The Urban Family – the More Sophisticated Cousins of Industrial Styles

Urban Industrial Style: DmitryLaptev Getty Images Pro and  via Canva Pro

Urban Modern Style: both by KatarzynaBialasiewicz Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

Urban Chic Style: Drew Coffman and Nick Karvounis of Unsplash


Urban Industrial, Urban Modern and Urban Chic.


These are some names by which Urban styled interiors are called.


So what exactly is the Urban Family of Decorating Style?


The short answer is: they’re Industrial Styles‘ cousins “from the city.”


In other words: 


  • they’re the more polished versions,
  • they’re based on today’s city life as opposed to rural life, so
  • they’re more modern, more comfortable and more forward-looking.
Note: To fully appreciate this post, please read Industrial Family of Interior Design Styles, as they are closely related to Urban Styles.

A short backgrounder

Before we get into the details, here’s a short discussion on how Urban and Industrial Styles are related.

The urban landscape and the industrial buildings

urban landscape and brick industrial lofts
Photos by: rabbit75_cav and rocks3 Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro


The free dictionary defines the word “urban” as:


1.  Of, relating to, or located in a city.

2.  Characteristic of the city or city life.


And today’s cityscape is filled with structures made of reinforced concrete, metal and glass.


These are the same materials that were used in the construction of the older industrial buildings,

together with wood and bricks.


When the locations of these industrial structures slowly became parts of modern cities,

these abandoned factories were reclaimed and reused

for other purposes and adapted to contemporary use.


 Specifically, what connects these two styles is the Industrial Era –

during which the industrial buildings were built and

which made possible the modern cities as we know them today.





Overlap between urban and industrial

venn diagram showing overlap between the styles


The above diagram illustrates the similarities between the styles.


Urban Style shares all its materials with Industrial Style,

while Industrial Style uses others such as brick and wood.


Any style can use wood, but in this case,

wood was an important material in the structure of old industrial buildings.

Newer urban edifices can be built without wood in their completed state.


An industrial space may be located in both rural and urban areas.


And urban spaces can only be in the cities,

exactly what the word “urban” implies.


Therefore, it can be said that Urban can also be called Industrial,

but not the other way around.

Characteristics of city life

condominium buildings the their interiors
Photos by: Bigandt_Photography Getty Images Pro, vili45 and Pixabay Pexels via Canva Pro

Some things urbanites have to live with: 

shrinking living spaces in modern condominium units and expensive city life.  

Photos by: Gagliardi Photography, Kevin George, Brett Sayles Pexels and Gagliardi Photography via Canva Pro


Living with city traffic is another characteristic of urban life. 


And the bicycle has become a better option for going around the city.


It’s less expensive, gets one faster to his destination and

is more environment-friendly.

Characteristics of Urban Decorating Style

They may or may not be in industrial lofts.

Some may be in more modern condo units.


There’s a pronounced use of industrial materials like 

bricks, concrete, wood, metal and glass

whether in its architectural details or in its furnishings.


Because of its association with Industrial Styles,

Urban spaces can include the same décor.


Due to small living areas, their spaces are maximized and multi-purpose.


The furniture pieces can also be multi-functional

Bicycle as décor

bicycle as industrial and urban decor
Photos by: 2Mmedia Getty Images Pro, KatarzynaBialasiewicz Getty Images Pro and Phat-T Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro


Urban and Industrial Styles share a lot of same decorative elements.


But the bicycle is notably common to both because

it’s a symbol of Industrial Revolution and

it’s used as a practical mode of transportation in Urban cities.

Three variations of the Urban Styles

Urban Industrial Style


The more polished version of Industrial Design Style.


So, what are the main differences between them?




Urban Industrial vs. Industrial Design

Urban Industrial Style

restaurant with polished wood and metal furniture
Photo by Igor Starkov from Pexels via Canva Pro
  • does not need to be in an industrial loft, but uses industrial materials
  • less focus on repurposing
  • mostly polished
  • sleek and cosmopolitan
  • can include bright, fresh colors


Industrial Design Style

Photo by: Zhanna Leontyeva Pexels via Canva Pro
  • celebrates the history and building materials of abandoned industrial spaces
  • emphasizes repurposing
  • mostly rustic
  • retro and nostalgic
  • earthier color scheme

More examples of Urban Industrial Interiors and their elements

* check out our post on Industrial Styles for a more in-depth reading on its characteristics and elements

Urban Style Restaurant with brick wall and metal furniture
Photo by: indigosmx Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

Very URBAN in its overall fresh, polished and clean look.

Industrial elements:

– exposed brick wall

– exposed pipes

– polished stone table tops

– metal table legs

– Tolix metal chairs in mismatched sizes

– Navy metal chair

– concrete flooring 

industrial loft with polished interiors, materials include bricks, concrete, wood, metal and glass
Photo by: vicnt Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro



Like the previous example,

this is also very URBAN with its clean and polished finishes.


