Labour of love
Contemporary, cool and a little bit edgy, the industrial trend can be defined in many ways. But it’s the strong lines, raw finishes and metallic tones, designed to mirror the urban architecture, that’s inspired interior designers to create modern living schemes that are slick and hard to resist.
Functional and fuss-free, but with a nod to heritage, it’s a clean look that has traditionally been seen as a masculine one. However, women have also demonstrated an equal love for industrial style in recent years, and while it lends itself well to bachelor pads, it can also be channelled by anybody hankering after a touch of loft-style living.
This applies to family homes too, because, the good news is, despite bare and exposed being a key characteristic, this look can still bring warmth and comfort - without the need for expensive curtains and cushions. And best of all, it’s a great excuse to declutter.
Here are some top tips from the experts to take the hard work out of mixing these tough materials, and make a style statement that flows from room to room.
Simple and understated, colour and texture are key, and the industrial look is all about metallics, distressed surfaces and raw wood. But giving your lounge or living room an industrial-style makeover doesn’t mean stripping it of all soft touches.
“It’s a very tactile style, so it works well in the living room,” says Kate Hassard, marketing manager at Sofa.com.
Of course, leather sofas - ideally suitably battered and brown - are most synonymous with the industrial look. And while these are an investment which will never go out of style, if the budget doesn’t stretch, or you simply don’t want leather, that doesn’t mean your industrial action is over.
“Start with a relaxed corner sofa in a cool, neutral fabric with texture, such as wool,” suggests Hassard. “Soften the look with cushions, or a throw with a shimmer of silver, glow of copper or glint of brushed steel. And if you don’t have an exposed brick wall at home, make a feature with what you do have.”
Indeed, some vintage and antique frames propped in a casual stack, studio floor lamps, factory-style ceiling lights and a mix of vintage and rustic pieces here and there will go a long way, and you’ll soon realise there’s no need to call in the builders to remove the plaster and clean the bricks.
“If exposed brickwork, concrete surfaces and pared-back minimalism feels a step too far, then incorporate statement pieces, such as a smart clock or statement bookends, for added emphasis,” suggests interior designer Joanna Wood.
Allowing functional items that would normally be hidden away, such as a radiator, to become focal points, is an integral part of the trend for that unfinished, slightly edgy feel. Plus, the warmth they emit will form a stark contrast to the polished metals and pared-down surrounds.