Utopia    Feature 01 Feb 2015

How to change concrete into a decorative and polished raw material look for your interior

Decorative, polished, hygienic, crafted, elegant and lightweight are not words you’d usually associate with this gritty, edgy material, however concrete has come of age and no longer consigned to cool loft apartments.

As a shapeless, amorphous material, concrete has the ability to be made in to virtually any form. Often made-to-order by being mixed and cast insitu, more products such as worktops, basins and baths are available off-the-shelf. Now entering more mainstream interiors and especially kitchens and bathrooms, what was once considered the ugliest duckling of all is now the belle of the ball…

Concrete can be both structural and decorative at the same time, however it is heavy and can be a problem if casting insitu, particularly if you live in an apartment. As well as coatings, finishes and lightweight concrete a mere 8mm thick, there are also many faux effects, realistic textured, digitally printed wallcoverings, paints and laminates to help you get the look.

Concrete has its own patina depending on aggregates and the mix used. Different recipes and techniques will result in different colours, textures, forms and patterns. It may be coloured or stained in virtually any hue, however for an industrial look sticking to raw back-to-basics grey is the way to go — try using a blend of two or three different greys for a rich nuance.

Matt or shine? Maximise a gritty matt finish by ‘contrast pairing’ it with polished wood, pristine white walls and shiny black leather. Or if opting for sleek polished concrete try mixing with materials full of character such as reclaimed oak complete with knots and splits and brushed stainless steel. Left raw or polished to a glossy mirror finish its industrial vibe speaks for itself — strong style that ups the ante.

Published in Utopia Kitchen & Bathroom Magazine