Getting the Industrial Look

Posted by Patrick Maness +

We all know fashions come and go. And as fickle as clothing or music trends, restaurant designs seem to change with every decade. New styles bring a new perception of quality, and it’s often the case that if you want to attract new business, you must make a good first impression, assure guests they’ve come to a nice place that serves great food, and embrace a certain style.

In the past few years, one of the most noticeable styles has been what can only be called industrial. The basic ingredients of this look are bare bricks, exposed ducts, reclaimed wood, and yes, crowds. There’s no doubt that places that have adopted this style seem to be rather busy, which is something every restaurant owner likes to hear. But will this trend last? Should you remodel your place to fit in with the industrial craze?

Industrial restaurant design

The industrial look has been around for at least a decade. It grew in popularity at a time when many restaurant owners were cautious about spending money but still wanted an upscale look and feel. This is a smart tactic in and of itself, and in the years around the Great Recession, cutting costs was necessary to stay afloat.

And it was around this time that restaurants across the board began to embrace this look. Regardless of whether this was simply a cost-saving measure, patrons took to it.

More than meets the eye

It’s tempting to think that simply stripping away paint, ordering tables made of old wood, and taking shades off lamps is all you need to do to achieve this industrial look. The deceptive part, though, is that while things look pared down and even haphazardly arranged, in most cases a trained designer has been to work.

Slight accents, early 20th-century décor and countless other details go into this hip industrial look. And as the look has become more refined and more mainstream, it also has become more expensive to achieve.


Many embraced it because it seemed authentic, cozy and inviting, a no-frills way to enjoy a great meal and get away from the over-designed restaurants that were popular in the '90s. But for some, the industrial look has been too successful. It’s become too commonplace, and many are eager for a change.

This doesn’t mean all the exposed plumbing will be concealed or every wooden table will suddenly be draped by a table cloth. Most likely the look will evolve, possibly into something a little greener with plants that could contrast beautifully with the factory look.

Whatever happens, you can be sure that in the next decade, there will be a new “it” look every restaurant will want.

Read other articles in this series:

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.
Leave comment Subscribe

 Security code