Decor 101: Vintage-Industrial Living Room

Vintage-Industrial-Living-Room-Decor-headerDepending on if and when I find my pot of gold, my dream living room would be a (cheaper) recreation of any DECOR 101 post, in a heartbeat. As I wait for the magic-wand/genie/home-makeover-show-host to appear, I resort to creating moodboards in preparation (or consolation). But, lately, my creative juices were are having a plumbing problem and I simply ran out of design trends to feature here. So, I decided on a random unproductive day to not play favorites anymore and create – a (Masculine) Vintage Industrial living room – the polar opposite of my personal style.

This has to be the most puzzling decor post I have put together and my cluelessness started to drive me to desperate measures. I might even have been part hallucinating when I began imagining a client with a complete back story, personality and rather strong ideas about his space.

Before I could really decide if I needed to be institutionalized, I luckily stumbled upon this information, my daydreaming was actually a legitimate trick that interior designers resort to sometimes. If they are not specifically designing spaces for a client or themselves, they pretend as if someone colorful (usually famous personalities) was going to live there.

As I breathed a sigh of relief, the imagination adrenaline kicked in at full throttle. So, I conjured up, with the help of some design voodoo, a make believe well traveled scholarly bachelor in his late thirties looking to design a condo living room. I am not really trying to perpetuate a stereotype, but I did make a blatant assumption that a middle aged bachelor would be into dark moody colors. These generic quirks gave me some direction on an otherwise very vast drafting board. Since, industrial and vintage styles together know no bounds, you can take them to any party and they would have a ball.

Now, Let’s have some fun..shall we!!?…Say…He is a globe trotter (mostly for work), keeps souvenirs from the travels, likes loves to read, collects limited edition books, prefers neutrals, has a dog (but then he would miss him while traveling)…correction…loves dogs, digs antiques, sharp dresser, enjoys sports but not obsessed with the memorabilia, lives by his scotch…Hey! is this sounding like a dating profile? Look, I am painting with really broad strokes here and I hope it does not offend anyone (read the husband).

DISCLAIMER The information provided above is for general informational purposes only and is a complete figment of my often misguided imagination. This an exercise performed purely in the name of Design and then some ignorance too.

Around the time of this peculiar conundrum, Molly from Arhaus reached out to me, asking to create a space inspired by their living room furniture. Their entire living room collection is so dreamy. It would be so great to have a brand like Arhaus, that offers rustic living room furniture, be available in India. This is an imaginary setup so let us pretend they are retailing at a store nearby. Now that would be some window dsiplay eye candy for a furniture drooler like me. As of now, I can only stalk them online and feature a couch in the mood board that I think goes fabulously with the theme.

I am still no pro at designing a bachelor pad but when you are scouring through hundreds and thousands of inspiration pictures, you can pick up some common themes and then apply to your own design. I found these few tips and tricks handy while setting up this mood board and thought about sharing with all.

Embrace the rugged textures

Realization: I am guilty of discrimination and gender bias against textures. I associate fur, shag rugs, velvet, crochet with feminine spaces and leather, concrete, stone, pecky wood with masculine ones. I also think cane furniture, organic weaves, natural wood and metals reside in the neutral territory and can sway either way depending on the finish you assign them.

Aged leather, hand thrown stoneware, distressed plaster, limewashed brick and bare concrete walls all have a ruggedness and bareness of materials that goes perfectly with the bachelor pad vibe. They are all, in combination or stand-alone, a very safe choice for recreating the the manly look.

leren bank met stoere vloerlamp

Go for impact

When designing a man cave, statement structures like Mill-work, walls and fenestration painted a darker color will make the maximum difference. You can also paint or panel the ceiling or cover all the walls or only 1/3 of the wall height in darker shades to vary the impact.

Emily Henderson_Home Office_Dark_Modern_Masculine_2


The deep navy on the walls, ceiling, doors, windows and the furniture imbues this space with a dark and moody aura.

Geometric Patterns

Houndstooth or herringbone, checker or chevron, plaid or gingham. Patterns and fabrics that are typically associated with male sartorial choices will infuse that energy into your space as well.

The office/reading room below shows how a chequered ottoman a striped throw and kahki-like roman shades stay true to the masculine theme.

Wood and Iron

These two materials are going to make various appearances in a masculine space but playing with various finishes, types and tones converts the cameos to ‘starring’ roles. Sprinkle some dark finished wood and warm alloys with a usual dose of natural wood and dark metals to even things out.

The living room above lets the over sized natural wood beam/frame have a moment of its own flanked by all the dark metal work.

Old meets New 

There is so much you can tell about a person from their place and vice a versa. But no space has to look like an 18th century tavern parlor just because you are a collector or an antique fanatic. Instead always mix things up, pair chesterfield couch with a bent plywood chair, contemporary sconces with traditional lamps, faux taxidermy with abstract art to truly represent yourself.

Below you see the space of a technophile with an old soul, the deer head and old portrait paired with the wooden ‘&’, the futuristic chandelier paired with an industrial sconce and floor lamp. it is a room full of contradictions and actually comes really close to truly representing the occupant.

You can see how the imaginary client’s living room finally shaped up with his special demands and quirks. Obviously, the dog makes an appearance and the smart-casual stag is such a visual metaphor. There is an abundance of dark metal and mesh as an ode to industrial design in the bookshelf, the floor lamp, the chandelier, bookends, the chair and the magazine holder/basket. The vintage aesthetic is represented through the inclusion of a typewriter, a table lamp, a couch, the Parisian map and the crate. There are some contemporary pieces thrown in to avoid looking too ‘decor catalog-y’ with the chain hung mirror, the iron bull mask, the day bed, bar cart, pedestal side table and the coffee tables.



1.Fizdi – Feel Proud Hand-painted Art| 2. Zealous Z Wall Accent | 3. Nappa Dori Paris Map | 4. Inkgrid Suspended Chain Mirror | 5. Engrave Stylish Stag Print | 6. Wrought Iron Bull Mask | 7. Metal Industrial Chandelier | 8. Urban Ladder Amer Cushion Cover | 9. Gulmohar Lane Dotted Coal Cushion Cover | 10. Arhaus Distressed Leather Sofa | 11. Pluchi Pinwheel Cushion Cover | 12. Hand Knitted Cushion Cover | 13. Urban Ladder Pearl Textured Cushion Cover  | 14. NA| 15. Urban Ladder Hubble Tripod| 16. Linda Display Unit| 17. Imperial knots Grey Chevron Rug | 18.  Livspace Zuri Daybed| 19. The Yellow Door Wheel Bookends| 20. NA| 21. Golmaalshop Trally Table| 22. Vajor The Coal and Bronze Lamp | 23. Rangrage Hand painted Monochrome Candle Holder | 24. Fabuliv Ewen Wooden Crate| 25. Fabindia Hammered Metal Box | 26. The Armchair Syros Side Table  | 27. Homeglamour Marion Coffee Table| 28. Gifts of Love Model Typewriter | 29. Urbandecor Bertoia Chair | 30. Indecrafts Storage Basket |

Happy Decorating. Ciao.




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