Industrial Cabinets for Your Mid-Century Modern Kitchen
Industrial kitchen design is all about converting an unusual space into something else entirely without losing the spirit of the original space – a warehouse turned into a loft, a factory turned into a restaurant, a cannery turned into an office building. As such, finding the best industrial kitchen cabinets for your kitchen remodel is all about creating a functional kitchen around those raw materials common in factories and warehouses.
Characteristics of Industrial Kitchen Cabinets:
Open & Functional
Dark & Neutral Colors
You don’t need to be living in a converted factory to achieve an industrial look. Whether you’re living in a loft downtown or in a suburban home, highlighting raw elements in your kitchen remodel brings this trendy style into your home.
Characteristics of Industrial Kitchen Cabinets:
While modern metal cabinets exist, these are mostly commercial grade cabinets used for restaurant kitchens. We recommend looking for modern and contemporary cabinets made of wood or HDF (high-density fiberboard) with a plywood cabinet box. They are much quieter and less susceptible to denting.
Minimalist Modern Kitchen Cabinet Design An industrial kitchen cabinet shouldn’t distract from the other industrial elements in your kitchen. As such, you want cabinetry with clean lines with a functional design. Avoid kitchen cabinet doors in a traditional style. Shaker cabinets with recessed kitchen cabinet doors are often associated with farmhouse style kitchens, but they are excellent in an industrial kitchen, especially in a dark neutral color. That said, a modern cabinet design with slab cabinet doors capture industrial’s minimalist aesthetic.
Woodgrain Where It Matters Unfinished and exposed wood is a staple of industrial design – beams running across the ceiling, wood columns supporting the building, and weathered wood floors. But if you overdo it, too much wood makes your kitchen look rustic.
If your kitchen has exposed wood elements, you don’t want the woodgrain of your cabinets to overshadow the wood. As such, the cabinets need to either have the same finish and color as the exposed wood or they need a significantly darker stain, creating a contrast that highlights the beauty of the exposed wood.
Metal Hardware, Not Metal Cabinets A simple internet search of industrial cabinets often turns up advertisements for modern metal industrial cabinetry, but don’t be fooled – metal cabinets are not the answer. They’re noisy, flimsy, and susceptible to denting. These types of cabinets are best used for file cabinets and utility storage. They look out of place in a residential kitchen. That said, a stainless-steel range hood is excellent for an industrial kitchen.
Rather, look to highlight exposed metal in your kitchen by choosing antiqued cast-iron cabinet drawer pulls and knobs, metal backsplashes, and metal supports for floating shelves. The cabinet pulls and knobs you choose have a big impact on the overall industrial design aesthetic.
Open & Functional Floorplan Industrial design strives for an open design – open-frame cabinets, open shelves, floating shelves, mobile islands.
If the original space wasn’t originally a kitchen, as is often the case with industrial kitchen designs, you need to be creative in how you fill the space. Focus on functional elements, like using open shelves with metal support brackets in areas where full-sized wall cabinets wouldn’t fit and putting wheels on an island, allowing it to move out of the way if needed.
Open-frame industrial kitchen cabinets are excellent for end pieces, allowing you to access cups and plates easily. They also show off your kitchenware. And if you chose stoneware, it supports the industrial look.
Dark & Neutral Colors Dark colors are perfect for modern industrial kitchen cabinets because the dark shade allows you to better see other colors in the room, which helps neutral colors like metal shine through. It’s also great with exposed brick walls because the various shades of reds and oranges stand out. Dark colors also look good next to natural wood, so dark industrial kitchen cabinets are excellent if you have wood columns, ceiling beams, or floors.
Deep browns, greys, and black cabinetry fits well in industrial settings. The neutral quality of a dark grey, brown, or black means the industrial elements of the room stand out. The dark shade blends into exposed brick walls and contrasts with exposed stainless-steel air ducts and blends with antiqued cast-iron metal. Keep in mind, however, that dark colors make small kitchens feel even smaller. So, if you have a small kitchen, a lighter shade of a neutral color, like grey, works just as well.
Designing an Industrial Kitchen
It doesn’t matter if you live in a urban loft converted from a 19th century cannery or a suburban home built last year, designing an industrial kitchen largely follows the same principles – exposing the raw personality of unfinished, weathered, or old materials like wood, metal, and cement.
Focusing on Materials
If you’re converting a space into a kitchen or remodeling a kitchen, you’ve likely stripped the space down to its bare elements – exposed beams, insulation, plumbing, base floor, air ducts, and electrical. For an industrial kitchen design, start by evaluating what parts of these basic elements you want to highlight, then build your kitchen design around it.
Here are the common materials an industrial design typically leaves exposed:
Brick: In older buildings, red brick was common materials for walls. The interior brick walls were often covered by drywall or wood panels, but they don’t need to be. You can leave them exposed, with a clear sealant to protect the surface. If you don’t have exposed brick walls, consider adding weathered subway tiles as a backsplash or wall cladding.
