perfectly exemplifies the point. Aside from the black metal-structured built-in shelves, the office chair legs, console table, lighting fixtures, mirror frame, and even candle holder all have similar metal accents to give the space a visually cohesive look.

TIP: Non-ferrous or coloured metals such as brushed nickel, copper, brass, and bronze can also be used for a more organic industrial look.

3. Keep your layout open-plan

Large open spaces are a distinguishing feature of the industrial decor trend. Because factories or commercial buildings produced large-scale industrial pieces during the Industrial Revolution, their interiors were large, with high ceilings and few walls.

Kota Kemuning, Selangor by IQI Concept Interior Design & Renovation
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When designing an industrial interior, you should embrace the open plan layout. This feature benefits homeowners by allowing free movement and a sense of spaciousness in a room, which is especially useful if you live in a home with limited square footage.

4. Use simple lightbulbs as lighting

As mentioned earlier, Industrial design is all about functionality in its most unapologetic form. You’d leave pipes, wires, and beams exposed, so why not leave your lighting fixture exposed, too? You can either hang it straight down from the ceiling for a fuss-free look (pictured below), or incorporate unconventional objects such as pipes, wood, chains, or ropes repurposed as part of a lamp as illustrated below.

Valencia, Sungai Buloh by Surface R Sdn. Bhd.
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View this project by Surface R Sdn. Bhd.

Guide to Industrial Interior Design - 7 Ways to Get the Look
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5. Consider exposed brick walls

It's hard to talk about industrial style without mentioning exposed brick walls. This element speaks to the vintage and practical aspects of the Industrial Revolution, when plaster covering brick walls in factories was traditionally a fire hazard, giving rise to the idea of exposed brick walls.

Valencia, Sungai Buloh by Surface R Sdn. Bhd.
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View this project by Surface R Sdn. Bhd.

So instead of plastering your walls, leave the brickwork exposed. If you find exposed brick walls to be too cold or harsh, try painting them a soft neutral, such as white, as shown below. The paint will soften the fixtures without completely concealing them, giving you a balance of soft comfort and industrial flair.

Vista Mahogani, Saujana Impian by Surface R Sdn. Bhd.
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View this project by Surface R Sdn. Bhd.

However, brick walls are no longer a common feature in modern homes. Fret not! you can still create a similar effect with wallpapers or 3D tiles as shown below.

Tijany Ukay, Selangor by GI Design Sdn Bhd
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View this project by GI Design Sdn Bhd

6. Opt for concrete/cement screed flooring

Your walls and your ceilings aren’t the only things that deserve attention, your floors do, too. Concrete/cement screed was commonly used for flooring in old factories, mills, and workshops. This material worked well in 19th-century industrial factories due to its scratch resistance, low cost, and durability, making it a great option for your home if you want a floor that is durable, low maintenance and will last for years.

Guide to Industrial Interior Design - 7 Ways to Get the Look
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In fact, achieving this look in your home is far less expensive than other flooring options, such as marble or teak floors. If you find concrete/cement screed floors to be a little too cold for your feet, consider floor tiles like the ones shown below, or vinyl flooring with a concrete-like appearance. Remember that a rug or a large carpet can always be used to soften things up.

Cheras Vista, Selangor by GI Design Sdn Bhd
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View this project by GI Design Sdn Bhd

Repurpose furnishings

A big part of industrial interior design is mixing new pieces with reclaimed ones. Old wooden crates can be turned into coffee tables, old lockers can be converted into storage units or old ladders can be transformed into shelving units. Honestly, it's hard to go wrong here. If a striking object or a collection of pieces speaks to you, display it with pride.

The Arte, Selangor by Gene Li Interior Art & Design
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View this project by Gene Li Interior Art & Design

Take a cue from this bedroom, where crates are stacked on top of each other to create a one-of-a-kind storage unit for handbags, clothes, and accessories, among other things, while keeping the room looking neat and tidy!

The Arte, Selangor by Gene Li Interior Art & Design
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View this project by Gene Li Interior Art & Design

Want to incorporate industrial style into your home?

Our top industrial interior designers can help bring your vision to reality. Tell us your renovation requirements and we can connect you with up to four interior design firms to assist you with your home renovation based on your budget and location.

All recommendations made by Qanvast will be protected under the Qanvast Guarantee scheme that covers 50% of your contract value, up to RM50,000, in the case that the recommended Contracting Service Provider becomes insolvent.

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