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The industrial style is a furniture trend that has conquered interiors all over the world. Born in New York in the 1950s, this style has been able to transform disused spaces and abandoned warehouses into unique and fascinating design environments.
But what really characterises the industrial style and how can it be incorporated into your home? Let's find out together.
What is industrial style?
The industrial style, or 'industrial', arose from the need to reuse disused spaces such as factories, offices and business centres to create new low-cost homes. This style has become a mainstay in modern homes, with its tendency to expose the infrastructure of the home, such as bricks, pipes and exposed beams, and to use raw, sturdy materials.
This furnishing style is characterised by a 'raw' and 'unfinished' aesthetic, celebrating the use of industrial materials such as steel, wood and concrete. This style is often associated with open spaces and lofts, with an open layout and an urban feel.
The history of the industrial style
The industrial style originated in New York in the 1950s, when there was a need for new low-cost housing. People therefore began to reuse disused spaces such as factories, offices and office buildings. This style arrived in Europe in the 1980s, landing in cities known for their ability to embrace alternative inspirations, such as London and Berlin. A world-famous symbol of the industrial style is the famous Factory, Andy Warhol's studio during the years of the rise of 'his' pop art.
This style became popular due to its ability to transform industrial spaces into comfortable, designer homes.
The elements of industrial style
An industrial environment is an open space in which the load-bearing structure is exposed, often consisting of reinforced concrete pillars or cast iron columns. The rooms are usually very high, with the presence of mezzanines, accessed by iron stairs. The floors are made of an industrial resin or polished concrete, so as to have no joints and give a feeling of continuity. The perimeter walls are left unfinished, with light-coloured plaster in shades of white, cream, dove-grey or with salvaged exposed bricks.
In an industrial space, structural elements are, in fact, often exposed. This may include exposed beams, pipes, ventilation ducts and bricks. Windows are often large and untreated, allowing plenty of natural light.
How to incorporate industrial style into a home's décor
Incorporating the industrial style into the décor of a home requires careful consideration and an eye for detail. This style is characterised by a combination of raw and refined elements, which together create a unique and appealing ambience.
First of all, it is important to remember that industrial-style furniture often shows imperfections, celebrating natural wear and tear and age. These pieces are not smooth and perfect like brand new ones; on the contrary, their charm lies in their imperfections, which add character and uniqueness to each piece. Sturdy furniture with clean lines, rustic colours and a touch of grunge are all key elements of the industrial style.
When it comes to choosing furniture, therefore, opt for pieces that combine materials such as wood and metal. For example, a dining table with a sturdy metal frame and a rough wooden top can be a perfect focal point for an industrial-style dining room. Leather armchairs and sofas, wood and metal chairs, ceiling lamps and neon lights, and coffee tables made from unused and repurposed pallets can all contribute to an authentic industrial ambience.
Colours play an important role in industrial style. Neutral tones such as grey, white, black and brown are often used to create a sense of continuity and cohesion between walls, floors and furniture. These colours can be balanced with accents of brighter or warmer colours to add interest and depth to the room.
Finally, do not forget the importance of accessories. Items such as old neon signs, industrial-style artwork, and vintage pieces found at flea markets can add personality and character to your space.
Common mistakes in industrial furniture
In industrial furniture, one of the most common mistakes is excess. Industrial style is based on simplicity and functionality, so it is important to avoid overloading the space with too many objects or furniture. Industrial décor should be clean and minimalist, with a few striking pieces of furniture and carefully selected accessories.
Another frequent mistake is the lack of balance between raw and more refined elements. Although the industrial style is known for its rough and finish aesthetic, it is essential to balance these elements with softer, cosier pieces to prevent the room from becoming too cold or impersonal. For example, a leather sofa or a soft rug can add warmth and comfort to an industrial environment.
The excessive use of metal can be another stumbling block. While metal is a key element of industrial style, the excessive use of this material can make the room cold and unwelcoming. It is advisable to balance the use of metal with other materials such as wood, leather or fabrics.
Lighting plays a key role in industrial style and a common mistake is to use only direct lighting, which can create a harsh and unwelcoming atmosphere. Instead, it is advisable to combine different light sources, such as pendant lamps, table lamps and accent lighting, to create a warm and cosy atmosphere.