Industrial Furniture: A DIY’ers Dream - Metal by the Metre

The popular design trend for interiors is Modern Industrial. Hardwood timbers, worn metal joinery, blending old and new: honest, no nonsense, hardwearing and reliable. Its accessibility and straightforward approach to design makes it a DIY’ers dream. But understanding the origins of this style of interiors is important in order to fully appreciate this design trend.

Industrial furniture as we know it today, originated back in the Western Industrial Revolution1, in the 1700’s. Its original intention was to create sturdy wares for the warehouses and workshops of the time, for workers to both actively use in the work life, and for the, however brief, breaks in labour2. Certainly, elements of classist society entered into the design process for the pieces we would recognise as ‘industrial’.

Typical interior design pieces of the time were highly ornate in woodwork and upholstery, with wooden inlays and delicate brocade fabrics3 3B. These pieces would adorn the homes and offices of the middle to upper classes. To compare, workers whose clothes and hands were often filthy from their exceptionally hardwearing livelihoods would opt for furniture that was sturdy, easy to clean and built to last longer than its perhaps it was even needed for.

Today, many home furniture designers are putting out modern iterations of the Industrial Furniture. Think; raw-ish timber, polished concrete elements, galvanised pipe, darker tones, artificially worn-down looks, spray painted fake batch numbers on the side. All of this is often inspired by old farmhouse materials being taken and ‘reused’.

Another trend in home design in modern, western homes is the good old-fashioned DIY. Many minds are talking about why people are returning to getting their hands into fashioning their own home designs, and often it comes down to some simple truths:

Putting Down Your Phone

In such a swamp of digital experiences that we wade through every day in 2019, the act of physical activity can often feel like a craving satisfied when we give ourselves the time to do it4. Humans are creatures of touch, smell, sight and feelings – our brains are literally wired to respond well to activity that engages all aspects of our being. Digital Age behaviour and activities don’t often require a complete coordination of mind and body and can leave us out of balance with ourselves, which can lead to overall emotional dissatisfaction.

Personal Satisfaction

We teach our kids the importance of finding pride in their achievements, no matter how small they might feel. It’s no different when we grow up! So, when you take the time to paint that wall you’ve been meaning to do, or build that shelf for your kitchen, you experience a sense of pride and satisfaction that is rarely matched in its simplicity and importance. DIY projects are wonderful for creating little moments of self fulfillment, away from outside influences.

Engaging Your Innate Creativity

Humans are natural problem solvers. It’s the reason we evolved the way we did, and it’s the reason we have achieved the incredible feats of society such as modern medicine, skyscrapers and the personal computer! We see things that could be better, and our innate creativity allows us to explore, test and achieve solutions5. Unfortunately, many people working in mainstream jobs; essential for the operation of society as a whole, but often described as lacking personal senses of achievement or challenge. Finding DIY projects either for improving your home, or personalising it is a wonderful way to draw out that creativity just waiting to be used! Give in to that amazing feeling of possibilities realised.

Regaining Independence

When so many jobs in our lives are automated or outsourced these days, it can be easy to lose a sense of true independence and inner confidence. DIY’ers often show signs of coping better under sudden negative situations, simply because they’ve tested themselves in little ways and have come to be confident in their ability to handle a problem. Of course, this is often micro thinking made macro, but when those neurological pathways are made, they’re useful! 6

Now this all circles back to wonderful relationship between DIY and Industrial Furniture Design! Industrial Furniture is the perfect way to bring the proven benefits of DIY into your lifestyle and overall wellbeing. Google is a great jumping off point for project inspiration, with a whole community of Industrial DIY’ers sharing their ideas, projects, failures and successes. Once you pick one galvanised pipe bookshelf, the world is your oyster! A trip to your local hardware store suddenly is like a walk into candy store, with tools and materials previously boring to you, now full of possibilities.

So go on! Embrace the natural instinct to create something with your own hands, no wrong answers, just good old-fashioned creativity and problem solving.

1 https://www.history.com/topics/industrial-revolution/industrial-revolution

2 https://www.dutchcrafters.com/blog/history-of-industrial-style-furniture/

3 https://study.com/academy/lesson/18th-century-english-furniture-history-styles.html 3B https://www.invaluable.com/blog/british-furniture-guide/

4 https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/renovate/diy/tips/a1131/why-diy-is-good-for-your-wellbeing/

5 https://www.huffpost.com/entry/home-diy-the-courage-to-s_n_589371

6 https://www.amfam.com/resources/articles/support-for-your-dream/why-diy-5-reasons-to-tackle-that-project