How to get the cool concrete look of an urban hotel in your own home

How to get the cool concrete look of an urban hotel in your own home

Sophie Bush doesn’t go on holiday just to experience the world – the hotels she stays in have to be as exciting as the destinations.

For the interior designer and author takes inspiration for her work – and her own home – from some of the most beautiful and functional hotels on the planet, and adapts them to residential settings.

Sophie who specialises in loft and industrial interiors has visited some of the world’s coolest hotels – including the likes of Hoxton Williamsburg in New York City, The Krane in Copenhagen, Sydney’s Boundary Hotel and Whitworth Locke in Manchester.

Sophie says: ‘When I travel, I hope to be inspired.

‘Wherever I go, I try to stay in hotels with authentic stories and exceptional interiors.

‘As an interior designer and a design writer, and not least as a homeowner, I am always looking for new ideas – and hotels can serve as great sources of design inspiration.

‘Over the years, I have discovered remarkable boutique boltholes and big brand hotels that excite and surprise, weaving rich narratives about their locations into unique schemes and solving design dilemmas in ingenious ways.

‘I have found interpretations and gathered many different style ideas for my home and for the homes of clients.’

Concrete is the most widely used building material in the world, says Sophie, and it is particularly effective to create industrial-inspired spaces in the hotel world. But it’s not easy, or cheap, to recreate the look in your own home.

Here Sophie – whose new book Home To Hotel is a design manual to achieve urban hospitality chic – shares her clever tips on ways to introduce cool concrete at home, without the expense, or the mess.

Wallpaper the ceiling

‘The ceiling is often referred to as the fifth wall,’ says Sophie. ‘For a creative approach to the ceiling, applying a concrete-effect mural is an ingenious way to transform a room with a touch of pattern.

‘It offers the opportunity to keep the walls plain and space minimalist, while making the room look more spacious and adding character and visual interest. This Battered Wall paper by Rebel Walls is based on a surface in a café, discovered by the brand’s team.’

Concrete panels

For those seeking an urban aesthetic, without exposing existing concrete or applying it, these innovative walls panels in various finishes make it easy to incorporate concrete into any interior, says Sophie.

‘They will add instant drama to rooms of any size and are a great way to create textural interest. Multi award-winning French brand Concrete LCDA specialises in fibre-reinforced concrete panels.

‘This lightweight cladding, which is suitable for interior usage, combines a raw concrete surface with a foam backing. And once installed, the Panbeton panelling adopts the appearance of genuine concrete walls.

These easy to cut and install panels are available in a wide variety of textured designs in light and dark tones. An ideal solution for designers and homeowners seeking a modern yet authentic urban look.


‘Hyper-realistic wallpapers and murals are an effective way to achieve an industrial look, without the expense and effort of exposing raw concrete. There are a multitude of designs on the market, in a variety of colours, and there are creative ways to apply them.

‘With lifelike detailing, this Cracked Concrete mural by Surface View complements the reclaimed timber floorboards of this factory conversion apartment and enhances the industrial aesthetic.’

Concrete coloured homeware

Not ready for the full-on industrial concrete look? Then start small by introducing some bang on-trend coloured concrete furniture and homewares into your interiors scheme, suggests Sophie.

‘If raw concrete is considered too stark for a scheme, there are a wealth of designs, large and small, that incorporate colour. These furniture, homeware and lighting creations combine the textural qualities of heavy-duty concrete with soft shades to suit any home.’


Select stylish seating with a difference. Fade Drum by Brooklyn-based artist Fernando Mastrangelo is cast entirely from hand-dyed cement, with a hollow cavity in the centre.

The stool is made to order and poured into a fibre glass mould in individual layers, from top to bottom. Finally, the piece is carefully sanded to a polished finish and then sealed.


Hang unconventional concrete designs in your home. This collection of elegant modern concrete pendant lights is handmade in a workshop in Rome and available from Dyke & Dean.

The minimalist lights, formed from ultra-thin concrete, are available in three sizes and 12 different colours, including burgundy, sage green, yellow and blue.

Each lamp gives focused light for the surface below. Mixing and matching colours and sizes creates a dynamic lighting installation in residential and commercial settings


This sophisticated soft industrial bathroom scheme was conceived by Elisabetta Bongiorni of Terzo Piano for Fiandre Architectural Surfaces. It features Fiandre’s Fjord collection concrete-effect tiles as well as a pair of blush pink surface-mounted concrete basins by specialist British firm Kast.

The Rho basin, shown, is one of a wide variety of designs by Kast, which range from simple to contoured and patterned options. High-quality pigments are blended for a palette of 28 lovely colours.

Hotel To Home: Industrial Interiors Inspired By The World’s Most Original Hotels by Sophie Bush is published by Warehouse Home for £30

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