Interior design, coupled with a complimenting exterior design, is one of, if not the greatest, challenges a potential or new homeowner has to consider for each room of their homes (including the bathrooms!) Deciding on a feeling is tough enough, but implementing or implementing that field is the real challenge or roadblock that many faces. Many wonder, “What actually brings a rustic feel?” or “What colors do I want to focus on?” “Do I go contemporary or modern?” Granite countertop or Marble Countertop?
Companies with large offices usually delegate this task to a professional interior designer but sometimes might be willing to do it independently. It has been said time and again, and I am sure that most of you have experienced this as well; you will associate the company with the feeling given off by their interior decoration. Building interior can make or the impression of a company. This is why so many companies spend millions researching interior design and the psychology that goes behind it. They want to nail down the feeling they want to give off and accurately give off that feeling with the stones they use and the colors they choose. That backsplash tile is not there for no reason!
But from my experience and what I have seen and heard from many experts, the choice of stone is probably the most significant deciding factor in your home or office’s overall feel and aesthetics. Stones have long since been a source of intrigue for humans over the centuries. They command such a presence and demand our attention when placed in the same proximity. The ancients revered these stones as divine and believed that they gave off certain energies. Whether that is true or not, it is certainly something to consider.
So let us today talk about the most popular stones used in offices and homes worldwide. We will also be taking a deep dive into each stone’s properties, uses, and the many ways they are creatively being used.
Granite, Marble, Onyx, and Much More!
To make it a little easier, let us go one by one down the list of the many stones used in offices and homes.
Marble Countertops, Pink, White, Marble Tiles
I talked a little about marble for the kitchen and its incredible connection to luxury and the arts through the Italian sculptures and much more. Today I wish to expand a little and talk about how we have used this excellent stone in our homes and offices over the centuries.
Marble Countertops are a statement in luxury. Do you want the world to know that you only prefer the finest of the finer things in life? Go for marble. This soft stone has been used as a de-facto or a catch-all phrase for flooring or countertops. People not well versed with the world of rocks usually think that any given stone is a marble. It has been a household name for generations.
It usually occurs in white- greyish colors in massive deposits around the world. While white marble is most common, it appears as pink marble as well. White marble, which is made with it, is formed from a limestone with no impurities is readily available everywhere. Limestone with contaminants that can range from several oxides or other minerals diversify the color gamut of marble. Many interior designers recommend that you stick with white marble for your homes and offices since it offers the most pristine look and feels. Too high purity marble is used in railroads, building construction, cosmetics, whitewash, and even certain plastics! You might even be surprised to hear that powdered marble even makes its way into some form of medicine!
But for your purposes, let us talk about its use in homes. Since it is a soft stone, it can be carved readily into many shapes and sizes. We have spoken of the Mohs hardness scale in a countertops guide before, but all you need to know is a 1-10 scale that determines how hard a material is. One being the lowest with things like natural Limestone and 10 being a diamond. Marble is a 3. All of this to say, marble is extremely customizable, and you can use it to accomplish almost any goal with it. A marble staircase couples with a backsplash in your main hallway would wow any guest.
Granite Countertops and Backsplashes
If I said igneous rock, would you know what I am talking about? Well, granite is an igneous rock, and probably the most famous one! Granite countertops have become the staple in homes, mostly for kitchen countertops. But have seen some great applications in offices for their incredible strength, looks, and endurance.
Granite is tough, a seven on the previously mentioned Mohs scale of hardness. This unique strength, coupled with the granite rock’s striking looks, makes it such an excellent choice for any home and office. Granite is formed after a stringent process underneath the earth. This produces some of its fantastic variety of colors.
It is usually used as granite countertops in kitchens but what not many people know is that it can be used as decomposed granite in pathways in your garden or any outdoor locale. This adds such a ‘homey’ and ‘lived-in’ feel and makes your home that much more of a home!
Crushed granite is also used sometimes to add that little unique essence to your garden, making it feel more in tune with nature as you can feel the rugged surface beneath your feet instead of a regular- and frankly dull explicit pathway.
Quartz Flooring and Vanity Slab
Quartz and granite usually go hand in hand for usage, but where others would use granite for everything in their washrooms, I would recommend going for Quartz. Quartz Flooring has more traction than granite and many other surfaces, so it is ideal for bathrooms or even kitchen floors where there is always a risk of tripping or falling over. Minimizing this risk and other risks associated with different stones should always be in consideration.
Quartz vanity slabs are for the same reasons, just as useful, and pretty too! Quartz’s most common colors are white, black, and usually a combination of both of the colors- though it does also have a variety of other pretty colors. Quartz is pretty tough, a seven on the Mohs Scale (I hope you are not tired of hearing this name!), so it has excellent applications for any surface that requires durability as a forefront feature. So I would also consider looking into a quartz countertop if I were you!
Quartzite is known for how hard it is. I have always told people that if you wanted something that will probably last forever in an area that sees many usages- go for quartzite. This stone does not lose its color or shape and will hold up to most abuse. It also sparkles in the light since the heat activates its crystals.
This hardness is what makes it perfect for flooring. Quartzite flooring has two significant advantages: It will never lose its color, and two: it is very hard. However, that is not where quartzite stops with unique features. It is also an environmentally friendly stone that makes it perfect for homes or offices, conscious about their environmental impact. Quartzite also has an astute resistance to UV radiation. This means that let us say, a quartzite backsplash in the sun can withstand the light over the years and never lose its color or appeal. Quartzite is most commonly seen as mosaic tiles. Indeed, the way the sun shines off quartzite is perfect for its use as a low-key yet eye-catching addition to your bathroom walls.
You know, a lot of people say that quartzite looks like marble. The only difference being that quartzite is much harder! So, if you want a quartzite staircase or just quartzite stairs in general, no one will hold it against you!
