How to design an industrial space that you actually want to live in

eclectic industrial styleWe love the industrial loft look. But, let’s be honest, no one really wants to live in a cold concrete box, no matter how trendy it might look. A chilly, grey warehouse featuring exposed brick and steel might sound great for a showroom or auto repair shop – but who wants that kind of chilly aesthetic in their home? The good news is that there are plenty of ways to incorporate your favorite design elements of industrial style into a living space that feels warm and cozy too!

What is Industrial Style?

First things first, let’s talk about what really makes the industrial look tick. Industrial style is a distinctive blend of ultra-modern sleekness and old-world charm. Picture big, open spaces with stripped back architectural details, neutral colors, and raw materials to the max!

The style is modeled after industrial structures, which have a clean, but very moody and harsh aesthetic. It’s a no-frills look that emphasizes exposing the inner workings of things like hardwood floors, exposed brick and concrete, raw metal elements, and a blend of salvaged and reclaimed materials.

When done right, industrial style creates just the right blend of factory-chic and turn-of-the-century warmth. Here are 10 of our best design tips for bringing an Industrial style home in a cozy and livable way.

comfy industrial style1. Start with Comfy Foundations

When you think of industrial interiors, you probably don’t imagine soft beds, plush sofas, or fluffy blankets. But that doesn’t have to be the case! To design a space that is both industrial and comfortable, start your room off with foundational furniture that prioritizes comfort. A plush sofa with sleek lines adds comfort but still feels on-brand with the industrial vibe.

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eclectic industrial style2. Mix Materials and Textures

Industrial style means only using stone, steel, and concrete, right? Absolutely not! You don’t have to use all harsh metals and hardworking materials all of the time. Industrial style loves a variety of raw and distressed elements, so feel free to experiment. For example, a mix of distressed leather furniture and jute accessories adds visual warmth and depth to help make your space feel more liveable (think more “my house” and less “warehouse”). Just stick to a limited color palette so your look doesn’t feel too busy.

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organic industrial style3. Soften the Look with Organic Shapes

While we love it, there’s no denying that industrial style can get a little carried away with the hard lines and sharp edges. One way to soften it up? Add in some organic and/or abstract art and accessories to help break up the austerity. Artwork featuring soft, organic designS or abstract shapes works great as a centerpiece above a sofa or mantle.

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plush rug ideas4. Cozy Up with a Plush Rug

You might not equate soft, plush items with industrial style, but it’s important to add cozy touches to rooms that feel chilly and severe. A soft, fluffy wool rug underfoot instantly cozies up even the most serious of spaces. This option (one of our designers’ favorites) has a minimal, geometric pattern and neutral color to maintain the industrial look while adding warmth.

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industrial chic style5. Be Brazen with Brass and Gold Accents

Metal is a huge player in the industrial look. This can quickly start to make a space look pretty foreboding, but an easy swap is to look for warm metals like brass and gold. As opposed to harsh steels and silvers, these elements add warmth without detracting from the industrial look.

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vintage industrial6. Warm it up with Leather

Most people don’t associate industrial with warm, cozy spaces. But remember, this style works best if you take inspiration from factory design as opposed to designing an actual factory! A handsome leather sofa adds texture and softer tones for visual warmth. And antique leather with a patina, helps to tone down the chilliness while keeping the vintage, industrial feel alive and well.

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7. Play with Pattern

Industrial design is all about straightforward, minimalist style – that means sticking with solid combinations of neutral colors. But avoiding patterns altogether can make a space end up looking flat and dreary!  Don’t be afraid to add a touch of organic playfulness with patterned accents, like rugs and pillows. If you make sure to keep your patterns in a soft, neutral color palette, they’ll look perfect in your stylish industrial enclave.

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inviting industrial style8. Accent with Geometry

While industrial design is heavily reliant on sharp lines and right angles, there are ways to bring in these elements without going overboard on the factory look. Bringing in pops of geometry can add industrial flavor without going full steam on the steampunk vibes. The geometric forms in the table lamp and the patterns in the coffee table surface also add industrial flavor without going over the top.

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9. Layer on the Textiles

Another way to soften up an industrial look and make it suitable for comfy living, is to layer on the textiles. Layers add more texture and depth, and this makes the look feel more welcoming and less foreboding. Here we paired a cowhide and jute rug along with plenty of pillows to soften the minimal industrial vibe. Chunky knits, like the throw blanket and woven wall hanging, are also easy adds that will warm up your look.

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industrial style10. Add Color with Plants

While industrial design is often associated with the absence of color, all that grey can start to feel frigid in an open space. An easy way to infuse color into industrial spaces is by adding plants! Plants will bring both greenery and a sense of life to your space but won’t overtake the room with color – it’s the best of both worlds. This is a great way to liven up an industrial space while still keeping the integrity of the style intact.

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