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Designing Your Floor Plan

With so many options and orientations to choose from, designing your floor plan might seem like a job best left to the professionals.

But no-one knows your lifestyle quite like you, so designing your own floor plan can ensure the layout of your home perfectly suits your needs.

Even sketching some initial blueprints will help your architect and builder understand your vision for your home, and will highlight any areas that require additional planning.

A good floor plan will improve functionality of your space while highlighting the features of your home most important to you.

Considering flooring materials is a natural next step when designing your floor plan. Laying concrete flooring throughout the home at the time of construction can save you both time and money.  Polished concrete flooring is a popular flooring option that provides uniformity and seamlessly connects the spaces of the home together.

So whether you’re interested in renovating, or building a new home, today we explore some of the most important areas to consider when designing your floor plan.

Kitchen

The layout of the kitchen is arguably the most important aspect of any floor plan.

Your ability to cook and prepare meals efficiently depends entirely on factors like bench space, placement of preparation room, and distances between key features like the oven and refrigerator. You’ll also need to give thought to durable yet appealing flooring materials. Geostone’s polished concrete is a hard-wearing option suitable for kitchen floors and benchtops alike, being easy to clean and ideal for wet areas.

Kitchens are the heart of the home, and deciding on a layout that works for you can set a precedent for other areas. While modern kitchens tend to open up to the living or dining room spaces, you might also opt for separating the areas to create more intimate rooms.

Bathroom

Bathroom layouts and inclusions can vary dramatically, but a few key considerations can help you determine the floor plan.

When renovating an existing home, keeping showers, bathtubs, toilets and basins in line with current plumbing will reduce the cost of your refurbishment.

Also consider if your bathroom will feature only a shower, or also a bathtub or spa? Would you prefer a single or double vanity? And do you need several bathrooms, or will one be sufficient?

What about the flooring options? Polished concrete floors are ideal for wet areas, being both beautiful and functional, and skid and slip resistant when sealed.

Living

Living areas can be one of the most exciting rooms to plan, as a space to showcase your personality, and create a lasting impression on guests. When deciding on a floor plan for this area, you will need to decide whether to section off a dining and entertaining area from the living room, or embrace an open plan living space.

Give thought to window placement and views, positioning of your television and lounge suite, and giving every zone enough space so as to not feel cramped, while considering polished concrete flooring to tie them all together.

 

Bedrooms

For every bedroom there is a unique layout, from agreeing on the size of the walk-in-wardrobe you need, and whether or not the ensuite really needs a spa bath, to controlling the level of natural light. When deciding on a floor plan for your bedroom, think about whether you want the early morning sunlight streaming through the windows. You’ll want to consider the type of window coverings you’ll need to keep the room dark when sleeping, and ways to keep your bedroom cosy in the cold winter months.

 

Additional Rooms

Many modern homes have other dedicated spaces in addition to the kitchen, living, dining, bedrooms and bathrooms.

Other rooms to consider in your floor plan could include a rumpus room for children, powder rooms or guest bathrooms, a standalone or European style laundry cleverly tucked away into a wardrobe, or an office space to organically separate work from home life.  

 

Outdoors

Your home’s floor plan should also give consideration to the outdoor space, including the placement of windows and external doors, as well as balconies or outdoor rooms and alfresco dining areas if you have the space.

Bringing the indoors out can create a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living areas with only a little forward planning. Geostone decorative concrete solutions can be used both indoors and out to create seamless flow, allowing you to open up the space and have more room for entertainment and relaxation.

While floor plans are only one step in building or renovating your home, thinking ahead can make the entire building process easier and ensure you’re soon living in a home you love.

For more design inspiration, or to view the Geostone decorative concrete range in your area, visit www.geostone.com.au.

Modern Gardens and Landscaping Trends

Design trends come and go, and the concept of modern gardens and landscaping trends change just as fast.

So, when looking to 2019 and beyond, what are the latest modern outdoor design trends, and how can they be replicated?

