Design Dilemma: Making Concrete Sexy
Concrete has long been a favorite among architects and designers looking to bring a bit of sophistication to modern environments. This extremely adaptable material is sleek yet economical. It wears well, but it never goes out of fashion. In short, there’s a whole lot to love about concrete. Still, concrete interiors can seem cold and unforgiving. Yes, it may be sleek and modern, but it’s not exactly cozy. That being said, we’ve found a few instances in which concrete has been made what it would not seem to be: fun, welcoming, even sexy!
Take a look:
Stain and paint for instant warmth. Check out the picture above and below. This home in Cambodia is entirely made of concrete. (Read more about it here.) And yet, despite the overabundance of concrete, this home doesn’t feel like a bunker. A lot of that’s due to the use of paint to brighten things up. The concrete floors in these photos were stained by using plastic molds filled with paint to create a whimsical design.
Below, a delicate stencil presents a more subtle way of warming up a concrete floor.
And here, a polyurethane lace stencil gives an old world feel to a modern material.
Use organic shapes to warm things up. One of the best properties of concrete is that it can be shaped and molded into nearly any shape. So why not throw in a few curves? Below, a concrete curved window seat/chaise has been built right into the window. Painted a hot magenta, the resulting window seat feels cozy and fun.
Try stamps for texture. Who says concrete floors or counter tops have to be smooth? One effective way to warm up concrete is simply to add a little texture with the use of stamps. While it is most common to see this technique used with outdoor floors, there’s nothing to say that it can’t be done indoors, too. Concrete can be stamped to mimic stone, rocks, brick and tile, or scored, to resemble tiles. The floor below was stamped with a floral design for an interesting effect.
Go for soft, organic furnishings as a contrast. One of the easiest ways to warm up concrete in any home is simply to balance it with soft, organic textiles and furnishings. A flokati rug, a rough-hewn wooden table, the liberal use of nubby pillows and patterned textiles can go a long way to offset concrete’s coldness. Below a concrete floor has been warmed up with the use of nubby shag rug and a soft leather couch. No chrome or glass here!
And what if you love the look of concrete, but your home has none? Below, check out a concrete wallpaper from the Norwegian company Concretewall that can give your home the look and feel of concrete without actually have to pour the stuff!
Images: New York Times.com; Designerhomez.com, Concretewall.com, Royal Design Studio.