Concrete countertops and bartops make a bold design statement in modern kitchens and restaurants, often becoming the focal point of the room. The mass and natural look of concrete instantly create an industrial vibe. In homes, concrete countertops convey a clean, sleek, minimalist look that complements contemporary décor and works well with modern stainless steel appliances and furnishings. In restaurants, you’ll often see concrete countertops and bartops made in vibrant attention-getting colors to create a hip, urban atmosphere. Concrete’s versatility allows contractors to take many different approaches to modern design, from the understated and refined to the trendy and cutting-edge. Check out these ideas to see the range of possibilities.

Modern Concrete Indoors

Download this style palette to discover how concrete can be used to convey an industrial look using subtle shades of gray and geometrical designs.
Modern Style Guide (PDF)

Common Characteristics:

  • Smooth, polished surfaces.
  • High-gloss finishes that reflect overhead lighting.
  • Color schemes ranging from neutral (white and natural gray are especially popular) to vibrant hues, such as bright orange.
  • Simple geometric shapes.
  • Straight, unadorned edges instead of more ornate bullnose or rope-style edge details.

Modern Countertop Design Ideas:

  1. Leave the concrete in its natural state, and simply coat it with a neutral sealer to add a slight sheen.
  2. Polish the concrete to give it a sleek, mirror-like finish that reflects overhead lighting.
  3. Incorporate fiber-optic lighting into the countertop for subtle nighttime illumination.
  4. Use drop-nose edges to create the illusion of mass and thickness.
  5. Cast the countertop using white cement to create a pristine, porcelain-like look.
  6. Experiment with bold colors and unusual shapes that make the countertop stand out as a modern focal point.

See these modern concrete countertop projects:

Concrete Finishes Enhance Luxury Apartments

This award-winning project features precast concrete countertops and other elements, such as 8-foot ramp sinks with slot drains, tables with integral waterfall legs, and three-dimensional cube desks.

Concrete Countertops Feature Custom Farmhouse Sink

These homeowners in La Jolla, Calif., have a sink almost too attractive for dirty dishes, even though it’s built for such mundane drudgery.

Contemporary Home Uses Concrete Throughout

See a home near Grand Rapids that features concrete countertops in the kitchen as well as concrete vanities in the bathrooms. Thanks to the versatility of decorative concrete, these homeowners were able to achieve a look that was unconventional and innovative.

Custom Counters & Vanities

See how concrete countertops and vanities were incorporated throughout this custom Grand Rapids parade home with a design aesthetic of clean lines, with an uncomplicated, relaxed feel.

Titanium-White Countertops

In this ultra-contemporary loft apartment, the cast-in-place concrete island and countertops were pigmented titanium white to blend in with the predominantly white color scheme. Concrete appealed to the owners because it could be used to create both horizontal and vertical finishes that are refined, monolithic and minimalist.

Curvy and Colorful

These trendy work surfaces for a modern salon were created by Innovative Concrete Systems using a special bendable concrete mix containing structural fibers. The concrete is only ½-inch thick and self-supporting, with no rebar or wire mesh added. The vibrant colors were created using an array of integral pigments and dyes.

Cohesive, Monochromatic Look

This kitchen’s refined, modern austerity was created using concrete in only natural gray tones, including GFRC countertops, board-formed concrete pillars to frame the cabinets, and a concrete floor overlay. Design interest was added by using different textures and finishes.

A Bold Color Statement

This vibrant orange dining countertop at Crave Restaurant establishes the color palette for the room and is the center of attention. In keeping with the fun, hip atmosphere of Crave, the architect wanted a custom color that matched the restaurant's brilliant orange logo. Integral iron-oxide-based pigments were used to create the look.

Precast Counters Act as Integral Design Elements

This massive precast concrete kitchen island is the hub of a modern kitchen. It was cast at a 4-inch thickness in two separate slabs that were joined together to create a T-shape. The twilight-gray color is the perfect neutral backdrop for the red cabinets, chairs and walls.

Sleek and Seamless

This large 11- by 5 ½-foot kitchen island was cast in one piece using a lightweight glass-fiber-reinforced concrete mix. The brilliant white color creates a bold contrast with the black cabinetry. The color was achieved with the use of a titanium white integral pigment and white silica sand.

Mass Illusion

This bartop appears to be made from a thick slab of concrete, but it’s just an illusion created by a 9-inch drop nose; the rest of the bartop is only 2 inches thick. By offsetting the drop nose from the support base, the slab appears to be floating, despite its massive look.