5 Words to Describe Detroit Interior Design Style 

Mar 8, 2024 | Detroit

Every city is known for something – sports, entertainment, nightlife, relaxation…you get the picture. Words used to describe a city help attract the people who live, work, or visit there. In the same way words like gritty, dynamic, and innovative describe our city, Detroit’s interior design has shaped its own definitive style (we weren’t named a UNESCO Creative City for nothin’). Discover 5 words to describe Detroit interior design style!  

#1 Industrial  

Our city’s pivotal role in the Industrial Revolution inspired the edgy aesthetic we often see associated with Detroit. Detroit industry left a permanent mark on the world economy and the families and individuals it employs. Whether it’s because of their own career or wanting to honor relatives who worked in Detroit plants, many residents seek to incorporate their industrial roots into their space.  

It'd be difficult to find an interior more representative of Detroit industry than Gettin’ City with It in Midtown. As a huge Diego Rivera fan with a family history at Ford Motor Co., owner Scott DiParvine gravitated to the Detroit Industry Murals wallpaper, made possible by Detroit Wallpaper Co’s partnership with the Detroit Insitute of Arts. The metal doors from local artisans like Woodward Throwbacks, countertops and sinks from Line Studio Detroit, and Carhartt-inspired sofa fabric work together to create not just an industrial aesthetic, but a Detroit industrial aesthetic.  



#2 Purpose-Driven 

Detroit’s entrepreneurial community has helped shape local interior design (and the city itself) into what it is today. They’ve produced countless businesses and organizations that unlock new possibilities and make the world a better place. Not only do these brick-and-mortar locations look amazing, but they also serve an important purpose.  

One space that embodies purpose-driven design is somewhere that helped further Concetti CEO + Principal Designer Rachel Nelson’s career. Before we she was an award-winning business owner…she started with Build.  

First opened in 2012, Build Institute was created as a safe space for Detroit entrepreneurs to engage each other, network, and cultivate a successful business. As a graduate of Build’s entrepreneurial courses, Rachel was thrilled when they recruited Concetti to elevate their brand and transform their space to better serve our city’s current and future entrepreneurs.  

“Build Institute is an idea activator, and small business accelerator focused on equity, inclusion, diversity, and access to opportunity. Essentially, it’s the place where people with an idea can go to explore and nurture that idea. To discover how they can bring it to the next level.” – Build Institute  



#3 Historic 

Throughout Detroit’s deep architectural history, Albert Kahn is possibly our city’s best-known architect. He designed recognizable and historic architecture such as the Packard Automotive Plant and the Fisher Building, and his residential work is a sought-after selling point in Detroit real estate. Residents who can’t preserve or restore Kahn interiors often find different ways to honor history through interior design.   

Dapper in Detroit is a shining example of how new materiality can still honor history. Inspired by the building’s spot on the National Register of Historic Places, this bathroom transformation feels authentically historic yet offers the comfort and convenience of modern design. 

Nostalgic materiality helped achieve the vision, but it was the meticulous tilework – like the London trim, pencil details, soldier stacked vertical tile, terrazzo, and floral yet masculine floor design – that makes the bathroom of this Albert Kahn apartment building feel like a perfectly preserved piece of history. The retro black and white print of the Detroit River is icing on the cake.  



#4 Human-Centric   

Detroit is filled with people who share our opinion that the spaces we spend time in have a profound impact on our well-being. This is why so many Detroit interiors balance the human experience and functionality with the aesthetic.    

We see businesses like Good Cakes and Bakes, who prioritized a space that facilitates an effortless, inspired experience for both the customer and employee. As a community-focused business, they recognize the positive ripple effect that positive employee and customer experiences can have on our city and beyond.  



On the residential side, you’ll find interiors that look fabulous AND provide a haven. For example, Rose Hues in River View was designed to invoke a powerful feeling of safety for its owner.  

When first seeing the dated 1950s space, our initial instinct was to tear down the walls and open things up. However, our client desired more intimate and less exposed spaces. So, we kept the walls and created the illusion of a larger space with unique materiality choices. Thanks to our client’s distinct vision and vulnerability, this space bloomed into a human-centric, rose-hued oasis of peace and tranquility where she can spend her golden years. 



#5 Authentic  

If there’s one thing to know about Detroiters, it’s that they aren’t afraid to embrace their personality…especially in their space! As interior design strategists, we get to work with clients every single day who hunger for authenticity – functionally and aesthetically.  

From re-imaging the layout of a space and literally busting down walls to accessorizing or leaning into a theme or concept, Detroiters are passionate about authentic spaces – even if it means “breaking the rules” or deviating from tradition.  

Although authenticity means something different to literally everyone, we can’t help but use personality-packed Hype on Stripes as an example. This funky, laid paid Rivertown couple with a newborn trusted us to turn their gray, divided space into an open, modern, and edgy sanctuary, complete with black and white stripes, pops of color, cats, and a little bit of Star Wars in every single room. 

“I saved Concetti as soon as I found them. They were the only ones funky enough for me and I knew they wouldn’t be cookie cutter.” – Kelly, owner of Hype on Stripes 




Ready to co-create your own Detroit style?