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How to Design a Simple, Functional, and Eco-Friendly Industrial House

Industrial House: Designing a home is an intricate and nuanced task. To succeed, one should care for both elements of aesthetics and functionality, with an ever-increasing emphasis on ecological considerations. A concept growing notably in popularity is that of an industrial house design, offering an alternative, modern aesthetic that wonderfully combines these central pillars of design. This article offers a step-by-step guide to designing a simple, functional, and eco-friendly industrial house, transforming it from an abstract concept into a place you can comfortably call home.

How to Design a Simple, Functional, and Eco-Friendly Industrial House
Source image by: @frimufilms

As home design trends continue to develop and adapt with the times, a pattern is emerging: an appreciation and preference for industrial design, coupled with a principled and assertive commitment towards eco-friendly living. The combination offers a unique balance between practicality, efficiency, and sustainable living, all presented through an aesthetic that emphasizes simple and raw beauty. Herein, we hope to delve into this concept and illuminate practical guidance to introduce this design ethos into your home.

Understanding Industrial Design

Industrial design is far from a fad. It builds on the charm and character of factories and industrial spaces, embracing elements such as exposed brickwork, metal accents, and open floor plans. The design philosophy follows a 'less is more' approach. An industrial design excludes unnecessary frills and decorations, focusing on practicality and functionality. The results are a visually clean, open, and breathable living space that celebrates the beauty of its raw materials.

A. Principles of Industrial Design

Industrial design consists of a blend of various principles; here are the core ones:

  1. Raw materials: The heart of an industrial design lies in its celebration of raw materials. By implementing components such as exposed brick, concrete, and metal, the design reflects authenticity and immediate history and honors the roots of industrial spaces.

  2. Open floor plans: capitalizing on the spaciousness of factories and warehouses, open floor plans are a key pillar of industrial design. A lack of partition creates a sense of openness, making space feel larger and more adaptable.

  3. Minimalism: The industrial design features a streamlined and uncluttered approach, emphasizing functionality and essentialism. This influences every design choice, from furniture to color palettes to space layout.

  4. Vintage touches: To evoke a sense of nostalgia and subtleness, vintage pieces, particularly upcycled antiques, are commonly integrated. This could be an old factory lamp, a reclaimed wooden table, or a simple, aged metal shelf.

The Importance of Eco-Friendliness in Home Design

Taking an ecological approach to designing your home isn't just a push for making our planet healthier; it's a strategic choice that offers tangible benefits. An eco-friendly home helps reduce energy costs due to efficient systems, thereby saving money in the long term. It also boosts indoor air quality for a healthier living environment. High-quality, durable materials and construction processes avoid frequent replacements, reducing costs and waste. From a design perspective, eco-friendly elements can bring freshness, a unique personality, and a sense of soothing naturalness.

Basic Elements of an Industrial House Design

Industrial style combines hardy, raw elements with a sense of polish and sophistication. Core elements often include exposed brick and steel, rustic wooden accents, and concrete surfaces. These bring a distinct, cohesive aesthetic to the home that is both calming in its simplicity and striking in its modern design. The consistent feature of open floor plans offers adaptability and maximizes use of every square foot of available space.

A. Exposed Brickwork

One of the defining traits of an industrial design is exposed brickwork, which showcases the building's skeleton. The rough textures and deep red, white, or grey shades of bricks add immense character to a space.

  1. Textured appeal: Exposed bricks provide a nurturing warmth and depth through visual and tactile textures.

  2. Adaptable to color schemes: Whether it is a muted red or distressed white, brick can accommodate and enhance almost any color palette.

  3. Natural, raw appearance: The raw appearance of brickworks adds to the aesthetic principle of an industrial design, highlighting the beauty of untouched materials.

B. Metal Accents

Metals, primarily iron or steel, are used abundantly and strategically to bring about a bold, cool edge that contrasts perfectly with the warmth of the wooden elements. They are versatile and can serve various functions, from supporting structures and railings to fixtures and hardware.

