Hello, readers! Welcome back to the Stonehouse Countertops blog! We’re pleased you’ve chosen Stonehouse Countertops for everything you need to know about custom countertop materials. We provide comprehensive deep dives into various aspects of the design and installation process, as well as helpful tips for choosing the best material for your home. Our goal is to equip you with the information you need to commission the perfect countertops! Stonehouse Countertops carries an array of granite, marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, silestone, limestone, travertine, onyx, glass, sodalite, slate, and porcelain materials in its inventory. In addition to countertops, we offer fireplace surrounds, patios, floors, and walls. Whatever your design goals, we’re happy to help you achieve your unique vision!

Our last article was dedicated to exploring the options for stone fireplace surrounds! Surrounds can make or break a living room. This statement piece contributes greatly to the feel of a space and, as a central point around which the family can gather for special occasions, occupies an important place in our collective memories. We broke down the difference between commonly interchangeable words like hearth and fireplace (a hearth is actually the strip of floor right in front of the firebox!), as well as a few more need-to-know terms. Then, we dove into the nitty-gritty details of how to choose a stone fireplace surround? How do you cultivate a traditionalist, contemporary, or minimalist vibe? We have you covered! Our last article explained which stone materials are best suited for certain design goals and how designers choose fireplace surrounds which will balance out the rest of the space. After you’re done here, make sure to check out our most recent article!

Today, we’re broaching the design realm. Everyone has different tastes and these tastes dictate how we design the spaces we’ll live and spend time in. If you aren’t sure what your tastes entail exactly, a good place to start is by asking yourself: How do you want to feel? It’s a well-known fact our surroundings play a large role in how we feel. It’s why many homeowners will forgo purchasing a home because there isn’t enough natural life, even if the home meets all of their other demands. It’s why we might fill up our rooms with plants. It’s why cleaning up can often make us feel better about life. Personalizing our spaces goes far beyond vanity—it’s how we take care of ourselves. That’s why today’s article is dedicated to how you might incorporate warmth into your home. Now, it is growing colder outside, but we aren’t referring to literal warmth. What we’re referring to is a type of design style which emphasizes warmer tones to facilitate a cozier, natural feel. We’ll discuss materials, colors, and layouts, before quoting a few design experts. If you’re obsessed with warm spaces and want to create one of your own, this is the article for you!

What is a “warm” space?

Warm spaces are generally associated with yellow and orange tones—those colors we most often associate with fire and, thus, warmth. However, cultivating a warm space isn’t as simple as sticking to a yellow or orange color scheme. (Furthermore, this wouldn’t appeal to most people.) Instead, cultivating a warm space has more to do with a design philosophy than a set of design rules. The latest design trend, known as warm minimalism, is characterized by a commitment to intentionality rather than excess. It’s about creating a space which looks “lived in,” but is also clutter-free. It’s about maintaining a straightforward design, to avoid clashing, while also keeping those sentimental aspects which showcase our unique personality.  

Each material, color, or texture we choose to utilize in a space, will lean more towards warm or cool. In a future article, we’ll discuss how to craft a cool-toned space in more detail. However, most of us can think of a few cool design elements right off of the bat. Stainless steel. Unsaturated blues, blacks, greys, and whites. Barren countertops. And, if we think about these elements, we’ll notice there’s a good reason why we associate them with cold. Stainless steel is cold to the touch. In wintertime, we are surrounded by unsaturated blues, blacks, greys, and whites. Barren countertops offer the eye nothing to latch onto, which indicates functionality more than it indicates sentimentality. Cold spaces, such as science labs and doctor’s offices, strike us as existing for a single purpose. Meanwhile, warm spaces often seem to be dedicated to at least a dozen different purposes. Cozy kitchens serve as both a place to cook and a place to catch up with our families at the end of a long day. Warm living rooms serve as a place to watch television, play games, celebrate special occasions, and more!

Of course, there are design elements which strike us as warm right off of the bat. Let’s discuss which elements those are!

Different Textures

While cool-leaning designs tend to be conservative in the use of texture—and, when used, tend to lean towards sleek and glossy—warm-leaning designs utilize a combination of different textures to achieve its coveted “softness.” Textures should not compete, necessarily, in that one texture is offsetting the other in an unintended manner. According to expert designers Will Meyer and Gray Davis, from the famous Meyer Davis firm, “We really look for more of an assembly of materials that correlate and build off one another instead of selecting them individually… in the end it’s really about creating a beautiful, clean palette where the materials speak to one another.” If you have a lacquered, wooden dresser, then a woolen rug might be nice underneath. If you have chrome-like, golden fixtures in your kitchen, rough limestone countertops might pair well. It’s about finding opportunities to add new textures to the space in order to add dimension. According to Lauren Reik, a designer from Tel Aviv, “[the] use of texture—whether for a sofa’s upholstery, curtains, rugs, artwork, all of which create a panorama of different textures and materials—creates a more interesting, complex look.”

Warm-toned Colors

This is perhaps the most obvious of the tips mentioned here today. All colors have different levels of saturation, vibrance, and exposure. Each of these aspects contributes to the “warmth” or “coldness” of any given color. Yellow is widely considered to be the color you should use when cultivating a warm space. Perhaps because we associate the color yellow with the warmth of sunlight? Now, imagine you use yellow light, yellow fabrics, yellow paint, yellow floors, yellow fixtures… Instead of a warm space, you’ll end up with a one-dimensional space. Rather, you must seek out the essence of yellow in your design elements. For example, instead of cabinets made from cool-toned woods like ash or birch, opt instead for warm-toned woods like maple or cherry. Instead of white curtains, opt for ivory or cream. It’s in the little things. When choosing your light bulbs, instead of cool white or daylight, opt for warm white. Etcetera, etcetera. Don’t be afraid to play around with even warmer colors, like oranges and reds!

Materials

As stone experts, we concur: different types of stone contribute a different feel to the space. Likewise, certain aesthetic decisions, like finishes and thickness, also contribute. While bright white marble looks stunning and luxurious, its starkness isn’t exactly conducive to a warm space. Similarly, a darker soapstone is likely to draw light out of a space, rather than add light. That’s why stone materials like limestone and quartz are better suited to warm-toned spaces. Limestone is a luminous material. As well, it’s porous nature adds a surface texture unlike any other stone. Quartz can be made any color you want, as it’s an engineered stone, therefore you can be specific about the amount of warmth you would like. The choice of which material to use in a space is not wholly separate from the issue of texture. Often, the choice of material will determine texture (though not always). You might choose a silk, knitted rug for your living room, in which case the material contributes to a certain sheen and the texture of the rug is derived from the manipulation of the material (i.e. knitting). Or, you might choose a brown leather couch, in which case the material and the texture are entirely interlinked. 

We hope today’s article has given you a starting point to begin your design process! Winter is here and we can think of nothing better than spending these cold days in the consummate warmth of a well-designed living room. As you’re designing, keep in mind Stonehouse Countertops is here to craft custom stone creations for your home, from countertops to floors to walls to vanities. At Stonehouse Countertops, we are willing and able to work with you to your specifications. We offer a wide range of different materials and always have someone on hand to answer your questions! Don’t hesitate to reach out for a consultation or for help forming a plan. We want to ensure your vision becomes a reality! Until next time—thanks for reading!