22 Oct A GUIDE TO SELECTING LIGHTING FOR MARBLE BENCHTOPS
The ancient Romans used marble as their material of choice for floors, sculptures, and much of their other beautiful work. Marble is not only durable and long-lasting but it adds timeless beauty and elegance that is unmatched by any other material.
Today, marble benchtops add exquisite features to the appearance and stature of our most modern and elegant kitchens and baths. In kitchens, a marble benchtop will look great in combination with practically anything from the most modern gloss polyurethane doors and drawer fronts to country-style timber doors.
To enhance even further the beauty and elegance of marble in today’s modern home, proper architectural lighting is absolutely essential. Fortunately, over the last few years, the world has witnessed incredible advances in lighting. Many of these would have been unheard of even a dozen years ago.
LED lighting is one of the fastest technological shifts in human history. As evidence of this remarkable shift in lighting, LEDs are now used in 2019 in many remarkable and innovative ways to enhance the visual appeal of marble benchtops. Gineico’s Supernova Downlight is a great example.
Whenever your marble benchtop is bathed in the proper lighting, it magically becomes more visually alive than ever before. Whether the illumination is installed as a major feature in your room, bar, hotel reception area, club bath, or in the kitchen of your home, being able to see the marble enhanced by the proper lighting is a sight to behold.
Since marble benchtops are more expensive than most other products, it makes sense to do everything you can possibly do to make them look the best way possible. Lighting is the perfect way to do that.
It’s essential that your benchtop contains subtle hues so that it is complemented by the right level of lighting. If bold or bright colours are used, blanket lighting will tend to wash them out and make them less attractive.
As an example, when you install a white marble slab with dark grey veins, you should use brushed nickel or stainless steel LED light fittings to make it really shine. To make sure you have the ultimate effect, try out several different bulbs and pay attention to how your marble looks with varying different intensity levels.
If you’ve used a light coloured or white granite for your benchtop, you should use a brighter light. However, if it’s a darker colour, you should use a softer light to complement it in the best possible way. A darker benchtop will absorb more light, so be sure that you install a bright enough light to compensate properly.
The Mini File Suspension Light is available in white, black or oxidised aluminium and is an elegant lighting solution that won’t detract from your stone benchtop.
Brightness and Glare
How much brightness and intensity you decide on will depend on specific details like whether or not the room normally receives a lot of natural light; the colour of the walls; and whether the cabinets are shaded by your benchtop.
One of the most important factors is to avoid glare. Glare will detract from your benchtop’s aesthetics and make it much less attractive. Using a lighting level that will highlight the finer details of the marble is the ideal way to go.
Cabinets tend to cast shadows over marble benchtops and cause an unwanted detraction to their brilliance. Use cabinets to your advantage by placing them properly so that lighting actually illuminates their entire surface. There’s nothing prettier than seeing a marble benchtop in an ambient room with the quartz crystals glinting brightly from properly placed lighting.
It could be advantageous if you have cabinets placed both above and around your benchtop. This can be especially true when ceiling lights can’t properly provide the proper illumination. It depends on how you’re using the benchtop since often an under the cabinet light will act as the perfect task lighting. This location can also be an excellent remedy when there is not enough natural light in the room.
As an example, in bathrooms, ceiling lights not only highlight your benchtop but it also will create more visibility when using the sink to wash your hands. In your kitchen or bar, this sort of lighting will help with food preparation and many other kitchen or bar activities. Under-cabinet lights will bring out the hues, textures, and special details of your marble benchtops to highlight it perfectly.
Puck or Cabinet Lights
Puck lights can be used many times and are best for this purpose. When these small circular Sun LED lights are installed at regular intervals, between 15 to 25 centimetres (6 to 10 inches) apart, they will create pools of light on the benchtop surface to make it really stand out. Strip lighting will also work well to distribute an even amount of light over your benchtop surface.
Finally, notice that your benchtop will likely create a reflection, so be sure not to install lights that will shine directly onto it. Decide on light fittings that have a frosted diffuser covering the bulb since they tend to create fewer reflections.
Island pendant lights have often been one of the top choices to highlight a stunning marble benchtop. This is especially true when you choose a fitting that matches the style of the marble surface. Many different styles are available like this Claque pendant selection from Gineico.
Installing a few small pendant lights can work not only in bars but they can also do wonders for the look of your kitchen. Position the light fitting between about 70 to 85cm (28 to 34 inches) above the marble surface for the best effect.
Today’s lighting is more versatile than ever before. It’s now possible for you to achieve many new manners of wonders when lighting a room. This is especially evident using LED panels for backlighting. You will never tire of looking at a beautiful, translucent marble benchtop when it is illuminated properly by backlighting. Try the new and innovative Genius Naked downlight which can be installed into the stone slab to create a striking back-lite effect. At the size of a AUD $2 coin this is a discrete, yet powerful source of light.
Today, lighting based on LED technology offers you more options than ever before to light your marble benchtops in style. LED panels are light bulbs made from clear acrylic and illuminated from the sides by LEDs that are hidden inside a metal frame. They can be made in almost any shape to fit the situation. Often, a light provider will embed the LEDs into the acrylic itself to further customise the shape of the panel
LED light panels have become increasingly popular, especially when used in modern bars, restaurants, and hotels. These establishments know that visual aesthetics and ambience are extremely important to bring in new customers. They know they simply can’t go wrong when they use backlit marble benchtops.
Nicole Andrews is the marketing manager for Euro Marble in Sydney, Australia. With a background in interior design, she enjoys writing about the latest industry trends. In her spare time, she walks her dog Rusco down at Bondi Beach.