Decorate: How to do industrial vintage

Make industrial vintage work at home with these four simple style ideas

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Go into any new restaurant opening or fashionable boutique and the likelihood is there’ll be a smattering of artfully-placed antique and vintage factory ware. Affordable to buy and easy to get hold of, pieces salvaged from industrial works, old mills and Victorian factories have lovely weathered patina and a functional appeal.

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But how do you get them to work at home? Try these tricks.

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Layer stools and work tables with soft fabrics

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What to do: Soften the hard metal edges and dark woods with pale fabrics in tactile materials. Contrast is key. A soft linen makes what was once an industrial work bench into an elegant dining table.

Where to buy: On ceiling, from left: ‘Pirelli Warehouse’ lights, £288 each, Skinflint Design. On table, from left: Linen tablecloth, £54.99; linen napkins, £5.49 each, both Linen Me. Plate, £55, The Conran Shop. Vintage cutlery, £36 for six pieces, RE. Coffee percolator, £6; Very Beryl teacup & saucer, £8 for four, all The OK Corral. Jar, £10, Closet & Botts. Fruit bowl, find similar at Designers Guild. Vintage serving dish, £20, Sunbury Antiques Market. Glass tumblers, £28 for four, Rowen & Wren. Glass jug, £24.95, Graham & Green. On floor, from left: Bauhaus-style stool, £354; metal and wood stool, £59; steel tube and wood chair, £96, all Elemental. Vintage oak chair, £114, Quirky Interiors. ‘Tweed Emphasize’ blanket in ‘Apple’, £195, Mourne Textiles. Vintage folding trestle table, £375, Lassco. ‘Stockholm’ rug, £250, Ikea

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Seek out the unusual

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What to do: Although unplundered industrial sites are fewer and further between they can still be found with a little research. Europe is the place to go. For adventurous types, head to Eastern Europe where the communist legacy has left some fine hunting grounds.

Where to buy: Paint on wall, ‘Breakfast Room Green’ Estate Emulsion, £38 per 2.5l, Farrow & Ball. Vintage GEC desk fan, £180, Rochesters. Green ribbons, £8 each; emerald green baker’s twine, £6; green Stamford notebook, £11, all The Conran Shop. Green glazed mug, £4, Lewes Antiques Centre. Wooden spool, £4, The Cloth House. Green twine, £5, Homebase

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Mix industrial pieces with bold accessories

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What to do: Strong furniture needs accessories that can hold their own. For a pop of colour, position big mid-century ceramics on coffee tables and window sills. Thanks to their curvaceous lines they make a nice juxtaposition, as do thick-knit cushions.

Where to buy: ‘Bluebell’ sofa in ‘Ash Soft Wool’, £1,540, sofa.com. Coffee table, £250, La Boutique Vintage. Spot floor lamp, £1,476, Elemental. Wheeled side table, £150, Retrouvius. On sill, from left: ‘Berne’ zinc planter, £26, Rowen & Wren. Painting, £50, Lewes Antiques Centre. Green machinist’s table lamp, £456, Skinflint Design. On coffee table, from left: vase, £30, Habitat. Vintage handmade ceramic bowl, £150, Little Paris. Green twine, as before. On side table, from left: vintage plant pot, £25, Blackduke & Cashman. ‘Esterban’ recycled-glass vase, £8, Habitat. Cushions, from left: ‘Shadow Green’ velvet cushion, £72, Kirsten Hecktermann. ‘Mended Tweed’ cushion in grey, £145, Mourne Textiles. Eastern European looped-wool panel cushion, mid 20th century, £95, Kirsten Hecktermann. Cushion covered in ‘Scott’ fabric, 10589/778, £105 per m, Zimmer + Rohde. ‘Hollis’ embroidered cushion, £35, Habitat. ‘Etch’ rug, £350, Habitat

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Give them life with a seasonal colour

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What to do: With mixing-and-matching of styles and shapes to deal with, it’s easiest to stick to one colour theme. A lively, natural colour such as this season’s bright greens will bring a room to life.

Where to buy: Vintage industrial bank of steel drawers, £575, The Old Cinema. On drawers: brass ‘B’ letter, £44; reclaimed metal ‘E’ letter, £144, both Elemental. Vintage mini glass bottles, £4 each, Sunbury Antiques Market. On sill, from left: ‘Esterban’ glass vase, £30, Habitat. Vintage glass bottle, £39, Little Paris. ‘Battersea’ print, £45, Habitat

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Images: Katya de Grunwald
Styling: Marisa Daly