Love the look of exposed brick, ducting, and metal? Wish you lived in a trendy downtown loft? Gave up the dream of said loft because you had kids? Industrial design and kids are not mortal enemies. They can both exist in the same space without any meltdowns. Don’t let your sense of style and your mommy instincts be at war. Here’s how to make peace with both under the same roof.
Hard Surfaces Are a Must for Industrial Design and Kids
Industrial design is traditionally covered in hard surfaces: concrete, tile, brick, pipes, etc. Small kids and hard surfaces may not seem like a good combination at first. But you’re only thinking of the bumped heads and bruised knees and not of the much more frequent spilled red punch and muddy shoes. Hard surfaces, especially tile is the perfect choice because it comes in all these finishes—and more.
Tile is an excellent surface to add to your industrial design because it is very easy to clean. Most tile cleans up in a flash with basic neutral cleaners and warm water. It doesn’t harbor bacteria like softer surfaces and is no-VOC so your home environment is safe.
Taking care of tile is practically a no-brainer so you can save your energy for those munchkins. Most of the hard work is done if you prepare the right foundation. The right sub-floor and underlayment will set you up for easy-to-no maintenance.
Tile floors rarely need repair if they are installed properly. However, if a tile chips or cracks, it is easy to replace. You don’t have to tear up the whole floor and start over. You can simply remove the affected tiles and replace them. Tile series come and go, so it is a good idea to order a few extra tiles when you first install your floor so you won’t be faced with a mismatching problem.
The Right Materials Transform Your Family Home
Industrial style walls often include exposed brick and duct work. Even if you don’t actually live in an industrial building, you can recreate the effect with wood paneling or façades that won’t take up extra space in your home or rack up extra costs. It won’t be long before your kids or your home are going to need some attention.
While real wood might be a liability with kids running around, wood-look tile gives you the benefits of porcelain with the industrial-rustic look you want. It comes in wider planks up to 36 inches long. The different styles include a reclaimed, barn wood aesthetic that looks just like water stained, weathered wood. If you want something a little more sleek and modern try a classic wood-look tile in cherry or a lighter oak color.
Brick is hot, and not just among industrial style lovers. It is a versatile look that can pull off rustic farmhouse as easily as it can urban loft. If you are converting your home to an industrial design, a brick tile might be just the thing you need. It is low profile so it won’t shave off precious inches from your space. It looks just like real brick—that aged kind you’ll find in those downtown lofts you love so much.
Porcelain Wall Panels
If the type of industrial you like is that upscale shopping center or airport look, you might like wall panels. They give you some industrial but also have the benefit of a little modern design. Porcelain wall panels are very large tiles for the wall that can add color, texture, and the sheen that you’re looking for. If you like the high gloss, the walls are the place to do it. Anything too shiny on the floor might be a little more difficult for little feet to navigate.
A Balance of Trendy Form and Family Function
Industrial floors are built to be tough but that doesn’t mean they are cold—both literally and figuratively. Making your floors inviting for the whole family but keeping the industrial feel is easier than you think.
Concrete is the very definition of the industrial look. Polished and colored concrete is finding its way into more than just industrial style designs. Try a concrete-look tile to mimic the look of an aged concrete or to get a softer matte gray look. With a house-full of shenanigans, you’re going to want tile over concrete.
Softening the industrial style bit makes it right at home with your family. Add a rug. Include throw pillows. Get overstuffed furniture. Bring in softer art—like one of the impressionists—to balance the industrial with the cushier home and family parts.
Industrial design doesn’t really care about warmth as much as it does other things, which may not be great for little feet. But there’s good news. Even though your floors have the straightforward, no-nonsense look, they can still be warm. Underfloor radiant heat is quickly becoming a popular choice.
It is easy to install as part of your underlayment floor system and a pro will make quick work of it. It keeps your industrial floors warm for little toes all winter long.
Encircling your family with industrial design doesn’t have to be a paradox. The two can work together just fine with the right combination of materials, design, and TLC.