INDUSTRIAL CHIC: Feminine/Masculine

Tricks to softening a hard space

Over the weekend, I spoke with a potential client about ways in which you could soften a minimalist concrete and wood space. It got me excited about the possibilities, and I discovered that there are a few sure-fire ways in my opinion to accomplish this:

Soft textiles, rugs, drapery, throws and pillows (helps if they are casual and loose)
*  FUR anything (or velvet…as long as it’s plush)
*  Upholstered, leather or feminine seating
*  A rustic or antique piece
*  Hanging lighting fixtures that are either ornate (like a chandelier) or loosely gathered (like bulb pendants)

Oftentimes adding even one of these elements can entirely change the feeling of a space.

I think the point would be to add elements that make it feel effortless, pliable, relaxed, comfortable…less permanent and rigid; adding that extra layer to balance it out. (Reminds me a bit of the Boho Glam Recipe I threw together, but perhaps with less glam and more iconic pieces?) What would you do?

Loving this look? Great sites for more of it:
From the Right Bank
Desire to Inspire
Solid Frog

Check out my Pinterest board for sources and more inspiration!

Erika Brechtel

Erika Brechtel

Creative Director

Desiring an online space to explore well-rounded, inspired content in all topics she loves most, Erika created 'The E List' (formerly the Small Shop blog) in 2010. When not enjoying an “occasional" glass of wine and wanderlusting for even warmer climates, Erika can be found sharing laughs with friends and family, and trying her very best to keep up with her 6-year old daughter (yet failing miserably).

  1. These types of spaces are among my favorite. Maybe because the cement floors/walls are so often in lofts, and I LOVE lofts! Your tips are spot on, though! The other thing I love is bringing in some ethnic or global elements into the textiles. I like the look of a Turkish rug, a linear, modern sofa, pretty, flowing drapes and cement floors. Oh, and art work, lots of framed art work!

  2. I knew this post was coming based off my pinterest blowing up. Yes it would be quite a treat to live in any of these spaces. I definitely need big art to pop against my industrial walls. And OH! to enjoy a flokati rug! Not going to happen as long as I have the black pug.

  3. Great tips. I love industrial lofts and the like but sometimes they can look a bit sterile and cold. I find that rugs, super duper large plush ones (or reg. ones) help not only anchor a space, but keeps it feeling like an actual home. For me, there CAN be too much of a good thing (ex: I love concrete painted floors but again…it can feel too factory like if there aren’t any rugs).

  4. These are some of my fave pics of all time. That blue green glass chandelier in the concrete loft is crazy good. Why do you have such a talent for finding inspiration pics??
    -e (

  5. Love these environments. Unfortunately almost impossible to create living “with the right feeling” in the old industries and raw winds in Sweden. When isolated and changed the windows are done, the whole feeling is gone. Either destroys the building’s beautiful original features on the outside or inside.

  6. HI,
    I am creating a trade brochure for our Garden Centre restaurant, in which I have various mood images. I had pinned the image of the coffee shop library from pinterest as a perfect look for us. I have only been able to trace the image to your web site. We would like to print the image and I want to check licence etc. Is this your image or could you direct me to source? Thanks, Beth Eyre

  7. All intriguing !
    My question is…where would I be able to get the overhead globe lighting.
    Thank you very much, Rhonda