Warm, masculine, and sexy, industrial chic is a style of decorating that keeps getting more popular. While it used to be reserved for converted lofts and factories, industrial chic is now being seen in all kinds of buildings–both urban and rural.
What Is Industrial Chic?
Industrial chic (or urban industrial as it’s sometimes called) combines utilitarian design with worn textures and the warmth of raw, aged woods. This nod to the industrial revolution is all about mixing raw materials (galvanized metal, glass, and reclaimed woods) while keeping the shapes and silhouettes relatively simple. Industrial chic is a no-nonsense style that makes use of vintage and salvaged items and is often favored by fans of “green” design. It has many things in common with the modern farmhouse style but is much edgier.
There are a few common elements that tend to be found in urban industrial spaces. They include, but are not limited to:
- Exposed brick walls
- Cement floors
- Raw, unfinished materials
- Sleek, metal and glass lighting
- Exposed beams
- Stainless steel accents
Get the Look
The key to achieving a no-frills industrial chic look is simplicity. Avoid excess furniture and accessories and keep only what’s needed. The interest and depth in the space will be found in the mix of textures and patina.
- Start with a neutral color palette (grey, white, black beige), then layer in some warm wood tones. Look for woods that have some wear and tear. Scratches, knots, and nicks will add to the authenticity of the look.
- Be sure also to add plenty of metal. Whether it's metal windows, railings, metal furniture, and lighting galvanized metals and steel, it will combine brilliantly with the wood.
- If you have exposed beams, pipes or brick in your space leave them as is. Industrial chic spaces are often wide, open rooms that feature these elements.
- For fun and elegant juxtaposition, add a feminine piece such as a drippy, crystal chandelier to an urban industrial space.
- If a whole room isn’t for you, try incorporating a few pieces. A reclaimed wood coffee table or a set of galvanized metal dining chairs can add an element of industrial chic.
Where to Shop
Items that fit the industrial chic look can be found all over the place. Secondhand stores and salvage shops can be great, but so can some major retailers.
- Restoration Hardware: The grand poobah of mass market industrial chic. Practically every piece of their inventory fits the look, so go wild.
- CB2: At first glance, it might not seem so, but the modern sibling of retailer Crate and Barrel is great if you want one or two pieces to get the look of industrial chic. Some of their lighting and accessories in particular suit the look very well.
- Antique Farmhouse: Almost everything this online retailer has to offer can fit the look of industrial chic–almost. Stay away from anything too cutesy and stick with items that have clean lines.
- Ballard Designs: Like with CB2, you have to look a little more carefully to find industrial chic items here, but there are some great contenders.
- Habitat for Humanity Restore: The Restore is great for finding salvaged items like mantels and doors. You never know what you’re going to find so check back often.