Don’t Hide Those Concrete Walls! Use Them in Your Home’s Interior Design
Few materials are as strong as concrete. According to the Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI), concrete is the most used man-made material in the world. It’s used more frequently than wood, steel and other building materials. In residential settings, concrete usually isn’t exposed – except, perhaps, in a basement or garage. However, homeowners are starting to embrace the raw beauty of concrete walls in various applications.Shop These Products Now: Indoor Plants – Table LampThere are several ways to use concrete walls in industrial designs. “Concrete comes in a variety of colors and finishes. These start from a very smooth and almost reflective surface, which is akin to Tadao Ando’s masterpieces, through to the brutalist porous concrete which you might find in underground car parks,” explains Michael Schienke, Director and Chartered Architect at VORBILD Architecture in London. “For interior applications, the more smooth or gently porous finishes are most suitable,” he adds. “The color can be changed by adding pigments or changing the mixture ratio of the original ingredients.” Shop These Products Now: Pump Bottle – TowelsSchienke designed the concrete bathroom in the photos immediately above and below. “In this penthouse apartment in a converted church, concrete-clad bathrooms are on both sides of the new kitchen,” Schienke says. “The fully lit ceiling is made of plexiglass panels, and the walls and flooring are made of real concrete panels.” Shop These Products Now: Tissue Paper Holder – Wall Mirror“We have a few successful projects that involved polished concrete walls and floors in bathrooms,” Schienke says. “You install them just like marble, on reinforced walls, and as it’s a natural material, it needs to be sealed,” he explains. “They are of a timeless beauty, yet their appearance becomes that of a warm background, very stylish and sophisticated.” Shop These Products Now: Barn Door – WallpaperConcrete is also a strong material, which means you won’t have to worry about decay or corrosion. It’s also non-combustible, which makes it a popular choice for fireplace surrounds. In addition, concrete is a sustainable material. According to CSI, concrete walls (and floors) reduce temperature swings by slowing the passage of heat moving through the structure. And this can, in turn, reduce your heating and cooling costs. Also, concrete is one of the most energy-efficient materials to produce, using significantly less energy than aluminum, stainless steel, steel, glass, timber and brick.