We have put together some top tips and tricks for creating modern gardens and landscaping trends.

 

Materials

Materials used to create gardens and outdoor spaces can wane in popularity.

But concrete is one landscaping material that has stood the test of time and it doesn’t have to be plain and grey. Decorative concrete solutions like exposed aggregate and coloured concrete can give new life to any outdoor space, creating a modern garden or outdoor entertaining area.

Geostone’s range of decorative concrete features natural Australian stone, providing the contemporary look of natural materials.

That means decorative concrete is perfectly paired with other natural materials including timber and stone.

 

Colours

When it comes to choosing colours for your landscaping and garden surrounds, natural and neutral tones can return higher property value.

Decorative concrete is always a staple of modern design and will work seamlessly with any other materials that populate the space.

Various types of timber and stone combined with the neutral tones of coloured concrete will provide a simple and timeless aesthetic for your garden.

Metalwork or chrome accents can also complement any outdoor space, often used in furniture or latticework for greenery to grow on.

Planter pots and other greenery mix well with wood, metal, stone and concrete, so keeping your colour palette neutral allows the colours of nature to shine.

 

Paths, walls and driveways

When deciding how to frame the garden, concrete driveways and paths provide structure and order.

It’s easy enough to install a simple concrete path but going the extra mile with decorative concrete will add greater visual appeal and functionality.

When thinking about structure in the garden space, the boundary fences aren’t the only framework to consider.

Decorative concrete can also be used to build stairs and retaining walls, creating sections in the garden to differentiate between plants, greenery and grass, pathways and lounging spaces.

 

Functionality

A feature that is increasing in popularity is an outdoor living space or lounging area, that can be just as comfortable as the living room inside your home.

Concrete flooring can set the scene for an intimate outdoor lounging area, on an elevated, or even sunken section of the garden.

The key is to create a space that is not only attractive to the eye, but also functional for your lifestyle.

 

Greenery

Of course, no garden space would be complete without plants and natural greenery.

You might like to plant an edible garden, classical flowers or a tropical oasis.

The types of plants used are always a personal preference, although the way they are installed varies depending on the desired aesthetic.

For modern gardens, black, metal or concrete planter pots work wonders for taller leafy plants.

Lattices and vertical gardens are also a popular choice for creating gardens in small spaces.

While seasons change and design trends continue to update, these modern garden staples will help to future-proof any outdoor space.

For more tips, tricks and design inspiration visit the Geostone blog archive or our Facebook page.

How To Do A Scandinavian Style Home Makeover

The Scandinavian style has made a lasting impression on the home makeover and renovation scene.

With a beautifully subdued colour palette and minimalist-style furniture, it’s no surprise the Scandi look has become popular for modern homes.

 

What does a Scandinavian style home look like?

Some key elements of Scandi design include:

  • A focus on form and function when considering furniture
  • the use of neutral colours and light flooring
  • incorporation of greenery or botanicals
  • wooden or metallic accents or finishes are also a popular design choice, especially when working with warmer textiles to contrast the lighter aspects of a room.

With the basics explained, here are some suggestions and inspiration for an extraordinary Scandinavian home makeover.

 

Dining Rooms and Kitchens

Scandinavian styling often focuses on light coloured timber and a subdued palette of natural tones, whites and greys.

This creates the perfect opportunity for showcasing a honed or polished concrete floor in the kitchen and dining area, adding to the clean lines and low maintenance finish.

When designing the dining room, Scandi style embraces contrast. The dining table itself can be a different colour or material to the seating, for example, a light beechwood table top with white steel chairs.

As for kitchens, a white or grey concrete or stone benchtop is perfectly suited to timber cupboards and drawers. Function is an important aspect in Scandinavian design, and chrome or metallic accents are easy to include in kitchens, with sinks, fixtures, lighting, ovens, door handles, and even steel racks or exposed shelving to display kitchen appliances for easy access.

