A Basic Overview of Industrial Design

A buyer browsing the market of homes for sale in San Diego will more than likely run into a great deal of industrial style homes. It’s no secret why – the industrial design style has risen sharply and significantly in recent decades. This “ultra modern” style is so classified because it perfectly encapsulates what seem to be today’s main design priorities: open spaces, neutral colors, and functional furnishings. Here is a basic overview of the industrial design style.

Where it Came From

The origins of industrial design date all the way back – unsurprisingly – to the industrial revolution. In the past few decades, Western designers and architects have found a wealth of inspiration in the traditional industrial style, and it has progressively been used in modern residential and commercial applications. Industrial design has always been characterized, in part, by the authentic, robust materials that contribute to its aesthetic. These materials, while lush, sharp, and current, are also built to withstand the test of time. The industrial design style is simultaneously an attractive, popular design option as well as a tribute to the industrial age.

A Factory Look

Of course industrial design is characterized by its “factory” reminiscent aesthetic. Factory furniture is replete, with contrasting, more homely furniture items added to the mix, such as study chairs, metal lockers, furniture on wheels, and traditional wooden stools. The fundamental tenet of the style is to repurpose rugged furniture to allow for comfort, aesthetic allure, and efficiency.


Fundamentally, industrial design repurposes old objects reminiscent of the “blue-collar” days and repurpose them for modern use. Essentially, there is very little that is off limits when it comes to industrial design. Any room in an industrial home can feature items or pieces of furniture that were dug out of a hidden section at a flea market or pawn shop. In fact, industrial designers flock widely to pawn shops, procuring hidden gems as accent pieces. These include forgotten typewriters, storage boxes, or barber’s mirrors. Industrial designers are encouraged to take advantage of old, rusted appliances or tools and repurpose them accordingly.

A Modern, Vintage Flair

A distinguishing characteristic to note of industrial design is its centralization on big open spaces. Again, this is largely reminiscent of the commercial world of the industrial age, where factories were built to be vast and open. Those factories also had a tendency to expose the structure’s piping and wiring, a trend that has also followed modern residential and commercial industrial design. Homeowners opting for this design style are encouraged to factor raw materials and weathered finished, as these will better match the sober furniture and accent items that are central to the aesthetic. Go-to materials for industrial design include wood, concrete, metal, steel, and zinc.

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