Suppose you’re interested in living in a concrete home, and you’re attracted to the brutalist aesthetic that the material allows for. In that case, you’ll need to consider how you’re going to balance the harsh materiality of concrete with your desire to maintain plushy, comfortable, yet sleek and stylish interiors. There are many different ways to decorate a concrete house, whether you want to scale down the brutalist aesthetic or amplify it, you can try a myriad of different methods. This article is going to show you some of the trendy ways that people are decorating their concrete homes using stains, dyes, floor polishing, unique colour palettes, materials and more. For more information about concrete mixers, concrete houses and decorating, read this article.
What Is Brutalism?
Brutalism is a kind of architectural design style that places emphasis and focus on the materials which have been used within the construction. Brutalism is quite an expressive style of architecture, in the sense that it creates memorable impressions with its unusually shaped, massive structures. Buildings that are built in the brutalist style generally have rough facades that can appear unfinished or unrefined to some.
However, these coarse, aggressive textures are synonymous with brutalist architecture. The term brutalism originated from the French phrase ‘Béton brut’, which translates directly to ‘raw concrete’. Modern architect, Le Corbusier, used the phrase Béton brut to describe the style he exemplified when constructing the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille, France in 1952.
The style was particularly popular between the 1950s and 1970s and championed principles of modern architecture that argued that a building should remain true to its natural components.
This means that a building’s materials should be exposed, for example, the sheathing, frames, mechanical systems and concrete walls. The style itself can be exemplified by two buildings, including the Rudolph Hall in New Haven Connecticut and Paradise Place in Birmingham Central Libray n the UK.
Materials such as concrete, stone and brick are used in brutalist architecture without embellishment precisely because they force the onlooker to consider how the building has been erected. Brutalism encourages its onlookers to think past the aesthetic value of the facade, and instead consider the mass, weight and sheer scale of the structure itself, forcing them to think about the time, planning and labour that was invested into these buildings. This architectural style is very closely related to the Bauhaus Movement, the High Tech movements and Modernism.
Contrasting textures and materials used within brutalist architecture further encourage viewers to consider how human ingenuity and innovation have been leveraged to erect a building of such scale. The rough textures contrast the natural world, making one feel as though they have departed from the organic and moved towards the manmade. The term ‘brutalism’ was in fact coined by art critic Reyner Banham, who described the works of Alison Smithson’s 1950s architecture (comprised primarily of bare concrete, brick and wood) as having a warehouse aesthetic that reminded him of England post World War 2.
Trendy Materials In Home Decorating
When decorating a home, many people tend to focus on the furnishings as opposed to the flooring, millwork and walls. This is because there’s generally an assumption that luxurious interiors are all about the additional decorative elements and embellishments. However, in recent years, trends have turned their focus to the material components of the virtual home structure.
More and more people are now leaning toward cleaner aesthetics, where one’s personal style emulates their choice of materials and textural incorporations. This is why we have seen a resurgence in brutalism and minimalism because these styles of interior decorating highlight the materiality of a home’s raw components. In these kinds of spaces, wood, concrete and stone are considered the main features.
Wood’s expressive grain patterns and textuality offer an organic element to any inside space, and neutrality creates a positive ambience. Stones such as granite, engineer quarts and calacatta Monet or calacatta gold are incredibly versatile and can be used to incorporate many different colours and visual points of interest into the room. Finally, concrete is incredibly easy to mould, dye and stain according to your taste, without losing its rough yet earthy textural sensations.
Materials to Pair With Concrete
Concrete is a durable fabric considered to be urban, industrial and edgy. However, it can also be paired with particular materials and colours in order to make it appear sophisticated, welcoming and modern. Concrete pairs very well with other organic materials such as wood, but it also works incredibly well with more luxurious fabrics like marble, copper and brass. When pairing these materials together, the more brutal aesthetic of the concrete can appear less harsh.
Concrete can appear sleek and elegant when you contrast cold hard surfaces with soft, plushy furnishings and textures. Oscillating between smooth and rough allows for a more expressive space where both extremes can be balanced fairly. For example, many people choose to install light, polished concrete floors with the help of BS Power’s concrete mixers, and then they complement these surfaces with richly-coloured, dark woods.
Colours to Pair With Concrete
Houses and residential buildings that make use of concrete materials or concrete flooring can use soft, neutral, organic tones to complement the space. Earthy tones such as brown, beige, sandy red, soft creams and greens help to bring a more earthy element to the space so that it does not feel too clinical, cold or industrial. While the brutalist character of the exposed concrete will still shine, using more neutral colour palettes can help to make the space feel more serene and comfortable. Furthermore, concrete houses always work particularly well when interior decorators and homeowners incorporate cast amounts of foliage and greenery inside of the space – as this brings some welcoming and grounding ambience to the space.