  1. Iron or steel as popular choices: These two metals are preferred due to their sturdy nature and industrial aesthetic.

  2. Adds a rugged yet elegant touch to the interior. Metal accents, if used properly, can impart a sense of opulence and elegance to the space.

  3. Functional for furniture, railings, and other design aspects: Besides serving an aesthetic purpose, they are often relied upon for their strength and robustness.

C. Open Floor Plans

Open layouts provide a sense of expansive space, bringing a critical element of airiness and spatial flow, mirroring the interior landscape of old factories and warehouses.

  1. Bright, multi-purpose rooms: Open plans allow natural light to flood through the space, reducing dependence on artificial lighting. They also offer flexibility in furniture arrangement and usage.

  2. Connected living areas: Open floor plans can foster a sense of connection among home occupants by promoting interactions.

  3. Eliminate cramped or cluttered spaces: An open floor plan removes spatial restrictions, offering greater freedom for interior design and reducing the potential for clutter.

Strategies for Creating a Simple and Functional Industrial House Design

When bringing industrial design to life, emphasis should be placed on simplicity and functionality. Open floor plans are critical to providing homes with an airy, open feel. Balancing the raw appeal of natural textures with the cool edge of industrial elements helps to form spaces that are as visually appealing as they are enjoyable to live in. Integrating energy-efficient fixtures and appliances enhances sustainability and cost-effectiveness, further fortifying the eco-friendliness of your design.

A. Emphasizing Minimalism and Simplicity

Industrial design treads the line between visual appeal and simplicity. By following a minimalist philosophy, it's easier to focus on the truly important design elements:

  1. Avoid clutter: embrace the idea that 'less is more'. Keep the decor to a minimum, only adding pieces that contribute to the aesthetics or functionality of the room.

  2. Maintain clean lines: straight lines and right angles reflect the industrial ethos. From windows to shelves to furniture, strive to maintain this consistency.

  3. Incorporate multi-functional furniture: Opt for furniture that serves multiple functions, for instance, a loft bed with a built-in desk or a couch with hidden storage. This saves space and maintains a clean, uncluttered look.

  4. Uphold a simple color palette: Stick to a neutral color palette—perhaps black, white, or shades of brown. This helps to create a relaxed, soothing atmosphere.

B. Prioritizing Functionality

Industrial design began with a purposeful creation in mind. Therefore, functionality should be at the heart of your design decisions.

  1. Comfortable furniture choices: Balance the harshness of industrial materials with comfortable furnishings. This includes plush seating, soft rugs, and warm lighting.

  2. Ensure ample storage: The minimalist perspective requires clever storage solutions. Think wall-mounted shelves, under-bed storage, and built-in wardrobes.

  3. Durable and long-lasting materials: Materials should be robust and durable, staying true to industrial origins while also being cost-effective in the long run.

C. Efficient Space Utilization

The key to maintaining the spaciousness synonymous with an industrial design lies in efficient space utilization.

  1. Open shelves and cabinets: These contribute to a sense of expansiveness while providing ample storage.

  2. Vertical storage options: Take advantage of the wall space by using vertical storage—create a wall unit, install shelves, or use vertical hangers.

  3. Clever organization tactics: designate specific places for items and maintain them. Use baskets, boxes, or cabinets to organize items neatly.

Implementing Eco-Friendly Tactics in Industrial Design

Embracing eco-friendliness while designing an industrial home might seem challenging at first, but with careful planning and thoughtful choices, it can be smoothly achieved. Whether it's making the best use of natural light or choosing energy-efficient appliances, each step towards creating an environmentally friendly home adds up to make a significant difference.

A. Utilizing Natural Light

Maximize the use of sunlight in your industrial home. Natural light is not only abundant and free, but it also enhances the aesthetics of your space and your overall well-being.

