27 Industrial Kitchens That Prioritize Form and Function

updated Oct 6, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

The industrial-style kitchen is function first, frills second, but that doesn’t mean you have to toss aesthetics and personality out the window. Whether you want to simplify your kitchen or you’re looking for a design that complements an open concept or lofted space, we’ve rounded up our favorite industrial kitchen ideas to wow you with inspiration.

With an industrial kitchen, it’s important to prioritize the right materials, whether that’s concrete, stainless steel, or even a pop of exposed brick. As long as you select materials that make the kitchen easy to clean, you’ll be well on your way to crafting the ultimate industrial kitchen that embraces your home’s charms. Read on to discover 27 inspiring options to help you get started channeling that ultra-cool utilitarian style. 

1. Incorporate metallic elements.

“It’s classic but always feels fresh,” designer Liz Caan says of the unlacquered brass cabinetry in this Kyiv studio. “It’s near impossible for natural brass to look anything but elevated. It will always have a place in our design language.”

Credit: Ivan Sorokin

2. Experiment with glass blocks.

For an eclectic industrial kitchen, mix and match materials. In this Saint Petersburg apartment, a glass brick backsplash looks great set against wooden countertops.

3. Add lighting to exposed beams.

Exposed beams are the perfect vehicle for unexpected lighting fixtures, as evidenced by the dreamy industrial kitchen in this Atlanta home.

4. Keep your bulbs bare.

The compact kitchen in this warm Brooklyn loft features hanging bare bulbs, which gives the space an impossibly cool vibe.

Credit: Minette Hand

5. Use reclaimed wood to bring a cozy touch.

Reclaimed wood touches (like In this Texas kitchen) will give even the most sterile industrial kitchens a warm, cozy touch.

6. Bring a pop of color with an accent wall.

If you’d prefer to have a splash of color to juxtapose all the stainless steel and raw materials but want to honor your home’s history, take a page out of this 100-year-old home’s playbook. Homeowner Sasha Santillian kept one of the walls in its original state while painting the adjacent one in an energizing emerald green.

7. Employ some designer-approved touches.

Toronto-based designer Shauna Walton offers a stunning example of what a warm, high-design industrial kitchen can look like. She chose gorgeous woods, a stunning marble backsplash, and industrial-chic light fixtures that shine on their own without a need for color or more pattern. Plus, we’re suckers for an arched doorway that further elevates the cook space. 

8. Mix and match shelving space.

There are some great design hacks to be gleaned from this Montreal home, one being installing a pair of utilitarian open shelves on either side of the kitchen window for more storage (and display) space. Plus, we love how the metal matches the pulls on the cabinet doors—which were customized Ikea cabinets, no less. 

9. Infuse elements of other favorite design styles.

Just because you’re creating a utilitarian kitchen doesn’t mean you shouldn’t incorporate influences from other design movements and styles. Exhibit A is this industrial-meets-Victorian kitchen. Exposed brick, stainless steel appliances, and exposed ceiling beams are met with elegant design details to create a one-of-a-kind kitchen.

Credit: Rachel Manns

10. Bring some dramatic flair with black.

Black is a dramatic color for any room, but when used in the kitchen—on the walls, countertops, and cabinetry—it lends a strong industrial look to the space. Plus, black is a no-nonsense hue that hides dirt well. This renovated London home’s kitchen is a great representation of Industrial Scandinavian style that will make a bold statement.

Credit: Melanie Rieders

11. Gray will never disappoint.

Gray mimics the color of stainless steel, concrete, and other industrial building materials, so it’s a great color to add to a kitchen for a clean, utilitarian look The kitchen in a food blogger’s Brooklyn apartment has a no-frills, functional aesthetic, thanks in part to the sleek and shiny gray and white aesthetic.

Credit: Sarah Wintle

12. Find the right accent color.

Though industrial kitchens are often austere spaces, composed of colors from raw building materials, bold colors can still make their way into these spaces. Stick to one accent color and choose from primary colors like a strong yellow, rich red, or bold blue to really wow. The high-gloss metal stools with bright yellow legs in this Buffalo kitchen shows how to add color to an industrial kitchen without going overboard.

13. Create a beautiful backsplash.

One of the most prevalent materials that shows up in industrial kitchens is stainless steel, which is an easy metal to incorporate since many appliances and tools are made from it. Allow your sleek appliances to shine by employing a subtle yet elegant backsplash, as shown in her in this modern Australian home’s kitchen, to give the room a stronger design sense.

