Industrial Revolution | The inspiration behind industrial furniture

Industrial Revolution | The inspiration behind industrial furniture

The Industrial Renaissance

The current resurgence of Industrial style furniture is a powerful movement within the various trends that come and go each year. It’s a sustained growth of interest in this style, driven by modern living and homes with a deliberate rough finish such as exposed pipe-work or concrete work tops and floors.

This incredible kitchen shows off the Industrial style perfectly. The pendant lights with their protective wire casings, the stools straight from a factory workline, and the smooth polished concrete surface with the unfinished ceiling.

Concrete is also an amazing heat storer. So for instance if you installed underfloor heating pipes below a polished concrete floor, the material itself will hold and slowly release the heat over a number of hours. So, aside from the aesthetic, there is an energy saving side to the inspiration behind this trend too.


Industrial style furniture is named in line with its original purpose, to support the manufacturing industry. In 1760 the Industrial Revolution began in Great Britain and spread to other parts of the developed world. The invention of new machines lead to mass production and new factories. The key factor here is that workers switched from using manual hand tools to operating machines and need pieces like drafting tables, stools, and carts to move materials.

This drafting table above displays the elements behind the true inspiration for many of the dining tables in the Industrial style, with the worn wood top and heavy metal legs.

The overriding features of industrial furniture were then, and still are that it was simple, practical, easy to mass produce and made to withstand harsh working conditions. The furniture often incorporated raw materials such as iron and had an unfinished feel, and again with a nod to the environment, the pieces often utilised reclaimed timber or metalwork.

This old Singer machinists’ chair really shows off the marriage of iron and wood detailing. The practical side here is evident with the spinning height adjustment and backrest clips to allow the position to be changed.

Our own take

Today, Industrial styles can be found everywhere from vintage markets to modern furniture retail outlets and can enable everyone to enjoy the sturdy, worn yet incredibly stylish look in their own homes. Here at Woods Furniture we have four keystone ranges along the industrial vein. The Adelaide, Industrial, Industrial Light and Industrial Faux Concrete collections. Each have their own unique style, from the reclaimed look of the Adelaide to the smooth oak tops of the Industrial with heavy metallic criss-cross legs and in contrast, to the refined lightweight metal work of the Industrial Light.

Adelaide Collection

Adelaide Dining Table, Bench and Bookcase (Verve Chairs also shown in Petrol)

The Adelaide collection features beautiful reclaimed style timber tops and sharp metallic angles. Here we’ve deliberately off set the look with a “broken classical” touch and pops of neon.

The sideboard is perhaps the best example here of how the different textures and worn tones of the timber give the piece so much character. You can really imagine this in a true factory setting.

Adelaide Sideboard

Adelaide Sideboard featuring four drawers and two cupboard doors.

Industrial Collection

The gorgeous Industrial Dining Table with industrial grey chairs and upholstered bench, the bookcase and small sideboard are in the background.

Here, with the Industrial Collection, you can fully appreciate the heavy dutiness of the criss-cross leg style combined with the solid perfectly finished oak top. And with the addition of the bookcase, bench and sideboard all the parts of this look really compliment each other to make the look more potent.

Below, you can see the incredibly realistic concrete effect on the surface of the Rocca round dining table, that gives you the look of concrete without the huge weight that comes with it.

Rocca Round Dining Table

The cool faux concrete top of the Rocca round dining table.

For a lighter feel, below we have a few examples of the Industrial Light range, where the metal work is more intricate, and less imposing on the style of the pieces. The bookcases in this range are particularly stunning.

Industrial Light Medium Bookcase

The industrial light collection features no less than five bookcase designs. They’re perfect for showing off not only books but any other objet d’art or personal ornaments you want to display.

The material when its lighter weight can be used in a more imaginative way when forming shapes and geometric structures within these bookcases.

And what better way to construct the perfect home working environment. The Industrial Light desk goes brilliantly with the Trend Adjustable office chair in tan.

Industrial Light Computer Desk

The choice is endless

With so many styles and versions of Industrial furniture, and the history and provenance that sits behind those designs, retailers and furniture designers all over the world offer a huge range of different industrial styles. It's proved so popular in so many different homes and here at Woods we're proud to be part of that heritage, and offer a great selection for you to choose from. 

We hope you enjoyed this article - watch this space for the next one - COMING SOON!

29th June 2020

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