Industrial chic interior design

As the obsession with vintage continues, the more masculine Industrial look has taken hold. This look often incorporating metal, wood and stone, looks great in both a traditional or more contemporary setting.  It works fantastically well in an open plan loft space but can also be adapted for a smaller apartment.


A trestle table made from wooden planks or stainless steel immediately gives you a central focus. If you then put this together with metal chairs in either galvanised steel or a bright primary colour you have created a look which is not only stylish and timeless, but also practical and hardwearing. The Model A Tolix chair originally designed in the 1930’s by Xavier Pauchard, can be purchased for about £200. To get the look at a more affordable price, check out the Tolix inspired chairs available from at half the price of the original. It is easy to get carried away with the Industrial look and be too harsh with the decor. You can soften the look and bring in some comfort with a French style upholstered armchair in a contemporary Toile de Jouy. Have a look at Timorous Beasties for a fantastic collection of modern Toiles inspired by cityscapes and everyday activities.

Distressed painted furniture is another way of softening this look. The two styles of shabby chic and industrial work well together by complimenting the vintage feel of both. Both looks are great for those who are not too precious about their homes and much prefer to have a practical and functional space without worrying about the odd paint chip or scratch.


Ships lanterns or 1930’s factory lighting are perfect for this look. Often in polished steel, painted enamel, glass or copper, you can easily find something to fit your space both in proportion or age. Genuine vintage lighting will often be a one-off giving your look its’ own individuality. Take a look at for some truly wonderful vintage pieces. Iconic lighting such as angle poise desk lamps are now being manufactured as huge standard lamps. This addition to your decor immediately brings an industrial feel to the space whilst being incredibly practical and functional.


it really is important to consider the noise created by your choice of flooring when living in loft apartments or flats. Living underneath someone with wooden floors and a tendency to wear big heels is not fun and the continual clip-clopping across a stone or ceramic floor can be torturous to the neighbours. With this in mind, I would steer away from flag stones, slate or exposed floor boards unless you are able to mask some of the noise with rugs and some carpeting in heavy traffic areas. If you can achieve some neighbourly sound proofing, natural flooring is the way to go with industrial chic. If the cost is prohibitive to your budget, there are some excellent laminate options available at a more cost effective price. Engineered oak is easy to lay and maintain at a fraction of the cost of oak floorboards.


Leave stone or brick work exposed, or paint with muted colours such as putty, stone or off white. Use an eggshell finish on wood work which is less reflective than traditional gloss finishes and can be rubbed back to give that vintage feel. Bright accessories or a 1950’s style Smeg Fridge in pale blue will liven up an industrial inspired kitchen. Stainless steel appliances in your kitchen are the perfect accompaniment to this look. A top tip to keep them finger print and smudge free is to apply a very thin layer of baby oil with a lint free cloth.

If space is really limited, it is worth considering a compact kitchen such as those supplied by Space Savers. Traditionally for use in office spaces, they can also be adapted for the home. The kitchen is concealed within a cupboard which can be painted to go with the scheme. By bringing the office feel to your home you have created a functional look which is completely in keeping with industrial chic.

Do not be afraid to add brighter fabrics or wallpapers in retro or even more traditional designs such as toile de jouy to keep your look current. There is now a trend for animal and bird designs which work fantastically well with this look. Lewis & Wood ( have a wonderful collection incorporating, birds, fish and horses. These designs are influenced by traditional paintings and books but also work perfectly in a modern environment. The contrast between industry and nature softens industrial chic to make it work in any age of property from an Edwardian conversion to a city loft apartment.


This is where your imagination and creativity can be let loose. Using items not for their original purpose is the key to the industrial look. A US Mail Box as a bread bin, used tin cans for herbs pots, old army ammunition boxes for coffee tables and storage, municipal trolleys for storing your vegetables or as book cases; the choices are endless. Oversized accessories such as huge wall clocks and lamps work well as do enamel signs and vintage posters (see for inspiration).  Another way to complete this look is to use exterior accessories such as statues, sculptures or carvings in materials such as concrete, marble or wood as interior decorations. It is the incongruous items which make this look so appealing for both professional and amateur designers and it is almost impossible to get it wrong.

Getting this look right is easy and fun. Spend time at reclamation yards – is a brilliant website for ordering original and reproduction salvage items direct to your door. Visit your local auction for some inexpensive unique finds or you can even rummage through a few skips - with permission of course! Once you have found some items you love, use a little imagination to restore and ‘up-cycle’ your finds.