The Idealist

Get the Industrial Chic Look with 10 of the best furniture pieces

Part 1: Furniture

With so much of a buzz around industrial chic, we’ve been out shopping again to find our favourite pieces. Today’s shopper for furniture is Benjamin, who’s on the look out for furniture to kit out an open plan flat. 

About the Industrial Chic Look

Industrial chic is a look we love because it adds texture, authenticity and atmosphere even when used to decorate with very small details. It’s especially suitable for people who love travel and history, and things that aren’t finished to cookie cutter perfection. Industrial chic shows its edges, and they are all a bit jagged and wonky. That’s part of their charm. It also means that you can add industrial details and pieces to any style of room – traditional, contemporary, modernist, shabby chic – and they will work their magic, adding warmth and honesty without hogging all the attention.

To recognize the hallmarks of industrial chic style, think turn-of-the-last-century Industrial Revolution life in English towns and cities. Mass production was in its infancy, but the furnishings and tools of the factory or warehouse worker were preparing the way for new efficiencies. Today, the look is expressed by mixing solid hardwoods with iron, brass or copper detailing. Pure metal pieces may feature exposed rivets and rough seams; they’ll have very few decorative embellishments. The colours are rich, but natural; textures like rusting metal and the patina of flaking paint, anything that suggests wear, are coveted.

We’ve discovered some great furniture and accessories that speak to the industrial chic aesthetic in varying intensities. Mix and match these pieces freely, but keep an eye on proportions and the subtle layering of textures.

Industrial Chic Furniture

Big tables are pretty synonymous with the industrial chic aesthetic as they so often served as working surfaces in factories, mills and farms in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This version from Oli & Grace is constructed from hardwood blocks arranged in a herringbone pattern. Black iron legs are a de rigueur nod to smithing and ironmongery. Its scale and sophisticated shape make it perfect for an open plan dining room or eat-in kitchen. £995.

 

Take a seat

These chairs echo the basic wood and iron materials of the big table with the added comfort of a curved seat and upholstery (£175). These will soften the industrial edge and refine it for the dining room. We love the look of a bench on one side of a dining table and chairs on the other (it may feel slightly Dickensian but this setup is great for kids as well). Oli & Grace’s Toby bench, with its sand-casted legs and lacquered acacia wood seat, captures that spirit perfectly. £425

A lighter take on industrial chic

For a more delicate take on industrial chic, for the kitchen perhaps, check out this zinc-trimmed table from Loaf. It’s available in medium or large, so is a good fit for most rooms (from £745).  Surround it with these soaped oak Arts and Crafts style Natterbox chairs for a less aggressive nod to industry. £230/pair

Storage and sides

We also love this vintage sideboard from Oli & Grace. It could work anywhere bits and bobs need stowing, but especially in a kitchen or dining room where additional storage is always welcome for gadgets, table linens and utensils (£395). There is a matching 10-drawer tallboy version as well. £345. Nests of tables used to be the province of Abigail’s Party style 1970s interiors, but not in this version from Swoon Editions (£179).
In a living room, juxtapose industrial chic pieces against comfortable upholstered sofas and armchairs. This Loaf Gimme side table made from reclaimed elm is also a space-saver. On tripod metal legs, it tucks discreetly to the side for cuppas and newspapers. £195


For a more in your face take on the industrial aesthetic, consider the Liston coffee table set from Oli & Grace. These have the added bonus of being from the Made in England range, so you can firmly nod to the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution! Comprised of three tables that nest or separate as required, this striking set is made from lacquered steel (note the unpolished joinery) and Georgian wire glass. £425
Finally, we love this industrial style cabinet from Swoon Editions in steel, glass, brass and deep bronze (£599). It has the relatively unusual bonus of being a deep bronze colour which adds a Steam Punk vibe to proceedings and makes a change from black, wood and steel. We love that it’s shelving, but enclosed, so you can tidy your stuff away and focus on the furniture, not your pile of old copies of Men’s Health!

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  • Ben is a painter and DJ and loves all things concrete, urban and handmade. Based in London, when he’s not working on an interior renovation, he’s riding his scooter down some alley or other in search of the perfect cortado.

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