Industrial Style vs Minimalist Style – What is The Difference?

Understanding Minimalist Style vs. Industrial Style

Although there are many different ways to design and decorate a home, two distinct styles are at the forefront. Industrial and minimalist have been growing in popularity among homeowners everywhere. These also happen to be my own personal favorite home design styles!

I am guessing you have seen a lot of these styles without realizing it. And if you are wanting to design your own home with one of these styles, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore these styles in depth. Let’s get started!

So, what is the difference between industrial style and minimalist style? Industrial style is defined by a working, industrial feel with heavy use of manufactured materials. These could include metal, wood, and glass in a majority of spaces within the home. Minimalist style, on the other hand, is a very simple and purposeful design. With this design, there are only the essential pieces in each room. These rooms are typically very spacious, with unobstructed views of everything within them.

Industrial style is described as being “raw,” in that it has a very natural look to it. It is also known for its eclectic nature, meaning it has a mix of different types of things in the same space. Minimalist style is also known for being modern and clean. The idea behind it all is to have a simplified space where function takes precedence over anything else.

Now that we have a simplistic vision of the two styles, let’s talk more in-depth about some of the specific elements. By the end, you will not only be able to differentiate the styles, but you will also know which one is right for you!

Industrial Style

The industrial style is known for its inclusion of raw, unfinished materials such as metal and wood. This style is greatly influenced by the Industrial Revolution and features similarities to factories and warehouses. While it is hard to say exactly when it became popular, it has been a strong trend in homes for the past several years.

Several specific elements of an industrial design include:

  • wood or steel beams uncovered
  • exposed brick
  • cinderblock walls
  • imperfect wall finishings
  • concrete floors
  • high ceilings with exposed beams and pipes
  • large windows without a lot of window treatments
  • neutral wall colors
  • weathered wood

Minimalist Style

Whereas industrial style uses an abundance of items for a unique and eclectic look, minimalist style is well…minimal. Minimalist home design has largely been inspired by Japanese and Scandinavian design. It is about utilizing simple, well-designed pieces to keep the space uncluttered and open.

Specific elements of a minimalist design typically include:

  • white or earth-toned colors
  • large windows with simple or no window treatments
  • a minimum of wall art
  • simple flooring and furniture
  • concrete or hardwood floors.
  • uncluttered and organized.
  • multi-functional/versatile items

Industrial Style Furniture and Decor

Now that we’ve covered the elements and origins of these home designs, let’s go over what exactly you would find inside.

Industrial style tends to mix both modern and worn pieces. For example, you might have a vintage chandelier hanging in the dining room with a modern glass and metal table under it. This look requires a sense of balance and purpose. You must take into consideration what items will be using the space to determine which pieces should go there.

The industrial style also makes it okay to mix different types of materials in the home. It is encouraged! For instance, you can have wood beams running across the top of a brick wall. This is because industrial style typically includes raw, unfinished materials that can be left as they are or adjusted to fit the look you want to achieve.

Why Do People Like Industrial Style?

The most common reasons people like this home design are:

  1. It has a raw and unfinished look to it which makes it feel more real – not perfect!
  2. It helps to bring out your creative side
  3. One industrial design to the next will likely be different making your home truly unique
  4. They like to use pieces from old buildings or machinery

What To Look For When Shopping

If you have decided industrial style is your thing, you’re ready to shop! As you are shopping and looking through your things, reference this quick guide.

Here are a few items that will go perfectly with an industrial home design:

  • candles
  • wooden baskets
  • small metal/wood stools
  • metal candleholders
  • factory-style lighting fixtures
  • mid-century modern furniture
  • vintage accessories
  • weathered or “worn-out” items
  • unique or interesting wall art

Also, the industrial style does not require a lot of colors. It typically incorporates a lot of grey, black, and washed-out colors. Again, anything unfinished or natural is always a great choice.

Is Industrial Style Expensive?

An assumption surrounding industrial style is that it is expensive and hard to find the right decor and furniture. While in some cases this is true, you can also find quite a lot at thrift stores or estate sales of older homes. If you’re willing to look around or wait for items, you can decorate your home fairly easily.

Also, since a large element of this design is unique and unfinished items, there are a lot of things you can DIY. Not only will this save you money, but it will also add a unique and personal touch to your space.

Minimalist Style Furniture and Decor

Now let’s go over what you can expect to find in a minimalist style space.

The first thing you will notice about minimalist home is its simplicity. It tends to utilize clean lines and simple colors/patterns to keep the space open and airy. Minimalist design will not have anything bold or “loud” within the furniture or decor. Everything in a room has a place and a purpose.

For example, in a minimalist designed room, you may see a single sofa, a rug, a small bookshelf (with actual books on it to be read), and a plant in the corner. Although not every room in a minimalist design needs to be bare-bones, it does rely on having only what’s necessary. Minimalist home design is great for small spaces and for people who like order and utility.

What To Look For When Shopping

The good news is that if the minimalist design is for you, very little shopping is needed! A big component of this design is using what you already have- or even to get rid of things!

With that, here are a few things you would want to look out for when preparing to implement the minimalist design.

  • neutral furniture
  • small, clean lines in your decor
  • furniture with storage space attached (no bulky armoires)
  • simple wall art to keep the space airy
  • multi-functional items
  • items that have significant meaning to you
  • houseplants that don’t take over the space

Why Do People Like Minimalist Design?

People who choose this style do so because:

  1. It feels and looks clean and organized.
  2. It minimizes the amount of clutter in your life- no more lost items!
  3. The decor and furniture are easy to find and implement.
  4. Fewer things mean less cleaning and storing which saves you time.
  5. Reduces waste and over-buying.

Is Minimalist Design Boring?

A common misconception about a minimalist design is that it lacks personality and creativity. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! Although a minimalist home does have a specific purpose, you can still be creative and show your spin.

For example, you can make your furniture or use family heirloom pieces to tell a story. You can show more of your personality by only having 1 unique piece in the room versus several that get lost in it all. The point isn’t to have an empty room, it’s about deciding what is important enough for you to include in the pretty awesome room!

What Industrial & Minimalist Styles Have in Common

Although these designs may seem opposite of each other, there are more similarities than differences.

Industrial and minimalist styles both require that your home be organized. You want to have items in the space that have a purpose and don’t just take up space for pretty looks. That being said, you can always find unique furniture pieces or decor to fit your theme and to also be functional.

On another note, you’ll notice that industrial and minimalist designs both don’t require a lot of colors. Many items in these designs are typically neutral or made from raw materials. You may even find matches within the furniture pieces themselves!

Can You Have Both Styles in One Home?

Now that we have seen the similarities, you may be asking if you can incorporate both in your home design? This is a great question and a common one too. And the answer is you can mix these two styles! You would still go with a lot of industrial-style items but keep it at a minimum.

For example, you can have a basic grey couch with a small wooden end table on each side. You could then have a unique metal lamp in the corner and a couple of meaningful art pieces on the wall. All of these things can still express style while having a purpose.

When mixing these styles, it is important to be smart about colors. To achieve a good balance, try to stick with mostly neutral colors and small pops of color from your more industrial/eclectic items. This will give you a unique room while still keeping it simple and clean.