How to furnish an industrial-style home and other decor tips

Gear up for the industrial look

What are some furniture pieces that can give my living room an industrial feel?

The industrial age saw the introduction of power-driven machines for mass manufacturing - that is why so many industrial-style pieces feature "machine" parts such as gears, wheels and metal piping.

Just a piece, such as a coffee table with oversized wheels for castors, or a shelf which uses exposed metal piping for its frame, can make an impressive statement in your space.

Make sure the style of the space is complementary to the furniture.


Think of warehouse or factory spaces and how plain and devoid of decoration they are. Hence, go for raw concrete floors and walls.

But because it is your home, you might want to soften the look of those hard-edged pieces with a fabric or leather sofa, a simple rug and some colourful accessories.


Try warm water, cleaner to remove stains on tiles

Is there a way to remove a stain from a tile? Would it be better to replace it? What should I do if I do not have replacement tiles?

Without knowing what caused the stain, it is difficult to advise on its removal.

For stains caused by liquids such as coffee, tea or juice, applying warm water and a PH-neutral liquid cleaner, which you can find at hardware stores, would be sufficient, says Mr Simon Cheong of tile specialist Hafary.

"It is very important to follow cleaning instructions on the bottle carefully to prevent further damage to the tile," he adds.

If you want to be extra careful, do a test and apply the cleaner first on an inconspicuous area of the floor.

Mr Cheong does not recommend replacing the stained tile as the tiles surrounding it may be damaged in the process.

He suggests removing a stained tile only if you are doing a minor home renovation.

Acid needed to remove dried concrete

My contractor left dried-up grey concrete on the white plastic pipes in the bathroom after the renovation and it looks terrible. How can I clean up the mess?

Mr Desmond Chew of interior design firm Three-D Conceptwerke recommends using an acid wash to clean the concrete off. Get the acid from a hardware store - just ask for the right type to clean off concrete.

"Be careful and wear rubber gloves when you handle acid. Pour a little into a small pail diluted with some water (depending on how concentrated you want it) and use a sponge or brush to apply it onto the concrete.

"Avoid touching stainless-steel surfaces with the acid as it will corrode those surfaces," he adds.

Prepare a door before painting it for a lasting look

How can I prep my wooden doors for repainting?

Marketing manager Kitty Tan of Nippon Paint suggests these steps: First, clean the surface thoroughly, removing dust, dirt or matter.

Sand the door lightly with sandpaper to remove any loose paint and to even out the surface.

Sanding it will also help the new coat of paint to adhere better.

Clean the door with a damp cloth and leave it to dry completely.

Before painting, make sure you protect your floor with a drop sheet to catch drips.

Apply an undercoat on the door - it will ensure the topcoat goes on smoothly and looks more even.

When the undercoat is dry (two hours for water-based paints and one day for oil-based paints), apply the first layer of your topcoat paint and wait for that to dry (three hours for water-based paints and one day for oil-based paints).

Then apply the second layer of paint. Leave it to dry completely.

• Got a decorating or home renovation issue? Write to Experts Say, Home & Decor, 82 Genting Lane, Media Centre, Level 7, Singapore 349567 or e-mail Photos and layouts are non-returnable.

• Home & Decor magazine's editor Rebeckka Wong and experts in the renovation and home decoration answer queries from readers in this series. These questions first appeared in the March issue of Home & Decor, published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 12, 2016, with the headline 'Experts say: Gear up for the industrial look'. Print Edition | Subscribe