How to: Decorating in the Industrial Style

The industrial style in nothing new, but recently, it has become a popular choice for home and office decor.  Just walk into any design related, small or big box store and you will find a plethora of industrial themed pieces.  These stores are trying to mass-produce old industrial furniture, but many people prefer original pieces for the stories they tell and the character they maintain.  So, the question is - what do I need to know before I buy?

How to: Decorating in the Industrial Style

Keep it original.

Dirt, dents, rust, peeling paint, and scratches make a piece unique.

There is no point paying good money for an original piece only to refinish it and remove all its character.  Spencer Staley, the owner of The Good Mod in Portland, Oregon says, “I had a painted locker with flaking-off old paint, I brushed off some of the paint, then sealed it.  It still has a lot of patina, but now you can use it without having paint chips fly all over your floor.”  Keep it simple and let the piece tell its story.

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Be creative.

Do not be afraid to re-purpose an item.  For example, an old metal dentist light from the 1960s can make a great reading lamp or an old pair of sawhorses might make a great table base.  Spencer says, “I like […] things like old hospital gurneys, which make good credenzas or stands for a large flat-screen TV.”  Be original and have fun with it.

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Look beyond only metal.

 When people talk about the industrial style they are usually referring to heavy-duty metal and steel.  But just be sure not to overdo it, be sure to break up the cold steel with the warm feel of wood and paint.  There are many great industrial wood pieces and some that combine both elements.  Just do not go overboard, use the style in moderation.

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ratty hugs on Sep 27, 2010:

OMG, I worked with that awful brick colored rolling 'cage' back at it's original store. It was the hardest thing to steer on to the freight elevator, the wheels always got stuck in the space between the dock & the elevator doors. I'm glad that someone found it to be useful because those of us who had to use it found it to be a PITA. ~C8>

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