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Style Secret: Functional Furnishings
Industrial furnishings are minimal and no-nonsense, with strong, clean lines and without a hint of excess. Mix new pieces with reclaimed ones — search thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales, and don't be shy about investigating curbside castaways. Repurposing is central to this style: wooden crates turned into tables, old lockers used as storage, battered ladders turned into shelving.
Smart strategy: Although homey, cushy furnishings can feel out of place, you don't have to perch on metal stools and sleep on cots, either. Padded pieces should be simple and free of frills — nothing breaks the tension of industrial décor like an overstuffed wing chair or a tufted ottoman. Choose solid upholstery in natural textures and neutral colors.
Style Secret: Open Space
Industrial style had its genesis in big, cavernous buildings — warehouses, garages, packing plants — so it only makes sense that an open floor plan is a hallmark of the look. High ceilings cap expansive rooms that often serve multiple functions, such as a kitchen, dining room and living area all blended into one.
Smart strategy: Break up a long expanse of space with well-placed furniture. An island and twin pendant lamps visually separate this kitchen from the space beyond. You'll also want to pay special attention to creating visual echoes and a unified look throughout to avoid a jarring stop-start-stop effect.
Style Secret: Edgy Art
Would it feel awkward in a traditional home or a sweet, feminine cottage? Then it'll probably be the life of the party in an industrial space. Old road signs, giant abstract works, mixed-media sculptures — risk taking gives this style its swagger. Found objects, such as pulley wheels and giant faucet handles, can be mounted on the walls or massed on shelving for a powerful graphic punch.
Smart strategy: When in doubt, you cannot go wrong with black and white photos. Keep mats wide and frames ultrasimple. The grid on this wall, bound by a custom rail-style treatment, is stunning because of its spareness.