 

Living Rooms

Living rooms are designed for comfort and relaxation, and a Scandinavian colour palette and furniture selection creates the perfect space to enjoy with family and friends.

Honed or polished concrete flooring provides a sleek, allergy-friendly foundation for your living area, making it ideal for families with children and people with pets.

Decorating the space can vary from leather or vinyl couches and patterned rugs, to more basic timber and linen furniture, decorated with cushions and throw rugs.

Coffee tables also provide a great opportunity to experiment with styles, from using reclaimed timber, to a more modern, edgy look of plain block colour.

Bathrooms and Laundries

The Scandi style can even be extended to the bathroom and laundry.

Using wooden shelving in the laundry opens the possibility of tucking washing machines and dryers away. Again, minimising the mess and creating a clear, calm space should be the focus.

For bathrooms, remember concrete flooring is ideal for wet areas. Taking a similar approach to the kitchen, you could extend the use of decorative concreteto create vanity benchtops and enclose the basin.

 

Lighting

Another easy way to bring a bit of Scandinavia into your home is with lighting.

Experimenting with colours, height, levels and layers, you might look to feature a showcase piece above the kitchen bench or dining table, while scaling back on size in other areas.

Fixtures and bulbs aren’t the only source of light to consider. Natural sunlight should be optimised to compliment the light and airy feel of a Scandi space.

Living rooms and bedrooms can benefit greatly from large windows that allow a lot of light in during the day.

Flooding a room with natural light is a great way to keep a space warm and open, which is particularly beneficial for the thermal mass of concrete floors.

 

Botanicals

An important step for any Scandinavian style home decoration is choosing the perfect range of plants and greenery.

Selecting house plants of a range of sizes and heights adds colour, texture and variety to the neutral backdrop.

Tropicals, succulents, creeping or leafy plants and greenery often work better than florals.

 

Outdoors

Another great opportunity for decorating an outdoor patio or garden area is combining natural stone with natural coloured concrete using exposed aggregate.

The Scandi style can be further embraced using wicker, canvas and wood-based furniture to set the perfect tone for a relaxing outdoor space.

Decorate with cushions, plants and greenery to make your garden or patio feel like a holiday destination.

For more information, tips, tricks and design inspiration, visit the other Geostone blogs or contact us today.

Tame Your Garden With Concrete

Gardens and outdoor areas can be a lot of work, but you can easily tame your garden with decorative concrete.

Regardless of how large or small the area, landscaping is an exciting makeover process that gives a sense of order and personalised style to your outdoor space.

One of the most effective materials for landscaping is concrete, which can be used to turn any backyard into a modern and inviting garden oasis.

Decorative concrete options such as coloured concrete and exposed aggregate with natural stone can be used in a wide variety of ways to add beauty and functionality, from paths and patios, to retaining walls and pool surrounds.

These are just some of the tips for using concrete to tame your garden, and create a low-maintenance and welcoming outdoor area.

Paths:

Concrete paths are one of the simplest ways to bring order to a garden and draw the eye to a linear passageway through the outdoor area.

Using decorative concrete gives any space a sense of individuality and structure.

You can select from a range of concrete colours and finishes to create landscaping that complements your home and the local surrounds.

The use of decorative concrete isn’t limited to the backyard. Coloured concrete and exposed aggregate are popular options for decorative concrete driveways too.

Plants and foliage:

Concrete planters and pots can be used to bring order and form to a garden, while creating a neutral and natural colour palette.

Textured concrete such as exposed aggregate can be used to decorate empty corners, or to create a focal point in a patio.

Vertical garden walls can be used in small gardens, courtyards and balconies, adding a natural decorative effect.

Using concrete in your garden can also help to control plant growth and minimise weeds, creating a low maintenance space while embracing plant life.

Decorative additions:

Decorative concrete features can be added to any garden or outdoor area, livening up the space while creating unity and flow.

Concrete sculptures and vases can be positioned to create an organised and welcoming look, while garden screens and water features help to section and divide a garden.

