Exposed concrete has moved on from being just an architectural industrial material to a source of inspiration for interior finishes. The urban material is now entering homes via the floors, walls, furniture and home accessories, bringing interesting textures and finishes in unexpected places.
We're not talking about living in a car park. The beauty of concrete is it mixes so well with other materials, such as wood, marble, copper and brass, which can all tone down its brutalist tendencies.
Hard-wearing and super slick, concrete givesa sophisticated yet industrial edge that’s hard to resist.It can add rough-hewn texture or be surprisingly refined, and is slowly becoming acornerstone of minimalist design.
Dip your toe in the trend with a concrete hanging shelf, a candle holder or plant pot. Feeling braver? Go for a statement dining table, coffee table or bar stool. Can't get enough of the stuff? Knock yourself out with polished concrete floors (not literally) – which look great in modern kitchens. Alternatively, go for concrete-effect wallpaper for a utilitarian look, or update your bathroom with concrete tiles.
Contrast the cold, hard and industrial surface by mixing it with soft furnishings and more tactile textures.
Upgrade your plant pot to thisMarble and Concrete Plant Pot (opens in new tab), with a painted marble-effect rim giving a polished edge to the rough, unfinished concrete pot. Nothing like a bit of rough with the smooth.
TheNo.046 Lamp (opens in new tab) from John Lewis combines rough concrete with a soft Art Deco inspired glass bulb and a glamorous brass accent (opens in new tab).With its contemporary contrast of concrete, glass and brass, this eleganttable lamp (opens in new tab) is concrete for beginners.
Bring rustic style to your interior with this concrete wall clock (opens in new tab) by House Doctor for Amara. Made from cement and brass, it features brass coated iron hands and is finished soft, brushed concrete. Great for breathing just a hint of concrete into your home.
Add a dash of industrial chic to your interiors with this concrete shelf (opens in new tab) from Lyon Beton. Plain and simple, it's great for displaying plants, pictures or books with just a subtle hint of the hard stuff.
This versatilesquare stool (opens in new tab) is the ultra-modern weatherproof answer to garden furniture, seating unexpected visitors, fun and informal dining, or even to be used as a base for a planter.
Add a chic industrial edge to your home with this Beton concrete ceiling lamp (opens in new tab) from Serax. Resembling a concrete block, it's made from smooth concrete with an opaque glass base.
This round concrete pedestal table (opens in new tab) has an antique look but no unnecessary frills. Classically round and standing on a bulbous pedestal, it add a touch of modern sophistication to your garden – and is maintenance free!
Made.com'sBoone sideboard (opens in new tab) has asimple and elegant design with a modern and confident finish.The epitome of contemporary design, this sideboard has clean modernist lines and a contrasting concrete top to add unexpected edge.
A coffee table on the terrace? Why not?! This rectangular concrete coffee table (opens in new tab)combines clean, hard edges, with a soft (and wipe-down) texture. Pretty fab as a statement piece, indoors or out.
SLENDER DINING TABLE
Gather round Made.com's roomy Boone dining table (opens in new tab) to entertain guests in style.The epitome of contemporary design, it's sleek, clean lines and contrasting concrete top are perfect for an Industrial style (opens in new tab) interior.Style with wishbone chairs (opens in new tab) for a classic, timeless look.
Add an industrial chic touch to your kitchen island or breakfast bar with the Hauteville counter chair (opens in new tab) from Lyon Beton. Made from a specially formulated concrete mix, it's silky smooth and is finished with minimalistic steel rebar legs.
STATEMENT DINING TABLE
W-O-W. This chunky ultra-modern rectangular concrete dining table (opens in new tab) looks like it came straight out of BBC2's World's Most Extraordinary Homes (opens in new tab). Full of architectural grandeur, thelarge and imposing table promises to make a big impact in modern, minimal schemes.Concrete tables work beautifully when matched with glossy or rugged wooden benches. Then just add cushions or sheepskin for texture.
CONCRETE EFFECT WALLPAPER
Fancy the look of concrete without the hassle of applying the real thing? Go for a concrete-look wallpaper instead. The NLXL Concrete Paste the Wall Wallpaper (opens in new tab) resembles blocks of concrete. It gives the room a quirky industrial feel, but is easy to hang and feels soft to the touch.
CONCRETE EFFECT TILES
The new porcelain tiles by Indigenous (opens in new tab) feature cement and concrete effects that look authentic, yet havenumerous practical benefits, including a hard-wearing, non-porous surface that won’t stain and is very easy maintenance – ideal if you want an easy-to-install, wipeable surface with the same raw look.
These tiles wouldlook stunning in modern bathrooms, and provide a cool contrast to Crittall-style shower screens (opens in new tab) andbrass bathroom taps (opens in new tab), or complement the industrial-style Boffi Pipe Shower (opens in new tab).
Concrete effect tiles provide the look in a convenient tile format – much easier to install than liquid concrete. The tonal variations closely replicate concrete flooring, but with all the benefits of porcelain - hard wearing, easy to maintain and stain resistant. Large tile sizes allow you to create an effect that is close to that of a polished concrete floor.
POURED CONCRETE FLOOR
When it comes to kitchen interior design, a concrete kitchen floor is wonderfully hardy. Polished concrete floors never date and offer such a robust, easy to clean, stylish solution.
Popular finishes include polished concrete sealed with a protective coating, but a less well-known alternative is a concrete stain.
With concrete stains you can add in colour or finishes that resemble marble or even wood. Lazenby (opens in new tab) are a popular option for poured concrete floors, as well as other surfaces and worktops.
Concrete has finally made its way into modern kitchens (opens in new tab), with companies such asLazenby (opens in new tab) and Espresso Design (opens in new tab)creating ultra contemporary, stylish and hard-wearing worktops that instantly transport kitchen design into the 21st century.