Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

January 28, 2015

I’m forever spotting things that I think could be the next trend, like decorating with plants, taking a slower approach to living, brick walls painted white, adopting a more laid-back approach to flower arranging, and of course, Nordic design taking over Europe (and it truly has). All of these trends not only arrived but have stuck around, almost becoming a part of the bigger picture, of a more established design. But every now and then, I spot micro trends, and that is how I see factory windows, also referred to simply as black metal-framed doors and windows, — a micro trend yet a trend indeed. They are making a real comeback in both commercial design but also residential spaces – not just vintage ones but faux versions, too. And I think they’re all quite fabulous.

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

Home of fashion fashion designer Naja Munthe via Mad & Bolig

If you follow industrial design, you’ll note that concrete floors, soaring ceilings, brick or stone exposure, metal with raw wood furnishings and large bell-shaped pendant lights, also in metal, are hallmarks of industrial style. And of course, black-framed metal windows and doors with their grid-like patterning and squares, or rectangles, of glass. They are a great solution for when a homeowner or office places priority on creating a space with multiple functions without losing natural light.

I like them, not just because they bring a hint of nostalgia, even a bit of “edge”, to a space but also because they are practical. How so? First, they act as terrific space definers if you’re using them to divide a space. Next, they really let the light in. They’re also great for allowing privacy without sacrificing a sense of space – a room divided by glass still feels spacious – a wall wouldn’t accomplish that. Finally, paned windows and doors are quite practical because if you break one, you only need to replace a small panel of glass e vs. an entire sheet as in windows without panes. Maybe that’s why they were popular in factories years ago? If a metal part flew through the window off of a machine, only a panel needed to be replaced.

Whenever I see factory doors and windows, I think of the homes I’ve worked in while in Paris for my books. I think of old factories. I think of some of the restaurants I’ve been to in New York, London, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. I think of vintage schoolhouses. I remember some of the restored lofts in Lowell, MA that we toured back in 2006 (and almost purchased but, being in Lowell, we politely passed). I also think of creative spaces because I imagine lofts in cities that were only used in the flower power era to house artists. I remember seeing them in Sonoma at some of the wineries we toured or in LA at the stunning home of Amy Neunsinger when I worked on my first book.

I’ve also spotted more modern versions in Denmark when decor8 was invited to visit the home offices of Muuto so I sent my roving reporter, Emilie Gupta, to attend and photograph it for me.

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

The Copenhagen home of music producer Jon Oron as photographed by Pernille Vest for Elle Decoration UK

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

The Copenhagen home of music producer Jon Oron as photographed by Pernille Vest for Elle Decoration UK

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

The Copenhagen home of music producer Jon Oron as photographed by Pernille Vest for Elle Decoration UK

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

Heidi Lerkenfeldt for Still Stars, Munich, Germany

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

©Renee Arns styling & photography

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

©Renee Arns styling & photography

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

Fab Showroom Amsterdam by Bricks

Micro Design Trend: Factory Windows

Photography: Armelle Habib


I’ve created a Pinterest board to share examples of rooms globally with black-metal framed doors and windows if you’d like to see it – click here.

What do you think? Do you like this look? Would you like them in your own home or office?

(images: source linked below photos)



  • Reply Absolutely Tara January 28, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    I’m loving this! I’m glad you drew my attention to it because I’ve never singled out the black framed windows before, but you’re right about their brilliance. Following that pinterest board of yours!

  • Reply Judi January 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I’ve been pinning these windows for quite a while now and dying to find a way to use them (someday). I think this is more than a micro-trend, Holly–thanks for creating a whole luscious board, and Gruesse!

  • Reply Ilse January 28, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    If you are into this style I really recommend visiting Eindhoven! There are a lot of shops and restaurants located in old Philips Factory’s. I lived there for two years and really loved the entire city. (And if you go; I’d recommend ‘Queen Hotel’ for dinner and ‘Hotel Lumiere’ for a luxurious stay with the softest beds and the best breakfast!)

    • Reply decor8 January 28, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      @Ilse – I’ve been to Eindhoven twice but must have missed this – need to go back!

  • Reply Clever Girl Reviews January 28, 2015 at 7:47 pm

    I love the Copenhagen home. Especially the bedroom space!

  • Reply Heidi Gumpert January 28, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    I love it, and I would definitely agree with you that it is very much a trend.

    I think one of the most clever uses is when it’s just a row of windows at the top of a wall — to let light through, but to keep privacy.

  • Reply Diane January 28, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    I’ve been a fan of these since I spotted some in an apartment in downtown Portland, Oregon, when I was in college, more than 30 years ago.

    I think they would look stunning in a bathroom, as a shower door/enclosure.

  • Reply Cate Lawrence January 28, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    Used to stunning effect, definitely worth a visit!

  • Reply Ella January 28, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I LOVE this style. I think industrial decor is so beautiful in apartments/small spaces – it makes it feel bigger!

  • Reply Colleen Welsch January 29, 2015 at 2:52 am

    I just love those factory windows! My friend lives in a remodeled loft and they just let in so much light and they’re so gorgeous! Whenever she has parties they get all steamed up and look so cool

  • Reply Anisha January 29, 2015 at 6:39 am

    these homes are so beautiful!

  • Reply Kristin at Interior Nature January 29, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Its funny how I love industrial chic but live rustic country. After working in an office in a converted warehouse with strong metal elements like these, I realized I needed a lot of wood to offset the impact of the metal. While the glass and black metal are visually stunning, on a deeper level, I prefer the ebony-stained barnwood door on rollers!

  • Reply Heather Murrey January 29, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    I absolutely adore these black framed windows. I am currently in the process of finishing out a new office for our landscape architecture company. We thought the idea of using black metal framed windows like these would sort of help invite the outdoors in and allow for ample natural light in our work space. This is a style that will be able to encompass and inspire many of the different styles that each of our clients have from Formal French Gardens to the Modern Clean-lined.

    Anyway, I was hoping to use old antique frames, but am having trouble sourcing them, any suggestions? Or would you advise that I have these custom made?

    Heather Murrey

  • Reply celyn January 29, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    loving these photos and inspirations, this kind of look is so sleek and chic!

  • Reply Kaleigh January 30, 2015 at 3:28 am

    I absolutely love this trend, and if it weren’t for the frigid weather where I live that requires triple pane windows, I would love to give it a try!!

  • Reply Jenny February 1, 2015 at 9:57 am

    I LOVE this look -have developed a similar lookbook on Houzz as inspiration for my own home next reno! Pair with some matt black handles on white doors ….. faint.

  • Reply The Queen of Dreaming February 1, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I’ve always loved this kind of window, I can really see them in my future house!

  • Reply Arlene February 1, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Heather Murrey,

    If you find a source for the doors either in America or Canada, I’d love to know as well

  • Reply uschi February 2, 2015 at 11:24 am

    gorgeous !
    any ideas why it is not possible to pin the images ? e.g. the one of the sink.
    it doesn’t work – not directly in the picture and not with the pinterest pin button ? thx !

  • Reply Kreetta February 17, 2015 at 9:23 am

    I love this trend. We are going to have a kitchen renovation in two years so I will think seriously these glass walls and doors then.

  • Reply mina February 10, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    I live in Montreal quebec and wondering where can i buy industrial windows?
    Thank you

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