If space saving is a priority, then more streamlined or taller concrete ornaments can be used.

Overall, sectioning off and ordering your outdoor area helps to tame the garden, creating an inviting and peaceful space.

Patios and entertaining areas:

Enjoying the great outdoors is a big part of life in Australia. And most homeowners want an attractive outdoor area to entertain friends and family.

Decorative concrete can be used for everything from patios to swimming pool surrounds, allowing you to choose concrete colours and aggregates to complement your home.

There are many ways to further beautify a concrete patio including lighting, furniture and further landscaping. You could even consider a concrete bench seat with added cushions for a luxe earthy look.

Garden beds and borders:

Concrete can be used to create decorative borders or patterns.  Additionally, using concrete to create garden beds and borders provides greater weed resistance, reduced mosquito breeding, and a greater sense of style.

So, is there a limit to just how much of a garden should be remodelled with concrete? The balance is perfected by combining decorative concrete and stone with other natural materials and plenty of fresh natural greenery.

With such a wide selection of colours and finishes to choose from, decorative concrete is the perfect option for creating a unique garden that remains inviting and visually appealing for years to come.

For more information, tips and tricks on using decorative concrete indoors or out, visit the Geostone blog archive or contact us today.

Designing the Perfect Open Plan Living Space

Open plan living spaces are a popular way to create a distinct and welcoming appeal to any home.

Designing the perfect open plan living space requires some forward planning and a bit of know-how but the final design should be centred around your lifestyle and personal flair.

The greatest challenge of open plan design is creating separate living spaces, or zones, without the use of walls.

Strategic placement of furniture, floor coverings and other functional items can instead be used to provide definition and flow.

Furniture selection and colour coordination are also key to creating the perfect open plan living space.

We’ve put together some tips and tricks to inspire your open plan living design.

Layout Options and Forward Planning

Every home is unique, so planning according to the size and shape of your space is very important.

Open plan design in a long and narrow home will require a different approach to that of an L shaped, symmetrical or square room, so think about your space before rushing in.

While each area in the open layout has a different function, it is also important for them to have a sense of cohesiveness.

This can be achieved by using complementary colours, furniture and flooring options which work to carry a theme across the entire space.  

Furniture and Decoration

Open plan living spaces are not restricted to a certain style of furniture, which makes it easier to choose lounges, tables, chairs, lighting and decor based on personal preference.

Instead, it is important to focus on the fit and function of the furniture being used, such as the shapes of lounges, the length of tables, the height of chairs and their positioning.

Open plan living spaces tend to work well with L shaped sofas that act to enclose the living room and separate it from the kitchen and dining areas.

Furniture layout should be used to create borders for each space, while allowing for a solid divide through the areas to create a clear and uncluttered walkway.

One way to achieve this look is to use a clean and consistent flooring option throughout the home, such as polished concrete. You can then section off individual zones and define areas with the use of rugs that sit under the furniture of a chosen space.

Having a Goal

No-one knows your lifestyle as well as you do. You know how you want to use your home and what you expect from each space.

Thinking about your lifestyle allows you to decide which zones need more space, what type of furniture and materials meet your needs and what colour scheme you will most enjoy. You’re also best positioned to choose renovations within your budget.

With so many options available, planning an open space may seem challenging at first, so having a clear goal from the start really helps.

Open plan living also lends itself to greater flexibility for updating your decor when you want to. If you find a zone has a lot of extra space, you might like to choose a larger dining table, add in a study nook or create a cosy reading corner.

If you’re working with a smaller space, focus on a few key pieces of furniture and decor to avoid clutter.

Open plan design gives you a great opportunity to be creative and have fun. Combining smart use of furniture with a great colour scheme and quality materials will ensure a welcoming and natural feel to the home.

For more information, tips, tricks and design inspiration, visit the other Geostone blogs or contact us today.

