2018 was all about the bold colours and fun looks when it came to interiors, but 2019 is showing a shift towards the opposite end of the aesthetic spectrum, with subtle and sophistication being the look of the day. Concrete perfectly opitomises this look, with its smooth lines and muted colours.
Many people think concrete is cold, hard and unforgiving. It can be all of those things, but it also has its place in the typical family home. If you need a bit of convincing, this post is for you.
It is easy to maintain
When you have a family, you are probably all about the ease of maintenance. You don’t have time to be continually cleaning up spills and drips, and you want something that goes down, stays down and is easy to keep clean, while looking right at the same time. Concrete is all of those things. In fact, most of the hard work happens int he choosing and production of your concrete item. Whether it is flooring, countertops, fireplaces or even coffee tables, you need to make sure that it is appropriately stained, sealed and polished. Once in situ, it just needs a gentle sweep every so often to remove dust and debris, and a quick wash with a non-abrasive cleaner.
It creates an industrial look.
Concrete and industrial looks go hand in hand. Warehouses turned into chic apartment blocks, and old machinery repurposed into furniture have been strong looks for many years, and the trend does not appear to be going anywhere soon. In a family home, the style can be a bit overwhelming, but you can incorporate elements of it by using concrete, especially if you are blessed with an open plan type space.
Why not look at concrete sinks and worktops in the kitchen, or carrcrete, which is an excellent alternative to a polished concrete floor in the kitchen? If that isn’t your thing, or you want something a bit bolder, look at having a concrete wall to make a style statement. You will probably want to stick at just one, to give a punch of texture and interest. Too many walls can leave your home feeling a bit cold and stark.
It can be eco-friendly
Depending on the type of concrete you opt for, it can be pretty eco-friendly. Traditional concrete made up of cement, water and aggregate are not great for the environment, as the process of creating cement is quite intense and uses a lot of fossil fuels and energy. They also usually have added chemicals and pigments to speed up the process and make it easier to work with. However, there are forms of concrete out there that do have eco credentials, such as those made from ash or other recycled materials. It is worth doing your research to see what different ones are out there.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that even if you do opt for concrete, especially if it is for flooring, it is that once laid, it is better for the environment to have it refinished rather than repeatedly replacing other materials.
Concrete also works very well in combination with underfloor heating and solar design homes for their heat retention potential. As the sun shines all day on these floors, the heat is absorbed and is released into the house later, when it needs it at night
It can better for your health.
Health is a big concern for many families, and concrete flooring can be a really positive choice. They are much easier to clean and do not harbour dust mites or other allergens that other types of flooring do.
It adds texture
It brings a whole added dimension of texture and can bring a lot of visual interest to a room. When we are discussing texture in an interior design context, texture means the way a material looks like it feels. We are all familiar with how our hands feel when we run them over concrete, so it adds that element of familiarity and connection.
The key when using something with a lot of texture, such as concrete, is to use something that contrasts. The starkness of concrete means it works very well with natural materials such as wood. It is essential to pay attention to the shades of colour within the concrete and use contrasting tones in the rest of the room. You can even add some flecks of colour into many forms of concrete and emphesize those with soft furnishings around the room – curtains, cushions, sofas, and throws.
It creates a focal point.
We are all told to have some sort of focal point within our homes be it a bold wall, a picture or a feature such as a fireplace. The good thing with having an element of concrete in your home is that it automatically creates this focal point. A concrete fireplace will draw the eye and take command of the room, while a coffee table in the living room or a concrete kitchen island piece immediately becomes a point of discussion.
It can be as bold or as subtle as you like
We’ve mostly looked at concrete walls and floors here, but you can introduce it as subtly as you like. If coffee tables are too much for you, what about lampshades and light fittings? They are versatile and subtle, can be moved around quickly and do not need a whole new redecoration to make it fit in with your current room.
Concrete is an incredibly versatile material that works just as well within our homes as it does in our driveways and garden. It no longer has to bring images of prison cells or car parks to our minds and definitely should not be overlooked during your next home renovation project, especially if you like to keep your home on trend. It is both robust yet very pleasing on the eye when used correctly, and it really can transform your interior.
This is a collaborative post.