'Forget grandeur', the American interior designer, Albert Hadley said, 'I don't think it's the quality we want today'. Looking back from 2016, it's clear that the late, great designer couldn't have been more right. Contemporary trends in interior design are pushing to celebrate the ordinary, rather than the ornate. Nowhere is this more evident than in the recent popularity of industrial concrete indoors. Here are a few ways you can master this bold design statement in your home.
Surprisingly, part of concrete's essential allure lies in its dullness. This makes it a superb material for lighting, offering an immediate contrast with the electric glow of a bulb. This technique is highlighted in the work of Italian lighting manufacturer, Foscarini. The minimalist result of concrete lamps and light fittings works well in a variety of modern interiors, from Scandi-chic to industrial brutalism. To recreate this effect, consider pairing concrete lights with squirrel cage bulbs operated by a dimmer switch. The combination of the dull, matte finish with light cast on it from a bare bulb is striking.
Another of concrete's undoubtable charms is its hardiness. As such a hard-wearing material, concrete is perfect for use in utility areas. Across modern design shows, we've seen numerous examples of concrete being used for utility surfaces and sinks. Not only does the material offer an aesthetic break from the norm of hard woods and granite, it also provides a long-lasting, durable solution in problem areas of the home.
Keep it balanced
There's no getting away from the fact that concrete is a hard and cold material, and that will have an impact on the feel of your home. The trick to maintaining a comfortable and welcoming environment therefore lies in balance. Introduce just enough concrete to capture the industrial aesthetic of the moment, but not so much that your living space feels like a factory. The coolness of concrete is easily offset by warm colours and subtle lighting so make sure you've taken these aspects into consideration in your design.
Another way to offset the cool, stark feeling of concrete is to introduce plump, comfortable seating and plush cushions and throws. Better yet, opt for colourful fabrics to inject cheerfulness into the room. Rather than watering down the impact of the concrete, the contrast simply lessens the extent to which the material affects the mood of the space. It also ensures you still have a warm and inviting spot in which to relax. By using these techniques, concrete can become a subtle yet positively transformative element of modern design.
With years of experience in international property markets, Engel & Völkers boasts a thorough understanding of what it takes to market a home, from interior design to crunching numbers at the point of exchange. Visit the E&V website for more ideas on styling your property in preparation for sale.