Incorporating Natural Materials into Industrial Designs

Let’s take a look at how a blend of industrial and rustic styles can combine for unique and interesting interior designs.

Industrial chic is an urban style that often relies on exposed building material and metals, concrete, or wire elements. While many love this combination of sleek and relaxed styles, some homeowners find the lack of natural wood or stone elements makes their homes feel a little too manufactured. Savvy interior decorators have found new ways to incorporate natural materials into an industrial design, proving that the urban look can most definitely be combined with natural materials.


Young couple drinking coffee in a modern kitchen


Some have called this look “rustic industrial chic.” Others say it’s a mashup of industrial chic and shabby chic. And while it’s true those are styles you can use to create a beautiful space that incorporates both natural materials and industrial design, you aren’t bound by the idea of “rustic” or “shabby” design elements. You can create a perfectly smooth, new, and sleek look with natural wood and stone simply by choosing the right colors and finishes. But first, let’s take a look at how industrial meets rustic.


Rustic Industrial Design

This type of industrial chic, which often includes metals that have aged patinas and woods with distressed corners and edges, may appeal to those who love the atmosphere of turn-of-the-century train stations or steampunk fashion. Often, warmer metals are used for this style, allowing coppers that have darkened from use to be the focal point instead of super-slick stainless steel.


The key to a rustic industrial design is the contrast -- not only between the manufactured materials and the natural, but also between the textures and colors. Smooth metals are combined with peeling wood furniture, and delicately-painted items are paired with rusted metals. The contrast of rough and soft is a heavily-featured point in this style. One great example is in rough-hewn furniture, made of recycled woods, that has exposed metal bolts and fasteners.


Rustic or country style kitchen


Contemporary Options

If you want to hang on to the streamlined appeal of the urban style, think “spa” when you choose your natural materials. For a more contemporary look, homeowners should downplay the contrasts as much as possible. Seamless transitions between wood floors and exposed brick walls, or tiled stone backsplashes and stainless steel appliances are favored in this style.


Modern living room interior in black and white


Reclaimed wood is always a great choice for an industrial space. Anything that reveals an interesting color variation or tone and makes the item more than just a piece of wood is also valued in this style. Think outside of the box. Don’t just use wood for tables or floors. Consider a wooden sofa with soft cushions or a wooden sculpture made by a local wood worker with an eye for urban flair.


The key for creating a seamless look between materials is to keep the color palette the same. Choose neutral light-colored stone tiles or light-colored wood to blend in with stainless steel. If you have exposed brick walls, a reddish wood would make a beautiful floor that appears to flow right into the brick. Many industrial chic spaces have concrete floors. Concrete can be finished in many different colors, making it easier to create a smooth transition. If you have a dark wood floor in your living area, a dark wash over the kitchen’s concrete will keep the color palette the same.


Bright interior


Don’t be afraid to mix your materials or accessories. A wood frame around a mounted metal décor item might just be the way to add the right touch of nature into your urban home.

Images used with permission, courtesy of and

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