Wood: Many industrial kitchens leave any wood exposed. While you don’t want to leave the framing exposed, consider leaving larger support columns, trusses, and ceiling support beams exposed. Whether you have exposed wood in your kitchen or not, you can also use weathered wood planks as a backsplash to reinforce the exposed wood aesthetic. Consider adding a large butcher block to an island.
Cement: If you have a cement floor (more common in basement kitchens), leaving it exposed is popular with industrial designs. You simply need to seal the floor to protect it. Natural wood upper cabinets with dark lower cabinets pair well with cement floors. If you don’t have cement floors but want a cement look, consider cement countertops or a composite countertop in a cement grey.
Metal Pipes: Most modern plumbing is PVC, but if you’re in an older building, leaving exposed metal plumbing is perfect for the industrial look. You can leave the piping untouched, but painting exposed pipes black is popular, especially if you choose to go with dark cabinets or matte black hardware. If you like the exposed pipe look but don’t have any, consider adding decorative pipes. An antique steel radiator is perfect, even if it’s not functional.
Air Ducts: Few items scream industrial more than an exposed air duct. In most homes, air ducts are hidden behind dry wall, but with an industrial design, you want to leave these open. And if you’re not satisfied by the condition of the ductwork, consider painting the air duct a dark color to match other metals or upper cabinets in the kitchen.
Stainless Steel Appliances
Filling your kitchen with stainless steel appliances reinforces the industrial look, especially if you have exposed metal plumbing and air ducts. From refrigerators to toasters to range hoods, stainless steel’s neutral color goes with anything, whether it’s cement floors or dark cabinets.
Iron Fixtures & Hardware
Outfit your kitchen with iron fixtures and hardware to really drive home the industrial vibe. Iron cages on light fixtures, rustic iron pulls on cabinets, and stools with black iron legs are all quintessentially industrial.
Exposed Edison Light Bulbs
Edison bulbs evoke a nostalgia not unlike old buildings and factories. Even if you choose an LED version of the Edison bulb, the shape of the bulb and the visible filament captures the spirit of the early 20th century at the peak of the second industrial revolution. The warm color temperature is ideal for kitchens with exposed wood, wood floors, or wood cabinets. Just make sure to choose light fixtures with sleek, open cages or clear glass shades so you can see the Edison bulb. Avoid light fixtures with frosted glass shades.
How Much Do Industrial Kitchen Cabinets Cost?
Though costs vary according to kitchen size and your cabinet needs, we want to give you an idea of how much kitchen cabinets are. These packages are based on a 10x10 kitchen, the industry standard measurement. Each 10x10 package includes 10 to 11 common cabinets, each with soft-close hinges and drawer glides. It typically has a sink base cabinet, a corner base cabinet and one or two standard-sized base cabinets. Then there are a few bridge wall cabinets, a few standard wall cabinets and a corner wall cabinet.
Our favorite collections for industrial style kitchens are:
Wilora Hawthorne Shaker Grey: 10x10 collection costs $1,999
The Wilora Hawthorne Shaker Grey collection features a medium grey shade, providing an elegant look for industrial modern kitchen cabinets, especially with cement floors. This collection includes cabinets, open shelving, glass doors, and a variety of roll-out shelves and cabinet organizers.
If you’re looking for a rustic industrial or farmhouse style industrial kitchen, the Shaker style is perfect. The five-piece recessed panel doors and drawer fronts are common with those styles. And our Shaker cabinets have options with glass doors, open shelving, and rustic style farmhouse sink base cabinets.
Wilora Paloma Cortina Conch Shell: 10x10 collection costs $2,149
The Wilora Paloma Cortina Conch Shell collection features a modern frameless design with clean lines and a woodgrain finish. The beige woodgrain fits well in industrial kitchens with exposed wood beams and columns. The minimalist modern kitchen also syncs with the mid-century modern industrial aesthetic, as does the weathered wood finish.
If you’re looking for a minimalist modern kitchen cabinet style or a contemporary kitchen with industrial aesthetics, our frameless cabinets are ideal. The clean lines of the engineered wood slab doors and drawer fronts make for a sleek design that doesn’t sacrifice space for decoration. These collections include a wide variety of cabinet organizers and flip-up doors, a feature common with custom kitchen cabinetry and contemporary kitchen designs.
Other good options for industrial kitchen cabinets are:
Finding the best industrial kitchen cabinets is less about finding cabinets to stand out and more about finding cabinets to support the other industrial design elements in your kitchen. Dark cabinets, grey cabinets, wood stained cabinets all work, so long as they lack traditional elements, like beveling and ornamental trim.
If you have questions or want help designing your industrial kitchen ideas, call us at 855.483.2629. Or email us with your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you!