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Material Focus: Concrete

No longer just for driveways, sidewalks and patios, concrete has embraced its softer side and the results are surprisingly pretty. Concrete accents work well with popular industrial aesthetics, but can also add texture and interest to rustic farmhouse decor. No matter your style, here are a few ways to try the trend at home.

096-HOME-Concrete-canisters

1. Canisters

Concrete has been turning up in some unusual places, including the kitchen. “Cement, with the addition of coloring, molding and different washes, is being used more extensively in home design, so a natural transition is happening in using it in home decor,” says Tina Palmer, owner of Red Door Mercantile in Neenah where these kitchen canisters are available.

096-HOME-Concrete-coasters2. Coasters

For those on the fence with the concrete trend, these coasters from By E and M add a subtle, minimalist touch without going overboard.

096-HOME-Concrete-lamp3. Lamps

Raw concrete serves as a modern neutral, as seen in this table lamp from August Haven in Green Bay. Keep things sophisticated with a simple lampshade or dress it up with a pattern or pop of color.

096-HOME-Concrete-candleholder4. Candle Holders

This pillow tea light candle holder was created by Appleton artists Edward Van Ryzin and Mia Russell, co-owners of By E and M. Their work, which is featured at local retailers like Blue Moon Emporium in downtown Appleton, gives a nod to concrete’s utilitarian nature, while celebrating its newfound ability to make a decorative statement.

5. Wall Plaques096-HOME-Concrete-tile

Spice up an empty wall or shelf with a plaque, like this one from The Gathered Earth in Appleton. Owner Erica Smith prefers small pieces, like plaques and statuary, that can be easily transitioned indoors during the winter and outdoors in summer.

096-HOME-Concrete-topiary6. Planters

Raw concrete makes an unexpected accompaniment to greenery, both real and faux. A rounded topiary contrasts the clean lines of a concrete base, like this example also from The Gathered Earth.

096-HOME-Concrete-chair7. Furniture

Outdoor furniture gets a facelift when it’s made with concrete. “I love that it just looks different and interesting. I see it as a way to mix up decor and use it in combination with other textures – wood, metal and stone,” Palmer says.

—FC

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