The concrete revolution

Do you not like concrete? It’s grey, cold, ugly, uniform, old fashioned. You don’t even like the word “concrete”. But concrete has come a long way in the last few years! The proof: there is concrete that generates light because of the luminous fibre optics it contains. Want to hear more?

There is translucent concrete which allows the natural light to shine through, self-cleaning and depolluting concrete, concrete that sparkles, concrete that reproduces photos, concrete that changes colour. All of this could be flooding the market soon.

Good old traditional concrete is easy to maintain, resistant, waterproof, solid. Originally reserved for industrial buildings and architecture, concrete has become a popular decorative material in the last few years.


Concrete is not a noble material, but it highlights natural materials like wood, stone and slate. As a floor covering, it fits easily with any of these materials to ensure variety when it comes to flooring. It has even been used to complement terra cotta tiles.

As a wall covering, concrete unabashedly exposes itself with metal, glass, stone and wood. When exposed alone, sometimes it has marble plaques integrated into it or polystyrene beads, which give it a unique look. Fanciful at times, wall concrete now has esthetic touches: a wrinkled sheet, a reptile skin, a lace effect, wood veins, a mosaic. There are wall tiles that transform into bas-reliefs for added sumptuousness.

Concrete is the surface champion in decoration, which lends itself well to the minimalism and the industrial look. There are even floors that go from one room to another, or bathrooms almost entirely “poured” in cement, including the shower cabin, bath and shelves.


Concrete is too grey? Times have changed. Concrete laced with pigments emphasizes both warm and cold colours. Lively tones dance on the ground and take the walls by storm.

Even grey concrete allows bold colours like red or blue to stand out using contrasts. Grey concrete also adds serenity and gentleness to a room if the esthetics are done right.

If you like the green-rustic look, smooth, sand coloured concrete on the floor or which imitates granite evokes nature.

The idea of a concrete floor or wall doesn’t do anything for you, but you still like the mineral aspect of concrete? Maybe you will find concrete furniture more to your liking: table, couch, chair, stool, bench, bookshelf, headboard, lamp base, clock. If not, maybe the kitchen countertop.


Today’s concrete with its finish has nothing to do with traditional concrete. It acts more like a covering with concrete effects. As a binder, cement is replaced by other products. Resin and fibres provide a lighter concrete, which can be adapted to a décor in countless ways.

Take the time to surf the Web, such as Google Images, or flip through the pages of the two books mentioned below. You will find tons of decorative ideas.


Le béton dans la déco, plus de 90 réalisations, Massin, Marie-Pierre Dubois-Petroff, 2011, 95 pages

Béton et décoration, Isabelle Bonte, photographies Éric Thierry, Fleurus, 2009

Photos: iStock