How to choose industrial decor for your home

Written by Douglas Ross in Buying

A home interior with industrial decor

Industrial decor does not have to be for minimalists. When people think of industrial designer homes they usually picture a converted warehouse with high ceilings and open plan living big enough for your own bowling alley in the living room.

But not everyone has a converted warehouse.

Industrial decor can suit modern homes that don’t benefit from a century of history (or suffer from the impossible pursuit of effectively heating a warehouse apartment).

Anyone can inject warehouse styling into their home design, but it takes more than the odd garage sale visit to create truly long-lasting designs.

Industrial decor often runs parallel with the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi is a world-view that comes from Buddhism and can be an aesthetic pursuit of the transience (impermanence) and imperfection of everything we construct.  Old furniture that shows the marks of its age reflects this appreciation for impermanence and so projects its own style and beauty. Ironically, this world-view contradicts the heavy and permanent nature of factory machinery, but this idea of imperfection and the beauty of vintage machinery/furniture/textures underpins warehouse styling today.

Choosing the right industrial decor

Industrial decor inside a warehouse style home

Industrial style homes like the above living room are traditionally converted warehouses, so benefit from a copious amount of space and natural light. This provides decorators greater room to experiment with different styles of furniture and designs, as well as a greater number of pieces (decorations, furniture, textures, artwork etc.)

Unfortunately, styling a modern home (not a converted warehouse) with industrial decor is a different process, and involves choosing your furniture and displays carefully. For this reason, it can be beneficial to a modern style home to try to find a common thread between various pieces of furniture/display.

For instance, if you have a special love of coffee, you may source decor such as the below style of old grinder, invest in a second hand coffee machine, stove top espresso makers, pour-over coffee makers, hessian coffee sacks and other related machinery and crockery and use this as a central theme upon which to build your industrial decor ideas.

An industrial style coffee grinder




Spindles from a textile factory

Textile spindles/spools are a relatively easy thing to find, but are becoming increasingly expensive as demand grows for them. They are perfect industrial decor additions as they add a nod to the past but also create texture, character, colour and warmth to your designs.

Interior of a home with brick wall

Exposed brick walls are a fantastic approach for modern homes that want to create an industrial decor for their interiors. For those homes that don’t have brick interiors, alternatives include brick-styled wallpaper (good for renters but not a great long-term solution), brick veneer and brick panelling. Brick panels are an easy and affordable way to get that exposed brick look if done as a feature wall. Consider painting white patches like in the above kitchen to add to this look.

An industrial decor comprising timber panels and lampshades

Alternatively, use timber panels rather than brick panels for a warmer industrial style home.

Interior of a warehouse home

Industrial decor includes not only an aesthetic pursuit of the imperfect (Wabi-sabi) but a conflation of textures and palettes. Metals, timber, leather furniture, concrete floors and flaking paint are often used in conjunction to make a room look more like a gym Rocky would have trained in rather than your typical living room. But that is the point, right? Greenery, rugs and artwork/injections of colour can offset the effects of this.

A bakers trolley makes a great industrial decor solution

Bakers trolleys are a fantastic storage solution and can play a dominant role in your home as industrial decor. You may not need to put up brick panels on your walls, find coffee grinders from the 19th century or light shades from Ford’s original factory floor, but instead use a few key items such as the above trolley as your pantry to hint at your love of the imperfect and the transient.