Embracing Minimalist Home Design

Minimalist design breaks away from highly decorated styles to achieve a sense of “less is more”.

Embracing the function of furniture and design creates a clean, orderly and pleasing aesthetic. Without looking bare.

But how is minimalist design incorporated into a home effectively? And what do you do with all those household nick-nacks and bulky pieces of furniture?

It’s important to know that embracing minimalist home design doesn’t mean letting go of items that either hold sentimental value, or aren’t considered modern.

And there is more than one way to achieve the minimalist look.

Here are a few ideas to consider, as well as some pointers on embracing minimalist design in your home.

What is Minimalist design?

The term ‘minimalism’ was first coined by British philosopher Richard Wollheim to describe works of art.

Today, minimalist design is a popular style for not only architecture and interior design, but also websites, font, music, art, clothing, commercial spaces and office layouts.

Minimalist home design eliminates clutter by reducing furniture to a minimum, and removing unnecessary items from view to focus on functionality and aesthetics.

Minimalism is now a staple of modern design and is considered to be inspired by traditional Japanese architecture.

With a focus on simplicity and necessity, minimalism can take place in any home by making use of primary colours, negative space and understated pieces that tie together for a powerful effect.

 

Design Choices

A minimalist design typically incorporates the use of large windows, natural materials, sleek furniture and wide open spaces in order to create a modern look for the home.

A neutral and natural colour palette complements the simplicity of minimalism, making concrete flooring and natural stone a perfect choice for a minimalist home.

The material selection for furniture and decor pieces can range from wood to iron, brass, or even leather and concrete. Combining various materials while maintaining a limited colour palette adds to the raw and ‘naked’ effect of minimalism.

 

Angles, Lines and Shapes

Minimalist design lends itself to clean lines – but they don’t always have to be straight.

Adding in organic shapes in the form of a small round side table, curved statement chair, or live plants creates a more inviting and welcoming space.

Creating a ‘vision board’ by placing images together of furniture, decor, paint and flooring options can help you visualise a finished room before you make a purchase.

You can also use this method to tailor the positioning and layout of your space. Will furniture be centred, working from the inside out? Or will your items work better if placed offset for a more contemporary look?

 

Furniture

Having minimalist furniture in your home doesn’t mean settling for just one couch and a coffee table, or only a mattress on the floor.

In fact, this form of modern design focuses more on the kinds of furniture, their finish and function, rather than the amount of pieces in each room.

It’s all about angles, lines, space and that neutral colour palette, with each piece placed strategically for a well rounded aesthetic.

It’s important to remember there is always room for some decoration, but keep it in line with your chosen design.

Use a ‘catch all shelf’ or other types of furniture to keep all the decorative objects in one place, rather than creating clutter throughout your home. And bring the outside in with fresh greenery and plant life.

Keep in mind that minimalist design isn’t restricted to the interior of a home either.

You can continue the look outside with minimalist outdoor design.

Streamlined sunbeds and modern outdoor statement chairs combine perfectly with a neutral coloured concrete patio or exposed aggregate with natural stone.

For more design inspiration visit the Geostone blog archive, or contact us for a quote or more information about the Geostone range of decorative concrete.

 

Picture 4 from designmilk on Flickr.

Choosing the Best Coloured Concrete for Your Home

Coloured concrete means plain grey cement is no longer your only option, but how do you choose the best colour for your home?

Whether you’re planning to build  a concrete driveway, pool surrounds or a polished concrete floor, it’s important to choose a colour you will love for years to come.

When making the colour selection for your decorative concrete, there are a few important points to consider.

We’ve put together this guide to help you with your Geostone colour selection.

Colour Matching

Colour matching doesn’t necessarily mean matching colours. Using too many colours can overwhelm the colour palette, while using too much of the same colour can detract from your home and create a washed out effect. You might like your decorative concrete to complement or contrast the existing colour scheme of your home. Many Geostone customers choose neutral coloured concrete for outdoor projects to create more natural-looking driveways and paths. While darker coloured concrete can be quite popular for creating a striking polished concrete floor. Different shades and textures of concrete can also be used throughout a property to create separate and defined living spaces.