Oh, and if you wonder what level of hardness quartzite falls on our favorite scale – it is 8!
Porcelain Mosaic Tiles
Interestingly, porcelain has such an association with our home lives. It has had this association for thousands of years. Ancient civilizations have utilized this stone to make pots, pans, drinking glasses, and much more.
Porcelain tiles or porcelain mosaic tiles are incredibly durable and versatile. There are just so many shapes and forms you can mold porcelain into. The non-porous, mostly white material has the unique ability to be transformed into almost any shape that one would require. Many homeowners use porcelain to replicate hardwood flooring. Porcelain can withstand kinks and scratches, and in high traffic areas, you would be wise to use porcelain flooring. People with pets or young children should look into porcelain as a mainstay for their flooring.
Porcelain is also incredibly low-maintenance while looking like it would cost you an arm! The subtle grit is also perfect for an understated look, but porcelain offers much in customizability with various shapes and sizes if you want to go for a bolder. So you could even go for porcelain mosaic tiles if you wanted! Of course, you can do it however you like.
Limestone is one of those materials that you associate with a modern aesthetic. Indeed, the white, clay look is best intended for someone who is going for a subtler approach to their interior design. Limestone flooring or limestone backsplash says that you are someone who is, of course, well versed in design since, if you could believe it, not a lot of people go for it.
The soft, earthy tones of the Limestone bring this subtle vibe into your home. The stone reminds many of the earth. For generations, Limestone was a favorite for builders and constructors who saw it as an affordable yet beautiful option for buildings and homes. Even today, we see that homes with limestone interior or exterior designs look as if though they have been carved out of the earth itself. The fantastic quality of Limestone is that you feel connected to the earth that surrounds us. The natural versatility of Limestone allows it to be used anywhere.
The general feel of it underneath the feet is always lovely, and the colors go a long way in complimenting this feeling.
Onyx- Onyx Countertop, Onyx Backsplash
Onyx’s fiery reds bring to homes and offices are something I always am in awe of whenever I see it. I think that Onyx is up there with the most eye-catching materials out there. Indeed, when you or anyone would catch a glimpse of it, it feels like it though there is a river of live lava running through wherever it’s installed.
I could honestly go on and on about how good Onyx looks. I have not even mentioned how using backlights, you can bring your Onyx countertops or Onyx backsplashes to life. Since Onyx is not the most rigid material, I would recommend that it be used in places that see little traffic or none at all. Imagine this, a backlit Onyx vanity slab. You could honestly spend hours and hours looking at it. You could even wake up in the middle of the night and have the fiery reds guide you to the bathroom from afar.
Onyx brings a bold statement into every house and honestly, if used correctly, can become the talk of the town. Onyx is, of course, hard to come by, so you would become the talk of the town regardless! I would generally advise against using Onyx in kitchens since it does not hold up well. But for offices that are, in a sense, purely for aesthetic purposes, this stone can be a smash hit!
Calcite – Calcite Countertops, Calcite Flooring
The complete opposite of something like Onyx, Calcite is a design of sophistication. All you get from calcite countertops cool, calm serenity. Calcite is the precursor to marble. It is white, but you get an abundance of colors such as blues and yellows.
This is a soft stone, meaning that it can be shaped into anything you want it to be. Calcite of the higher quality is indistinguishable from marble to the layman. It costs about half the price, so if you are looking to avoid the gloss of something like marble, do not want something as tough or rigid as quartzite, get calcite!
Calcite, to me, brings almost this arctic feeling to the room. A relaxed feeling that you cannot get with anything else.
Travertine Kitchen Countertops
We see Travertine being used so commonly in kitchens and other rooms of the house so much. It has this celestial vibe and has been noted to look like planets like Jupiter or Venus! So having this particular stone in your home for your kitchen countertops and bathroom vanity slabs is like having a piece of the stars in your home. Travertine is even easier to cut than porcelain, which itself is pretty easy to shape!
Though of course, this material is very easy to work with. If you need to fit an odd crevice or shape in your home with a stone, go no further than Travertine. The earthy tones with the planetary design can fill any hole in your home and make it that much more special.
Travertine is especially useful for installing bathrooms and kitchens since it absorbs moisture and water in general. It also stands shoulder to shoulder with the hardest materials, so it is excellent for durability. It would be best if you always looked for this when installing stones in a high traffic area like the kitchen or the bathroom.
Sandstone tiles and pathways
Sandstone is a naturally gritty and non-slip material, so you would be wise to install it in a location where you do not want any accidents.
But where you do want sandstone is in your garden! This stone is perfect for places that frequently get water since it can easily withstand it. The design itself lends it to be used around the earth since it offers this desert-sand vibe.
Garden pathways or something of that sandstone is practically made of. More and more people are shifting their garden looks to accommodate some form of sandstone since it not only seems good but provides an essential feature not available in many other stones. Sandstone is low maintenance and is also easily replaceable. It comes in many shades and colors – more on the earthy side, though and is perfect for outdoor sandstone paving and much more.
Semi-precious stones such as Agata Blue or Petrified Wood Ivory are sometimes incredibly breathtaking in their own right. Let us list some of the semi-precious stones.
- Agata Grey
- White Quartz
- Agata Blue
- Agata Sabara
- White Quartz Double Face
- Quazo Smoky Dark
- Petrified Wood Black
- Smokey Quartz
- Petrified Wood Ivory
We see a lot of these materials being used to present bold statements to houses and offices. The Agata Blue is one such example of how one can ascertain such a great eye-catcher from such a great stone. Agata Sabara follows close behind. These stones can surprisingly hold their own up against the tough competition. These I would recommend for flashy backsplashes and maybe even vanity slabs.