How Industrial Style Started
With the lack of affordable housing in large cities, enterprising people found a way to turn abandoned industrial spaces into apartments. This trend is thought to have started in Lower Manhattan, in the late 1960s when artistic types rented the spaces as studios and then turned them into their homes.
Because they were working from scratch in what was a large skeleton of a building, the usual methods of creating living spaces didn't apply. They used this blank canvas to chop the big areas into lofts – large, open apartments with few (if any) internal walls, high ceilings and, often, floor-to-ceiling windows. They kept the industrial bones of the buildings by incorporating their functional features: exposed piping, ventilator tubes, support beams and poles, and wood or concrete floors.
Key Elements of Industrial Style
Industrial Style's Evolution
Nowadays, industrial style is popular in many more living places than just warehouses converted to lofts. Purpose-built buildings that emulate authentic lofts can be found in most cities, and many elements of industrial style have made their way into other, more traditional housing.
Introducing Industrial Style to Your Home
By adding a few of the signature features of industrial style, you can easily bring this decor into your home:
- Because industrial style works best in wide-open spaces, remove all the nonessential elements.
- If you're renovating, consider using materials in the industrial style, such as exposed brick walls, concrete floors and exposed beams. Let the unrefined, raw edges speak for themselves.
- Your furniture and accessories should emphasize the primary materials of this style: wood and metal with clean, uncluttered lines. Look for furniture and accessories that combine these materials in unique ways.
Industrial's simple-yet-edgy vibe that doesn't sacrifice comfort is ideal for our modern world. Even with small things like industrial-style lighting fixtures, wall art and metal accents on distressed wood furniture, you can emulate this decor wherever you live.