Natural Environment

When deciding on colours and textures for your home-building and renovation projects, you can take inspiration from the natural environment around you. Geostone’s exposed aggregate and polished and honed concrete ranges feature natural Australian stone, and the mixes are exclusive to your local area. The coloured concrete range is also available in varying neutral shades of sand, green, tan and brown so you can find the perfect colour for your project.

Texture and Finish

The final look of your decorative concrete will differ depending on the installation and finishing methods that are used. That’s why it’s important to consider the finish and function of the concrete when choosing a colour. The smooth finish of polished and honed concrete is best suited to applications such as internal polished floors, internal wet areas, pool surrounds and outdoor entertainment areas. While the more textured finish of Geostone’s exposed aggregate makes it best suited to outdoor areas such as driveways, pathways and pool surrounds.

Furniture and Fixtures

If you’re renovating an existing home, you might have furniture and an established colour scheme to consider when installing a polished concrete floor. Similarly, if you’re laying decorative concrete outdoors, you might have outdoor furniture and existing landscaping to take into consideration when choosing the best coloured concrete for your home.

Multiple Building Materials

Combining or layering multiple building materials is a popular option in modern design. Natural building materials such as timber and stone create a dramatic contrast with decorative coloured concrete and exposed aggregate. When choosing the colour of your decorative concrete, think about the other materials you might use with or alongside it.

Resale Value

If you’re building or renovating your dream home with no plans of selling, you might be inclined to base your colour selection on personal preference. But when it comes to maximising the resale value of your home, choosing neutral colours can be beneficial. Property valuers look more favourably on timeless, fresh and neutral colour palettes including updates such as covering brick walls with cement rendering, which is estimated to return $10 for every $1 spent.

For more information about Geostone or for assistance with your coloured concrete selection, contact us today.

The Must-Have Feature for Every Australian Backyard and Garden

Making the most of your home means spending time outdoors too, so you want your backyard and garden to reflect your lifestyle.

There is one must-have feature that can help you create an outdoor space that is not only beautiful, but also functional, long-lasting and could even add value to your home.

The answer? Decorative concrete.

There are so many diverse ways to use concrete in any outdoor space, from the smallest courtyards and patios, to sprawling gardens and entertainer’s paradise backyards.

Let’s take a look at just some of the possibilities.

 

Assorted Custom Finishes

Homeowners are no longer restricted to a plain grey concrete slab. Concrete is now available in a wide variety of appealing finishes including exposed aggregate, coloured concrete and polished and honed concrete. Geostone’s decorative concrete range also features natural Australian stone, providing the natural materials and earthy tones that are so on trend in outdoor styling.

 

Garden Beds

Building and maintaining garden beds requires a lot of planning and hard work, so you want them to last. An article by Urban Agriculture co-founder Brian Barth discusses the many benefits of building garden beds with concrete, and he says no other material is as durable or suitable for the job as poured concrete. Concrete also absorbs the warmth of the sun, holding it in the soil overnight to aid plant growth. And the flexible nature of concrete allows you to create curved shapes and more artistic-styled vegetable gardens.

 

Patios and Alfresco Areas

The backyard barbecue is a much-loved Australian institution, making outdoor entertaining areas the key feature of backyards and gardens everywhere. Decorative concrete options such as coloured concrete and exposed aggregate concrete featuring natural stone help to create an attractive and inviting atmosphere for patios and alfresco areas. Various decorative concrete types can also be combined to create outdoor rooms and clearly defined spaces, from grand entertainment areas to the smallest patio designs.

 

Swimming Pools and Pool Surrounds

Decorative concrete is a popular choice for building swimming pools, swimming pool renovations and creating cool pool surrounds. Coloured concrete can be used to add a striking decorative border or pattern, while exposed and honed concrete offer slip-resistant properties. Other benefits include greater weed resistance, reduced mosquito breeding, and greater comfort underfoot.

