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8 Grunge Interior Tips That Will Transform Your Home

Are you the creative kind of homeowner that never shies away from a challenge? Does the whole ‘run-of-the-mill’, beige wall and Ikea flat-pack furniture thing not live up to your expectations of what a home should look like? Are you looking to picture your home as a clean slate; a canvass on which you can let the childlike, visionary side of you loose, to create a home that truly sits parallel with your personality and character? Well, if your style leans towards the gritty urban, worn and distressed side of the home décor spectrum, the following may just be all the inspiration you need. Welcome to our 8 grunge interior tips that will transform your home. 

1. Create a Grunge Feature Wall

The single most prominent and important implementation to capture the essence of grunge and distressed home décor is to install a grunge style feature wall. Below are the 3 main styles you should be leaning towards.
  • Faux concrete wall
  • Rough plaster wall
  • Barn wood paneling

Faux Concrete Wall 

Faux Concrete Wall, Grunge decor aesthetic

Image credit: House of Fraser

With such a brazen and cold exterior, a concrete feature wall can be one of the most stylish additions you can make to your home.

Of course, you can install a real concrete wall. Nothing will compare to the real thing, with its smooth appearance and texture, however, it’s a lot of work, costly and messy!
Fortunately, Dulux has a line of concrete effect wall paints that do an impressively realistic job of depicting the real thing. Take a look at their range here
 

Raw Plaster Wall

We’re not talking about those hideous circular plaster swirls found on the ceilings of 1920s and 30s homes. A raw plaster wall is as it sounds. An unpainted wall that allows the beautiful reds and pinks of raw plaster to shine through. The plaster can be applied smoothly in the same way you would a normal wall, or, applied coarsely to add further texture to the look.

Maxine over at we love home has recently released a blog post detailing a step by step guide to implementing a distressed plaster wall, check it out here
 

Barn wood panelling 

There’s something about distressed wood wall décor that oozes the grunge home decor aesthetic. Barn wood paneling can be found in a plethora of eBay shops and, of course, reclaimed timber dealers, and is one of the best ways to impart a grunge decorating style to your home.  

 

2. Industrial Style Lighting

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of good lighting. Not just for the proven positive psychological impact a correctly lit home can have, but for style as well. Think about the following lighting styles to compliment your urban-inspired, grunge home décor.

 

 
Metal Lighting

Grunge interior design and industrial home design go hand-in-hand. We recommend opting for either an industrial, oversized metal pendant light or distressed wire mesh pendant lighting; a style that's quickly becoming the in-thing in the home lighting scene right now.
When choosing the correct distressed home lighting for your grungy abode, think earthy wooden tones and weathered and blemished metals coupled with unique fixings and features like metal chain cords and metal ceiling roses.

Industrial Lighting, Metal Dome Pendant, Grunge home decor
 Shop the Jama dome pendant light here

Concrete Lighting

What better way to compliment your beautiful new faux concrete wall than to hang a handful of concrete pendant lights before it.
Concrete lighting captures that raw essence of deep metropolitan design that the grunge interior trend leans so far towards, making the pairing natural and totally harmonious.

Concrete Pendant Lights
 Shop concrete pendant lights here

 

Rope & Nautical themed lighting

The latest trend we’re all swooning over as of late is the nautical trend. It seamlessly combines rope, wicker, and metals to form an earthy aesthetic that is made for the distressed interior design trend.
With rope and wicker's earthy colour tones, the integration with the distressed style home is effortless.

Rope pendant lights

Shop rope pendant lights here

3. Distressed and Rustic Flooring

Stylish flooring sets the tone in any home. If you value comfort as your top priority, we’re not opposed to opting for a squishy carpet underfoot. But that’s not what we’re talking here. To truly capture the essence of the grunge home décor trend, you have to think 2 things:

  • Reclaimed wood flooring
  • Oversized concrete tiles 

Reclaimed Wood Flooring

Grunge distressed wooden flooring

If you're one of the unbelievably lucky ones that rolls into your new pad, lifts up the dank and smelly old carpets the last tenure laid to find a beautifully pristine and well kept, original reclaimed wooden floor – you’ve won. Move on to point 4 -  you’ve cracked it. If, like the rest of us, however, you find your once beautiful reclaimed wooden floor is now a broken mess, you’re going to have to get creative.


