Concrete steps and porches are always acceptable, but it's also fun to explore the alternatives. Ordinary concrete can look uninteresting, but there are ways to dress it up. Mix concrete with other materials, or use something entirely different. Finding new ways to approach old ideas, such as concrete steps, is a way to express creativity.
A porch or steps made of brick is more attractive than concrete and will add color to the front of your home. Create steps with a brick border and a concrete base, using red bricks all around the edges. Or choose brick that suits the color of your home's exterior. Real brick is available in a variety of earth-tone shades, from light brown and faded pink to dark brown and terra cotta red. You also can choose the degrees of roughness, and create unique patterns when laying them out.
Historically, cobblestones were the stones taken from riverbeds and hillsides to create paths and streets. Today, you can get the rustic look of cobblestone with smooth, man-made pavers for your steps. Choose different sizes of sandstone, limestone and granite cobblestone for a rustic look. These are available in many colors and can be laid in a variety of geometric patterns.
If you're looking for an alternative for a single concrete step, consider ordering a granite slab, cut to your specifications. Find a slab color that works well with the pathway up to your step and to the exterior of your home. The colors in granite slabs vary widely, from a simple gray to beautifully mottled stone, with mixtures of browns, golds, deep greens and gray. Or choose a slab of unpolished marble or limestone.
Create faux bricks or stone for your steps with decorative concrete stamps. The stamps are made of rubber, and formed from real stone and bricks, making the results very realistic and less expensive than the real thing.
Or create a colored surface on your concrete steps with acrylic or acid concrete stains. Design a geometric pattern, using contrasting colors for a striking look, and finish it with a slip-resistant sealer.
If you want an alternative to a stone or decorative concrete porches and steps, consider wood steps or a small wood deck. You can purchase plans for deck building at home improvement stores or you can follow free online guides.