Traditionally, concrete has been used as a building material that is hidden behind facing, paint or tiles. But in the 21st century, architects and interior designers have picked up on the often overlooked aesthetic properties of this unique material. As it so happens, concrete pairs perfectly with many modern design sensibilities such as functionalism, minimalism and environmental sustainability. Here are five ways concrete can be used to make a very modern statement in your home.
As a benchtop
Polished concrete benchtops are a functional way to bring this minimalist design material into your kitchen. Heatproof, highly durable, hygienic and easy to clean, concrete makes a great alternative to other costlier materials such as marble and granite.
On the walls
Putting a concrete facing on a wall surface is a fast and easy way to create texture and a point of interest in a room or courtyard. The current trend is to leave the natural concrete colour and then contrast this with verdant houseplants and colourful furnishings.
As a garden feature
More and more Australians are eschewing the traditional English garden concept and choosing instead to plant drought tolerant, low maintenance plants like grass trees, natives, cacti and succulents. Exposed aggregate concrete pathways can be used to great effect in these gardens as the texture contrasts perfectly with the smooth leaves and strong shapes of drought tolerant plants. The subtle flecks of coloured stone mixed into the aggregate also pick up and accentuate existing colours in the garden like the red of a bottle brush or the silvery green of a gum.
As a fireplace
Although marble is beautiful and has long been a favourite featured material amongst architects, its prohibitive cost means that very few people are able to afford it. Concrete is a chic, minimalist and modern alternative which can be polished up to have the same texture and shine as marble. The monochrome colour also makes a bold aesthetic statement that feels more relevant than marble.
As pool edging
If you love entertaining on your patio or in your pool area, exposed aggregate provides a durable finish that is both sturdy and attractive. iCon Concrete offers a range of cement colours and decorative stones, which means you can choose the right colour and texture to suit your tastes. This finish is also low maintenance and slip resistant, making it ideal for pool surrounds and other outdoor zones exposed to water.