While industrial style may have once been solely associated with 90s loft living, it’s since become as likely to appear in a farmhouse as an exposed-beam bachelor pad. Industrial style is all about reinvention, so go ahead and use a vintage barn pendant in a kitchen, or repurpose a distressed mail-sorting cabinet as an office wall unit. Looking for something a bit more paired down? Go with pieces from retailers like West Elm or Restoration Hardware, who often incorporate industrial elements like iron and steel into their perfectly contemporary designs.
10 SALVAGED FINDS TO FACTOR INTO YOUR INDUSTRIAL DÉCOR
Whether you call a converted warehouse home or you simply fancy a home that looks like a well-oiled machine more than it operates like one, industrial chic design is a powerhouse style worth considering. Capable of imparting cinematic vibes on virtually any space (thanks in part to details like theater spotlights moonlighting as floor lamps), industrial interior design rose to popularity in conjunction with contemporary, urban loft living. Condos with exposed brick play in perfect harmony with furniture like cast iron-base coffee tables and reclaimed wood dining tables. Even more perfect? One-time factory contraptions finding new life as decorative accessories.
To shine a light on all the ways in which salvaged factory and farm finds can be translated into industrial décor ideas, we’re reimagining 10 items that previously worked a gruff 9 to 5. At first glance, these might not be the kind of objects you’re vying to display in your home, but let us rework them a bit (and wipe off some of the grit)—we’re willing to bet that once you see their potential, they’ll all be on your flea market must-haves list.
If a wheel came off the wagon, then congrats, the score’s all yours! Courtesy of a few lengths of rope (and maybe an electrician) and a wagon or factory wheel can be refashioned as an industrial chandelier or a pot rack. Alternatively, you can mount a large wheel with pipe legs and top it with a piece of glass for an uber chic industrial coffee table. Just be sure to look for wheels in cast iron finishes rather than wood to keep the look from straying into Home on the Range territory.
Think of a steamer trunk as a pressure cooker for design ideas. With a little roll-up-your-sleeves action, a vintage steamer trunk can be transformed from a dingy piece of luggage into an industrial furniture piece. Use as is and cast your steamer trunk in the role of an industrial coffee table—as a bonus, the interior will hide extra blankets, board games, and pillows. Already have an industrial coffee table? Adhere a steamer trunk to a tall, folding luggage rack and top your trunk with a tray to make it into a home bar.
If you’ve ever run across an early 1900s zinc child’s bath then you know they’re literally one of the cutest things on the planet. However, what do you do with one besides try to bathe your pup in it? Move it to your patio, fill it with soil, and nestle in some sweet-smelling herbs, of course! If you’re an apartment dweller and have a balcony, you might think about opting for a slightly bigger tub. The tub’s oblong shape will prevent it from taking up too much square footage, but will make more room for larger plants like veggies.
Think you need to be a yachtie to appreciate a vintage boat propeller as decor? Not so. Featuring a cool, whirlwind shape and a richly buffed patina, boat propellers are perfect for adoring an industrial dining tables and industrial cabinets—especially if you refashion them as candle sticks (just note that you may have to seek out modified propellers for an easy fit). You might also think about having one wired to support a single Edison bulb.
Manger or Trough
If you run across an elevated metal or wood manger that’s sizeable, think about converting it into stylish, outdoor sand trough for tot-sized archeologists. To get things up and running, fill your manger with play sand. You might also consider looking for a manger with a lid, which can be used to protect your sand from the elements. As a final touch, surround your sand table with pint-sized industrial chairs and pile in those plastic dinos!
With or without chocolate, vintage industrial chocolate molds are pretty sweet. Look for tray versions with dozens of wells to use as industrial wall décor in an industrial style kitchen, or use one in an office for organizing purposes. If you’re opting for the latter, look for molds with extra-large wells for storing odds and ends like rubber bands and paper clips. FYI: holiday molds (like Easter eggs and V-day hearts) often serve up extra decadent proportions, making them optimal fits.
When strung with a lightbulb, wire potato baskets make whimsical light fixtures. A perfect example of industrial farmhouse décor, potato basket light fixtures are ideal for kitchens, mudrooms, or casual dining rooms—any space where the vibe is light, bright, and I’ll-take-those-eggs-sunny-side-up! If your potato basket has a handle, leave it! It makes for a charming accent.
Oak Wine Barrel
You’ve likely seen this trick played out at your favorite winery, but when it comes to a goodie like an overturned wine barrel fashioned as a standing bar table, why not steal it? For an industrial chic look, seek out wine barrels with zinc trim (since metal makes an industrial room croon) and stamped labeling on the side. Pair with some industrial bar stools and voila, it’s cheers time!
Hat Maker Form
To add a quirky detail to an industrial bedroom (which sometimes run the risk of feeling cold), try adding a wood hat maker form to an industrial dresser. It’ll be perfect for displaying a favored fedora or sun hat, or even a silk scarf or two. Canvas and wood forms are our top choices for giving your room a rustic industrial feel.
If the thought of bookends gives you fatigue (after all, you have to buy two of them), try a vintage book press. Perfect for an industrial side table, a vintage book press can be unwound to fit a sizeable stack of books. If you find a primitive wood model, you can also consider mounting it on a wall vertically. Stack your books in horizontal and tighten the press for completely didn’t-see-that-coming industrial wall décor.