Concretely Yours: A Material For Modern Homes

concrete floor living area balcony

Concrete is a beautiful, dramatic material that has its place in many decor styles. Here are a few that you perhaps haven’t considered.


When you hear “concrete”, I doubt you imagine a beautiful, modern home. You probably see a parking lot or a government building: something cold, functional, with no personality.

But what if I told you that concrete can actually be quite attractive in your modern or industrial home? There are plenty of examples of concrete used well, and with modern stains and sealants, it can actually become the centre of your decor.

Curious? Me too. Let’s have a look.

Concrete floors

Ordinary, unsealed concrete isn’t really the best thing to feel barefoot. It’s scratchy and cold. But using stains, sealants and radiant heating, you can transform a concrete floor into a comfortable, warm experience that heightens the beauty of your home as well.

Contemporary Family Room by Bellevue Architects & Building Designers Gelotte Hommas Architecture

Concrete floors don’t have to be a drab dark grey. Using stains, you can use the natural patterns of concrete to make a beautiful floor that’s original and unexpected. Usually, it makes the floor look a little bit like leather, with natural patches of lighter and darker colors.
Choose the stain to match the material and color of your walls and ceilings–a dark floor will add elegance and drama, and a light floor will look airy and open. You can even “stamp” concrete to make it look like wood!

Rustic Entry by Hinsdale Home Builders Mark Hickman Homes

Add radiant heating before the floor is poured, and you will keep your feet warm all winter long. Turn it off in the summer for a cool floor that’s refreshing to the touch.

Concrete walls

Concrete walls–whether it’s a veneer to cover something else, or freshly-poured to suit your particular needs–have interesting architectural and design properties.

Contemporary Patio by Los Angeles Architects & Building Designers David Hertz & Studio of Environmental Architecture

Grey is a great neutral shade to build a decor on, especially in the modern and contemporary styles. But more than that, concrete walls have natural shade patterns that add some playfulness with light and shadow. Although not naturally reflective, concrete can reflect light with the addition of a sealant, making it even more visually interesting.

Contemporary Dining Room by Brooklyn Architects & Building Designers Delson or Sherman Architects pc

And with stamping and other texture techniques, like we saw above, you can make your concrete look like brick or wood, which widens your design choices when it comes to your walls.

Concrete walls always look dramatic when light and shadow play on it. Keeping your concrete walls bare is a great way to use this natural characteristic to your advantage.

Concrete counters

Concrete is a strong, durable surface that’s perfect for heavily-used kitchens. You can put hot pans on it without worrying about marks or burns. When it comes to stains and scratches, remember that these appear in the sealant rather than in the concrete itself. Still, don’t cut directly on the countertop to avoid chipping away the sealant–use cutting boards. Remember to use a food-grade sealant so you can safely cook using your countertops!

Maintenance is really about keeping the sealant strong using soft, non-abrasive cleaners and waxing the counter regularly.

Contemporary Living Room by East Brunswick Specialty Contractors ConcreteWorks East

Want to personalize the look of your concrete countertop? Use stains and interesting edges to turn this practical material into a true design item in your home.

Rustic Kitchen by San Diego Architects & Building Designers Silva Studios Architecture

Concrete countertops actually work in several design styles, including rustic and traditional. It’s all about the things that surround it and the shade you choose to stain it in.

Concrete: a good design choice

Design-wise, concrete is more than a solid material: it can actually be quite beautiful, dramatic and practical. There are many ways to make it look not so concrete-y, like staining and stamping. And when it comes to countertops, the cost is about the same as granite or marble.

I’ve certainly changed my mind about what I think of concrete–it’s not just for parking lots and boring government buildings. What about you? Have you tried or do you plan on trying concrete in your next renovation? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

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