Anyone who has spent a lot of time walking down city sidewalks might scoff at the idea that concrete is trending in both residential and commercial design. First, there’s the color—gray and generally uninspiring—then there’s the ubiquitous building material’s perception as cold. But the truth is that concrete can be a surprisingly versatile and stylish addition to any home, if you know how to use it. When applied as everything from kitchen countertops and powder room sinks to bedroom walls and tiled floors, concrete imparts an unexpected sense of utilitarian chic and streamlined modernism that works in rustic and minimalist homes alike. Its bland hue also serves as a neutral base for colorful and textural infusions of all kinds. Here, we present a selection of concrete accents from the AD archives that will convince you to rethink the material—and perhaps even use it in your own home.
A polished-concrete floor and a La Cornue cooktop offset earthy wood in a São Paulo kitchen designed by Isay Weinfeld.
A concrete soaking tub dominates a Napa Valley, California, master bath by architectural firm McAlpine Tankersley and interior designer Rela Gleason; the Summer Hill ottoman is covered in a Suzanne Tucker Home cotton velvet.
Lake | Flato Architects and designer Terry Hunziker collaborated on this airy bedroom in Austin, Texas, which features a concrete wall as the backdrop.
In actor Patrick Dempsey’s Malibu, California, home, designed by Estee Stanley, the kitchen features a concrete sink and countertops as well as a Wolf range and a Best hood.
The living room of a Dominican Republic estate designed by Genevieve Faure includes built-in sofas on simple concrete bases, with cushions upholstered in a Kravet fabric.
A loggia paved with sandblasted concrete links the main house to the children’s wing in a Texas home designed by Sara Story and Lake | Flato Architects.
In the kitchen of a vacation home in San José del Cabo, Mexico, created by Marshall Watson Interiors in collaboration with Stephen Morgan Architect, walls sheathed in Spanish tile from Villa Valentina complement poured-concrete counters.
To transform the living room of a family home in Beverly Hills, California, Silvia Kuhle and Jeffrey Allsbrook of Standard, a Los Angeles architecture firm, installed a fireplace surround made of board-formed concrete; reclaimed-oak beams frame the glass walls, and salvaged-pine siding lines the ceiling.
At a Southern California ranch by Geoff Sumich Design, the ironwood table and chairs decorate the great room’s dining area. Dogger, by Elliott Puckette, hangs on the concrete column. The stairs lead to the library, which is suspended above the kitchen.
In a Cascade Mountain compound by Olson Kundig Architects, the living/dining room’s concrete hearth is surrounded by armchairs with cushions upholstered in vintage blankets and a custom-made cocktail table.
In designer Ken Fulk’s San Francisco home, vintage copper pots hang above the original wood-burning stove in the kitchen, where a custom-made blackened-steel hood coordinates with polished-concrete counters.
The floor of the salon in designer Rela Gleason’s Napa Valley, California, home is lined in concrete tiles by Peacock Pavers.
A rustic Los Angeles bath designed by Hammer and Spear features Urban Electric Co. sconces, Rohl sink fittings, custom-made concrete basins, and Arteriors cabinets; the vases are by Heath Ceramics.
In a Hudson Valley, New York, bath by architect Basil Walter, the troweled-concrete master bath has a Wetstyle tub with Boffi fittings.
In the living room of a Montana home by Madeline Stuart and Lake | Flato Architects, smooth concrete walls surround a steel firebox.
A Marsha Lega wall sculpture shines against a span of concrete in the master bedroom of Alex Rodriguez’s Coral Gables, Florida, home. Briggs Edward Solomon designed the walnut bed, which is joined by nightstands from Luminaire; the rug is by Woven Accents.
In the New York home of Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber, designed by Ashe + Leandro, the kitchen features pendant lights by the Lamp Goods, a Wolf microwave, Lostine stools, and a checkerboard concrete-tile floor.