A new trend in interior concrete design is to bring the beauty of an outdoor waterscape into a home or business by installing concrete floors that evoke the color and even the movement of oceans, rivers and streams. Often these looks are inspired by the surrounding landscape, creating harmonious connections between the interior and exterior. They might even incorporate the look of a sandy beach, seashells or river rock to add to the realism of the effect. These highly customized floors are unique works of art utilizing custom color blends and other specialized techniques to achieve the clients’ goals. Check out these amazing floors to see how creative contractors are turning concrete into water.

Replicating a Riverbed

These concrete floors were seeded with local river rock to replicate the nearby Susquehanna riverbed. The rocks were exposed by polishing, making the floors seem like a natural extension of the river itself. The larger aggregate was placed by hand to help define pathways leading from one room to another.

Santa Cruz Beach House Replicates the Ocean in Concrete

This home, nestled into a cliff side on Pleasure Point Beach in Santa Cruz, features floors that replicate the look of an ocean-washed seashore by incorporating multiple colors of acid stains along with embedded accents of beach glass, aquarium sand, and seashells. A weathered, worn appearance was achieved by using a retardant to allow removal of a thin layer of the concrete surface.

River Runs Wild

On this project, Bob Harris of The Decorative Concrete Institute transformed a basement floor into a riverbed by applying a cement-based overlay enhanced by blue crushed glass, real river rock, hand-chiseled mosaics and blue dyes. The river, which runs across the entire 1,300-square-foot length of the floor, even has faux stepping stones on either side to add more realism.

Outdoor Landscape Inspires Faux Concrete Streams

This homeowner wanted his concrete floors to reflect the surrounding environment of his new home, which is located one block from the beach and has a landscape consisting of large slabs of granite and rock. Artist Kathy van Gogh used creative staining and faux finishing techniques to replicate floors that look like streams flowing into the ocean. Bordering the streams are pieces of jagged faux stone created using torn roof paper.

Lobby Features Decorative Concrete Stream Bed

The lobby of the forestry service office in Ft. Collins, Colo., got a complete makeover, with water, both real and simulated, as the central theme. The project features concrete floors artistically stained to look like a shallow stream bed. Some of the concrete was ground to expose the aggregates and achieve a natural river-rock appearance. The faux stream bed seems to be flowing with water that cascades down a two-story working waterfall built with artificial glass-fiber-reinforced concrete.

Boutique Floor Stained Ocean Blue

The Lula Balou Boutique in Wilmington, N.C., was transformed with the installation of a beautiful aqua-blue stained concrete floor that reflects the store’s beach-and-ocean theme. Blue concrete countertops were also made for the boutique, using the same stain color applied to the floors. Using a unique spraying technique that allowed the stain to naturally puddle in certain areas of the floor, contractor Matt Hine was able to use a single color of turquoise acid stain to achieve a variety of mottled tones.

Ocean Blue Captured on Concrete Floor

The floor of this home office was stained using Smith Paints' Ocean Blue dye stain and sealed with a sealer that provides a wet look. The color is similar to that of a tropical ocean, making it feel almost as if you are walking on water when you enter the room.


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