Furnishing one’s home, especially the kitchen, is an opportunity to sample a variety of different materials and looks. In most contemporary homes, the kitchen is considered to be the heart of the house. From the cabinets to the appliances to the flooring, guests will immediately form an impression of the people who live in a particular place based on the materials that are used in the kitchen.
This is why choosing marble for the kitchen countertops makes such a significant first impression. The high quality of the stone, in combination with its often lustrous finish, immediately makes visitors to the home feel that they are in the presence of refined, sophisticated people.
However, there is no such thing as a standard countertop. Different marble colors signify different things (just like granite colors), and can create wildly different looks depending on how they are deployed.
There are numerous popular options, but understanding what the best color choice is for one’s kitchen requires learning the basics about this particular material.
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Popular Marble Colors
Generally speaking, countertops of this type come in several popular shades. Salmon, snow white, and night black are common hues.
Salmon Shade Marble
A salmon shade creates a warm effect, and often beautifully offsets new stainless steel appliances. Salmon has the added advantage of having gradients.
Unlike a monochromatic marble surface, salmon generally has distinctive tones within each square inch, creating a dazzling array of colors that attracts attention while also creating the impression of depth and solidity.
Because of its variegated look, this surface also tends to be easier to keep clean. The ordinary wear and tear of domesticity, from making daily cups of coffee to chopping vegetables on a wooden board, will not noticeably impact this surface.
Snow White Marble
A snow white countertop, on the other hand, initially creates a far more powerful impression due to its bright, monochromatic nature. However, any errant liquids or food products will immediately be visible on its surface.
A white countertop also demands a matching set of cabinets and appliances for the best possible aesthetic impression. Although it is technically possible to pair stainless steel appliances with an all-white countertop, those with the most sophisticated palette will usually opt for matching accessories, right down to the knobs on the cabinets and sliding drawers.
Architecturally speaking, a kitchen with an elevated or atrium ceiling creates an excellent environment for a white countertop. The highly reflective nature of the stone, in combination with recessed lighting or other specialty illumination, will give the kitchen an airy, elegant look. Visitors will feel as if they have entered a rarefied realm.
Night Black Marble
A night black countertop creates an entirely different aesthetic. While white tends to usher in feelings of summer breezes and the crisp air of the early morning, a black surface immediately imparts a cooler, more winter-oriented vibe.
Black is perfect for homeowners who wish to give their guests the impression that they regularly entertain groups of intelligent, professional people.
The light-absorbing properties of a black countertop also tend to make the kitchen visually appear more compact, which can be advantageous for those who want to create an atmosphere of intimacy.
This particular effect is especially desirable for those kitchens that have an exceptionally large or elongated counter that is designed to seat six or more people. A black surface will appear to shrink the distance between each guest without making them feel crowded.
Other Marble Colors
Of course, there are a variety of other shades to consider. As one would expect, gray offers a blend of atmospheric effects. This shade tends to combine the depth and texture of a salmon surface with the grandeur of a monochromatic tone.
Unlike a totally white or black countertop, gray can interact with light in many unexpected ways. Those homeowners who live in an area that receives a great deal of rain, for example, may choose a gray countertop in order to harmonize with their exterior surroundings and weather patterns.
Of course, people living in a sunnier climate may find a gray surface to be too flat in direct sunshine. However, there are instances in these drier, sunnier areas where the kitchen is designed so that it does not receive much in the way of direct light.
An ambient lighting effect, which is commonly achieved by placing a panel of semi-opaque glass in a skylight directly above the kitchen, can create a warm, disparate light that plays beautifully on a gray surface.
Other Decor Tips for the Kitchen
While we’ve touched on the effects of accessories, it is vital to understand that every decor choice adds its own distinctive note to the overall appearance of the kitchen.
Much as a stray violin in an otherwise flawless symphony will call attention to itself, a mismatched dishwasher or ill-chosen sconce can ruin the effect of an otherwise beautifully decorated room.
Generally speaking, choosing accessories that directly match the hue of the countertop will create aesthetic harmony, whereas attempting to mix and match different colors or materials will result in a cacophonous visual experience.
The one exception to this rule is when a decorator or homeowner uses what are known as “accent materials” to create a purposeful visual statement.
In terms of choosing surfaces, it is possible to pair a white countertop with a series of vivid green backsplash tiles.
This bold pairing immediately indicates to the visitor that the homeowners have a definite sense of style. Using accent materials can work with any number of shades of countertops, from the aforementioned salmon to snow white to night black.
Even gray can interact with accent materials, especially if those accent materials are purely monochromatic. A kitchen with a primary gray countertop and white or black backsplash tiles creates a dynamic energy that is sure to garner compliments and spark conversation.
In essence, regardless of what specific marble a homeowner chooses, it is vitally important to consider each element that will surround the stone.
What kind of impression does one wish to make? When it comes to decor, the most important factor is that the homeowner finds the arrangement personally pleasing.
By sticking to basic aesthetic guidelines, anyone can quickly decorate a kitchen with popular materials that will be gorgeous to behold for decades to come.
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