An increasingly popular option to add a touch of industrial style in an affordable way, concrete wallpaper brings depth and visual appeal to walls thanks to its unique texture and realistic appearance. More
Concrete Wallpaper: The Guide
For centuries, the humble material concrete has been one of the most often used basic construction materials. But it wasn’t before the early 20th century that it started to be appreciated as a decorative feature, when architects and designers began to notice its versatility and visual effect. In recent years, its raw and unpolished look has found its way into the world of interior design, as homeowners and designers sought to bring the industrial look prevalent in urban lofts in cities like New York, Chicago and Berlin into their homes. The advances in printing technology now make it possible to create concrete-effect wallpaper models that convincingly mimic the texture and appearance of real concrete. This popular alternative does away with the expense and hassle of traditional concrete construction.
Table of Contents
- Which interior design solutions can I realise with concrete wallpaper?
- Which areas are most suitable for a concrete-effect wallpaper?
- Which varieties of imitation concrete wall décor are available on the market?
- Are there any other creative ways to use concrete wallpaper in my home?
Concrete-look wallpaper is commonly associated with the industrial loft aesthetic favoured by artists and creatives in urban areas. However, it's a versatile design element that can also be used to define elegant monochromatic minimalist spaces or add to the eclectic charm of a Shabby Chic interior.
Nothing feels as effortlessly cool as an industrial style living space. Originally a reaction against overly ornate traditional decorative styles, over time it has become an aesthetic choice in its own right, with a long list of potential elements that includes exposed brick and cement walls, black and white typographic prints, factory windows and iron pipes. An easy way to introduce this popular look into your home is by adding a deceptively real concrete-effect wallpaper and complementing it with metal accents such a bookshelf or designer lighting.
The combination of a monochromatic minimalist aesthetic and concrete wallpaper in shades of grey can be an elegant and understated design choice that bridges the Scandinavian and urban design concepts, bringing out the best in both of them. Paired with streamlined, minimalist furniture in black or white, it works best with soft lighting and warm wood tones to balance out the cooler hues of the concrete wall décor.
Creative Shabby Chic
A design style emphasising a slightly worn, “pre-loved” vintage look and combining elegant elements with rustic and weathered finishes, Shabby Chic works extremely well with a concrete-effect wallpaper as a background canvas. The striking irregularities of weathered concrete are the perfect match for distressed and upcycled furniture, vintage floral fabrics, and feminine accents.
A synonym for “edgy and modern” in contemporary interior design, concrete wallpaper is best suited to contemporary living rooms, minimalist zen bathrooms, or offices at home and mancaves with attitude.
Stylish living rooms
Juxtaposing the unfinished and raw effect of an imitation-concrete feature wall with an otherwise sleek and modern décor adds a layer of contrast and interest to living rooms, giving them the coveted New York or London loft style. In order to avoid overwhelming the area, it is recommended to decorate only a narrow wall or a portion of it with the concrete wallpaper. The other surfaces should be painted with shades selected from a light and muted colour palette.
Inspiring office spaces at home
In the past often the most neglected spaces in our homes, offices have come a long way in recent years. An office at home should support the flow of creativity and inspiration and allow you to get down to business. After all, for anyone working from home, this is the area in the house where we spend most of our time. A concrete wallpaper placed behind the desk creates a modern and professional look befitting the creative or tech-focused industry and will look great as a backdrop for videocalls.
A popular choice in minimalist, industrial bathrooms, a feature wall decorated with concrete-effect wallpaper works best opposite a window, with the direct light highlighting its texture and creating fascinating effects. You can create a zen feel by putting smooth rocks at its base inside a recess along the wall and pair it with natural elements like a potted bamboo plant to balance the hardness of the material.
Often called the refuge of the modern man, so-called “mancaves” have become increasingly popular in recent years. These spaces are mostly separate from the main abode and enable men to freely express their own design aesthetic without having to compromise. An edgy, weathered looking imitation concrete wallpaper complements the traditional elements often found in such spaces, for instance “hanging out” areas with leather sofas, funky bar areas, neon lights, and gaming setups.
Once installed and exposed to the elements, concrete ages in a myriad of ways, creating an almost infinite variety of different looks ranging from the greyish uniformity of fresh cement to the cracked and scratched patina of weathered surfaces.
With the seamless and smooth appearance resembling just poured cement, grey concrete-effect wallpaper is most commonly used in minimalist design concepts that incorporate an urban feel while preserving an overall sleek, “designer” effect. The uniformity of the colour grey creates a cohesive and calming atmosphere that fits well with leather or wool upholstery furniture, while the grouting between the individual panels adds a structural element to the room.
Distressed look concrete is a popular choice favoured by many interior designers as it is one of the most effective ways to add character to an otherwise sleek contemporary design. Characterised by a worn and weathered appearance mimicking the natural wear and tear that real concrete develops over time, concrete-effect wallpaper features a variety of cracks, scratches, and imperfections, giving it a unique and rustic charm with a weathered vintage feel.
Dark and smooth
Not all contemporary industrial concepts incorporating concrete wallpaper need to feel cold or spartan. Dark and smooth cement-effect wall décor with a sleek and velvety finish is the ideal backdrop for effortlessly edgy looks in stylish living rooms or trendy dining spaces. Paired with warm, soft, indirect lighting and vintage furniture elements, it’s a popular choice for boutiques and retail spaces.
Not tied to a specific pattern or motif, concrete-effect wall décor is a polyfunctional decoration tool that can be used in a variety of ways, from creating an original bedroom headboard to adding an urban touch to doors or fireplaces.
A concrete headboard for your bed
Traditionally speaking, the back wall of the bed is often used for a large framed artwork or photograph. Why not switch things around by using concrete wallpaper to create a stylish and original headboard for your bed? It will provide an interesting focal point with an industrial touch, especially if paired with wall-mounted metal lamps on either side of the headboard.
Design a statement door
If you are interested in adding a concrete element to your interior design concept but aren’t ready to commit to an entire wall, consider using a concrete-look wallpaper on a door to create a dramatic and stylish statement piece. Paint the door frame in a glossy white to contrast the rough haptic surface of concrete. This is an excellent way to add a touch of industrial style to a room without overdoing it.
Create a concrete fireplace
Many older houses both in Northern Europe and America still feature ornate fireplaces, a remnant of a time when it was the only source of heating. While often impressive and beautiful, their style doesn’t always match modern interiors. Use a concrete-effect wallpaper to create a unique fireplace surround, making it fit with the rest of the décor and adding an element of industrial style to your living room or bedroom.