Hard-wearing and always super slick, concrete is a beloved cornerstone of minimalist design. And yet, surprisingly family friendly and warm, it makes a great option in most schemes. It can add rough-hewn texture or be surprisingly refined and for those reasons alone is an evergreen design staple that’s always on trend.
When it comes to considering how to use concrete in the home, it’s easy to revert to walls and floors as the obvious choices. But before you start, it’s worth considering what’s hot in concrete, new technologies and how to add a little surprising twist. How to apply the concrete trend depends partly on how bold you want to be. Concrete bathroom? Concrete kitchen? A polished concrete walkway that slides out in the garden or adding a concrete stain to get a leftfield effect? Up to you, but as it’s the edgy material that never gets old you can always guarantee style points however you use it.
If you want to test the waters rather than commit to a large renovation project such as a concrete floor or wall, living room decorating ideas are a great place to start. Try some easy accessories, such as bowls or table top sculptures. Concrete lighting is also a good way to go, as the bulb glow adds a new and unexpected dimension. Try a lamp with a concrete base or a concrete pendant light for an affordable experiment.
Polished concrete floors never date and offer such a robust, easy to clean, stylish solution it’s easy to see why, when it comes to kitchen interior design, a concrete kitchen floor is wonderfully hardy. Popular finishes include polished concrete sealed with a protective coating, but a less well-known alternative is a concrete stain. With these you can add in colour or finishes that resemble marble or even wood. Play with the planes, vertical and horizontal in wet rooms or concrete bathrooms by adding in a slightly contrasting hue or unexpected detail such as a pattern or colour. Faux wooden blinds (also water resistant so good in these spaces) can add some colour here to pick up the tones.
Used as a base for indoor or out concrete furniture is more than a minimalist furniture dream. Concrete design can of course cover the standard concrete sink but imagine an outdoor concrete bath overlooking a terrace where concrete kitchen worktops encapsulate an all weather BBQ. Concrete tables, from the sturdy permanent outdoor type to the polished indoor dining table with elegant metal legs, both work beautifully when matched with glossy or rugged wooden benches. A concrete poured base can make a luxuriously comfortable lounger indoor or out with the addition of some made to measure cushions. (Use yacht grade fabric outside to allow for any showers).
Walls & Surfaces
A bathroom and kitchen dream, concrete work surfaces are a chic alternative to the standard Corian, wood or tile that proliferate. But you don’t have to be a fan of minimalist design to consider replacing these with concrete worktops. Obviously a quick win for those seeking the industrial look, this material can also add softness with a subtle warm concrete stain or a slick light bouncing sheen when highly polished.
For walls, engraved, patterned or decorative concrete can add an arresting focal point. A concrete wall design in an otherwise plain bathroom or in a garden can add a quiet surprise, both subtle and clever, as would a sunken bath or a floor to a ceiling window that contrasts your clean lined wet room with the natural irregularity of your garden (when considering privacy, use a strong blind with a hot colour pop to flatter the two elements). Due to its hard-wearing and weatherproof nature it can create a strong visual link between an interior wall and an outdoor space. Use it in a wall that runs from a living space into the garden, sectioned with a floor to ceiling glass wall.
Finally, if you are suffering concrete culture shock, break up the effect by adding vintage blankets, hot tribal colour rugs or animal furs, or even embed your flat screen TV into a concrete wall for a high contrast as super chic effect; worthy of a (very stylish) Bond Villain.
For more ideas on window treatments to compliment concrete, take a look at look at our full range of solutions.