Trim Take: Rustic Industrial

Last week I shared the exciting news that Jen and I are starting Trim Design Co, a boutique online interior design firm specializing in an eclectic, collected aesthetic.  Trim is our response to a world of fast-fashion, big-box stores and manufacturing that’s wreaking havoc on the environment.  With Trim, we’re embracing sustainability and bringing a sense of history into our designs by including vintage and artisanal pieces in every room.  And because these pieces are our passion, there are several in today’s shoppable mood board!

But before I dive in to this week’s Trim Take– many of you have been asking what exactly we’ll be doing once Trim launches later this summer, so I thought I’d give you the basics real quick.

What we do: Trim Design Co. provides boutique online interior design services for the discerning client nationwide.  We use email and software platforms to provide our design services to you online for maximum convenience. You provide photos and dimensions of your space and tell us about your style preferences and goals.   Then we get to work on your full room design, just like a traditional design firm, from paint color and floorplan to furniture, lighting and accessories. At the end of the design process, you have everything you need to implement your new room design including a shopping list, realistic room rendering, and detailed set-up instructions.  Then you’re free to purchase and install when the time is right for you.

Why we do it:  It’s time for a change. The customization and service expected from full-service interior design should be available to clients who prefer the online experience.   

What sets us apart: Trim Design Co. is the only online interior design firm incorporating vintage pieces, artisanal items, and emerging brands into each and every design, creating homes steeped in individuality. Trim knows that beautiful, authentic spaces are achieved only when the words that describe your home are synonymous with the words that describe you.

Alright, back to the matter at hand! To read Jen’s Trim Take, head over to her blog Persimmon Design.  And be sure to check out last week’s installments if you missed them: I took on ‘Classic Coastal’ style and Jen covered ‘New Traditional.’  

This week I’m going ‘Rustic Industrial’ and sharing my advice on how to pull off the this look without sacrificing sophistication or comfort.  I have to be totally honest and say that this is not my favorite design style, BUT it is my husband’s favorite, and we’re roomies, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to designing in this vein without sacrificing my own aesthetic.  And I surprised myself by how much I ended up loving the design this week! I may need to reconsider my stance on the ‘Rustic Industrial’ genre.   

Trim Take: Rustic Industrial  

Source: style files


source: Tom Dixon

Screen Shot 2018-06-28 at 1.28.03 PM

Source: nyde

If you love this look, you’re a study in contrasts (in the best way, of course!).  Your aesthetic combines the industrial feel of an urban loft with the rustic coziness of a mountain cabin.  You have a fondness for exposed brick, weathered metals, and reclaimed wood. You’re not necessarily a minimalist, but you value function and find elegance in simplicity; you prefer your furnishings without unnecessary frills and embellishments.  In fact, you actually prefer your space with an air of unfinished rawness rather than a perfectly styled setting.

Here are some suggestions to pull off this style:

  • Don’t shy away from mixing refined and raw materials.  This style is all about marrying urban and rustic influences, so go ahead and put those shiny chrome tub chairs around that live-edge oak table, and drape that fuzzy sheepskin over the back of that sleek plastic Eames dining chair.
  • Embrace repurposed decor: a table made from an old door, or wall shelves fashioned from steel pipes and wooden pallets.
  • Select unadorned pendant lighting with simple metal shades reminiscent of the industrial lights used on construction sites or in warehouses.
  • Choose open shelving rather than cabinets, to utilize your household items to bring color and interest to the space and eliminate the need for additional decorative pieces.
  • Welcome a Scandinavian influence, characterized by understated, functional furniture and a black and white color palette punctuated with bright pops of color.  
  • Less is more: a headboard for your bed or curtains for your windows aren’t requirements for this look.

Related Styles to Explore*: Casual Modernist, Modern Farmhouse, Boho Chic

*Stay tuned for an upcoming Trim Take on each of these styles.

Here’s a rendering I created of a ‘Rustic Industrial’ dining room:


But then Jen saw it and said that dirty buffalo were gross to look at while eating.  And, while I wouldn’t go so far as to call them gross, she does have a point. So I swapped out the art for a nice Pacific coast beach shot:


Of course, then my husband Kean complained that the buffalo were way cooler.  This just goes to show how personal interior design really is. If I was designing for Jen, I’d never pick the same piece of art as I would if I were designing for Kean.  Personally I like both options, but I hope you’ll vote for your favorite in the comments because I love a good contest!

The trick to nailing a sophisticated ‘Rustic Industrial’ look is to maintain a balance between the rustic elements and the industrial ones.  Too much of the rustic stuff starts to feel like a ski chalet, and too much industrial becomes a cold factory. As always, careful editing is a must.  We’ve all heard the Coco Chanel quote to take one thing off before leaving the house, and this same philosophy applies to decorating a room. Exercising restraint not only avoids clutter, but results in a clean and light space that centers and welcomes you.  I think the most sophisticated spaces are so often the ones with the least stuff in them. I’m not talking about minimalism here, it’s more like when you put together that perfect outfit- it’s not a million scarves and bangles; it’s a couple pieces of jewelry that work perfectly with your shoes/bag/jeans/hair to make you feel as though you’ve been transformed into a cooler version of yourself.  Not that you’re not already cool- you are!! I’m only speaking from personal experience here and maybe my inner monologue is crazier than average.

