Have you ever sat on a concrete garden bench and appreciated its beauty and durability? Landscapers long ago discovered the many advantages of concrete as a building material: It’s inexpensive, flexible, easy to work with, and results in a product that’s solid, eco-friendly, and versatile. Most concrete is made from a mixture of ballast rock (sand, stone, and gravel), cement, and water. Even better, it’s entirely natural and can be molded into just about any form.
Over the past decade, concrete staining and finishing processes have evolved and concrete has been invited into our interior spaces. Builders are using concrete for countertops and floors, and interior designers find it an interesting and exciting element to include in all types of spaces. Here’s what to look for when shopping for concrete pieces for your own home, with an eye on design. Our catalog includes a wide selection!
Concrete is a heavyweight material, which makes it perfect for furniture that should stay in place as you and your family move around. However, concrete can also be made lightweight by design, so not every piece is weighty. The choice is yours!
Look for dining tables with concrete tops that shine under modern or industrial chandeliers, side tables to sit beside a colorful patterned sofa, benches for the mudroom, or a coffee table for the lounge or TV room. A round concrete cocktail table can fit near a chair or love seat, and you won’t have to worry too much about knocking it over. If you’re looking to bring concrete into your kitchen, consider a freestanding island topped with a smooth concrete slab. You won’t miss the expensive marble or quartz when concrete is just as durable and beautiful, too.
But if you love the look of natural stone, don’t despair — some concrete tabletops and countertops are creatively stained to resemble other materials, and the effect can be very convincing. With a few concrete pieces inside the house, you can more easily integrate your theme into indoor-outdoor areas like sunrooms, decks, and patios. Here, you can have fun with colored concrete benches, umbrella stands, tables, birdbaths, and fire pits. Don’t forget the front of your house. Try a row of small concrete-topped tables for your front porch to support decorative plants, flowerpots, and candles.
Concrete Lamps and Light Fixtures
Concrete lamps and wall fixtures are revolutionizing the lighting scene and designers are jumping on board to explore the potential. Unlike wood and metal — more standard materials for lights — concrete can be molded into unusual shapes that stand out in a room as feature pieces. Look for everything from table lamps with swooping, graceful arcs and spheres, standing lamps with square or rounded concrete bases, and desk lamps with interesting stamped textures, inlays, and etched finishes.
In a rustic kitchen, look for a concrete wall sconce with natural rust and raw concrete features.
A free-standing floor lamp with a thick concrete base will give an industrial location its characteristic mechanical, hardy, and functional appeal.
Look also for table lanterns with lattice designs, round oil lamps, table lamps near the hammock or love seat, and solar sconces to hang on the porch and garage.
Past meets present in creative fusions of concrete chandeliers. Where historical charm fuses with modern materials, these lights will easily find a home.
Some lamps fuse concrete bases to brass, copper, or iron posts with results that are both stunning and sturdy. Concrete wall fixtures look great on accent wall or in transitional spaces, but you can use them anywhere in the house given their neutral tones.
When it comes to home decor, concrete is one of the most exciting new materials to appear in showrooms and catalogs in recent years. The way concrete can mold into any form makes it the perfect material for nanotechnologies and 3D printing, so you’ll see shapes never before available, as well as improvements on classic styles. Shop for tall vases for the fireplace hearth, a decorative medallion for the dining room, and cubist bookends for the study or TV room. Smaller pieces like candlesticks, knickknacks, salt and pepper shakers, and even tissue boxes stand out in form and function when made from concrete.
You can even eat and drink from concrete vessels. Try a smooth and striking concrete bowl on the dining table to fill with faux or real fruit and enjoy the stability and shine.
Extend your concrete decor to outdoor areas — the choices for concrete planters include many shapes and sizes. A concrete umbrella holder near the front door can be the feature piece you’ve been looking for and ensures that guests and kids won’t topple it accidentally. Look also for water fountains, tubs, jugs, stepping stones, and garden boxes for tomatoes, beans, and flowers. Outdoor or indoor, you can be sure your concrete pieces will last and look good through many seasons.
In spite of concrete’s versatility, there are times and places where it won’t work because not every wall or floor surface can support a large piece of concrete. A massive concrete structure for the garden might look great, but shipping it would break the bank. In such instances, you might turn to either faux concrete or concrete effects on materials that are actually made from wood, metal or other substances. Manufacturers can mimic the look of concrete by spraying a light layer on top of metal, wood, even ceramic and glass. The result can be beautiful and so realistic you won’t know the difference.
The lighter weight of faux concrete can be an advantage for wall pieces like mirrors and artwork, giving you the chance to play upon another object in a room — like a table — that is authentically concrete. When designing with faux concrete, you can get really creative. Consider outside-the-box ideas like concrete wallpaper for an accent area, concrete placemats, faux concrete pillars that connect the floor to ceiling, or a spherical pool for the garden. Faux concrete isn’t as eco-friendly and might not last as long as the real thing, but it will give you the look without the weight.
Concrete is moving from a strictly outdoor material to one with creative and innovative uses throughout the home. Modern technology can now process concrete in ways never before possible, allowing designers of all kinds to use the versatile and inexpensive material anywhere it fits. When you’re ready to upgrade your home or outdoor areas with concrete pieces, take a look through our catalog and save your favorites. Then you can decide on your own time and order when you’re ready. Do it soon — you’ll love the way concrete makes your home more functional, safe, natural, and beautiful!