Another way to incorporate colour into the space while still maintaining a more minimalist, even Scandanavian aesthetic, is to incorporate colour through new materials. Bringing dark wood, and leather into the space will help to absorb any light and reflection from polished floors. Bringing copper and brass into the space will allow for the light to reflect gently against the duller walls. While most choose to go for understated furnishings in colours such as grass, sea foam or midnight blue, others get more playful by adding blush and pink accents such as rose or cherry.
DIY Staining For Concrete Floors
A lot of people choose to enhance the concrete in their house with a popular do-it-yourself project like staining on their floors have been poured with the help of concrete mixers. Various kinds of staining solutions – such as acid stains, epoxy paints and water stains – can be used to recreate grey concrete and inject some muted colour into your space. Decorative concrete is generally a lot more expensive than ordinary concrete, so many people choose to install ordinary concrete and then refurbish it themselves in order to save on expenses.
Acid-based concrete stains work by creating a chemical reaction with the cement to create a mottled colour similar to what one sees on marble. When applying acid-based stains, DIYers can expect to see muted tones in variegated colours on the surface of their concrete. Most of the widely available colours for this kind of stain are red, brown and green, which is great if you’re looking to incorporate earth tones into your space.
Water-based stains are less toxic than acid-based stains, and thus easier to work with. Instead of creating a chemical reaction, they absorb into the pores of the concrete and act as a sort of dye that changes the colour of the slab. There are far more colours available for these kinds of stains, so homeowners will have more options and finishes to choose from.
Epoxy paints create a sort of coating on concrete surfaces that serve as resistance against chemical spills or other corrosive substances. Epoxy is an incredibly durable substance that has become very popular with homeowners, who often opt to use it as a coating for their garage or basement floors. Epoxy paints are slightly more expensive than water-based or acid-based stains, and their application requires surface preparation. Other options for redoing concrete floors include painting and applying resin.
How To Get Polished Concrete Floors
Many people choose to invest in polished concrete floors as a way to elevate the style and luxuriousness of their homes. Once you have used concrete mixers to pour and harden the concrete floors, you can start considering polishing the concrete. This requires multiple steps where a concrete floor must be mechanically ground, honed and polished. Of course, the concrete must first be mixed using concrete mixers, then applied and left to dry and harden. Thereafter, it must be polished using bonded abrasives – thereafter, it should be refined.
The process of creating polished concrete floors will involve many different heavy-duty machines. For example, it will be necessary to hire or employ somebody to create and pour the concrete with the help of a concrete mixer. You will also need a heavy-duty polishing machine such as a concrete grinder, that will be used to slowly grind down the surface of the concrete until it becomes smooth and soft to the touch. This is a far cheaper alternative to polishing marble or granite, however, the results are still very visually pleasing.
Homeowners, contractors and interior decorators should consider what exact kind of aesthetic they want for their floor, as there are different levels of glossiness that can be requested and produced. For example, there is a table that measures the Distinctness of Image (DOI) Gloss, from flat to highly polished. The levels are listed below:
- Level 1: Flat (ground)
- Level 2: Satin (honed)
- Level 3: Polished
- Level 4: highly polished
Decorating a concrete house is one thing, but building one is another thing. In both aspects of the build, it is necessary to take into consideration all of the factors and plan your interiors and exteriors strategically before executing the plan and actualising your blueprints. For example, it will be necessary to determine what kind of concrete you’ll be working with, as its strength and durability levels also affect its appearance, which will impact your aesthetic results. The many different kinds of concrete are listed below:
Types of Concrete
- Normal strength concrete
- Ordinary concrete
- Reinforced concrete
- Prestressed concrete
- Precast concrete
- Lightweight concrete
- High-Density Concrete
- Air-Entrained Concrete
- Ready Mix Concrete
- Volumetric Concrete
- Decorative Concrete
- Rapid Set Concrete
- Pervious Concrete
- Pumped Concrete
- Roll Compacted Concrete
- Glass Concrete
- Asphalt Concrete
- Shotcrete Concrete
Furthermore, you should ensure that you have a great contractor who can professionally manage heavy machinery such as the concrete mixers listed below. Decorating can be time-consuming and dangerous, so you have to take all of the safety measures seriously and cooperate with your builders and interior decorators, gaining their advice wherever necessary. This will be the best way to ensure harmony between your actual house and the furnishings/ design within it.
Different Kinds of Concrete Mixers
Baumax BS360L Concrete Mixer with Baumax RX200 2:1 Engine (R17, 495)
400L Concrete Mixer with Baumax RX200 2:1 Engine (R19, 995)
Baumax BS500 500L Concrete Mixer Fitted with Baumax RX200 2:1 Engine (R24, 995)