For many years, concrete was usually consigned to sidewalks, construction, basements and garages. It was not traditionally considered as a material to bring into the home for design and aesthetic purposes. Over the last few years, opinion has shifted and the new “cement trend” has soared in popularity – with concrete being installed in homes in all sorts of forms – with many home owners taking on the task of creating cement home fixtures and items themselves. In just a few minutes of reading, find out more about this new trend, some popular cement design fixtures as well as some tips for DIY cement creations with concrete mixers.
What is the “cement trend” and what does it have to do with concrete mixers?
Different types of concrete made in concrete mixers
There are a few types of concrete types to be used in your cement fixtures within your home. One popular choice is polished concrete, which is recognisable for its smooth sheen. It is often used on countertops or for flooring. Another choice is sealed concrete, which appears to be more matte and is protected from water and stains with a special sealant.
Lastly, another well-liked form is scored concrete – which has a more textured and grainy appearance. Your options are not only limited to the above three, however, as designers are known to create custom concrete finishes for any interested home-owners. Because these types of concrete are rather specialised, they are usually mixed in smaller-scale concrete mixers on site for efficiency.
To many, concrete may seem to be a flat, cold and uninspiring material. This could not be more incorrect. Concrete has a phenomenal ability to create a neutral backdrop when it comes to most home design styles, such as industrial, minimalist, farmhouse and Bohemian (to name only a few). Here are a few brief definitions of the former:
Industrial interior design
Industrial style, often referred to as industrial chic, refers to an interior design trend or aesthetic that draws inspiration from old industrial spaces such as factories and warehouses. This may not sound too appealing at first, but this style goes a long way to incorporate raw materials like concrete in order to give a space a rustic, unfinished and thoroughly beautiful gleam.
Minimalist interior design
Minimalist interior design is perhaps the most fitting example of the modern interior design we see today in homes around the world. The goal is to use only essential items to create an uncluttered and simple space, filled with monochromatic colour pallets, clean lines and often one specific colour used as an accent tool.
Farmhouse interior design
The farmhouse aesthetic is not only limited to farmhouses as suggested by its name. In fact, many unsuspecting homes’ interior designs reflect this aesthetic. The aesthetic is all about comfort and practicality – and the use of readily available materials as well as colour pallets. White and grey tones go hand in hand with this aesthetic, which is why concrete is so often included inside these spaces. Wood elements are also indicative of the farmhouse style, with timber in particular being a popular choice.
Bohemian interior design
Bohemian interior design, also referred to as Boho style, encompasses anything personal, unconventional and rule-breaking. Walking into a space with Bohemian design, you may notice a collection of objects and decorations from all over the world, as well as a vast range of colours and patterns that do not bend to any traditional style rules.
Getting back onto the topic at hand, concrete as a material is favoured due to its low-maintenance nature. Many home-owners have taken to using concrete flooring as it usually requires only sweeping and mopping – with no regulations when it comes to which cleaning materials are appropriate. Another notable thing about cement is that it is in no way limited to counters or flooring in a space. Around the world, creatives and DIY junkies have been using concrete mixers to create surprisingly beautiful pieces of decoration as well as household facilities. We have compiled a list of some of the most popular of the lot to date:
Top 10 “cement trend” pieces to date
The resiliency of concrete makes it an excellent material for a strong and impressive sink. Wherever you decide to place your concrete sink in the home, know that it will add to the space significantly. Because of its neutral colouring, it will not clash with the space in which it is constructed or placed. Ensure, however, that the finish you use is one that is waterproof.
For bold, conversation-worthy kitchen counters, concrete is the way to go. Not only will installing concrete counters give your kitchen a contemporary air about it, but you will be making meal prep and cleaning a much easier process. Be warned though that once you begin to bring concrete elements into your kitchen, you may not be able to stop. Concrete flooring, wall accents and kitchen islands may very well be next on your list. Homes all over the world have hopped onto this trend in particular as concrete grey goes well with almost any theme and colour out there.
Rendered completely in concrete, a bathtub will surely be a show stopping piece in your bathroom. Home-owners around the globe have taken to this trend because of a concrete bath’s ability to provide a good, hot soak with plenty of room to stretch your legs. However, be warned though that the installation will not be an easy process – and may not be a suitable DIY project. It is likely that you will need professional expertise should you wish to install a concrete bathtub in your home. Despite the trouble, the durable nature of concrete means that your bath will serve you well for years to come.
