Interiors: Heavy metal home decor
- Credit: Archant
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.
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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.
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“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.
For a chef’s perk, and a hard-working centrepiece that combines all the elements, it has to be a range cooker. With its professional-looking stainless steel finish and top-notch cooking capacity, it oozes industrialism, yet somehow remains homely.
Match this with a mix of ash and oak for the kitchen table, and the distressed finish morphs into a peaceful pattern of metal and woodgrain effects, which would contrast beautifully with white tableware and bistro-style glasses.
“Matching the kitchen design with stone, concrete worktops and other urban materials, such as worn metals, allows you to create many different looks, which can be used as accents, or as a complete kitchen,” says Matt Thomas, fitted furniture buyer at John Lewis.
“With today’s technology, it’s very difficult to identify laminated surfaces and robust finishes from the real thing, and many customers are opting for the reclaimed look.”
Some carefully chosen accessories, like stainless steel and copper-finish utensils, and perhaps some vintage advertising-inspired artwork, will help bring the look to the boil.
Clean and cool
A free-standing bath is a big investment, but the materials used are renowned for their durability, and nothing wows like a statement tub. The sculptural splendour can be softened with your favourite fluffy towels, soaps and scented candles, too.
If that’s not an option, simply team shades of bronze and copper with gleaming glass for subtle, industrial-inspired touches to conventional bathroom fittings - just replacing the taps, for instance, can be an easy way to update this part of the home, and will still make a significant visual impact.
Invest in items like wooden consoles, metal cabinets, chrome rails and stone-effect accessories for the finishing touch, and enjoy the natural beauty of bath time.
Splashes of deep grey in your colour scheme, along with tough, natural tiles - slate is fantastic for floors and walls - will also put the industrial cogs in motion.