Great Material: Illuminated Onyx
Light up this golden natural stone for a stunning interior design element
The natural beauty of onyx goes to a new level when cut to a 3- to 5-mm thickness and lit from behind. The translucency of the quartz stone, with colors ranging from white to yellow to amber red, allows the surface to seemingly take on another dimension as it glows from within.
Designers have been using backlit onyx for some time to create a high-end contemporary look in commercial applications, especially in the hospitality industry. After seeing it used with reception desks in lobbies and incorporated into bathroom sinks and vanities throughout hotels and other commercial spaces, clients have taken note and started to request similar applications in residential projects.
A windowless bathroom is lit via a large slab of golden onyx set behind the bathtub. The slab draws attention to the modern clawfoot tub and creates a moody, otherworldly space.
Stunning is the only word to describe the use of onyx as the low wall supporting the bar-height counter. The backlit component combined with the black counter, cabinets and lighting results in a striking kitchen.
The same design concept works in smaller doses. A single backlit pedestal creates an similar statement while saving some of the expense associated with the installation in the previous photo. Interestingly enough, this designer paired the white/yellow onyx with black cabinetry as well.
A closeup view of the pedestal highlights how the illumination showcases the gorgeous natural stone.
Another thought is to incorporate backlit onyx in a backsplash. The area behind the stove is large enough to create an impact without going over the top.
Another view of the kitchen shows that the yellow onyx was paired with light creamy tones and just a touch of dark wood for a natural-looking, well-lit, softly colored kitchen that still feels very contemporary. You don't have to pair onyx with black every time; other colors can also be excellent choices.
In this living room, an entire fireplace wall made of backlit onyx is just amazing.
Please be sure to have well-planned drawings and a very experienced contractor before installing this type of design. Among the things to consider are the cutouts for the fireplace opening and vents (especially if it is gas), the lighting component inside the wall and the need to securely fasten the onyx to the wall frame housing the fireplace.
A similar idea is to use a large slab of backlit onyx as a media wall. Again, such an installation would include creating a niche to house the flat screen TV, so be sure to work with an expert.
Using backlit onyx as stair risers creates more of a commercial or hospitality-industry feeling, but the look could be just right in a large house.