 

Driveways, Footpaths and Pathways

There is something comforting about pulling into your own driveway at the end of a busy day. Using decorative concrete for driveways gives the entrance to your home a sense of individuality, and a differentiating look and texture to the rest of the street. Driveways and pathways can also be used to frame lawns and gardens.

 

Retaining Walls, Feature Walls, and Steps

Decorative concrete isn’t limited to ground coverage surfaces. It can also be used to build three-dimensional and functional structures, such as retaining walls and garden steps. Home improvement website Networx identifies the many benefits of decorative concrete retaining walls, including greater strength, durability, resistance, flexibility, ease of installation, low maintenance and affordability.

 

Garden Sheds, Garage and Shed Floors

Every serious outdoor area needs a shed, and every home needs a garage. Sheds and garages are best finished with a hardy and durable flooring surface that is both easy to clean and will last the test of time. Coloured concrete is becoming an increasingly popular option for sheds and garage floors, while honed and polished concrete can add another level of luxury to the garage space, ideal for showcasing a much-loved vehicle.

 

Decorative Features

There really are endless opportunities for using concrete in your outdoor space. As well as all of the above traditional purposes, concrete can be used to mould decorative and functional features for the outdoors including concrete fire pits, concrete seat walls, water features, or even an outdoor smoking room. With the wide range of decorative concrete colours, textures and finishes available from Geostone, you are only limited by your imagination.

 

For more information and inspiration on how to improve your backyard and garden with concrete, visit Geostone on Facebook or read more about decorative concrete.

5 Applications of Concrete that You Probably Haven’t Thought Of…

Whenever concrete is mentioned, images of its use in construction and house foundations usually come to mind. But concrete has taken on a new life over the years as architects and builders discover innovative ways to mould, strengthen and decorate the versatile material. We look at concrete differently today; exploring concrete’s functionality and the unforeseen and stylish applications it can take on about the home.

Versatile Concrete

Concrete can add warmth as it complements the contemporary design aesthetics of a home. You can use concrete in the bathroom instead of tiles to create a benchtop, a bath surround or a floor of exposed aggregate. It can be introduced in such a way so as to proudly show off the concrete itself such as an impressive dining room floor made of polished concrete that gleams like glass, or a stamped concrete path of a colour and texture that complements your home’s design. Concrete is a flexible material that can be cast into complex shapes. Your decorative concrete can contain natural stone, scrap metals, petrified woods, mosaics of glass crystals and even phosphorescent glow-in-the-dark materials. Here are five applications of concrete you probably haven’t thought of:

1. Concrete Benchtops and Sinks

Concrete is a practical alternative to expensive marble, for if it’s the stone-like look you’re after, the concrete aggregate mix can be precisely moulded and shaped to benchtop dimensions and then finely polished back to reveal an exquisite natural stone finish with a mirror-like sheen. A pastel-coloured concrete sink with smooth, matt finish is a stunning thing to look at. Concrete sinks can be a separate stand-alone or inset in a concrete benchtop.

2. Concrete Furniture

A concrete table makes a great centrepiece for your patio and dining areas. Concrete is very suited to creating simple but elegant coffee tables. Furniture made of concrete is functional and its minimal design means it can accompany just about any style of architecture. A polished concrete table with refined straight edges makes for a stunning addition to your home office. Stained re-purposed timber legs partner perfectly with concrete. Versatile concrete seats made from cement, aggregate, sand and stones can come in many shapes from cylindrical slabs and hexagonal blocks to solids with groovy curves that make them look like bean bags. Solid concrete seats are long lasting and will withstand any weather conditions – they’ll never get blown about in the wind. A simple concrete stool consisting of a concrete disc set on top of a tripod of hardwood legs brings a little bit of Scandinavian charm to your home.

