In days gone by the materials used for building a home were plain to see – wood, plaster, stone, cement – all part of the design.

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As decoration methods developed it became important for people to hide the ingredients that make up a building, and the smooth, clean lines of plastered and painted walls became the norm, creating blank boxes within a building to decorate with paint and wallpaper and wall coverings.

It seems that in the design world things have come full circle, and the materials that make a building are once again becoming features in the final design.

Here we take a look at ten incredible ideas for using concrete blocks in your home.

First we see that with some sealant the concrete blocks used to build interior walls can be a stunning design feature.

Utilitarian dining room wall

But the blocks are being used for far more than simply wall building; check out these stylish kitchen units, build with concrete blocks and topped with steel surfaces.

concrete kitchen

Even in the garden the blocks are being used in new, interesting ways. This large planter takes rock garden to a whole new place.

use of blocks in garden

Some designers really embrace the blocks, creating feature pieces in unexpected places – much like this bedframe of concrete blocks, where the bold colour of the bedding makes a real statement.

concrete bed

Or take that design idea even further – this store has used concrete blocks to create a whole range of displays that create a rugged, industrial look.

concerete shoe store

If you aren’t quite ready to make a bed or seating from your concrete blocks but want a unique feature that will be a real talking point take a look at this idea; garden borders for raised beds using concrete blocks for edging. The space inside the blocks has been used to create mini planters all around the edge, too.

garden boarder using blocks

Inside if you’re decorating a bright, loft space why not use concrete blocks as a shelving display for essential, but beautiful, items.

concrete block shelving

If you really embrace the look you can create surprising things from concrete blocks – this furniture is created in concrete and would be perfect for outside seating that can survive any weather!

concrete and steel modern chairs

If you want an interesting garden feature that’s hardy and stylish try this; steps from different areas of garden made of gravel-filled concrete blocks.

concrete block shelving

Or a water feature that pairs the soft, lush plants and soothing water, with some colourful fish, juxtaposed by the industrial appearance of a concrete wall.

concrete tank for garden

These ideas should have given you a lot of inspiration – where are you thinking of bringing concrete blocks into your home?