Interior design trends come and go, but some styles have the staying power to become classics. Two perfect examples are minimalism and industrial design. 

Minimalism is a cool, simple style, where less is definitely more. Industrial design is on the edgier side, with a love for things raw and repurposed. They might initially seem worlds apart, but beneath their surface differences lies a shared appreciation for authenticity. 

Looking to explore two other classic styles? Check out traditional vs transitional interior designs.

Minimalist Design

As mentioned, the minimalist aesthetic follows the less is more ideology. An art movement turned interior design aesthetic in the 60s and 70s, minimalist interiors strip design down to its essential quality, without excess. 

Simplicity

White bathtub and brick wall, shelves with gels and plants, marb

This is the core ethos of minimalist design. Clean, straight lines, simple shapes, and a lack of ornate detail. Decor is understated, with a few select pieces like a minimalist vase or a simple, elegant light fixture. It’s not about creating stark, empty spaces, but rather, choosing elements with care and purpose. 

Neutral Colour Palettes

Minimalism prefers monochromatic all the way. Think whites, beiges, and greys, working together to create a serene and calming environment. When colour is used, it’s done sparingly and deliberately.

Functionality

Every piece in a minimalist space has a purpose. There’s no room for clutter or unnecessary items, and minimalism finds beauty in a sense of order. This could include a sleek, low-profile sofa in a neutral colour that’s complemented by a simple, geometric coffee table and perhaps a single piece of impactful artwork. 

Space & Light

Ample space and natural light bring an airy, open feel to a minimalist space and are key features of this style. Large windows, minimal window treatments, and mirrors are often used to enhance the sense of space.

Industrial Design

Industrial design is like the hip older sibling who knows how to mix rugged charm with a contemporary edge. Taking inspiration from the Industrial Revolution, this style originated from the need to convert old factories and industrial spaces into living quarters. It’s characterized by an often unfinished look and embraces a raw, warehousey vibe.

industrial living room

Exposed Elements

Exposed brick walls, concrete floors, high ceilings with visible ductwork, and bare pipes are all features of industrial design. These elements are not hidden like they are in most traditional styles, but are celebrated as part of the room’s character.

Raw Materials

Industrial design heavily relies on materials like wood and metal, often in their most unrefined state, to add texture and a sense of authenticity to the space.

Muted Colour Palettes

The colour schemes in Industrial design are often muted and earthy. You’ll find a lot of greys, blacks, and whites that are complemented by the natural colours of wood and metal. 

Industrial Furniture & Fixtures

Lighting is a big deal in industrial spaces. Bare bulbs, pendant lights in metal finishes, or floor lamps with an edgy look are typically used in this design. 

Furniture often has a rough-hewn quality to it, like a reclaimed wood table or metal stools. Shelving tends to be open and made of metal or rustic wood, which adds to the openness of the space.

Minimalism & Industrial Design Comparison 

While minimalism and industrial design are distinct in their own right, they do share some common ground.

Similarities

industrial bedroom
  • Simplicity & Functionality: Both styles are rooted in a love for the simple and the functional. Minimalism achieves this through stripped-down design and industrial through its no-frills, utilitarian approach.
  • Neutral Colour Schemes: Minimalism and industrial design both lean towards neutral palettes – whites, greys, creams, beiges, and earth tones.
  • Uncluttered Spaces: Each piece of furniture and decor is chosen purposefully and thoughtfully to create spaces that feel uncluttered and focused.
  • Raw Materials & Textures: There’s a mutual appreciation for raw materials in both styles. Minimalism loves the sleekness of polished wood and the smoothness of metal, while industrial design often leaves these materials in a more natural, rugged state.

Differences

Seating area with an armchair in a modern beige living room
  • Space & Aesthetics: Minimalism thrives on simplicity to create open, airy spaces. In contrast, industrial design embraces a more rugged aesthetic by celebrating the beauty of exposed elements and structural details.
  • Tranquillity vs. Rawness: Minimalist design is all about creating a sense of tranquillity and order, whereas industrial design has a raw, edgy vibe that’s full of character.
  • Approach to Decor & Furnishings: When it comes to decor, minimalism opts for fewer, more purposeful pieces. Industrial design isn’t afraid to mix old and new items, often resulting in a highly curated feel.

While minimalism and industrial design approach space and aesthetics differently, their core principles of simplicity, functionality, and a love for authentic materials make them surprisingly compatible.

If you’re trying to decide between the two, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a choice between one or the other. Embracing elements from both minimalism and industrial design can create unique, personalized environments that resonate with your style!

Considering a style update in your home? Contact Unshelf Design today!