Who ever said concrete has to be boring? Thanks to new products and advanced techniques, and designers who love the look, what was once looked at as a building and construction basic is fast becoming high style.

"Commercially, the use of integral color with alternative finishes is experiencing exponential growth," said Todd A. Scharich, owner of Decorative Concrete Resources, in an earlier interview with Concrete Construction. "Non-stamped color usage options include sandblasting, swirl, and artistic directional brooming often combined with secondary colored borders. (2) Metallic epoxies available for five to 10 years have finally hit their stride with endless color combination possibilities and a somewhat unpredictable finish. The retail market will be especially receptive to metallic epoxies. (3) The use of dyes and stains combined with polishing will continue it’s strong commercial market presence. The affordability and durability of the floors have made them a favorite in schools and commercial interior flooring applications."

Mark Miodownik wrote in a recent article for England's The Guardian newspaper, "perceptions may now be changing as new forms – such as self-healing concrete – are being brought into production."

An Associated Press story recently looked at another factor driving the growth of the trend.

... concrete has become a stylish medium in the home, thanks to interior designers and artisans.

“Concrete is such an amazing and cheap material. I can get an 80-pound bag from Home Depot and turn it into tables, vases and planters without using power tools,” said

Boston-based designer Ben Uyeda ...

Major furniture and decor retailers including Crate & Barrel and West Elm, have come out with concrete-look furniture, and it's also making a cultural mark in fashion and film.

Some of the most unique decorative concrete items that we've come across have been from individual artists and designers, like these concrete block speakers, this concrete ping pong table by James DeWulf, and these concrete camera sculptures by Alex Stanton.