At the end of each calendar year, Vogue—working in tandem with a selection of celebrated interior designers—declares the home decorating and interior design trends that will dominate the coming annual cycle. In December 2016, this style industry powerhouse supplied a forecast for 2017 that, six months through the year, has proven to contain a number of spot-on projections. For us, several of Vogue’s predicted trends stand out: an increased focus on texture, the use of muted colors and the amplified presence of grays. While each of these trending elements makes a statement on its own, it is clear that when these are placed together and effectively styled, these form an immediately recognizable and striking aesthetic: soft modern industrial.
The hallmarks of soft modern industrial include a focus on raw materials like brick and fur that make a tactile impression, the use of a neutral color palette that offers a fresh and cool atmosphere and the insistence on gray finished metals that add an edge. Think designer Brian Patrick Flynn’s recent Atlanta renovation project or Create & Cultivate CEO Jaclyn Johnson’s newly revitalized California residence.
Soft modern industrial sheds the feminine, distressed antique flair of shabby chic and dismisses the purely manufactured angles of modernism while encapsulating and reimagining the essence of each look. It concentrates on authenticity while collapsing the past and the present together. For those of you just beginning your interior design project or launching your home renovation, we can offer five tips on how to build out a soft modern industrial look.
- Wow with dimensional structures. Begin with the existing structures of your space, looking to the ceilings and walls. By exposing the wood beams and metal ducts that cross the expanse of your interior, you can open up the design and lift the ceilings. Of course, if you’re aiming to make a smaller scale change with impact, use brick or salvaged wood paneling to give the surfaces a rough, raised appearance. The goal is to use the heavy texture of ubiquitous and time-honored materials to add authenticity and dimensionality.
- Play up surfaces. Command attention with floors, countertops and backsplashes that speak for themselves. Stained hardwood, speckled concrete, polished marble and clean-cut stone each offer their own appeal without overpowering an aesthetic with dramatic coloring. Coat an entire wall or floor with these or size down their influence by using them sparingly as accents.
- Light purposefully. Show your eye for design by opting for relevant pendants and sconces that unite historical design components with modern functionality. Knurled detailing, heavy perforated metals, exposed edison bulbs and graphite finishes both embody and reinforce the modern industrial aesthetic. Troy Lighting’s Impression and Citizen collections serve as go-to pendant selects to polish off a modern industrial aesthetic.
- Impress with curated furniture. Don’t be afraid to get eclectic with your seating, dining or otherwise functional furniture choices. Mixed material design classics like Matthew Hilton’s Profile Chair or single substance picks like Philippe Starck’s Hudson Chair are solid options, as are tables like Gus Modern’s Transit Bench. Matching sets or a combination of individual statement makers give a floorplan definition.
- Add color and visual pop with accents. Rugs, trinkets, travel finds and personal heirlooms imbue a modern industrial space with individuality and distinction. These elements give you the ability to express yourself fully whether it be with self-made pottery or keepsake polaroid pictures. Of course, if your more cherished items demand safe keeping, you can always showcase inventive finds from museums or galleries, like an Alexander Girard wooden dog.
Not previously mentioned: Christian Dior 60th Anniversary Book.