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Industrial chic


From the Resene colour inspiration – latest looks gallery

Industrial interiors are often associated with lofty apartments and gentrified factory buildings that have been repurposed and converted into urban dwellings, especially those that feature exposed brick or metal beams, pipes or ducts.

However, you can take elements of this trendy interior style and make them work in nearly any type of home. From upscale Scandi homes to casual farmhouses, industrial elements can be mixed with many different decorative styles. Plus, you don’t have to go for a full-on industrial look to still be able to incorporate some of its flair in your home.

Industrial home office

Earthy industrial moodboard

Earthy industrial moodboard

Industrial home office

Moodboard: Timber background stained in Resene Colorwood Natural with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from bottom left) Resene Cinder, Resene Quarter Ash, Resene Half Forest Green, Resene Fuel Yellow and Resene Mocha, book in Resene Half Forest Green, ribbed jar in Resene Fuel Yellow and small vase in Resene Cinder.

Leaving unfinished, raw and exposed elements is key for getting the ‘factory’ vibe that’s synonymous with industrial style, so it’s important to show the ‘bones’ and interesting architectural features of your space where possible. But if nothing in your home has that well-worn or patinaed look, there are some easy ways to get a similar vibe using paint, stains and other specialised Resene finishes. Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, in particular, can work wonders in imparting a genuinely aged look on an unaged surface. This can be used on a range of exterior and interior surfaces such as blockwork, concrete, timber, fibre cement and plaster. Once applied, it provides you with the aesthetic effect of rusting that, like normal rust, will continue to develop as the coating ages. It’s ideally used on non-contact items like hanging lampshades or garden d├ęcor that serve to add to the overall look of a space rather than them needing to be a useful item. In this industrial chic home office, we’ve used Resene FX Faux Rust Effect to visually ‘age’ the plumbing pipes that have been upcycled and used as shelf brackets. It’s subtle and unique details like this that can go a long way in an industrial style space.

Another idea is to use Resene FX Paint Effects medium to create a weathered or limewashed look over newer walls, which can give the impression they’re made of aged plaster or concrete. For the most authentic look, choose two similar Resene paint colours – one that’s lighter and one that’s a couple steps darker – that are similar to the material you are wanting to mimic. For instance, try Resene Triple Concrete and Resene Half Concrete for a concrete effect or Resene Double Blanc and Resene Quarter Blanc to get the effect of aged plaster. Start by painting your walls in two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel tinted to your favourite of your two chosen colours. Once, your first colour has dried completely, use a Resene testpot of your second colour to colour a tin of Resene FX Paint Effects medium and apply it to the wall with a large, soft paintbrush in a criss-cross motion. Work in small sections of approximately half a squared metre and immediately buff each freshly painted area with a clean, dry rag before it has a chance to dry, which will soften and blend the effect. You’ll want to try and build up several thin layers gradually, but if there are any areas where you feel like you’ve added too much, you can always dial it back by ragging on a small amount of your first colour.

Home office

Home office -  industrial look

An industrial home office

Paint and accessories: Upper wall in Resene Quarter Ash with lower shelf wall in Resene Cinder, timber floor stained in Resene Colorwood Natural, locker in Resene Half Forest Green, desk legs in Resene Mocha, pendant lamp in Resene Mocha, desk lamp in Resene Fuel Yellow, metal chair in Resene Half Forest Green, timber shelf stained in Resene Colorwood Natural with metal pipe supports in Resene FX Faux Rust Effect, bins on upper shelf in Resene Half Forest Green, painted books in Resene Mocha, Resene Fuel Yellow and Resene Half Forest Green, plant pots in Resene Mocha (raised) and Resene Nero (with ivy), desk organiser in Resene Mocha, magazine holders in Resene Mocha, perforated bin in Resene Fuel Yellow, chalkboard in Resene Cinder, ribbed jar in Resene Fuel Yellow and jar with paint brushes in Resene Cinder, stool and clock from Nood, rug from Citta, desk from Mocka, bins, magazine holders, mug, wooden chalkboard, replica chair and desk lamp from Kmart, locker from IKEA, ginger beer bottle and ‘5’ from Junk & Disorderly, jug pitcher from Flotsam and Jetsam, candles from Nocturne Good.

Adding a vintage or antique touch by including reclaimed and repurposed items – especially ones that may have had their first life in a factory setting – is a sure fire way to enhance your design’s industrial vibe. Check local op shops, flea markets, garage sales, vintage shops or even surplus shops or online auctions and keep your eyes peeled for things like steel bins, timber boxes, old lockers or cabinets, metal lamp shades, signs, stools and chairs that can bring authenticity and an eclectic feel to your space.

The colours you choose to decorate your industrial design with are important part of getting the right effect, too. Grey, brown, silver and black are prevalent in industrial colour schemes. However, primary or vintage reds and yellows – especially yellow ochres and red oxides – such as Resene Fuel Yellow, Resene Hot Toddy, Resene Fahrenheit or Resene Mocha and forest or army greens such as Resene Half Forest Green or Resene Go Ben play their part in the look, too – especially if you want to bring attention to a key focal piece or create a point of difference for added interest. Don’t be afraid to bring your older reclaimed items back to life with a fresh coat or two of Resene paint or timber stain. Try Resene Enamacryl on furniture items to get a durable, glossy painted finish. Look to stains like Resene Colorwood Natural, Resene Colorwood Whitewash or Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash to enhance timber items or use them to create an aged or weathered look.

Top tip: Chalkboards were a common feature in old factories for communicating as well as tracking jobs, tasks or workers so including one as part of your industrial design scheme can add an authentic touch. Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel is not only a popular choice for colouring walls, but it also works just like a chalkboard and can be tinted to a huge range of colours. Use a darker colour, such as Resene Cinder, to create your own chalkboard feature in any shape or size directly on your wall or on a separate board or panel. Simply wipe it clean with a damp cloth whenever you want to start fresh. Or try Resene FX Blackboard Paint or Resene FX Chalkboard Paint, which are premium washable waterborne finishes for interior and exterior smooth wallboards and panels where a hardwearing blackboard or coloured chalkboard coating is required.


Resene Colorwood Whitewash

Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash

Styling by Laura Lynn Johnston. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2021


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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.