Work the Industrial Decor Trend With These Lighting Ideas

When you think of industrial-style design, exposed pipes and grainy wood floors instantly come to mind. However, those are just a couple hallmarks of this century-old trend. With today’s influences, you can expect a lot more from industrial décor. Everything from shiny metals to LED bulbs has penetrated the design, which makes for a much easier transition between the 1900’s factory floors to your 21st century home. Using these tips and inspiration, you’ll be delighted to add industrial décor to every room – inside and out.

The Key Benefits of Industrial Décor

Not entirely sold on the industrial design style yet? These key benefits may sell you once and for all:

It’s universal.
Industrial décor isn’t just for urban lofts and container houses. You can combine these rustic accents with any design style. You just have to find the common denominator that ties them together. For a contemporary space, that might be polished concrete floors or matte black kitchen hardware. In a traditional setting, think about using texture from industrial décor to cozy up the place.

It’s easy.
The beauty of industrial décor is that it’s raw and natural. That means it’s okay if your favorite chair looks distressed or you haven’t gotten around to updating those hexagon tiles in the bathroom. Why spend the extra time and money, when these undone, unpolished features are perfectly acceptable in industrial design? In fact, the weathered look is so welcomed that you don’t have to worry about messing up industrial décor. It’s fool-proof and kid-friendly. 

It’s environmentally conscious.
Like rustic lighting fixtures, industrial décor is often made from reclaimed wood or consists of second-hand goods and furniture. By reusing or repurposing materials, you help reduce the environmental footprint of your home. 

How to Work Industrial Décor Into Your Space

From large sectional sofas to small bookshelf trinkets, there are a number of ways to bring industrial décor into your home. Below, we lay out all the options and help you decide between them. But before you do anything, brush up on the basics of industrial décor.

Here’s a cheat sheet to keep you on target: 

  • Color palette – Think earthy neutral tones, like black, brown and gray. White can also be seen in industrial designs, especially as a contrasting color to all the dark accents.
  • Finishes/materials – Wood and steel are the defining materials of industrial design. That said, you’ll find plenty of other metals that are either polished and smooth or smoky and distressed like a real antique.
  • Shapes – Industrial designs favor efficiency, which is translated into boxy silhouettes. You can expect squares, rectangles and straight edges more often than not.

Tips for Tying in Industrial Décor

Lay factory-inspired flooring.

Brick, concrete and wood are the most common selections for industrial-style flooring. Keep in mind, though, flooring is a major commitment. So you’ll want to make this choice methodically to ensure you accomplish the best look for your home. Brick floors, for instance, may create a unique aesthetic but aren’t well-suited for young kids running around. Textured wood floors, on the other hand, are a classic industrial décor element that can adapt to a number of different design styles.

For true industrial appeal, look for wood planks covered in natural knots and mineral streaks. The textures and colors make it feel more weathered, much like a real factory floor. If you haven’t considered concrete, know that it’s actually a rather neutral floor. It won’t lend the same comfort of a wood floor, but it does play nicely with minimalist homes and other sleek, modern features.

Furnish with a mix.

You’re going to find a lot of coffee tables, chairs, media consoles, bookshelves and other furnishings made of wood and black metal. While this is the quintessential pairing, it does not need to occupy every inch of your home. To avoid over-saturating with industrial décor, choose only one or two wood-and-metal pieces. Then, fill in the gaps with a plush couch, leather chair, and vibrant color palette. This will keep your home feeling modern and light while giving a nod to the past.

Accessorize strategically.

Typically speaking, industrial design is not cluttered with accessories. While you might use an area rug to define your living space or put a potted fern in the corner for color, small, random knick-knacks aren’t necessary. Focus on accessorizing with alternative wall art, true vintage pieces and industrial-style lighting. Wall art can serve as a contrast if you choose modern, abstract work. Or, to complement the neutral color palette, you can create a gallery wall with black-and-white family photos.

If adding any non-functional items to your coffee table or bookshelves, stick to authentic objects. You want these additional accessories to be rich with history, so there’s a story to tell when guests come over.

Light your design.

