Vintage Industrial Interior Design: past and future converge to give us a timeless aesthetic filled with character and uniqueness. Now, to find the perfect vintage industrial interior design recipe for your home, dive into the details of five different and exquisite styles of vintage industrial interior design. While the industrial aesthetic favors exposed, raw, and imperfect features of industrial design (weathered wood, concrete, exposed bricks, and steel beams), vintage trends allow you to add specificity and contrast to this paradigm. Below are five vintage styles that might inspire you to mix-and-match design elements: steampunk, retro-futurist, romantic, haute couture, and Art Deco. Grab your inspiration board and take some notes!
Vintage Industrial Interior Design Styles
Steampunk produces a seamless effect with vintage industrial interior design since it is a style defined by the combination of technology and aesthetics. Drawing from the recent post-industrialization phase of the Victorian era, steampunk makes use of anachronistic technologies—at times, misshaped and reshaped in its copper gears as a key signature look.
Industrial décor tends to rely on a neutral color palette—muted greys, browns, and blue-greens—not too unlike the steampunk universe. If anything, steampunk décor tends to appear in darker shades of copper, golden-brown, and silver. You’ll probably want to come up with a special color accent as relief from the sameness. But a comfy leather couch will be very en vogue with the style, and it is the ideal piece of vintage industrial furniture. Find color in wall hangings, photographs, and paintings—or even in the form of a distressed concrete wall with a coating of emerald green.
Oftentimes, retro-futurism and steampunk are assumed to be interchangeable, but it is a mistaken notion. The former simply designates how people in the past conceived of the future in cultural, aesthetic, and social terms. Sounds complicated, but it is actually pretty simple. Remember “The Jetsons”? Perhaps because the 1960s were such an aspirational, inventive period of history, we retain their take on futurism as the predominant retro-futuristic look.
The most iconic piece of 1960s retro-futuristic décor is the egg-shell chair, but other elements to incorporate can be found in clever pieces that use geometric shapes, sharp angles with smooth curves, and, well, latex. The vision of the future held back then saw bright colors like red, orange, and green everywhere, which you will be at liberty to use since the underlying industrial set-up consists of neutral colors.
The Romantic era lasted from… about the time of the French Revolution to the end of the 19th century, but there is a lot of disagreement among historians on this so, don’t quote us. This cultural movement became known for putting creative and emotional expression above all things, culminating in the pursuit of beauty, freedom, and love. May you have seen Moulin Rouge? The 2002 musical film is an ode to the dying breaths of Romanticism through the love story of a courtesan with dreams of being an actress and a penniless writer who is running away from the future imposed by his father. I won’t spoil it. But Moulin Rouge should probably go on your inspiration board if you are the romantic bohemian aesthetic.
To capture this atmosphere, focus on setting up mood-influencing vintage industrial lighting. While red lighting is very boudoir and risqué, you should actually try to achieve a soft pink lighting effect. Leisure furniture is another must-have, so think ottomans and divans sprawled through all spaces.
Haute couture is the ideal contrasting point to industrial décor because the two trends are extreme opposites. While the former is preoccupied with perfection, custom-made pieces, and beauty for its own sake, the latter revels in flaws and breaking through the façade of perfection. This juxtaposition is ideal for high-fashion lovers who love both beauty and deconstructed beauty.
To merge these two styles into a beautiful vintage industrial fusion, first, decide how you wish to interpolate them. 50/50? Background totally industrial with haute couture as accents? 80/20? Surely, the canvas you are working with will help you determine how to make the best use of the space.
Literally meaning decorative arts, Art Deco is a key 20th-century style that bridges high art and interior design. It is another great counterpoint to the industrial aesthetic since it is such a busy and exuberant visual form. You will be working with very bright, saturated colors as accents, geometric shapes and patterns as furniture and accessory elements, and fine pieces of marble and woodworks. Art Deco also employs nature as its major decorative motif, furthering the contrast between industrial and vintage. At the same time, you can easily produce a very modern look by combining these two styles. The elegant, crisp lines of Art Deco furniture allow for a subtle throwback with a much more timeless result.