3. Concrete Bowls

There’s a vast range of colouring agents that can be applied to concrete to create modern concrete bowls for the kitchen and classic style planters for the garden. The concrete mixture can be poured into a mould, set, washed, and then sealed with a concrete dust proof solution.

4.Concrete Stairways

When a concrete stairway is done well, it can have the appearance of floating on air. A concreted stairway can be moulded entirely of solid concrete or used with other materials that form the structural skeleton for a decorative concrete skin. There are many design options from the old-world Hollywood movie types adorned with fancy wrought iron work and carved timber handrails, to urban chic chrome posts and wire handrails. A concrete stairway can add glamour and style to any indoor space.

5. Concrete Homes

There’s no doubting the strength and sturdiness of a concrete home. They can be designed and built to suit any architectural style.[1] No fragile frames or brittle bricks needed here. Solid precast concrete exterior wall panels, the structural load-bearing elements of the home, are bracketed on top of concrete footing pads. Concrete homes can incorporate recycled cementitious materials, have excellent thermal properties, and are resistant to fires and other extreme weather events.  Hardwoods, tiles and carpet can be introduced as finish materials while the use of taints and textures stamped into the concrete slab floor can be used to create spectacular transition areas inside and out.

 

  1. Concrete Homes: Strong, Versatile, Durable http://www.cement.org/concrete-basics/concrete-homes

Hints on Beautifying Your Concrete Patio

A patio made from decorative concrete can be a striking and distinctive feature in its own right.  However, there are ways you can maximise the visual appeal of your concrete patio to make it stand out even more.

Beautifying your patio

Landscape around your patio – it’s not always what’s on your patio that counts. The landscaping around your concrete patio can beautifully complement and highlight this outdoor entertainment area, through the creative use of plants, pavers, water features, trellis and more. Conversely, thanks to the versatility of colours and textures associated with decorative concrete, you can design and construct a patio that perfectly reflects your existing landscaping.

Choose a colour, pattern or texture to match your furniture – in the same way that you can construct a decorative concrete patio to match your current landscaping, you can design the patio to reflect the colour and style of your outdoor furniture to give a feeling of completeness, rather than a random assortment of styles and colours.

Mood LightingMood lighting – it might sound obvious, but lighting can really highlight the beauty of your decorative concrete patio. Imagine lighting that enhances and shows off the raw beauty of Australian stone in exposed aggregate, or bold lighting that plays with the hues and shades of coloured concrete.

Make it flow – with decorative concrete, it is possible to create a patio of the same colour and texture as any adjoining indoor area. Indoor/outdoor flow is a very appealing visual effect, and the design of your decorative concrete patio could enable this if it is close to an internal living area.

Define the space – a low wall built up around the perimeter of your concrete patio can serve two main purposes. It can provide seating for guests, and it can help define the space of your patio. Trellis or a pergola can have the same effect, and make your concrete patio feel more like an outdoor room. With the growing trend towards outdoor dining and entertaining, a dedicated area for outside fun can become a real feature and selling point.

Let decorative concrete be the star – it is possible to over-accessorise as you beautify your concrete patio. This can overshadow the beauty of the concrete itself – and yes, decorative concrete can be beautiful. Striking exposed aggregate, or the patterns and effects offered by the use of coloured concrete, deserve to be highlighted. The overall effect can be ruined by having too much stuff on your concrete patio e.g. one too many chairs, an outsized table, an excessive amount of potted plants. Decluttering anywhere can be a good idea, but when you want to show off the decorative concrete that is the foundation of your patio, then it becomes an even better idea. What’s the point in having a talking point like decorative concrete when you can’t even see it?

We’ve never been more into outdoor entertaining than we are now. The patio is often the focal point of that entertaining so it’s only natural you want it to look as good as you can. What you put on it, and around it, will have a big impact, as will your choice of decorative concrete. With the colours and finishes now available to you, there’s no reason why you can’t create an area that feels more like a beautiful outdoor room than just a patio.