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When the first loft conversions in Toronto started changing the condominium landscape 20 years ago, many were in awe of the raw structural elements such as polished concrete floors and posts, open beams and visible pipes and ductwork. While it all looked super cool, would these industrial elements work well in a residential setting? Over the years, modern industrial interior design evolved to answer that question with a resounding Yes. Now, industrial chic is about tastefully exposing what lies beneath in a manner that is simultaneously edgy and elegant. It’s like deliberately showing the seams on a designer garment: it’s finished, yet unfinished, in a bold display that turns what others try to hide into a look that is daring, yet chic.

Industrial chic: it’s not just for lofts anymore

Of course commercial spaces and factories the world over don’t care what is hanging out, but for high-end residences, industrial chic has to be very deliberate, not accidental. In order to bring this style to urban living, a great deal of both engineering ingenuity and design flair are needed to prevent the look from becoming overdone, cold or sterile. Basically, the details are important: careful touches that provide just the right amount of contrast between raw and finished, modern and classic. It’s a great style for open concept living because the transitions between rooms will necessarily be more subtle and clever than the traditional bricks-and-mortar wall. It doesn’t have to be minimalist, though the look can often end up that way.
Some examples of industrial chic (a.k.a. modern industrial design) elements include:

  • Major contrast. Think pairing sleek, shiny materials like acrylic and metal, in Spartan designs, with vintage furnishings.
  • Unfinished ceilings. This look is characterized by visible duct work, beams and pipes, which add visual depth and interest to a part of the home that is normally as bland as it comes.
  • Mixing of wood with metal and exposed brick: Another page from the contrast book involves juxtaposing earthy materials like wood with smooth, shining metal accents and fixtures when it comes to construction.
  • Bright pops of colour. Large open spaces might otherwise suffer from a drafty, impersonal feeling if they were all shiny silver pipes and dull gray concrete; bright colours add warmth and character to the space.
  • Distressed walls. Taking a factory down to the studs doesn’t have to mean adding layers of drywall afterwards; the original stone or brick makes for an incredible focal point/feature wall. Or, the walls may be concrete; the more distressed, the better, as rough patches, nail heads and visible seams just add character.
  • Track lighting. Lighting a large space with high ceilings can be challenging, unless you are fortunate enough to have a wall of windows or several skylights; loft spaces can feel dank and cavernous otherwise. Use track lighting, floor lamps and pendant lighting with extravagant shades in order to add warmth to the industrial chic style.
  • Soft touches: natural fabrics, plants, and personal knick-knacks are often used to soften up industrial chic.

Are you looking to incorporate some industrial chic elements to your space, either to match the existing style or to add a modern design touch? Adding features and furnishings, like stainless steel shelving or wine racking, that complements existing industrial elements further maintains the industrial look and feel of your home. Cable Wine Systems designs modern contemporary wine racking that is fully customizable to your surroundings. For beautiful solutions to wine storage that fit with industrial chic and other design styles, pay us a visit today!

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