When it comes to decorating your home, there are tons of different design styles to choose from. Which one is right for you? Well, that question can sometimes be more difficult to answer than it might seem. Because when it comes to interior design styles there are so many options to choose from and many of them can be difficult to distinguish between. What’s the difference between modern, contemporary, minimal industrial… It can be a little dizzying! To help sort through some of the noise, we’re taking a closer look at two very popular styles—mid-century modern versus industrial design—and how you can blend the two together to create a space you love.
What is Industrial Interior Design?
When you hear the term “industrial interior design” you might picture spaces with distinct architecture. Think unfinished concrete, exposed brick, steel/metal beams, exposed ductwork, and factory windows. And in fact, industrial interior design is a style that looks a lot like how it sounds. At its core, it’s a warehouse look that celebrates a rugged, industrial past. It’s also often associated with artist studios, loft spaces, and converted warehouses.
Outside of architecture, industrial interior design is characterized by vintage decorative objects that feel at home in factory settings (think: old fans, steel stools, drafting desks, etc.) and new objects inspired by vintage industry. You’ll find a lot of materials that show off what they are including raw and untreated materials or ones that show signs of aging. Steel, brick, concrete, leather, and stone all feel at home in industrial spaces.
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The furniture is often constructed with industrial methods and features a distressed feel. Likewise, reclaimed wood furniture is a great choice for this style. The palettes tend to be neutral and the use of color is sparse.
This look is perfect for those who like an upscale but unfinished look that is effortlessly cool and low-maintenance with lots of open space.
What is Mid-Century Modern Interior Design?
A design movement that began in the mid-twentieth-century, Mid-Century Modern interior design is a super popular style that is easily recognizable today. These spaces are full of natural woods, bold primary colors, organic and whimsical shapes, and geometric patterns. The furniture of this style is often designed to cradle the body and features little ornamentation. The edges are often rounded, eliminating hard angles, and lines are tapered for a smooth and cohesive look.
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Mid-Century Modern interior design is comfortable—it encourages lounging or relaxation and conversation. The decor often includes vintage materials like blonde wood, teak, chrome, walnut, tweed, leather and vinyl. This style also incorporates graphic patterns with geometric (asymmetrical and symmetrical) and organic designs. Think of shapes like diamonds, starbursts, boomerangs, half-circles, and line drawings.
This style is perfect if you love a mod look with extra character and want a stylish living space that’s warm and inviting.
Meet Atomic Industrial Interior Design (AKA Mid-Century Modern + Industrial)
If you’re having trouble deciding on mid-century modern versus industrial interior design, Atomic Industrial might be the perfect compromise. This style incorporates the materials and colors of mid-century design but sticks to a minimal color palette to keep the industrial vibe going. It also blends in the shapes and features of mid-century modern, like pieces with retro shapes rendered in industrial materials.
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Atomic Industrial is extra funky because it features a blend of elements from the two different styles all in one space. It’s an eclectic combo of weathered, vintage, reclaimed, atomic, retro and modern/industrial materials and furniture. If the industrial look is too harsh for your tastes but you like its rugged vibes, soften it with a pop of patterns, warm woods, and curved/organic MCM shapes! Plants help add life to the space as well.
This is a great option if you like more than one style or if you are merging tastes with a partner and have a diverse array of furniture to choose from!
Want to see modern versus industrial design ideas in your space?
Still stumped on the differences between modern and industrial style interior design? Since modern industrial interior design can come to life in so many different ways, it can be helpful to have an interior designer to guide you through the process. Head to our Interior Design 101 page to learn more about what the Modsy design process is like. Then start creating your modern industrial interior!