DON'T GIVE CONCRETE THE COLD SHOULDER

Concrete has been making a solid name for itself in interior design circles in recent years and there’s no sign of this super cool material subsiding from our creative conscious any time soon.

It’s historical application and long association of being a hard, grey, matte material means it can often appear cold, but it actually offers more warmth than you may think!

The high performing thermal properties of concrete means that its mass can protect the space it resides in from extreme cold and extreme heat. It can absorb heat from sunlight, store it and release it slowly back into the space, the way that timber and carpet simply can’t.

As we head into the cooler months don’t give concrete the cold shoulder just yet! Here are six ways to visually soften one of the coolest decorating materials available, many of which can be adapted to the home.

RUGS
Rugs are an important and welcome addition to any space, whether delineating zones, providing a plush, toe-tickling sensation underfoot, or to create warmth and coziness, especially when layered over concrete flooring. Blush tones are very on trend and create a beautifully harmonious pairing with concrete’s cooler colouring. 

New Market showroom in Amsterdam by Framework

New Market showroom in Amsterdam by Framework

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

TEXTURE
Adding layers of texture will soften the hard edges and hard surfaces of concrete. Introducing natural fibres and fabrics such as cotton, linen, flax, timber and leather in the form of cushions, throws and furniture add variation to visually soften concrete, often making it appear organic in itself.

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

WOOD
The addition of a natural timber inlay (as seen in David Chipperfield’s Valentino concept store), timber joinery and details such as cabinetry, doors, ceilings or stairs, provide a naturally warm marriage when paired with concrete.

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

Valentino Concept Store in Milan by David Chipperfield

Invisible House by Peter Stutchbury in Sydney’s Blue Mountains

Invisible House by Peter Stutchbury in Sydney’s Blue Mountains

LIGHTING
Soft warm lighting adds ambience and mood to any room as a whole, but in a space where concrete is the hero, clever lighting styles and plans are even more important. Achieving a balance where emitted light can be reflected and absorbed by concrete creates interesting plays of light, adding depth to the flat surfaces and enabling them to really glow in all the right places.

2 Verandas by Gus Wüstemann in Zürich Switzerland

2 Verandas by Gus Wüstemann in Zürich Switzerland

2 Verandas by Gus Wüstemann in Zürich Switzerland

WINDOW TREATMENTS
Drapes and curtains have a distinct softening effect in a concrete space with their veil-like presence adding lightness via rippling, organic movements and soft texture. Varying degrees of opacity filter incoming light, blurring the juxtaposing hard surface we have come to expect from concrete.

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Balwyn House by Fiona Lynch

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

Wolseley Residence in Melbourne’s Brighton by Mckimm

HEATING
If you are lucky enough to plan a renovation or build from the ground up, you can allow for under floor heating to be installed with minimal fuss. This is the ultimate luxury in creating a comfortable concrete experience all year round.

Arbutus Street residence (under construction) by Alexandra Kidd Design

Arbutus Street residence (under construction) by Alexandra Kidd Design

Summerhouse Lagnö in Sweden by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Summerhouse Lagnö in Sweden by Tham & Videgård Arkitekter

Image 1 via Yellowtrace / Image 2 via David Chipperfield  / Image 3 via Fiona Lynch  / Image 4 via Yellowtrace / Image 5 via David Chipperfield  / Image 6 via Yellowtrace / Image 7 & 8 via Dezeen / Image 9 via Fiona Lynch / Image 10 via  Yellowtrace / Image 11 via Alexandra Kidd Design / Image 12 via Yellowtrace