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Living Room Upgrade: How to Achieve the Industrial Look in Your Home

by Ann Ferguson

If you love old architecture and exposed building elements, you'll love the look of industrial design. This look takes inspiration from old, defunct factories and embraces all the industrial aspects like piping, brick, concrete, iron, steel, and ductwork. Put it together, and you have a casual and relaxing, unfinished look.

But don't worry about trying to work the look into your living room by yourself. We'll go over everything you need to know to make your living room the best room in the house!

Origins

Empty old school factory

Industrial design was born out of necessity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when commercial buildings and factories were converted into homes. This was after America started outsourcing its factories to other locations and more people began moving into cities. All those commercial buildings were empty, and there wasn't enough land to make new residential real estate.

So, those factories were turned into residential buildings. But instead of erasing the exposed elements like piping and ductwork, these were crucial to the overall design. Andy Warhol famously converted old warehouses into lofts for artists and quickly made loft-living popular, so the industrial trend began.

Materials & Fixtures

Regarding industrial design, the main focus is on the use of raw materials. For instance, you'll find that wood, aluminum, iron, steel, tin, stone, copper, and concrete are all crucial to the overall design. This, plus the architectural and mechanical details like brick, beams, ducts, and pipes, create a unique look.

Combine all those elements with iron, brass, chrome, glass, and copper fixtures, and you'll have a flexible backdrop that also makes a bold statement.

And since these materials are often recycled or salvaged from their previous industrial life, this design is incredibly environmentally friendly!

Colors

 Industrial living room with colors

The next crucial characteristic of the industrial look is the colors. While you might think of industrial as primarily black and white, there is more to it than you'd think.

Neutral, monochromatic colors are the primary colors, but there is more design freedom in the accent colors. You can easily make a stunning statement with hues like rust, wood tones, and vivid splashes of vibrant colors such as red, blue, purple, or green. Just be sure to use these sparingly to make the rest of your living room pop!

Shapes

Another integral aspect of industrial design is the shapes used. The base shapes are straight or contoured to show off clean lines and embrace the room's negative space, making the room appear larger.

You can also use squared lines and blocky shapes to show off cohesiveness in your design, as well as organic curves and abstract shapes for a little bit of fun!

Overall Aesthetic & Decor

The overall aesthetic for the industrial look emphasizes open space and comfort. You want to make your living room feel as relaxing as possible and incredibly stylish. So, make sure you have an open layout and keep your surfaces clutter-free and clean.

But since décor is essential, that doesn't mean you can't decorate. To keep the industrial vibes going, use vintage coffee tables, textured rugs, abstract art, vintage photographs, and plants for added texture and color. As for lights, floor lamps, pendant lights, and track lights work best.

Blending Design Styles

Industrial living room mixed with chic elements

If you're the bold type who likes to try something new, you don't have to stick to pure industrial guidelines — you can blend other design styles!

For example, modern design style focuses on manmade materials, just like industrial design, using steel and glass. So, if you pair the straight lines and bright lighting of modern design with the industrial look, you'll have an aesthetic that is sure to wow.

You can also mix industrial with chic tones, which adds comfy furniture and pops of color to create a touch of elegance.

How to Achieve the Look

Now that you know more about the key characteristics, it's time to start making the look happen for your living room!

  • Start with a neutral color palette or monochromatic color scheme.
  • Keep your layout open to create a sense of space.
  • Combine wood and metal, like a vintage wooden vanity with a steel-framed mirror.
  • Make sure your lighting is metal (pendant lights should be low-hanging with wide shades).
  • Use polished concrete flooring for an ultra-modern look.
  • Highlight exposed pipes.
  • Decorate with salvaged industrial parts, vintage photography, and abstract art.

Pro Tip: If you're tight on space, try strategically arranging your furniture into groups to break up the space and make the room appear larger.

Upgrade Your Look

Industrial living room with exposed pipes and metal lamps

There you have it—the industrial look and how to get the look for your living room. So, if you're ready to start, check out our living room furniture at Westco Home Furnishings! You won't believe the pieces you'll find!

Have any questions? Give us a call or stop by! Our team will help you create your dream look!