Guest Post - 5 Key Features of Modern Industrial Styles

Modern industrial design takes minimalism to a whole new level, embracing the bare-bones features that other architectural styles try to hide. It pays homage to classic factories and warehouses, and yet its symmetry and cohesion make it desirable among the most discriminating interior design connoisseurs. The style is becoming a popular fixture at trendy hotels, restaurants, lofts, and even residential homes.

So what exactly is the modern industrial style? What sets it apart from other modernist influences? To understand the trend, it’s important to recognize the key features that make it unique. 

1. Exposed Beams, Pipes, and Ductwork 


The most obvious defining feature to casual observers is the exposed structural elements. The style eschews most ceiling panels in favor of an open design that leaves the building’s mechanics wide open and exposed. The metallic pipework looks especially pronounced against white and muted paint jobs, and it’s often designed with an intentionally weathered look to reinforce the gritty, industrial motif. 

If you want to achieve this look but don’t want to gut your entire home, you can fake it by creating shelves out of copper pipes or making an industrial desk lamp.

2. A Delicate Interplay of Metal and Wood 

Metallic and wooden elements are both trademarks of modern industrial style. These building materials are usually presented side by side, such as with wooden stairs reinforced by a metallic base, or hardwood floors offset by metal beams. 

If you’re looking to introduce an industrial-inspired theme into your home, you may not be able to install new wood and metal foundations on a budget, but you can still work with what you have and upgrade your space with industrial-friendly accents. One such example is in an entertainment room or your “man cave.” Instead of redoing the whole interior, you can opt for specific pieces to compliment what you already have. If you have wooden floors, then opting for a steel pool table and metal accents will work very well together. This leads us right to our next point...

3. Vintage Furniture and Accessories 

Again, because wood and metal are the name of the game, industrial design tends to incorporate aged wood furniture, metallic bar stools, and other effects that fit the motif. Wrought iron wall art is popular for decor, as are DIY options like furniture crafted from weather-worn wood pallets

If a home already has wood floors or fixtures, the simple addition of vintage furniture and accessories can promote an uncompromising industrial look. Rustic metal floor lamps, pendant lighting, and modern door handles are just some of the additions that can quickly turn a home into an industrial modern home. 

4. Warm Color Schemes 


When it comes to modern industrial, it’s all about warm earth tones. Grays, browns, blacks, and whites are especially common, often contrasted with exposed brick. In some cases, the designer may add one or two brightly hued accessories or pieces of furniture to offset the motif with a bold splash of color. 

5. The Elimination of Clutter

Modern industrial design is all about maximizing space. Books are arranged neatly on bookshelves, furniture sets are closely grouped together to ensure ample space all around, and superfluous clutter is relegated to closets and storage areas. The ever-present sense of openness and space is an essential hallmark of an industrial motif; it’s the aesthetic that separates “factory-chic” from “crowded factory.” This is why it’s very important to find a way to eliminate the clutter.

Additional Features 

Additional features will vary from place to place, but there are a few more common effects worth mentioning. For example, an industrial modern home or business may contain concrete flooring, track or recessed lighting, and an abundance of indoor plants. Some homeowners and business owners also like to decorate with steampunk-inspired art like metal clockwork and gears. Try experimenting with different industrial effects, and find your perfect urban decor.  

About the Author: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate, and finance.