  1. Large windows: Incorporate large floor-to-ceiling windows. Besides their dramatic visual appeal, they allow an ample amount of sunlight to pour in.

  2. Skylights or sun tunnels: Bring light into the heart of your home with skylights or sun tunnels.

  3. Reflective surfaces: Surfaces such as light-colored walls, polished concrete floors, and mirrors help bounce light around the room.

B. Energy-Efficient Appliances

Energy-efficient appliances reduce energy consumption, lower utility bills, and reduce the home's environmental impact.

  1. Better for the environment: Energy-efficient appliances are designed to utilize minimal energy, which helps reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.

  2. Reduced energy costs: Less energy used equates to less electricity needed, resulting in lower energy bills.

  3. Longer-lasting performance: Energy-efficient appliances usually last longer because they are designed to operate under lower stress levels.

C. Sustainable Materials

Choosing sustainable materials for your household greatly aids in promoting the eco-friendliness of your home design. These materials are either harvested from sustainable sources or composed of recycled waste.

  1. Reclaimed wood: Great for flooring or furniture, reclaimed wood is rich with character and history. Plus, it reduces the demand for newly harvested wood, protecting forests.

  2. Recycled metal: Metal is an abundant resource that can be easily recycled and turned into something new, contributing less to landfill waste and pollution.

  3. Low-VOC paint: Traditional paints emit harmful chemicals, called volatile organic compounds (VOCs), into the air. Low-VOC paint, on the other hand, is eco-friendly and healthier to use.

D. Green Systems

Implementing green systems, like solar power or rainwater harvesting, makes your home more eco-friendly by reducing the need for non-renewable resources.

  1. Solar panels: Installing solar panels can generate free electricity derived from the limitless power of the sun.

  2. Rainwater collection systems: These harness rainwater that you can use for landscape irrigation or, with proper treatment, indoor use.

  3. Energy-efficient HVAC systems: high-efficiency heating and cooling systems minimize energy usage, thereby reducing costs and environmental impact.

Key Considerations in Designing an Eco-Friendly Industrial House

When designing an eco-friendly industrial house, other factors one needs to consider include the building location, quality of insulation, and even the selection of plants for your garden. These elements affect the energy efficiency and environmental impact of your home.

A. Building Location

The location of the building affects the local climate, accessibility of services, and even solar gain.

  1. Proper site orientation: when a building is properly oriented, it can take advantage of the sunlight for heat during the winter and minimize it for cooling during the summer.

  2. Optimal solar access: the more direct sunlight your property receives, the more energy you can generate from solar power.

B. Insulation

Effective insulation is central to an energy-efficient home, as it reduces the need for active heating and cooling.

  1. Proper insulation for enhanced energy efficiency: Effective insulation—in the walls, roof, and floors—slows down the rate at which heat flows in and out of the house. This makes your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer.

  2. Smart home technology and programmable thermostats: These help automate and optimize the heating and cooling of your house, leading to considerable energy and cost savings.

C. Landscaping

The plants you choose, and how you arrange them, can have a considerable effect on your energy consumption.

  1. Native plants: Native plants are adapted to their local environment and therefore require less water, fertilizer, and maintenance. They also provide vital habitats for native wildlife.

  2. Garden features that promote biodiversity: A diverse array of plants can create microclimates in your garden, providing shade and reducing the need for watering.

  3. Sustainable, low-maintenance landscaping techniques: Permeable paving, composting, and mulching are all landscaping techniques that prevent waste, improve soil health, and reduce the need for watering.


Designing a simple, functional, yet eco-friendly industrial house is not just the creation of a shelter or a habitat. It methodically gives birth to a sanctuary that builds a harmonious balance between aesthetics, practicality, and sustainability. Following the principles and applications discussed above, one can create a unique dwelling place, consciously contributing to our planet's health. Your home then becomes more than a mere four walls; it’s an eco-friendly haven connecting you to the essence of living consciously and sustainably.

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