These days, many people find themselves moving into urban areas to take advantage of amenities such as public transportation and lively nightlife. Urban interior design reflects the diverse backgrounds and interests of the people migrating to live there. Urban design is characterized by striking colors, nontraditional materials and innovative style.
The central function of urban interior design is to create space, sometimes in surprising ways. Combination live/work spaces have a longstanding tradition in inner cities and industrial areas. Renovated warehouses might feature a concrete floor for large-scale artwork or production and an upper loft for a living space. Highrise apartments, upscale condominiums and mixed-use buildings are other innovations in urban living spaces.
Urban interiors may feature nontraditional home materials and design features. City dwellers use interiors of galvanized steel, concrete floors, metal siding, exposed beams and unfinished surfaces to create a distinctly modern, bohemian look. In upscale urban interiors, however, the look is far more polished, with designer fixtures, sophisticated finishes and innovative small space solutions, such as open floor plans that allow for multifunctional rooms.
The relative tightness in square footage on many urban interiors demands innovative design strategies. Furniture tends toward the low and modular, with less ornamentation. Accessories may be more utilitarian, including mirrors, lighting features, window treatments, textiles and, as a focal point, a large painting in an area that sees the most entertaining. People may mount bookcases to a wall or create built-ins that surround a door frame. Another strategy is to take advantage of vertical space with tall, narrow shelves.
Urban interior design is smart design. Tighter or nontraditional spaces force many people to eliminate clutter and organize their belongings. Many city dwellers sing the praises of their urban interiors, however, for the conviviality they inspire. If there is only a galley kitchen and no dining area, the party can move to the hallway or a rooftop garden.
Recent trends in urban interiors are not suitable for everyone. Live/work spaces pose unique challenges to people with young children because the easy access to everything, and the industrial materials used in construction makes the home more hazardous. Unfinished buildings that sell or rent for a song are not always a good deal in the end if there are ongoing problems with the foundation or moisture.