Originally (and perhaps still) viewed by most as a material little used in interior architecture, concrete is actually one of the best structural materials you can work with. It has sustainable qualities if you choose to use a pre-existing slab (rather than pouring new), and with cleaning, polishing and even shading techniques you can make concrete look refined and beautiful in almost any area of your home.
Due to its durability, we like to see concrete used in living rooms, bathrooms and kitchens—but as you'll see in our examples below, concrete is incredibly versatile and beautiful in any part of the home. Also, it's great with stains and water and only requires a weekly clean-up with soap and water—making it easy to maintain.
Concrete is not only for industrialized, factory-specific set-ups—a fresh appreciation for its substance is inspiring a new generation of designers and homeowners alike to consider its interior building potential!
In larger lofts, you tend to have a more industrial feel—large windows, industrial-style lighting, exposed pipes and plumbing—and last but not least, the inclusion of larger areas of concrete. As cost-effective and durable as concrete is, it's easy to use in larger building areas and if you use different colours, textures and application techniques then various parts of your loft can carry a different feeling.
Concrete is phenomenal in that it can be used as flooring, wall material, accent features—and even lighting and lamps! If you're already in a space with a lot of concrete and are looking for something to make it more unique or soften it up, consider polishing some of the concrete finishes to a high-gloss stage, or even scoring concrete floors to make them look like they consist of large tiles!
In smaller flats, apartments and homes, if you want to try concrete as an interior building material, we suggest you stick with one smaller wall, or several accent walls as seen in this example. The mixture of exposed brick and hardwood floors are a perfect acccent to the harshness that concrete provides.
If you're willing to make this a DIY project, you are perfectly capable of doing so. Just make sure that, when designing your concrete walls, you include baseboards as cleaning will cause a back-up of gunk and leftover mopping water.
Concrete and brick together form a great design environment, depending on your tastes. If you're left wondering how your exposed brick walls will handle the addition of stark, industrialized concrete floors, worry not.
In this example, the concrete is polished matte and sealed, and for an added decorative technique they decided to score the concrete to make it look similar to large tiles. The white-washed brick walls and the concrete floor together create a very white and grey colour scheme—if you're looking for a softer space and want to inject some colour, leave your bricks their natural red/brown colour and add some great art work as well.
Think about how much softer this space would be if you added a plush rug or an animal skin throw!
Want more, unique wall options with a concrete floor—take a look at this interesting option!
Combining concrete and wood creates perhaps one of the most perfect industrialized and rustic environments! Here, we have a stark concrete wall mixed with hardwood timber flooring, but we want you to think of combining raw, repurposed wood with polished, high-shine concrete.
Imagine a living room where you have concrete flooring or walls, thick, repurposed wood beams for the ceiling, stairwell or shelving units and add some plush rugs and throws into the mix—what a perfectly cosyspace.
A rather new technique is for homeowners to give their concrete floors a
wood floor makeover. Sounds strange, right? Well, it's absolutely doable and can also give pretty great results. You can now hire professionals to carefully score and stain your concrete slabs so that they appear like raw wood flooring—now that is literally combining the two!
As mentioned before, the wood/concrete environment is a great one to have. We suggest if you have concrete walls that you soften up your living space with the inclusion of either raw wood flooring or a great tile scheme. We suggest for cleanliness and style reasons that you avoid carpeting and linoleum for flooring in a house of concrete.
Look at this dining room/living area with industrial-style walls and raw wood flooring—not as cold as one might assume! A key to working with hard flooring is to warm up the interior with decor and accessories and, if needs be, use great area rugs to cover the most-used areas of the room!
While working with architectural concrete it is beneficial to look at and consider the other various, beautiful products that exist. Anything you can imagine, from flower vases to lighting fixtures and decorative items and shelving can all come from concrete as well and be just as sturdy in their design and durability as building concrete.
Think there might be too many shades of grey in your home? Don't worry! As concrete can come in various shades and polishes, almost every item that you choose will add another dimension to the grey of the concrete and of the surrounding room.
Have leftover slabs and various other materials? The inclusion of concrete in almost anything is possible—take a look here!
By far the most popular option—exposed pipes, plumbing and metal elements have been a huge design choice for designers and homeowners that work with concrete. The beautiful industrial-feel this gives to concrete environments and the further exposure of raw materials in your home shows you've paid attention to detail!
Check out this bathroom as an example—the mix of high-gloss subway tiles with exposed piping and metal elements would look fabulous with either a high-gloss or matte polished concrete floor.
Take a look at the ’Concrete Home’ to better understand how to decorate and properly work with a concrete interior!