Using exposed materials, sleek neutral colors, and a heavy play with textures – industrial design has reshaped and redefined contemporary décor. What started as a trend at the beginning of the 2000’s has become the definition of modern urban interior design, balancing between form and function to create both relaxed and refined spaces.

But what does industrial interior design really mean? And how can you achieve this unique aesthetic using tiles? Here is everything you need to know about the style that redefined modern living and how you can incorporate it into your space.

What is Industrial Design?

Industrial design found its inspiration in the aesthetic of factories, warehouses, and other industrial structures to form an edgy and raw, lived-in space. It is rooted in the 1960s and ’70s in Lower Manhattan, when artists went looking for affordable studio spaces and found the answer in the unused industrial warehouses within the city. These reclaimed spaces became the backdrop for the art world, and the loft studios that were born of necessity became a chic expression of artistic endeavor. The distressed concrete floors, exposed brick walls, industrial lighting fixtures, and exposed architectural details of industrial design are now so integrated into modern interiors and architecture, that even the most refined spaces now incorporate these elements with ease.

How to Use Tile to Create an Industrial Space

Large stone look tiles used on the floor with blue velvet sofa to show a nice contrast. Tiling to cater for the industrial design.

When creating an industrial-style design, the key is to make certain elements feel as if they have been reclaimed from a past life of man-made industry, and then mixing and matching these elements with more refined finishes to help bring out the best of both worlds. Brick, metals, concrete, and wood can all take on this look with their texture and finish, but tile can recreate almost any design element in a durable and usable format. Thanks to advanced manufacturing capabilities, such as porcelain printing and sophisticated metalwork techniques, modern tiles can bring the look of exposed bricks, polished concrete, reclaimed wood, and aged metal to your space with supreme performance, low maintenance, and an affordable price. Let’s explore some of these tile options that can help you achieve the perfect industrial look for your space. 

Revealing the Core: Exposed Brick Tiles

When people think of industrial décor, the immediate association is often an exposed brick wall. Exposed bricks in an interior space have undeniable charm and character, as they refer back to the chic artists’ lofts of New York. However, not every house or apartment has that uniquely urban architectural element. Thanks to advanced porcelain technology, incorporating the iconic exposed bricks look in any space has never been easier. If you’re looking to emulate the classic gritty aesthetic using brick tiles, try our Urban Brick Loft Gray Clay tiles, which feature a beautifully realistic brick pattern. For a more refined visual, see the Rugged Stacked Bluestone, an elegant ledger porcelain veneer that provides a more subtle urban look. For a textural impact, check out our Easton Mesa Handmade Subway tiles, a clay creation with a hand-pressed textural brick pattern and a distinct color palette that merges the traditional brick wall look with shades that push its boundaries.

Industrial Alchemy: Using Metal Look Tiles

Incorporating metallic surfaces such as brushed copper, textured silver, or wrought brass using metal tiles infuse a space with drama and contrast without overwhelming it, maintaining a sophisticated yet edgy look. Metal tiles allow for experimentation, introducing eclectic styles and creative ways of thinking on industrial interior design. For a rough and refined look, try our Angela Harris Inspira tiles, presenting a clean visual through porcelain tiles with an organic overlay of metallic paint made from liquified metal. For a bolder appearance, opt for our Industrial Silver Subway tiles or the Copper Penny Round mosaic, inserting a reflective metallic element that serves as a sophisticated, eye-catching focal point.

Make It Last: Concrete Look Tiles

A hallmark of contemporary industrial interior design, concrete floors and walls are among the most coveted materials for achieving a high-end and relaxed industrial style space. Concrete captures the same urban and raw flair of industrial style while providing a more minimalist and refined visual, elevating the look to the modern canvas for a range of décor options. Concrete-look tiles achieve the look using alternative materials such as porcelain and ceramics, creating the concrete effect with easier installation, lower maintenance, and excellent performance. Our Bronx Collection captures a true urban spirit inspired by the streets of New York using porcelain, creating reclaimed concrete visual. Our Bond tiles take this look a step further with opaque marks of oxidation that achieve a subtle metallic shine, adding a touch of glamour to the urban concrete look. The Texstone Collection introduces a stylized fusion of concrete and stone looks using porcelain, providing not only the concrete color palette but also a stunning visual texture and a decorative twist.

Reclaim Your Space: Wood Look Tiles

Decorating a space with an industrial aesthetic can run the risk of creating a cold and detached environment. Reclaimed wood elements can often provide a much-needed contrast, offering a softer and warm visual that still has a rugged edge. With reclaimed wood look tiles, it is now possible to add wood look features to a space in unexpected places, such as showers or backsplashes, to add an organic motif to an industrial style design.

The DuJour Natural Honey Porcelain tiles recreate an aged wood look in porcelain, bringing the character and charm of reclaimed wood with all the benefits of porcelain. The Petrawood Blue Porcelain Tiles offers a more dramatic wood look with a blue toned color and visual texture. The Linden Wood tiles make a bold statement, playing with color and texture to create a distinct piece that can set the tone for the entire design.

Explore Industrial Design Through Tile

Whether you’re looking to add a touch of industrial feel to your space or completely revamp it as a modern urban-inspired space, tiles offer a wide range of possibilities for experimentation with texture, pattern, and color.