Credit: Lula Poggi

14. Leave building materials exposed.

You don’t have to make any color palette decisions in your industrial kitchen if you leave building materials exposed. Rough and raw elements like OSB board, concrete floors, ductwork, and more (which are usually hidden) can become architectural statements when left exposed. Blended with other modern and stylish elements, they seem intentional, like the kitchen in this warm, industrial Spanish loft.

15. Select sturdy-yet-stylish appliances.

Industrial kitchens prioritize function, so splurge on the professional-grade stove and giant fridge, if your budget allows. Chef Eden Grinshpan’s Brooklyn kitchen shows how to add dramatic appliances to an industrial kitchen to make it both chic and efficient.

16. Splurge on ultra-functional tools.

Part of creating an industrial kitchen is making it as functional as possible, which means it’s important to think through how your current kitchen works—and doesn’t work—well for you. It may be worth going all-out on a second oven, giant standing mixer, or even a pot-filling faucet over the range, as shown in this Indianapolis home’s kitchen.

Credit: Sylvie Li

17. Choose no-nonsense furnishings.

Industrial-style kitchens have little need for extra seating, but if you are going to add some, choose no-frills furnishings, as shown in this Montreal loft. You may want to buy or thrift furniture pieces that are made of industrial materials, have straight lines, and look like they would fit right in at a warehouse to get the look.

Credit: Lula Poggi

18. Opt for freestanding storage.

The kitchen in this Barcelona home is unapologetically functional. You can tell it’s a working kitchen: ingredients, tools and other implements are all well within reach and in sight, thanks to the simple metal freestanding shelves placed along each wall.

19. Add a metal freestanding kitchen island.

Extra workspace in an industrial kitchen is a must, especially if yours didn’t come with a lot of counter space. If you have room, choose a freestanding metal kitchen island to expand your work space and further establish an industrial look, such as in this Oakland loft. And the best thing? These can often be found for a low price.

20. Install open shelving.

This New Orleans home‘s kitchen shows that open shelving is the way to go for avid home cooks and collectors alike. And you can trust that this is a functional kitchen, because it belongs to none other than Joy the Baker.

21. Ensure your top tools are within reach.

There’s no need to hide your most-used tools in a drawer or cabinet when you’re opting for an industrial-style kitchen. Hanging tools on hooks, stacking them on a shelf, or even leaning them on the counter will make sure you can easily reach them when cooking. This Echo Park bungalow shows how it’s done.

22. Hang statement lighting.

Whether you preserve a fixture that’s oversized, metal, or both—statement lighting isn’t just about adding to an industrial kitchen’s look (though these types of light fixtures certainly do), it’s also about providing ample task lighting in your working kitchen. The hanging lights in this Brooklyn kitchen tie this space together and make it more functional for all-hours baking ventures. 

23. Embrace open spaces.

Industrial kitchens tend to emphasize an airy, open feeling, and if you’re lucky enough to have a kitchen with a lot of space, consider embracing it. Highlight elements that focus on your room’s expansiveness and bring the eye upward to get prime warehouse vibes, as shown in this industrial Detroit loft.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

24. Know that small spaces can be industrial, too.

The renter of this cozy Brooklyn apartment  isn’t letting the size of her home turn her away from creating an industrial kitchen. Tools within easy reach, lots of metals, and a focus on utilitarian vibes all lend the small kitchen the look you’re after, no matter the square footage.

Credit: Lauren Kolyn

25. If you want to use wood, opt for thick, heavy planks.

While stainless steel is the poster child for industrial kitchen materials, wood is essential for warming up the space and making it more inviting. Look for thick planks or wood with a live edge—anything that highlights the rawness of the material, as shown in this Toronto loft.

26. Don’t forget the homey elements.

An industrial kitchen can look too stark in a home that’s otherwise filled with photos, art, and other elements of your life. This renovated industrial kitchen is made inviting with a beautiful rug, decorative plants, and drawings magnetized to the refrigerator to give the space personality and heart. 

27. Combine multiple natural materials to achieve a high-design look.

The great thing about all these industrial style decor elements is you can combine quite a few of them to achieve the look without visually overwhelming the space. In this Dutch home’s kitchen, exposed brick, matte black, tools within reach, and statement light fixtures mix well in establishing a stylish industrial-style kitchen.