Looks We Love: Industrial Modern Lighting
Revived from the Industrial Revolution and revamped for today,
this style is modernizing restoration and rustic style for the 21st century.
The Industrial Revolution that began in 18th-century Britain and moved to America not only started immense social change and progress, the era’s factory designs introduced a new aesthetic marked by high ceilings, exposed brick and pipes, utilitarian objects, varying metals, large-scaled windows and a new lighting style.
Industrial-style lighting has recently enjoyed a resurgence—particularly with the increase of older urban factory and warehouse buildings being converted to loft living—and because of its flexibility to fit into most types of décor, we think it’s here to stay. You can spot industrial lighting styles by their exposed bulbs, wire cages, metal materials and, oftentimes, distressed wood finishes.
This isn’t to say that the industrial look is one-size-fits-all. There are subtle differences among styles contained within an overarching industrial genre, and here are a few we think are particularly revolutionary:
This loft is the epitome of the modern industrial style with its high ceilings, open concept, large windows and exposed brick walls. The well-matched dining table is topped with a wood surface, and metal piping is used as its legs. The industrial pendants from Tech Lighting, appropriately named Loft Grande, are a stylized and elevated version of industrial high bay lighting—particularly with their large scale, ribbed spun-metal shades and metallic plated cages.
If your space lacks the high ceilings and exposed beams, you can still create an industrial look with a neutral palette dotted with mixed materials and metal touches. While this kitchen has an overall contemporary style, industrial elements are brought in with the concrete countertops, the dark metal faucet and the dark Heirloom Bronze finish on this four-light Belton Linear Suspension by Sea Gull Lighting. The fixture also has exposed Edison-style bulbs—furthering the industrial vibe with a restoration leaning.
While classic industrial style may seem cold to some, you can mix in warm, rustic elements to create a space that can be redefined as more rustic. To get this look, add contrasting softness with plush rugs and neutral throws. For furniture, choose warm and distressed wood tables, cabinets and sideboards and soft leather furniture with simple lines. You could also add a couple of pieces of minimalist photography or art. For lighting, consider a unique, factory-like installation such as the draped cords and metal cages in the Urban Renewal mini pendants by Feiss.
Steampunk décor is another offshoot of the industrial genre. This unique aesthetic combines the core of the industrial movement’s advances in technology viewed through an elegant-yet-fanciful Victorian lens; think Jules Verne or H.G. Wells. Like the other industrial looks here, Steampunk-style lighting uses pipes, antique-style bulbs, rivets and wire cages—though if you’re keen to get deeper into this look, you can find lighting with more specific accents like pulleys, thermometers or cog wheels. Pictured here, the Dunning Flushmount by Sea Gull Lighting is an Industrial piece with Steampunk leanings in its weathered wood frame and riveted joints.
Even if you don’t call a loft with high ceilings or a converted factory building home, you can create an industrial aesthetic in your space with curated lighting that has a utilitarian and functional sensibility. The ever-versatile industrial style blends well with a variety of aesthetics, from modern and contemporary to rustic and transitional—choose your favorite to make a design revolution all your own.