I first saw polished concrete and realized its potential when going to York University here in Toronto, Canada. One of the buildings had polished concrete walls and floors and it was smooth and shiny like marble, but without the expensiveness of marble.
I immediately envisioned whole buildings and even sidewalks with polished concrete. Everything shiny and smooth.
I think it really comes down to the fact that people like smooth and shiny things. Consider the following:
They all just scream luxury.
Lets say for example you want to purchase a table. Do you want a rough-hewn table that has never been polished or even sanded? Or a polished wood table which looks so clean you could eat off of it.
Check out the website http://forrestconcrete.com for example. It has polished concrete floors, concrete countertops and they do a variety of residential and commercial work. So as a company they obviously know what they are doing.
If you browse their website and similar websites (or if you do a Google image search) you can see lots of images of the amazing things companies can now do with polished concrete.
For example, you can use pieces of other rock to polish into the surface and make the concrete look even shinier than a normal polish. By using quartz dust for example you can make the surface sparkle, by using marble dust you can make it literally look marble (or as I like to call it, "faux marble").
Another thing they can do, instead of dust, is use tiny chips of colourful rocks. Thus whether you use dust or rocks you can make different colours, shades or even a rainbow of different colours by overlapping various colours and grinding/polishing them into the surface of the concrete.
You can make designs, shapes, patterns and even mosaic-like artwork. It will be more costly for sure, but there is a lot of amazing things that can be done with building materials these days.
You could even, from a distance, make the floors look like polished wood and only up close would you realize its just the same colour.
And that is just the architectural playfulness. You can also make tabletops, coffee tables, kitchen counters, chairs, decks, balconies, columns...
Knowing me, I would probably make artwork and sculptures if I had an ample supply of concrete and a grinder to polish it with. Or even better, artwork that doubled as exercise equipment for parks so adults could do chin ups on it. :)
Oh I forgot pools! Yes, you could also make a pool. You just wouldn't want to dive in and bang your head on it. That is painful whether its concrete or not.
The example I've been using of Forrest Concrete is in South Carolina, but there are certainly lots of companies locally you might wish to check out.
In Toronto for example there is:
and a dozen or more other vendors. So yeah, no shortage of concrete polishing companies in Toronto.
So whether your home is a house or a condo you can certainly shop around and get something special for your home.
Or office! Doh, I forgot offices. Polishes countertops in reception or a desk with a polished concrete surface. Or a boardroom table. OOOOOOOOoooo!
Anyway, I think my point has been made. So many possibilities to create shiny surfaces that amaze friends, guests and clients.