Making Industrial Chic Tick – Ticks of the Trade

The design dilemma question – I want to have the industrial look but I also want it classy, how do I do that? Help!

small living room design industrial chic bookshelf wall

Yes, help is at hand. This is how to make “industrial” look stylish and chic without it turning into a Frankenstein lab.

I have stumbled upon, thank heavens, Les Ensembliers a firm of architects and designers in Montreal, Canada who can show you exactly what industrial chic is all about. Their creations, it seems, adapt past models and reinvent them for today’s needs. They specialise in the enhancement of historical buildings and combine true living spaces with high design.

I love this apartment that they showcase their Redpath Industrial Chic work. And if you are wanting this look – then here is your template from which to get inspired. Very inspired.

small entryway staircase decor abstract wall art

small apartment decor abstract painting yellow accents bookcase wall

Industrial Chic – what exactly is it?

The inspiration for industrial chic comes from everything – from old factories to rustic farmhouses, from Frankenstein’s lab to World War II scientists. Think of it as worn textures, aged wood, forged and welded metals. The focus is on function, but clean and simple. It is more masculine than any other design.

The typical hallmarks of industrial chic:


  1. Predominance of different metals, especially silver, chrome, and pewter
  2. Lots of aged wood in beams, furniture, staircases
  3. Exposed elements like brick and stone
  4. Rust and basic elements predominate
  5. Rustic and futuristic accents – think Back to the Future
  6. Vintage in all aspects like Edison light bulbs, corded telephones and old typewriters
  7. Atom-inspired pendant lamp and old gramophones
  8. Slim, no-fuss modern furniture
  9. Must look like a lab from yesteryear
  10. Geometric shapes
  11. Minimalist
  12. Dark and rich colours

Smal living room dark rich colours bookcase wall large windows

Small living room decor modern maroon chairs

Industrial chic small bedroom design full wall painting

Small living room modern decor glass rounded lamp

To make it sophisticated and polished this apartment went for the following:

High Shine

Mirrors, glass, reflective material, glossy metals and deep painted glossy shelving. Marble, granite and stainless steel. (No rusty nails here!)

Shabby was replaced with sophisticated collections

No peeling paint here. New items only and modern furniture – although fairly minimalist the overall feel is one of comfort and luxuriousness.

Black and dark greys mixed with white

Although industrial chic can be cold and impersonal, the designers warmed things up with lots of deep colours in the carpeting and accessories. But the overall white walls and ceilings really turn it into a refined space.

Accented with wallpaper

To add glamour and depth to some of the walls, beautiful almost “over-the-top” wallpaper was used. With high walls and double volume ceilings, they got away with it and it shines!

Small living room light fixtures bookcase wall

Small living room book case wall with ladder


Thanks for reading!

Lea Ann

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