Similar to barn wood paneling, reclaimed wooden floors can be found in abundance on eBay and reclaimed timber yards, but be warned, it’s not as easy to install as a box fresh tongue and groove straight out of your local Homebase so you may need a little help. Also, be prepared to dispose of at least 15% of the boards due to warping and damage.


If you prefer the easy route, there are a few flooring manufactures that offer a distressed, hand scraped, matte finish to their product which does a pretty good job of achieving the look. Check out Elka, real wood, engineered to give you some idea of the look we’re referring too.
 

Oversized Concrete Tiles

Similar to the growing trend of real concrete kitchen worktops, concrete floors can be achieved via pouring concrete then allowing to set before finishing with sanding machines to create that beautiful shiny smooth finish you see in every other huge and unobtainable home project on Pinterest. Don’t do it. It's messy, expensive and reacts poorly to acidic liquids meaning that in time, spills will indefinitely tarnish the look regardless of how strongly the company claims their sealing method holds up.
To achieve the grunge flooring look you’ve always wanted, companies such as Topps tiles offer oversized and incredibly realistic faux concrete tiles which will do the same job and look fantastic.

 

4. Embrace natural materials

To go along with your concrete walls and industrial lighting, don’t forget to fill your home with an array of natural home décor items which conform to the following:
  • Earthy colour tones
  • Rough and ready textures
  • Unique and bold designs.

Natural Hessian (Jute) and rattan home accessories are incredibly on-trend right now and sit perfectly in tandem with the grunge interior design trend.
Rattan floor lamps and rattan pendants offer a great way to light a space whilst injecting a natural element to your home. The earthy tones of rattan are a great mix with raw plastered walls as mentioned in point 1, complimenting each other perfectly.
Rattan Floor Lamps Shop the Kochi wicker floor lamp here

Jute is another of our favourite materials that combines seamlessly with the grunge home decor aesthetic. Jute pouffes and footstools are brilliantly multifunctional, acting in part as a make-shift coffee table and also as a footrest for you to recline and put your feet up after a hard day's work.
 Jute Pouffes

Shop the Loco natural jute pouffe here

Jute rugs are another natural home accessory that incorporates a beautiful dusty orange tone that works so well with the earthy colours of the distressed trend. They may not be the comfiest underfoot but do offer a little padding. If, however, you simply have to have the best of both style and comfort, a distressed Persian rug is the way forward. More colour and design choices are readily available and the fact they’re made from cotton means they’re a comfier alternative.

 

5. Style with distressed fabrics

Distressed fabrics, whether it be a distressed sofa or bed throw, natural fiber placemats or thin Turkish bath towels, add a much-needed element of comfort to a style of home décor that’s known for its harsh aesthetic.
Distressed doesn’t need to mean uncomfortable, and soft cotton, aged fabric bed throws can not only heighten the look of your bedroom to something of a much edgier appeal but can keep you cosy and warm over those cold winter nights as well.

Distressed Fabrics

Other textiles such as placemats can also be an overlooked and underappreciated addition to your grunge home décor ambitions. Throw away those ripped old cork placemats and exchange them with natural jute or dusty colour toned, aged fabric placemat to really inject a grungy look to your table servings.

