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You may well think that ‘concrete furniture’ sounds like a contradiction in terms.

Of all building materials, concrete probably ranks to most people as the most boringly practical. Great for laying foundations and creating the hidden supporting structures of large buildings, for sure. But not a material you’d associate with style and comfort.

Not, in other words, a material you’d want to make furniture out of - would you?

Actually, concrete has picked up a negative reputation it doesn’t entirely deserve. While we may nowadays turn our noses up at the 1960s brutalist architecture that covered towns and cities in large concrete blocks for buildings, it’s not the material’s fault.

Practicality is concrete’s great strength, and that applies equally to garden furniture as it does large-scale construction. And used in the right way, concrete also has an aesthetic appeal of its own - one that brings an ultra-hip ‘shabby chic’ style to your garden and outdoor spaces.

Three reasons to choose concrete

Want something a little different that will stand the test of time? Polished concrete can make a great addition to any outdoor space. Here’s why:

 

  • Versatility: In terms of its strength and durability, concrete offers all the same advantages as stone, which people may consider a more attractive material for garden furniture. But stone is laborious to shape, and stone furniture often comes as single pieces, making it difficult to get into place. Concrete can be moulded into any shape, and concrete furniture can be built in modular pieces to be assembled in situ.

 

  • Something out of the ordinary: Let’s face it - everyone has wooden garden furniture, or wood and metal. Or even plastic - cheap and practical, yes, but hardly likely to survive general wear and tear for very long. And if you’re going to go for something as plain-looking as plastic, why not opt for a material that you can guarantee will last you 10, 20 years easily? Besides, polished concrete is not without its charms, and you are likely to stand out from the crowd with an imposing polished concrete table in your backyard.

 

  • A great partner: Finally, concrete is great for pairing with other materials to achieve a pleasing aesthetic effect. Because it is relatively plain and unassuming, it makes a great base for adding decorative elements. A concrete tabletop with a wooden frame makes a very popular combination, and you can of course add soft furnishings to chair and sofa bases to make everything comfortable.

 

For lots of useful tips on how to make your concrete outdoor furniture more elegant with clever material pairings, read our useful style guide.

 

 

Caring for your polished concrete furniture

Concrete is tough, but it still requires a little TLC to keep it in pristine condition. Here are a few tips for looking after your concrete furniture:

 

  • Wax regularly: Concrete is a porous material, and moisture soaking into it over any length of time will cause serious damage. Protect against this by waxing concrete at least three times a year, which will help keep it water-tight.

 

  • Avoid abrasives or cleaning chemicals: They are likely to mark the surface of your concrete, so just clean with a damp cloth.

 

  • Raise covers: Furniture covers are advised for protecting all furniture from the elements. However, with concrete, make sure covers are raised off the surface to ensure air can circulate and prevent moisture building up.