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Each quarter, the HGTV Home Studio co-op program brings in two interior design interns and pairs them with Vern Yip and other HGTV design experts to create an interactive exhibit that focuses on an iconic interior design trend and one that’s currently topping the list. University of Cincinnati students Laura Ostendorf and Monica Blair worked diligently last quarter to come up with two separate topics that would create one cohesive display. Enter the Thonet Chair and vintage industrial furnishings. You’re probably wondering how that lime green chair fits into a vintage industrial setting. Surprisingly, this classic piece of furniture is often seen among reclaimed wood furnishings, factory carts and vintage-inspired accessories.

Peek into Laura and Monica’s exhibit, and see if you think these two design elements pair well together, too.

hgtv home studio vintage industrial thonet chair

The exhibit, located at HGTV Headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., is entirely interactive and allows people to sit in different Thonet chair models and feel the various industrial elements around the space, including a swinging barn door.

hgtv home studio monica blair vintage industrial

Monica focused primarily on the vintage industrial aspect of the exhibit, and her main goal was to make this style more understood. Rather than seeing vintage industrial pieces as something that has “gone through a lifespan or needs to be tossed, they should be viewed as old and beautiful,” she says. And while many people think this style can only be used in city lofts or industrial apartment settings, reclaimed wood and steel pipes can be pulled into any home with virtually any style. To create this dining table, Erin Norton True of Urban Wood Goods hand-selected a piece of wood from a dismantled farm in Woodstock, Ill. and then repurposed it and added distressed steel pipe legs. You should see this beauty up close – it’s stunning!

Oh, and did you happen to notice the hanging Edison bulbs? With the rising vintage industrial trend, these nostalgic, low-wattage light bulbs are making a comeback. Monica suggests pairing this lighting with reclaimed wood and metals to amplify the warm glow, especially in the bedroom or dining room where ambient lighting is a must.

hgtv home studio vintage industrial piping

Steel pipes aren’t just for home improvement purposes. They make creative wall shelves and curtain rods, too.

If you’re dying to bring this style into your home, start by building a DIY factory cart coffee table. Get the Full Step-by-Step Instructions >>

hgtv home studio vignette thonet chair

The Thonet chair is definitely an iconic piece of furniture and is still seen in homes and commercial settings today. Michael Thonet created his famous bentwood chair in 1859. “It’s considered the most successful mass-produced chair of all time,” Laura says. “It was literally the Ikea of the 19th century.” The popularity of this chair also stems from its technique – the bending of solid wood with hardware tying all the pieces together. (No glue!) And being made from light, strong and easy-to-obtain beechwood made the Thonet chair affordable and simple to make, she says.

hgtv home studio vignette thonet chair

More than 150 years later, this chair is still being produced and in a variety of contemporary colors, Laura says. Whether you enjoy the classic Thonet appearance or one with a vibrant hue, they’re certainly not difficult to come by. Design Within Reach offers model no. 14 in a luscious green and the rounder Vienna chair (model no. 9) in a killer turquoise ideal for any sun-filled kitchen…or around a reclaimed wood dining table.

What’s your take on these trends? Do you currently have either one of them in your home? Tell us in the comments!

4 Responses

  1. Annk says:

    Those contemporary chair colors are very stylish. <3

  2. Larry Wolf says:

    I have two 2 New York Thonet lounge chairs – high backs – beautiful condition – Can send pictures – Will sale – found in a facility built in the early 50s

  3. Lenna says:

    Nice job on presenting a great resource for us all to read.

  4. Mirian Theis says:

    Last time We missed this event. Will this event be placed again? please in type me if this celebration is held again.

Kayla KittsKayla is a special projects editor at HGTV.com and a co-editor-in-chief for Design Happens. Kayla is an overbearing cat mom with a love for vintage-modern furniture, artisan cocktails, organizing all...


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