Concrete has been used as a building material dating all the way back to the Romans, but it’s only recently that it’s been popping up in people’s kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, even bedrooms! What’s with the concrete furniture trend, and how can we get in on it?
Concrete countertop and sink. Image via leibal.com.
First of all, what is concrete?
Concrete is a mixture of broken stone or gravel, sand, cement, and water that can be spread or poured into molds that ultimately produce the desired hardened form. This means that concrete can be molded into a tremendous variety of shapes and forms (think of all of those gravity-defying mid-century modern concrete buildings like the TWA Terminal!), and that each pour is unique, giving concrete furniture a soft, textured feel.
Concrete furniture collection at Furniture Maison. Image via furnituremaison.com.
These characteristics result in furniture that works in a huge variety of settings -- from mid-century modern to industrial, traditional to minimalist. If you’re thinking about incorporating concrete pieces in your home or office, we here at Furniture Maison have an entire collection that is right up your alley.
Concrete Shelves. Image via furnituremaison.com.
We’ve worked long and hard to develop a collection that reflects the quality and warmth of concrete that we love so much, but balances it with simple forms, elegant and contrasting materials, and thoughtful detailing to make it work in any interior. We have everything from small but versatile concrete side tables (with or without a shelf for more storage, and so adaptable it could go in a bedroom or a living room!), to low-slung concrete coffee tables, to concrete-topped dining tables with extra wood leaves -- take a look for yourself!.
Of course, we wouldn’t be telling you all of this without giving you some tips on how to get started incorporating concrete furniture into your own home! Here are a few do’s and don’ts for you.
1) DO: Start Small
Concrete, because of its neutral color, is able to work with a wide variety of color palettes. If you’re not sure if concrete furniture is for you, don’t be afraid to start on the smaller side, adding a concrete light fixture or bookends or even a fun clock! You can always add more if you like where it’s going.
Minimalist concrete clock. Image via society6.com.
2) DON’T: Anticipate comfort
While it might seem fun or quirky to go for a full-on concrete chair or sofa, don’t expect it to be a comfortable seat. Concrete is just as hard -- in fact, harder -- than wood, and won’t give your behind any cushioning. Stick to concrete pieces that you don’t foresee yourself (or your guests!) sitting on for long periods of time.
Concrete sofa. Image via emmanuelle.jp.
3) DO: Go Bold
If you’re ready to make the plunge into concrete furniture, it’s worth it to go for something unusual -- a piece that, because of concrete’s ability to mold to any form, is striking for its shape or contours. Remember, too, that bold doesn’t mean big; a single side table with intricate or gravity-defying curves is enough to add the punch you’re looking for.
Faceted concrete side tables. Image via plastolux.com.
4) DON’T: Hope for Perfection
Part of the beauty of concrete is its imperfections, so don’t think that your pieces will look exactly like what you saw online or, if you’re buying multiples, that they’ll all look identical. This doesn’t mean, however, that buying multiples of chairs, stools, or tables is a bad idea -- just know that you’ll have some personality with each item.
Hexagonal concrete side tables. Image via momocca.com.
5) DO: Mix contrasting materials
Concrete picks up the inverse texture of whatever it was cast in, and therefore often has a creamy, almost delicately soft texture to it (part of the reason why it’s such a huge trend right now!). It’s great to pair the creamy gray of concrete with the shine of copper or steel or the rich browns and beige of wood.
Vega concrete dining table. Image via furnituremaison.com.
6) DON’T: Limit yourself to interiors only!
Aside from being versatile and capable of complex forms, concrete is also extremely durable and weather-resistant (hence its frequent use as flooring, structural members, and building exteriors). Concrete furniture typically works exceptionally well outdoors on a patio or backyard -- it doesn’t crack from the cold, get water damage from snow or rain, or bleach in the sun. You may have to give it a power wash once in a while, but concrete furniture is low-maintenance!
A concrete table outside. Image via slabsbydesign.com.
7) DO: Contrast transparency
Because concrete tends to be a heavier, weightier material, pairing a concrete table base with a glass top, for example, is the perfect way to marry thick and thin, heavy and light. This is especially important in a smaller space, where the transparency, sleekness, and light reflecting off a glass table top make the space seem more open and larger. Plus, it keeps the space bright and airy rather than dark and somber.
Sculptural concrete base with glass top. Image via 910castings.com.
No matter where you decide to locate concrete furniture inside (or outside!) your house, big or small, you can rest assured that concrete’s unique combination of velvety but hard texture will add personality and depth to any space. We can’t wait to see all of the great things you’ll do!