How Do You Work With Exposed Concrete In Your Interior Decor?

Concrete walls, floors, and ceilings make our infrastructure possible, but it’s not always a favorite of people with an eye for design. Concrete can pose some opticals when the goal is to achieve a certain look in a home, apartment, office, business, or another interior. Fortunately, a little bit of know-how goes a long way. Whether it’s knowing when to buy stainless steel wedge anchors to secure hardware or the best way to add color and warmth, these simple tips will open up virtually limitless possibilities for decorating and working with exposed concrete.

Know Your Concrete Fasteners

If you’re struggling with the layout of a room because you don’t know how to safely affix your wall-mounted TV, floating shelves, or chandelier into a material like concrete or brick, you can take comfort in knowing that concrete fasteners like expansion wedge anchors and tapcons solve this problem.

Just because you can’t use a household drill or hammer to install a fastener into a concrete wall or ceiling doesn’t mean you’re stuck with underutilized space. Many of these components are not difficult to install with the right tools, but the parameters of the job must be carefully considered so the right fasteners are selected and the correct installation method is used. Sometimes it will be necessary to rely on the skills of a professional, but not always.

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For example, nail-in anchors can be used to mount various wall hangings, sconces, and lighter-weight decorative elements. They can be installed into a variety of materials by simply drilling a hole and hammering the anchor pin. Wedge anchors can be used to secure heavier equipment and hardware directly to a solid concrete wall, but their installation process is more involved. It’s also necessary to determine whether zinc-plated wedge anchors will suffice or if galvanized wedge anchors are needed for added resistance. Further specifications apply to cracked and uncracked concrete.

The task of selecting the right concrete fastener mostly depends on the type of concrete or masonry and the weight and structure of the object that must be secured. Once those specifics are determined, concrete fastener installation is fairly standard.

Cover It, Paint It Or Embrace It

With the ability to mount hardware directly into concrete, you have many options for covering it. If you want to create a cozy, classic, or even regal vibe, consider hanging tapestries and wall coverings made from various fiber. Cloth and fabric wall hangings don’t have to be ornate; even simple and modern motifs will provide softness and coverage. Large canvas paintings, prints, and panels can be used for the same effect. When the right size, shape, and placement are chosen, you may easily forget there’s a concrete wall behind your piece. This can also be accomplished with ceilings by using hanging light fixtures, planters, and other suspended decor.

If you don’t have or don’t want to invest in wall hangings, paintings, etc., you can use paint to create endless visual effects. A simple and consistent coat of a rich color or clean neutral tone can be enough to really personalize a space. Alternatively, patterns like stripes or motifs incorporated through stenciling can drastically improve the look of plain structural concrete. If you do decide to paint a concrete wall, make sure you choose the paint base. Wall paint that’s meant for drywall or plaster will not always work on concrete, brick, and similar materials, due in part to their rough and porous nature. Fortunately, paint manufacturers offer an extensive selection of primers, colors, and finishes that are meant to work on concrete, brick, and more.

Of course, there is always the option to leave concrete exposed and embrace what has become a trendy modern look. While concrete may not be the most conventional of options if you’re seeking a cozy feel, there are simple ways to balance it.  

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Balance Temperature And Texture

A space with exposed concrete can be left as is and still appear as cozy, elegant, or dynamic as you’d like. This is accomplished by countering its inherent qualities. Since concrete is seen as utilitarian and rough, bringing in natural textures like wood grain and greenery will introduce balance and warmth. Modern and classic textiles work equally well in a concrete space. Bold contemporary patterns and more dramatic fabric textures, like large knits and faux fur, are very trendy, but they also timelessly compliment more industrial structural elements.

Even simple and inexpensive additions that introduce natural elements, such as a display with river stones, a bowl of citrus fruits, or potted plants, can turn any concrete space into a stylish and comfortable living or workspace.