How to design an industrial-inspired kitchen

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Of all the new kitchen design and remodeling trends surfacing throughout this year and beyond, industrial-style spaces are definitely among the top.

It’s easy to see why, too.

Chrome appliances, open spaces and minimalist designs offer an airy, versatile yet modern look that can complement just about any home. And this progressive aesthetic doesn’t just look incredible – it also has many functional benefits as well. Plus, it’s a design that tends to be pleasing to both men and women.

“Industrial styles are appealing to both men and women.”

Men’s influence in the home
According to, more men are starting to take an active role in the kitchen and, as such, designers are beginning to see an uptick in kitchen designs with a more masculine feel. The source also explained that, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, there are a handful of home and kitchen design trends that men have helped fuel, including the use of bolder and more vibrant colors, flat cabinets and appliance upgrades – adding that men actually tend to spend approximately 30 percent more on appliances than their female counterparts.

This can help explain why industrial kitchens are such a popular trend right now. Marked by their prominent appliances and authentic look (think exposed pipes and wall-mounted iron rails, wood beams and brick walls), industrial style kitchens offer a raw, rare and unique appeal that is both strong and sophisticated. That can be difficult to achieve in other types of designs.

Tips for creating an industrial kitchen

You may already know that the industrial-style kitchen is what you’re after, but knowing exactly what changes you need to make in order to get there can be a bit more challenging. Fortunately, there are many ways you can easily “industrialize” your kitchen. Whether you are looking to completely remodel the kitchen, or make a few minor tweaks and upgrades here and there, you have various options for turning your otherwise boring, cramped and outdated kitchen into an impressive industrial design.

Developing the design
There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind as you create plans for your new kitchen. As with any remodeling project, it’s important to take your specific use of the space into account. Consider things like the “kitchen work triangle” (the positioning between the stove, sink and refrigerator). Pay attention to details like this while in the planning process can help ensure you design a space that allows you to move between different stations while cooking or entertaining guests with as much convenience – and as little congestion – as possible.

If you don’t plan on remodeling the layout of your existing kitchen – whether because you are satisfied with the space you have now or want to keep the budget to a minimum – there are still plenty of ways to infuse the industrial style into the room.

Take both your functional and aesthetic needs into consideration.
Take both your functional and aesthetic needs into consideration.

Heavy duty appliances
One of the distinguishing features that set industrial kitchens apart is the oversized and prominent positioning of certain appliances. This could be a light fixture hanging over the island in the center of the room or a large commercial type stove. You are going to want to have one or two appliances or areas that will be somewhat of the focal point and will dominate the design. They look like they are fastened there, almost as if the rest of the room is modeled around it.

These commercial and restaurant-type stoves may be particularly beneficial if you do a lot of cooking in your home, since they won’t just look good but will also make your meal preparations a lot more efficient.

Alure Kitchen Designer Liz Clemens explained that you can get creative with how you incorporate industrial-style pieces into the room.

“Another fun way to infuse personality and style is with large industrial light fixtures,” she said. “If you are going for a more rustic look then maybe a distressed fire engine red light fixture or something in stainless steel can tie it all together. They can be hung over an island or sink area so they are functional yet stylish.”

Making use of metals and materials
Brick is another material commonly found in industrial kitchens that can help establish that look you’re going for. Having just one brick accent wall, or using it as a backsplash, can be enough to make the room instantly feel more industrial-like. The brick can be kept in its authentic reddish coloring or be painted over white or another shade to give it a more polished and muted appearance, while still maintaining that authentic texture. 

“Mixing materials helps soften the industrial look.”

Other materials you’ll likely want to make use of when and where possible include metals, wood and granite. Although positioning granite countertops, chrome appliances, brick walls and wood beams all in one room may be weighing more heavily on the industrial scale than you’re looking to go, picking and choosing a bit of each can help you achieve just the design you want. 

“One of my favorite things to do when designing an industrial kitchen is open shelving,” Clemens explained. “I will typically start with either a subway tile or brick on the wall from counter to ceiling then hang rustic wood shelves with metal brackets. The mixture of materials helps to soften the industrial look and it’s also a great way to display your dishes and colorful pottery.”

Additional tips
Keep in mind that when you are designing an industrial kitchen, the point is not necessarily to make it look cold or bare. You can easily create an industrial kitchen that is warm and welcoming without it looking too busy or overcrowded. The basis of an industrial kitchen comes down to considering what the room would look like stripped to its bare inner workings and framework, then taking it from there – keeping only what you like and remodeling what you don’t.

Part of what makes industrial kitchens so appealing is the amount of versatility they offer in their design. You can mix a wide range of materials – like wood, steel, granite and brick – as well as colors to establish an eclectic, modern or antiquated space. It is practical, affordable, functional and – most of all – stylish.

To learn more about how to achieve the kitchen of your dreams, download our white paper: 

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