What’s a style enthusiast to do? You love two styles equally (or parts of each) and just can’t bear to give up either one. It’s an agonizing choice for those purists who insist on decorating in one harmonious style, especially when the two styles are inherently different, like those in today’s mashup: industrial and beach style.
You can’t get much more opposite than these two. A design oxymoron of sorts; is there any way that they could possibly work together?
Don’t give up on your favorites – they can most definitely be combined, with jaw-droppingly beautiful results.
First, before combining, it’s important to understand each style and its elements so that you can figure out what you love best about it.
Borne of the truly hardworking industrial facilities of the past and present, industrial is an edgy, stripped-down style. The most prominent hallmarks of industrial style are:
- Exposed features: ductwork, pipes, brick, beams, bulbs
- Wood and metal, often in one unit
- Vintage and reclaimed furnishings
- Minimalism: clean, strong lines
- Open floor plans (warehouse-inspired)
- Concrete flooring
- Dark, moody color schemes (lots of grays and black)
To illustrate, classic industrial style looks like this:
Then, on what seems like the opposite end of the spectrum, is breezy, light, airy coastal style. Beach style is generally characterized by:
- Lots of light, especially natural light
- Crisp, floaty fabrics
- Neutral, pale colors
- Natural and seaworthy materials: straw, grasscloth, rope, driftwood, “beach finds” like shells and starfish
- Light wood
- Open, airy rooms
- Casual, comfortable furnishings
This is what typical beach style decor looks like:
Industrial beach style?
Looking at these two very distinct styles with not much in common (besides the openness), you’d think that there’s no way to make them play nicely together. But if you look closer, you’ll realize that these virtually opposite styles make a great palette for contrast: soften up a harsh industrial setting with some beachy furnishings or add some edge to an ethereal beach home with industrial fixtures and features.
When you’re combining, it’s important that both styles are represented. Their representations don’t have to be equal, but one beachy accessory will look odd in an overwhelmingly industrial room; balance is key.
Need ideas to get you started? These perfectly-executed industrial and beach style rooms will show you how to combine the gritty, workaday feel of industrial decor with the carefree vacation vibes of beach style:
Industrial elements: ceiling, beams, locker table, exposed brick wall, black trim; beach style: light flooring, table and chairs, blue glass bottles.
Industrial ceiling, floors, and artwork; beach style textiles and furniture.
This homey, inviting family room is an oasis of beach in a utilitarian, industrial setting.
Breezy and beachy, yet with a bit of grit: industrial exposed ductwork and pendants give this kitchen an edge.
This kitchen is beach style in color and light, but industrial in minimalism and subtle touches (bar stools, pendants, faucet, and did you notice the vintage scale on the left?).
Casual and comfortable living room, meet totally industrial coffee table (and centerpiece).
And finally, industrial and beach style getting along beautifully:
For more tips on mixing styles, check out our guides to traditional+modern decor and rustic+contemporary!