While lighting can be an artful accessory, it deserves its own section. There are so many different types of lighting and ways to incorporate it. Industrial pendants are a popular pick, since they work double duty as a statement piece and source of illumination. You can also charm up your home with rustic chandeliers. Large, linear wood frames offer the industrial ambiance you want. For a lighter impact – or simply less light – there are industrial-style table lamps and wall sconces. These smaller fixtures are useful in dark corners of your living room or in long hallways.

As you can see, what you choose will largely depend on where you need light and how much light you need. For more ways to use lighting as industrial décor, take a look at the following ideas.

8 Industrial-Style Lighting Ideas

With its articulating arm, the Arti wall sconce adds industrial decor to built-in bookshelf.

Arti by Hinkley Lighting

Do you value a strong work ethic? Then you need the Arti wall sconce. This articulating task light inspires the kind of focus, innovation and productivity that fueled the Industrial Revolution. The fixture itself is a workhorse, balancing antique style with a modern, streamlined edge. Use the Arti in your home office, by your bedside tables or above a decorative wall feature.

The Belden linear suspension light blends contemporary and industrial designs.

Ian K. Fowler Belden by Visual Comfort & Co.

The Belden’s long, lean profile scores you points for industrial design while staying aligned with contemporary ideals. You even get the full warmth and flair of the Edison bulb, with six of them lined up and completely exposed. That kind of balanced style deserves to be front and center over your dining room table – where houseguests can admire your good taste.

The Conduit chandelier by Troy Lighting hanging in a dining room.

Conduit by Troy Lighting

This sputnik-style chandelier may remind you of mid-century modern lighting, but its metal cage accents are purely inspired by industrial concepts. The effect is big and bold, which is why the Conduit works so well with eclectic interiors. Help create your home’s personality by hanging this 13-bulb fixture in your foyer or dining room.

The Fletcher wall sconce is a small taste or industrial decor in a modern bathroom.

Fletcher by Hinkley Lighting

Dip your toes into industrial décor with the Fletcher wall sconce. This little globe manages to look handcrafted even with a polished nickel finish. You see it mostly in the mixed metal finish, seedy glass lamp shade and embossed nameplate. It’s the right amount of style and watts for your bathroom vanity lighting.

The Gunnison vanity light has adjustable hardware for function and style.

Gunnison by Kichler Lighting

Another viable option for your bathroom lighting is the Gunnison four-light fixture. Not only do the adjustable arms mimic exposed pipes of yesteryear, but they allow light to completely cover your prep space. The shiny chrome finish and cylindrical glass shades just mean you can easily fit this fixture into a modern or transitional design.

The cage-style Henry pendant adds industrial decor over a monochrome mini bar.

Thomas O’Brien Henry by Visual Comfort and Co.

The Henry pendant packs a lot into its small cage frame, including a textured glass shade and authentic hardware accents. Perhaps the best part about this mini pendant, however, is the flexibility it gives you to ramp up industrial décor or tone it down. Hang one over your reading nook for a less-is-more approach, or create a series of three across your kitchen island to amplify the design.

With brass core and metal mesh, the Piston is the perfect accessory in an industrial living room.

Piston by Kichler Lighting

At first glance, the Piston is a standard drum pendant made of metal and mesh. But then you notice the brassy starburst center and the beat changes from purely industrial to perfectly innovative. Let this piece shoot for complements in your high-traffic entryway or main living space.

The Sag Harbor wall light adds industrial decor to your outside entryway.

Sag Harbor by Hinkley Lighting

Don’t ignore your outdoor lighting needs. The Sag Harbor wall sconce is C-US Wet Rated and is made with durable aluminum construction. That’s all, of course, second to the striking filament bulb and weathered metal finish. Flank your front door with two Sag Harbor wall lights to introduce houseguests to industrial décor before they even step inside.

Work It In

Regardless of your home’s overall mood and style, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate industrial décor. Lighting offers one of the most seamless paths to style success, thanks to the wide variety of lighting options. Whether you want to fully commit to industrial design or just want a touch of history in your home, there’s a light fixture that will fit the bill. Any one of these industrial-style lighting ideas has potential. You just have to find a way to work it in.

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