On the Block: Cinder Blocks as Design Elements
I’ve had a long-lasting love affair with concrete as a design element, and have gorgeous stained concrete flooring throughout my home. But even the lowly “concrete masonry unit” -- or cinder block -- has a special place in my heart due to the versatility and texture it brings to just about any home—indoors or out. In addition, they don’t break the bank, which is always a plus.
Unexpected Modern Shelving
Image: Zack Benson
This terrific modern multi-level planter is not what I typically think of when someone says, “cinder block shelving” – and am I ever glad about that! The options and ability to create your own special outdoor installation inspired by this design make it one of my favorite uses for this material.
Image: Roger Davies for Dwell
Exposed cinder block walls sound cold and uninviting but their inherent color variations and texture make for the exact opposite. Plus, with the staggered placement and lightly contrasting mortar shown here, this seems more like a giant wall of subway tile. This treatment brings a tremendous amount of life to an industrial space.
Image: Eric Bossic on Dezeen
The close relatives of cinder blocks, concrete blocks – same idea, just without the decorative openings – are used in this minimal kitchen along with plywood and stainless steel to create a durable, workman-like space. Elevating these every day materials into an almost artistic look and feel speaks to me of smart modern design.
Image: Modern Urban Living
Finally, if you’re taken with the form of the cinder block element but not a fan of concrete, there are a variety of modern takes on the old standard – from walnut, shown here, to ceramic – so you can keep the design inspiration without the risk of scraping your knuckles.
What unusual items do you have as art pieces in your home?