OSB and Plywood
Oriented strand board is affordable and looks great when it’s exposed in your home, you may have seen it around it’s popular in stores and restaurants. It’s ruggedness within the home may need toning down slightly as there’s a chance you may get splinters but with a light sanding and a clear varnish this will solve the problem and have the added benefit of enhancing the colour of all those strands of wood and give the surface a nice smooth finish.
Top tip: Less is more with OSB, treat it like any other pattern and use sparingly. Too much can be overwhelming but little splashes around the room will be much more pleasant than say covering the floor with it.
Just like OSB plywood can look great exposed with the right treatment. Ply was introduced in the early 50’s and soon became the go to material due to it’s ability to be shaped and it’s strength which is achieved through it’s multiple layers but be sure to protect your plywood because when it get’s exposed to too much moisture, those layers will start to separate and peel apart, so treat the face and edges of your ply. When they’re well protected and stained those edges will look great when exposed.
A great use for plywood that i’ve seen is for flooring, because of the strength and natural surface it can be stained and played around with to look just like high-end flooring, and it will last you just as long as the posh stuff if you give it the correct treatment.
Both materials are usually sold in large sheets but can be cut down to required lengths at most places that stock it, you’ll just need to provide them with a cutting sheet. It’s also a service that usually comes at a slight additional cost.
Brick, brick slips, tiled wallpaper
One of the most popular trends in recent years has been exposed brick walls, whether they are painted or left with their natural colour I think they look great but I like to see feature walls in brick rather than every wall of a room.
Exposed solid brick walls are a lot easier to achieve if you’re building from scratch or you have one already exposed. If not it’s a case of paying a fair amount towards a skilled mason who can preserve the bricks beneath the layers of paint, wallpaper and plaster that will have to be removed. Your dividing walls may not even be made from brick, they may just be drywall and insulation, but don’t be downhearted that doesn’t mean you can’t have an exposed brick feel as you have some highly effective options
Brick slips and Brick panels. These are commonly used in the film industry for set design and due to the rise in popularity of exposed brick within the home they now are easily accessible. Brick slips are literally individual slim fractions of brick that you affix to the wall like you would with tiles. Brick panels however can be faux brick that come as large panels comprised of say 10 or 12 bricks at a time. Neither option is very cheap but you can find some great end of line options.
Brick effect wallpaper or self adhesive vinyl: The best place to find this at a good price will be through online retailers or even AliExpress, which I use to source a lot of my materials for interior design projects.
What you should do before you buy your brick effect wallpaper:
- Request samples of different styles from multiple suppliers, they may not be accurate to what you’ve seen on screen and you may find another you love.
- Check the proportions, using wallpaper is the riskiest but probably the cheapest option to achieving the brick wall effect so it’s important to ensure the bricks on the wallpaper are the same size to those in real life and that the image on the wallpaper isn’t pixelated.
- Check the installation process: it will be either traditional wallpaper style installation where paste is required or the self adhesive vinyl style (my preferred method) The latter is trickier to install because what you are doing is essentially putting a massive sticker on your wall, remember all the trouble you had with your sticker collections as a kid? Well it’s that scaled up by 1000%, but if you follow my best practice guide to installing self adhesive wallpaper you should be fine.
With the variation of brick style out there you’ll easily find something that compliment the industrial design look you’re hoping to achieve.
Piping, exposed plumbing
Exposed piping looks great if it’s done right, obviously with the industrial chic design you’ll be looking at using the darker coloured pipes such as bronze, copper and black as new chrome pipes will hold that brand new look for a long time.
Metal electrical piping aka Conduit electrical piping
In the most common circumstances conduit piping is silver tubing that runs electrical wiring around buildings. You’ll mostly see them in factories and production areas where everything including the design of the room is made to be completely practical. Anything involving electrics and wiring I would recommend seeking the expertise of a skilled electrician as the wiring in your home will have to meet certain requirements.
Conduit piping comes in many different materials, but if you want to achieve the industrial design look and feel then metal is clearly your best option over plastic.
Castors are a fantastic way to give your room flexibility, if you’re sick of the same layout you can just release the brakes and switch it up. On big pieces of furniture they look great such as TV benches and cabinets. They are also a nice finishing touch to compliment the whole industrial design vibe.
Choosing the right wheels is down to personal preference on the appearance complementing the item they’re going on and the weight you’ll be putting on the wheels. The majority of castors you find at your local DIY store are produced to be used industrially, so they are put through rigorous health and safety tests and can hold some serious weight.
Brand new they aren’t the cheapest, but you will have the peace of mind knowing they won’t buckle. Good places to find them are Screwfix and toolstation that sell to the public as well as to trade.
Vintage signs look fantastic in any room and really complete an industrial interior design feel. Keep your eyes out for old gas station signs, vintage advertisements and old signs of any nature. If you find these online you’ll be paying a bit of a premium as those savvy enough to put them online will know the price people are willing to pay for a good looking sign. So i’d recommend taking a look in your salvage yards or just keep your eyes peeled wherever you go especially in old pubs and if you see something that catches your eyes, ask if it’s for sale.
Things to bare in mind
Old rusty signs look cool but that rust has come from laying in a garden or yard for years, with this they may also carry a little smell with them also so the sign may need a little TLC in the form of a light clean and deodorising.
Check your dimensions before bidding: some signs are huge, some not so. So be sure to get the dimensions of the sign and measure up where you think it will look good before placing a bid.
Most of you will have seen them before but may not necessarily know what they were called, well now you do and I hope you will love them as much as I do. They’re wall-mounted organisers, most commonly made from steel and they have hundreds of holes in them in which you place hooks and other accessories that help you organise your things. The vast amount of holes let you to arrange the items you put in them till you’re happy. Pegboards are a great way to organise anything and everything from tools to electric items. They make a great addition inside the home to help organise your office space or common work area, or even in the bedroom.
Scaffolding and scaffold board
Scaffolding boards are mostly made from timber, they are usually 38mm thick 225mm wide and come in lengths up to 3 meters. They’re really affordable, for example the board I just specified would cost you no more than £15 in the majority of popular DIY stores.
The thickness of the boards gives them great strength so they make ideal shelves or could be used in multiples to make desks, tables and I’ve seen them used as flooring too. Shelving is a really popular use of them as the thickness really gives the finished article the high end look.
Corrugated sheeting is mainly used for roofing and cladding, it protects buildings from the elements but this material also looks great inside. It’s extremely cost effective, comes in many different materials including galvanised steel and polycarbonate. The polycarbonate may be transparent, semi transparent or completely opaque, so your choice should complement the rest of the room. The process of corrugation strengthens the sheet and allows the sheet to retain that strength when bent, rather than create pressure build up areas that would occur in the curvature of a flat sheet, but they still look fantastic left straight.
They could be used as kitchen splashes, lamp shades, wardrobe doors and much more.
You can see more cool ways to use corrugated sheets in your home in the pictures.
I don’t know where to start with concrete because the options don’t end. From countertops to candle holders you can construct your own moulds using something as simple as a plastic bottle. In it’s raw state concrete can be beautiful but may discolour if exposed for too long to the elements but concrete can be polished and treated for protection.
wood floor, reclaimed/engineered
Picking the right flooring to achieve the industrial design look you’ll want to find something that is a little worn and tough enough to last. Reclaimed wood or engineered oak should be your starting point and in terms of pattern I’d stick to the three main styles that are; traditional lines, Herringbone and Chevron pattern flooring. Herringbone is similar to chevron however the wood isn’t cut at an angle to form a point, one piece is laid against the short edge of the other to form the point of the triangle.