Concrete is well known for its practical uses, but it also can be stylized to enhance a space. From backyard pools and patios to living rooms, concrete design ideas are popping up everywhere.

There’s nothing quite like a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor spaces. This patio designed by Brophy Interiors features a sleek grey concrete finish that mimics the interior floor for an integrated feel.

Industrial Grey

Concrete is usually associated with utilitarian applications, but the material can be repurposed to add a striking accent or even a focal point in any home. The best concrete design ideas showcase its industrial roots with contrasting shades, textures and other materials to highlight the raw beauty of the material. For instance, polished concrete floors are a natural choice for a contemporary or modern farmhouse aesthetic. In this home designed by Isay Weinfeld, a sleek concrete floor contrasts with wood furniture and a La Cornue cooktop to create a timeless kitchen.

Concrete’s gray tones can blend seamlessly with a variety of color schemes, enhancing neutral earth tones and complementing bright primary hues like red and blue. In this modern home, concrete accent walls accentuate the minimalist aesthetic and tie in with a bold striped sofa and chrome hardware.

If you’re not ready to commit to a full concrete renovation, simply painting a concrete wall can make a statement. The trick to a successful paint job is to choose a contrasting shade. This ensures that the concrete stands out without being overpowered by the color on the adjacent wall or ceiling.

Stained concrete is another way to make a statement with concrete. The technique involves using chemical stains to change the color of existing concrete surfaces. This method works well on both exterior and interior concrete applications, allowing you to match the look of your concrete with the surrounding landscape or your interior decor.

When it comes to choosing a color, the key is to find one that will stand out and highlight the texture of the concrete. A lighter shade will have a more open, airy feel while a darker tone will offer more warmth and depth.

Simple Grey

Gray has quickly become the neutral of choice for many homeowners, thanks to its versatility. It pairs well with cool and warm colors, and can be used in a variety of design styles. It also offers a natural, earthy look that pairs beautifully with the raw, natural elements found in nature. It’s no wonder that this color was named one of the 2021 Pantone Colors of the Year.

While most people associate concrete floors with industrial spaces, polished gray concrete can be incorporated into any home. It’s especially appealing in entryways that serve as the transition from indoors to outdoors. For example, this mudroom and laundry room designed by Studio Razavi features concrete floors with a high-heel boot sink for functionality. It also includes a La Cornue range to add a touch of luxury.

Rather than contrasting with the wooden structures in this Wabi Sabi-esque outdoor living space designed by Arent & Pyke, the gray concrete floors complement them. The concrete echoes the hue of the trees and rocks, giving the space a sense of integration with the rugged landscape. If you want to avoid the cold, clinical feeling of concrete floors, you can warm them up with a large area rug or some woven baskets.

Staining is another way to transform gray concrete. When choosing a stain, it’s important to pick the right shade. A lighter gray will help the floor appear larger, while a darker shade will create more contrast. Water-based stains work best, as they’re easy to apply and can be diluted for unique effects. Darker releases will also highlight the texture of the concrete, so they’re ideal for highlighting stamped concrete patterns.

White Tones

Concrete gets a bad reputation for being cold and unwelcoming, but the truth is that it can look amazing with both warm and cool tones. In fact, it pairs very well with wood and other natural materials. It’s also more cost-effective than marble or other cladding options.

Adding color to concrete is easy, thanks to a wide array of stain and paint options available. Whether you’re going for an earthy brown, a rich red, or something more subtle, the possibilities are endless.

Lighter concrete tones work best in minimalist design schemes, as they help the other elements of a room stand out and create a sense of open space. This is especially important in areas with a lot of sunlight, where lighter concrete can reflect heat and keep things cooler.

One way to achieve a true white tone in concrete is to mix integral pigments into the powdered concrete before water is added and the concrete is cast. It’s essential to thoroughly mix these pigments to get the best, most even color throughout.

Another option for achieving white concrete is to use white aggregates instead of gray ones when the concrete is mixed. This gives the concrete a lighter hue from the start, so it’s easier to achieve a true white shade.

While darker concrete tones aren’t as popular, they can add a dramatic touch to a room. Dark blue-green shades, for example, can be particularly striking and look great in a bathroom where they can complement brass hardware and other bathroom staples in warm or gold tones. They can also be used for custom vanity surfaces or in a concrete wall to bring a sophisticated look that contrasts with the rest of a modern or contemporary home.

Mirrored Indoors

If you’re worried that concrete will look harsh and severe in a modern home, you can add a bit of softness to the style by incorporating mirrors into your design. This is a great way to enhance flow between your indoor and outdoor space by connecting the polished concrete patio with the interior of your house. The mirrored concrete will reflect the natural light from your windows, and you can even adorn the concrete with a jumble of potted plants for an extra splash of greenery.

Another way to use a bit of mirror in your concrete decor is by installing floating concrete shelves. The mirrored sides will give the shelves a more modern and sleek appearance, while they’ll also help to visually expand your room. You can then adorn the shelves with contemporary decor to complete the look.

Decorative concrete and mirror ideas are a beautiful combination that can transform any room into a glamorous and sophisticated space. The cool and hard lines of the concrete contrast with the reflective surface of the mirrors to create a one-of-a-kind aesthetic that’s sure to impress. When mounting your concrete and mirror, it’s important to choose the right fasteners to ensure a secure and long-lasting attachment. Using concrete anchor bolts and screws that are designed for the material will help you achieve a strong and durable bond.

Textural Stepping Stones

Stepping stones add a beautiful, rustic element to your garden. The gaps between the stones allow greenery to soften the hardscape, creating a natural-looking path that can complement any landscape style.

Instead of opting for a uniform look, try different shaped stones to create a more eclectic and whimsical design. Using a mix of materials will also produce contrasting visual styles, such as natural slate and sandstone, or rough-poured concrete and smooth pebbles.

For a DIY project, you can make your own stepping stones to create a charming garden pathway. You can even make them in a variety of colors and textures. For the best results, choose a sand-mix concrete so that you can easily add imprints and embed decorative pebbles. If you prefer a more textured stone, you can use gravel-mix concrete, but this may be less workable for those who want to create intricate designs.

Before you begin casting your stepping stones, make one test piece. This can be as small as 6 x 6″ and 2″ deep. Add colorant to your concrete and mix it in thoroughly, but don’t brush the color on. This will ensure that the color blends well with your concrete.

Once the test stone has cured for about an hour, it’s time to begin making your real stepping stones. Place a piece of chicken wire in the mold at the halfway point and pour the concrete over it, which will help prevent cracks in your finished stone.

When you’re ready to make your final stepping stones, remove the vinyl strap and shape them by hand with your gloved hands. You can round them or push them inward to create more of a curve. If you’d like, you can also slant the edges.