Distressed Placemats

Image credit: House of Fraser

6. Accessorise with unique and quirky home accessories

Moroccan lantern, Grunge home decor aesthetic

Shop lanterns here

The very essence of grunge interior design is to be uniquely different. It is to portray a sense of style unlike any other out there, so it only makes sense to fill your space with complimenting quirky home accessories.
From wonky wooden towel ladders to industrial inspired shelving and storage units, let your imagination run free with the endless possibilities of how you can style your home a little differently.
Reclaimed furniture and home accessories, is, of course, the first port of call. You simply can’t recreate that authenticity from the shops or equal that sense of achievement when you personally restore that beautiful piece of furniture that was in need of a little TLC.
If, however, your life is a little too manic to be throwing your overalls on and getting down and dirty with the DIY, here’s a list of items for you to draw inspiration from.
 

Industrial wall mirror with shelfShop the Lincoln industrial wall mirror here

It’s all a case of ‘where the mind leads, the heart will follow’ and with a little creative input at this stage, whether it be handmade, or shop bought, you’re sure to love the final product when it's finished, and so will your guests.

7. Abstract artwork

What better way to compliment your grunge feature wall than with an oversized, statement piece of abstract artwork.
There are 2 things to remember when deciding on a statement piece of art designed to complement your grunge themed home:
 
  • Size of piece
  • Prominent colour palette 

 
In our opinion, if you’re hankering for a statement piece of art to truly lift a feature wall, we say go big! Remember, art should never be abslapdash, ‘anything-will-do’ investment. It truly alters the look and feel of your home, so take your time to decide on the piece, its size and what it truly means to you. After all, it’s you that has to look at it each day.
Secondly, one of the biggest mistakes we see is the buyer taking their beautiful brand spanking new piece of artwork home, only to find it doesn’t really complement the colour tones of their home. Fortunately, the grunge home décor style doesn’t lend itself to bright and bold colour palates, but it’s something to think about regardless.

8. Fixtures and fittings 

One of the most common mistakes made that entirely break the illusion of the distressed home décor trend are the finer details: the fixtures and fittings.
Here is a handful of the smaller home fittings we should not be overlooking:
 
  • Radiators
  • Door handles
  • Light switches
 

Radiators

That grunge feature wall only looked amazing before you slapped that hideous white radiator over the top of it. Granted, radiators are expensive, but, contrary to belief, they can be incredibly beautiful, and actually not quite as expensive as you’d think.
We’re all aware of the utterly beautiful Victorian cast iron radiators, unfortunately, we’re all aware of the cost too. Thankfully, there are plenty of companies now that supply vintage style radiators at a fraction of the cost and look fantastic.
 

Door handles

Door handles and knobs are a feature far too often overlooked. We look past these finite details but it's these smaller inanimate objects which can truly finish the look off. Bronze, brass and wrought iron are all a great choice of texture and tone to complement the look of your grungy décor style.
 

Light switches

White, plastic light switches and plug sockets are fine on a white wall and if you’re styling on the cheap, but whack those bad boys on a concrete feature wall and you’ll see them from a mile off. Accessorize your super stylish urban-inspired, distressed home with stainless steel or bronze fittings. Even the switches themselves can be changed out to the vintage, ball bearing style of switch.
 

Our final thoughts

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our 8 grunge interior tips that will transform your home. We’ve no doubt that if you stick closely to these pointers, you’ll have a home that not only looks incredible and entirely unique, but you’ll be comfortable in it too.

Remember, the key to achieving the distressed home décor look is by blending a mix of earthy textures and tones, that each complements each other. With colours; think neutrals and pastel hues. Likewise, think about textures - If you have plenty of harsh textures like raw plaster walls and concrete flooring, try to balance them out with rugs and distressed fabrics to inject a little homeliness back into your space.
Finally, just be creative and enjoy the whole process. The journey to your ideal grunge style home is never going to be as simple as marching down to Ikea to purchase the first flat-pack chest of drawers and coffee table you lay eyes on. It’s to take your time to either restore that dusty old side table you’ve found down at the local reclaim yard or to source those special little ‘finds’ from the family-run high street shop or independent online retailer.

Front cover image credit - House of Fraser
 
Check out some of our distressed home accessories here.

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