Move over shabby chic, traditional, and modern. Could this be your new living room style?
If you’re drawn to the urban appeal of industrial living room ideas but can’t afford to live in a loft downtown, don’t worry – you can easily bring the style to your home, no matter your place or budget. To help get your creative engines whirring, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite living room designs you’ll find in industrial interiors — whether they are lofts, apartments, converted warehouses, or traditional houses.
For more living room inspiration, check out some of our past posts you might have missed:
- 65 Stunning Farmhouse Living Room Decor Ideas
- 20 Best Boho Living Room Ideas for 2023
- 27 Stunning Living Room Wall Decor Ideas
- 45 Creative Aesthetic Living Room Decor Ideas
How Industrial Style First Came About
But first, let’s take a step back and explore how the industrial style came about. It was born out of necessity in the 1960s and 70s when artists began flocking to the outskirts of big cities and repurposing old factories and warehouses into affordable studios. Thanks to their large windows and high ceilings, these spaces were brimming with natural light ideal for painting and sculpting, not to mention they were significantly cheaper than traditional apartments. Their innate character fostered creativity and became the perfect backdrop for artistic expression.
In the 1980s, industrial interior design started to seep into the mainstream. Fast-forward to today, and you’ll find it has transcended its urban roots and can be found anywhere, even in the suburbs. And while the style has certainly evolved over the years, its core principles remain the same: a celebration of the imperfect, a focus on functionality, and a fuss-free no-nonsense approach to decorating.
How to Decorate Living Room Industrial Style
Concrete floors, brick walls, exposed metal details — these days, you don’t have to live in a converted factory to enjoy the benefits of an industrial interior — you can simply incorporate some of these design elements into your own home. And while an industrial living room might sound cold and uninviting, nothing could be further from the truth! By mixing different textures and adding a few cozy touches, you can create a space that’s both comfortable and stylish. Here’s how to do it right.
Opt for an Open Layout
Industrial living rooms tend to have an open floorplan, like the factories they’re inspired by. If you live in a traditional home with a lot of small rooms, you can create an industrial living room by doing away with unnecessary walls. Not only will this make your space feel bigger, but it will also allow for more natural light to flow in. If you’re not ready to go that route, you can still achieve an open layout by keeping furniture close to the walls and leaving a generous amount of space in the center of the room.
Flaunt Your Brickwork
Nothing says industrial-style living room more than an exposed brick wall. If you’re lucky enough to have brick walls in your home, by all means, put them on display. You can leave them bare or paint them white for a more polished, contemporary look. If you don’t have brickwork to flaunt, you can fake it with brick veneer panels or even wallpaper. This is a great way to add texture and interest to your space without going overboard.
DIY a Distressed Wall
Don’t worry if exposed brick walls are too much for you. You can still nail the industrial look with a bit of paint and some sandpaper. Start by painting your walls a neutral color like white or gray. Once the paint is dry, take a piece of sandpaper and distress the edges. This will give your walls a rough, unfinished look that’s perfect for an industrial space. If you’re not the DIY type, plenty of distressed wallpapers on the market will give you the same look without all the hassle.
Expose Pipes and Ducts
Industrial design reverses the common practice of covering pipes and ductwork and instead embraces and even highlights these utilitarian features. Painted piping can add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral space, while natural metal pipes can create an interesting contrast against concrete or brick walls. If you aren’t comfortable with exposed pipes, you can use them as inspiration for your lighting fixtures or hardware.
Use Industrial Light Fixtures
Since the vogue for industrial interiors began as a nod to old factories, it’s only fitting to use industrial-style lighting in your living room. Think filament bulbs, ship lights, and pendant lamps ensconced in wire and metal cages. Copper and brass fixtures are a good choice for a warm, inviting space, while black or chrome fixtures give your room a more modern edge. Multi-directional floor lamps can also feature well in an industrial living room, as do reclaimed factory lights.
Keep Things Neutral
If you want to create an industrial living room, one of the best ways to do it is by sticking to a neutral color palette. Incorporate different shades of greys, from light to gunmetal, black and white accents warmed up with wood, brick, and leather. You can offset these with the occasional pop of bright reds or greens to make sure the space doesn’t feel too cold.
Combine Metal and Wood
Industrial living room design is all about mixing the old and the new for the best look. One of the simplest means to drive home this contrast is by combining metal and wood throughout your space. For example, you can use metal furniture with wooden floors or exposed beams. You can also use metal accents against a wood-paneled wall or add pieces incorporating both metal and wood for the ultimate vintage score.
Go for Edgy Wall Art
Another way to bring your industrial living room to life is by using artwork to express your creative aptitude. Choose edgy and unique pieces, such as old enamel signs, giant maps, blueprint posters, graffiti-style artwork, or large-scale photographs. You can also DIY your wall art by mounting old engine parts or metal gears on a piece of wood or canvas. Anything with a raw, urban feel is fair game.
Repurpose Old Finds
Using old crates or tea chests for side tables, repurposing salvaged factory parts and machinery as wall art, or even upcycling a metal cart into a coffee table are all great ways to add some character to your industrial living room. Not only will these reclaimed pieces give your space a sense of history, but they are a great way to reduce waste and help the environment. Not to mention, they can often be found for a fraction of the price of new furniture.
An industrial-style interior can serve as the perfect blank canvas for you to experiment with different styles and aesthetics. For example, you can mix industrial elements with mid-century modern or retro touches. Or, you can add boho accents to an otherwise minimalist space. It’s all about taking the best aspects of different design traditions and combining them in new and interesting ways, so go ahead and mix them up!
Rough It Up
Mimic the weathered architecture of old factories and warehouses with industrial furniture and accents. Choose pieces that look like they’ve been around for a while, such as a distressed wood coffee table, metal filing cabinets, and vintage light fixtures. You can even add your own touches of wear and tear by sanding down paint, adding nicks and scratches, or using a patina finish to age metal.
Industrial Living Room Ideas to Get You Inspired
By now, you should have a good grasp of what industrial style is and how to incorporate it into your living room. But if you’re still feeling stuck, here are some more ideas to get you inspired. Remember, no two industrial living room designs are alike, so feel free to experiment and put your spin on things to create a space that is truly yours.
Gray on Black
Room with a View
Back to Nature
Dash of Color
Industrial Meets Boho
Grid and Glass
Pop of Yellow
Brick and Plaster Combo
Leather Sofa Goals
Over to You!
Industrial interiors tend to fly in the face of modern sensibilities while paying homage to the past, and that’s exactly what we love about them. The modern-meets-old allure of industrial design and its ability to juxtapose the rough with the refined makes it one of our favorite styles here at Displate. And we hope that after reading this post, you feel the same!
If you’re thinking of giving your space an industrial makeover, the tips above should help you get started. And if it’s industrial wall art you’re after, be sure to check out our vintage travel posters, city light maps, blueprint and patent drawings, and more!
Now we want to hear from you! What are your favorite industrial living room ideas? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below.