Industrial elements:

– exposed brick wall

– concrete ceiling

– window and wall partition made of metal and small glass panes

– bare window to allow maximum lighting, very characteristic of Industrial Design Style

– wood and metal furniture pieces

– black iron pipe and Edison bulb tor the table lamp

– old bottle repurposed as vase

– telescope with tripod legs (travel element from Industrial Design Style)


colorful restaurant with metal and wood in furnishings
Photo by: dr-interior Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro


Urban vibe from the bright colors and edgy design.


Industrial elements:

– corrugated galvanized iron sheets as wall covering

– metal and wood in tables and chairs

– industrial pendant lamps

– very interesting industrial bench design

with seats that can be moved along a track


Cooking utensils as wall decor is a reference to

Modern Farmhouse Style, a style that’s

closely related to Industrial Style. 


Click the link for a post that includes Farmhouse Style.


Go to our Pinterest account for more examples of URBAN INDUSTRIAL STYLE.

Urban Modern Style

Urban style that includes modernist and contemporary pieces.

It emphasizes comfort, making the space a good place to come home to

after a tiring day in the life of city dwellers.

These places are outfitted with current appliances afforded by today’s technologies.

As in any modern style, it can sometimes have some minimalist trait.

Examples of Urban Modern spaces and their elements

industrial space with modernist furniture pieces
Photo by: Mangostar Studio via Canva Pro

Urban Industrial elements:

– exposed brick wall

– concrete posts and flooring

– exposed black iron I-beams

– exposed pipes

– all-metal stairs and railings

– metal and wood chairs and tables

– industrial pendant lamps with scissor arms

Modern elements:

– couches in Mid-Century Modern Style

– modernist Swan Chair by Arne Jacobsen

– arching floor lamp used in Midmod Style

– use of primary colors red and blue as Modern De Stijl influence

– contemporary lighting using simple linear tubes

urban modern living room
Photo by: 2Mmedia Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro




– bare industrial windows

– wood flooring

– exposed concrete beams and ceiling

– exposed pipes and ducts

– concrete wall

– black finished industrial pendant lamos

– metal floor lamp

– metal shelf

– bicycle print on pillow

– windows without treatment

– table with metal scissor base 


MODERN vibe from:

– contemporary sofa design

– black and white scheme

– minimalist look


Photo by: in4mal Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

An URBAN MODERN flat in what seems like a condo unit.

Urban Industrial elements:

– brick wall

– metal and wood in dining table

– polished concrete for the floor

– metal bars framing the walls

– maximized small living space

– bare window

Modern elements:

– Eames arm chairs for the dining area

– Mid-Century Modern-inspired coffee table with splayed legs

– sectional sofa in comfortable velvet upholstery

– area rug for more comfort

– modern kitchen cabinetry and appliances

– gray and white scheme

– minimalist look

Find more interiors in URBAN MODERN STYLE in our Pinterest account.

Urban Chic Style

The elegant version of Urban Industrial Style.

This is achieved by adding classic, blingy and luxurious elements

to the Urban space.


– gold and other metallic finishes

– crystals

– velvet fabrics

– expensive area rugs

– furniture pieces inspired by classic Rococo or Baroque Styles

Examples of Urban Chic interiors and their elements

elegant urban industrial living room with chandelier
Photo by: stephankarg via Canva Pro

An Urban living area with modern furniture pieces and elegant vibe.

Urban elements:

– brick wall

– exposed beam

– industrial window without treatment

– wood and metal coffee table

Chic elements:

– jewel subject and jewel colors on the artwork in gold-finished frame

– vintage wrought iron and metal chandelier

– high contrasting black and white scheme adds to the elegant vibe 

elegant urban industrial living room with masculine vibe
Photo by: stephankarg via Canva Pro

URBAN CHIC living room with a masculine vibe.

Urban Industrial elements:

– concrete wall partition and flooring

– exposed metal post

– exposed beams and pipes

– metal shelf and side tables

– leather Chesterfield sofa and arm chair, 

a common element in Steampunk Style (a style related to Industrial Design Style)

– travel trunk with studs as center table 

(an Industrial Design Style element)

Chic vibe from:

– the silvery metallic finishes on the trunk and side tables

– animal skin area rug and covering for the side tables

– elegant workmanship on the arm chair and sofa.

Check out our Pinterest board on Urban Chic Style.

In summary - Urban Styles differentiated

urban industrial, urban modern and urban chic styles compared
Photos by: stephankarg, vicnt Getty Images Pro and Peshkova Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

Among the Urban Styles,

Urban Industrial has the most emphasis on Industrial elements.


Urban Modern combines Urban Industrial elements

with modern and contemporary elements and furniture pieces.

Emphasis on comfortable and convenient amenities.


Urban Chic gives Urban Industrial Style

an elegant spin, something for the sophisticated urbanite.

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