At the end of the 19th century, the industrial revolution was in full swing in America and Europe. Large spaces (buildings and warehouses) were needed to house workers and install machinery, as well as large glass roofs to take advantage of natural light. To avoid accidents (especially fires), these buildings were not decorated and had a very rough appearance (brick walls, exposed pipes and ducts). When concrete and steel appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, these materials were also used in the construction of warehouses.
Then, during the last century, technology and motorization transformed factories, which were moved out of the cities. As a result, the urban warehouses became disused. And with their large surfaces, their glass roofs and the absence of interior walls, these urban factories had many advantages. During the 1970s, artists in New York City transformed them into studios or living space. Then, gradually, interior decorators adopted the industrial style. In the last twenty years or so, it has been all the rage.
Raw materials are the basis of the industrial style: wood, concrete, steel canopies, metal and cast iron. Brick walls are very popular for this style, as are concrete floors. No more cosy carpets or warm wooden floors. If you want to tile or keep a carpet, go for neutral colours or geometric patterns.
Furniture is also a key to giving your house or apartment an industrial style. In the purest industrial style, you can buy furniture inspired by factory furniture: large drawing tables, stools or trolleys. Recycling will also be a mine of good ideas: a wooden pallet to which you add roller feet will make a superb coffee table! Vintage objects or antique industrial objects will allow you to (almost) infinitely vary your decoration: old pipes as lamp bases, wooden crates as shelves, etc.
However, not everyone lives in a loft or an artist's studio in Brooklyn! Rest assured, it is possible to slightly transform your interior or a single room of the house to give it an industrial look. First of all, for the walls: if they are not made of brick, you can always install wallpaper imitating brick for a guaranteed trompe l'oeil effect. The same goes for the floors: you can lay a vinyl floor that imitates concrete to give the room a raw look. Don't neglect lighting fixtures: in metal, cast iron or wire mesh, all ideas are good for imitating the light of old workshops.
Finally, your wall decoration will also put you in an industrial atmosphere: you can choose photos representing urban subjects, black and white photos or geometric or industrial patterns. Last but not least, the metal printing support of your photo will also be a good touch to perfect the style you want to give to your room or interior.