Believe it or not, but concrete has already made its way into the world of lighting. It serves as a means to create cool lighting fixtures and in particular makes an excellent material for lamp bases. While concrete lamps are for sale on many arty online stores such as Etsy, creating your own lamp base using concrete mixers might just be a fun and rewarding activity.
Forget traditional wood, stone or brick fireplaces. Instead, think about going the extra mile to create a beautiful and striking concrete fireplace. One admired style is to opt for a concrete fireplace that stretches up to the ceiling and while doing so, creates a gorgeous accent wall panel.
As an intensely robust material, concrete is the perfect choice for shelving. It will serve to keep even some of your heaviest items elevated and safe from harm’s way. Further, the innovative design will undoubtedly add value to your space. The best way to install concrete shelving is arguably with metal hooks that can be screwed into the wall.
Concrete dining table
Perhaps one of the most exciting pieces of furniture to emerge from the “cement trend” is the concrete dining table. It is certainly unconventional and can go a long way in sprucing up your home with a touch of modernity. Not only does it offer a great and smooth place for family dining and entertaining, but it is also easy to clean. While some prefer both the table and legs to be made out of concrete, others go for wooden legs to create a nice contrast. There are various designer furniture companies who offer concrete dining tables as products for your choosing.
Today, concrete plant pots can be found almost anywhere, and they are a great choice of pot. Not only do they look great, but they also protect your plants’ delicate roots from weather conditions should you place them outside. However, they certainly have their place inside the home. Succulents are an excellent choice to place inside your concrete planters, and they are also extremely easy to take care of if plant-care seems daunting. If plant-care is a no-no altogether, faux plants are also an option.
If concrete flooring seems like an unconventional option, wait until you hear about concrete walls! They function as real head-turners, especially if your flooring is also concrete. Due to the light-grey colour of most cement mixes made in concrete mixers, home-owners with concrete walls and flooring can experiment with almost any other colour and design in the home with no risk of clashing or unappealing pattern mixes.
Cement candle holders
Forget silver candleholders and think about taking a less conventional route. One of the coolest pieces emerging from the “cement trend” are concrete candle holders – and with your very own concrete mixers, you can design some of your very own choosing and style. The sky (and your creativity) are the limit! Whatever style or design you use, know that these candle holders will certainly serve as a conversation-starter at the very least.
Creating concrete outdoor furniture with concrete mixers
When discussing the ever-evolving “cement trend,” concrete furniture cannot be left out of the mix, particularly when it comes to the outdoors. Concrete is a phenomenal material for the outdoors, and meshes superbly with teak and wicker furniture pieces as well that we often find outside the home. Any piece of concrete furniture will serve to add a contemporary touch to any space in which it finds itself. It also endures all manners of weather and sunshine, though it must be noted that because it is a natural product, fine lines and cracks will appear (although arguably this adds to the aesthetic).
Outdoor concrete furniture comes in many shapes and sizes and with many functions, such as tables, seating and even more sculptural pieces. If you are interested in mixing concrete in your own concrete mixers, creating your own concrete furniture is a brilliant way to hone your skills for some of the more delicate pieces for inside the home that we discussed earlier in the article. It is also a great family activity should you wish to bond with any loved ones in the process. Should your concrete furniture come out a bit wobbly, the fact that it will be placed outside will simply make it appear vintage or rather rustic – so there will be no need to hide it away in embarrassment.
Before you attempt to mix anything in your concrete mixers, ensure that you are familiar with the relevant DIY techniques and practices, as well as how to use your concrete mixers safely at home.
How to care for outdoor concrete furniture
Contrary to popular opinion, concrete is not indestructible when it comes to outdoor elements. When you construct your outdoor furniture with your concrete mixers, or source and purchase your furniture from a store, you must be aware that like all other types of furniture, certain maintenance will be required. Before you place any concrete furniture outdoors, it must be properly coated with a powerful sealant to prevent excessive water damage and subsequent staining. Further, refrain from using extremely harsh cleaning agents as well as high pressure hoses. A normal garden hose and gentle soap will work perfectly as a cleaning measure once in a while.