9 Ways to Incorporate Concrete into Your Home

By Kealia Reynolds

Thanks to its durability, versatility, and affordability—and the fact that it’s just plain chic—there are pretty much an endless number of ways to use concrete in your home. According to Erin Powell, design director and principal designer at roOomy, a company that helps you better visualize your space through the power of 3D, augmented, and virtual reality, “Concrete is a neutral element that balances nicely with any other material. Given its sleek look and feel, it can be blended with a variety of other design palettes and easily paired with wood, marble, or steel.” Here are nine ways to incorporate concrete in your home.

1. Concrete walls

Adding concrete walls to your house is a bold and modern upgrade, but you don’t have to have a modern-looking home to include concrete walls. Whether you go with four walls or one, establish a balance between warm and cold elements to keep the space from feeling impersonal. We recommend board-formed concrete—the wood grain imprint works to visually soften and warm up the cool concrete and can stand as a bold and unique accent wall.

According to Powell, “When styling a room with strong concrete accents, flooring, and finishes, it’s important homeowners are conscious about also incorporating warm pieces into their spaces. Concrete details can create a cold and somewhat lifeless environment, so it’s helpful to offset the space with warmer colors, textiles, plants, colorful artwork, and gold or rose gold accents.”

2. Concrete flooring

Polished concrete floors are timelessly stylish—they look especially great in sun rooms, kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms. Concrete floors can withstand pretty much any wear and tear your throw at them, and any dents and scratches will only add character. Not to mention, they’re extremely easy to clean, requiring only routine dusting and an occasional mopping. Justin Riordan, founder of Portland-based Spade and Archer Design Agency, also recommends polishing and sealing your concrete floors. “If concrete floors aren’t polished and sealed, the concrete will absorb liquid and spall (flake off and make a dusty mess),” says Riordan. If you polish the concrete once every couple of years, it will look amazing and last eight to ten times longer than it will if left untreated.

Sara Cannon, designer at House Heroes LLC, agrees. “Polished concrete is an awesome alternative flooring that is practically indestructible when sealed properly.”

3. Concrete countertops

As long as it’s properly sealed and maintained (this prevents staining and discoloration), concrete countertops are virtually indestructible, able to handle heat and resist stains. Concrete countertops are also wonderfully customizable. Everything from the color to the edge design can be made to order. “Concrete counters are affordable, can be DIY-ed, and are a really appealing alternative to laminate or other common materials,” says Cannon.

Keep in mind that although concrete countertops are overall pretty durable, their corners are susceptible to chipping and may develop a patina, a green or brown film that can develop after being exposed to oxidation over a long period, within a few years of being installed, according to Riordan.

4. Concrete kitchen island

Thanks to the glamorization of farmhouse-chic style (thanks, Joanna Gaines), concrete kitchen islands have become all the rage because of their industrial-meets-rustic vibe. You can still opt for a concrete-topped kitchen island even if your countertops are in a different material thanks to the growing popularity of two-toned kitchens.

5. Concrete décor

The easiest way to incorporate concrete in your home is with accent pieces like coffee tables or side tables. According to Powell, homeowners can transform their spaces into modern and industrial getaways by adding concrete coffee tables, vases, and decorative accents. “By incorporating just a touch of concrete, people can add this on-trend material while blending it effortlessly with more timeless fabrics, leathers, and rich textiles,” says Powell. You could also go smaller and include concrete lamp stands, bookends, picture frames, lighting fixtures, or planters throughout your home.

6. Concrete showers

If you’re tired of cleaning tile grout in your showers, consider remodeling with concrete. Troweled-on concrete creates seamless, waterproof shower walls and basins. Because concrete showers can be made virtually without seams, the shower is easier to clean and maintain. Note that concrete can be extremely slippery when wet, so be sure to incorporate a non-slip texture into the sealer to prevent falls.

If you’re more the bath type, concrete tubs are also an option. Note: a large tub may require a stronger floor structure like cement or concrete, so consult with an architect or engineer before installing a concrete tub in your home.

7. Concrete fireplace hearths

Because concrete retains heat and releases it slowly, it can help keep a room warm long after the fire has died out. Create a seamless concrete fireplace for an impressive monolithic statement or use stamped concrete to give the appearance of brick without the added maintenance.

8. Concrete sinks

In the bathroom, concrete gives off a natural, minimalist look. Just like concrete countertops, a concrete sink should be sealed to prevent stains and water from seeping into the material.

9. Outdoor furniture

Since concrete is so durable, it performs exceptionally well outdoors. “I love a concrete wall, water feature stepping stone, or retaining curb,” says Riordan. “When concrete is incorporated into the landscape, lovely modern lines can be achieved with minimal cost and big visual impact.” For outdoor concrete inspiration, we love concrete fire pits, concrete steps, and even concrete patios.

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