For this design, I kept the walls a neutral white (white walls are my favorite- I’ll always love them no matter how far they fall out of fashion) but I made the back wall brick because it’s such a quintessential ‘Rustic Industrial’ material and I love the texture it adds to the design.  Next I chose the table. Normally I would start with the rug, because matching your furnishings to the color of a rug is MUCH easier than trying to find a rug that matches furnishings you’ve already bought. However, I already knew I was going to do a neutral rug for this room and when I saw this table I was inspired to build the design around it.  I like this table so much because it’s rustic reclaimed wood in a farmhouse style, but the unexpected black gives it a modern edginess that I’m digging.

Now, to keep this design from feeling too cold or dramatic, I needed some warm tones.  So I selected a brass metal pendant light in an industrial yet still sophisticated silhouette.  Even when I’m working within the rustic industrial space, I need a clean look. And industrial decor can veer into steampunk territory pretty quickly if you’re not careful.  For more warmth, I selected dining chairs in a rich, red-brown leather. I’m loving how they pop alongside the black and white!

But uh-oh, so far the only neutrals I’ve got going on are the white walls…what about my signature foundation of warm neutrals! It’s time to get a rug in there! A textured and subtly patterned wool rug and champagne sheepskin are just the ticket.  Now, since I’m a strong believer in limiting the number of different colors in a space to keep it from becoming visually busy, I used the colors I already had to source the rest of the decor. I added a mirror with a black metal frame across from the windows to reflect light and brighten up the room and then a black bench to round out the seating situation.  I knew I needed this sideboard the moment I saw it because the golden tones in the exposed wood front echoed the brass of the pendant, while the white sides blended nicely with the walls. I had to add some plant life of course (no room is complete without a little life!) and finally wall art. I already covered the debate swirling around my selections, so I won’t rehash it, but I will add that if you’re having trouble picking wall art, black and white photography is an affordable, sophisticated, and versatile option that works with virtually every design style.  

So what do you think? Would you enjoy wining and dining in this ‘Rustic Industrial’ space? This is how we do ‘Rustic Industrial’ over here at Trim, so if you like this look, stay tuned for more inspo and details leading up to our big launch!   If you want to incorporate this style into your own space, scroll down for a shoppable round-up of furniture and decor inspired by this look!

Get The Look:

Shop the list to get this style in your own space!  


Source list:

  1. Limited edition photography art print, Minted  
  2. Blanket Ladder, Etsy
  3. Smoked Alabaster Canister, Loom and Kiln
  4. Roadhouse Leather Chair, CB2
  5. Bernilia Rug, Anthropologie
  6. Emmerson Reclaimed Wood Dining Table,  West Elm
  7. Bedside Pendant Lamp, Etsy
  8. 1960s Eames Fiberglass Shell Chair, Chairish
  9. Limited edition photography art print, Minted
  10. George Nelson for Herman Miller Modern Black Platform Bench First Dibs
  11. Mira Dining Table, Article
  12. Cube Trunk, Hayneedle
  13. Tapered Metal Pendant, Pottery Barn
  14. Natural Hide Rug, One Kings Lane
  15. Vintage Mid-century Belt Mirror,  Etsy
  16. Tana Stool, Article  
  17. Mongolian Sheepskin Rug, Houzz
  18. Archive Rustic Oak Bookcase, Article
  19. Vintage Industrial Iron Desk, Chairish
  20. Plant Box by Ferm Living, YLiving
  21. Soicher Marin Print, One Kings Lane
  22. Stacking Bin, McGee & Co.


  1. Great post, though was surprised to see that you sourced from places like Hayneedle that are considered by many to be “big box” and thus contrary to your design mission (which is smart and timely, by the way). Similarly, Etsy is a marketplace, a mall if you will (much like Amazon or Ebay). Why not include the names of the actual shops whose products you linked in your mood board so that your readers can check out the artisans and emerging brands you wish to support? While it may not be your intention, by naming only Etsy (or Chairish or One Kings Lane or 1st Dibs or Minted, etc.) in your links, you are emphasizing the marketplace’s brand instead of that of the individual makers and artisans whose small businesses and products make up its platform (and arguably wouldn’t exist without them). Perhaps your ultimate goal is to monetize your shoppable mood boards with affiliate links, in which case hopefully you will be transparent about this decision for the benefit of your readers and clients. Look forward to seeing more of your work. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nina,

      Thank you so much for reading and for your thoughtful feedback. First, let me clarify that there are no affiliate links in any of my posts, and I would certainly disclose that up front if there were. You make an excellent point about including the names of the makers and artists in my source list. I was trying to keep the list visually streamlined and simple, and I figured that all the info about the maker is available if the reader clicks the link, but you’re right that it makes more sense to highlight the creatives behind each piece by listing them right in the list. I also wanted to include the larger site (ex: Etsy) so readers could see where they can go to look for vintage items, but there’s no reason I can’t include both. I will definitely keep your comments in mind and think about changing the way I’m formatting my lists moving forward. As for including some pieces from ‘big box’ stores, our hope with our blog posts is to increase interest and awareness in vintage and “slow” furniture, not to suggests that everyone should use solely vintage items in their homes. Even I have some pieces from chain stores purchased when I was still a public school teacher. But we want to facilitate a shift towards accumulating pieces that aren’t disposable and I’m cognizant that some readers may be on a budget. But I hear you that maybe it’s worth limiting the pieces I highlight in my posts to those vintage and artisan items. Thanks again for your thoughts and for reading! It really means a lot to know that there is someone out there enjoying the content I put so much energy into creating.



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