As spring gives way to summer, with most of the world’s population currently confined to their households, thoughts turn towards home improvements.

The COVID-19 pandemic has given many homeowners an opportunity to assess every room in their property. Many will be looking for materials which offer the highest standards of hygiene, look great and stand up to the rigours of daily life.

Interior surfaces will be an important consideration within any residential renovation, helping to create the desired aesthetic and atmosphere within the home and performing an essential everyday function.

From small projects like replacing worktops and furniture to greater ambitions such as loft extensions or full-scale renovations, creativity and forward planning are essential.
Here, Neolith®, the pioneering brand of Sintered Stone, offers design inspiration for those looking to update their décor during lockdown, ready to brief architect and builder when the lockdown lifts.
This week Neolith’s dedicated design team looks at downstairs and living areas.

Making an entrance

    Flooring, Neolith Calacatta & Nero Marquina Polished

The hallway should never be overlooked. It’s the first thing guests see when they enter the house or apartment, setting the tone for the whole interior.

Experimenting with the surfaces used can add an exciting ‘wow factor’ which will leave visitors in awe when they step through the threshold. Rather than applying large slabs, consider cutting your surface to a small tile size, creating tessellating patterns or a parquet effect.

Advancements in Sintered Stone technology and tooling mean you can even achieve a realistic natural wood look and feel, but with enhanced stain and scratch resistance.

wo types of contrasting patterns can be specified to create a classic, and highly fashionable, monochromatic effect. Although pure, polished black and white is standard, the more adventurous may want to think outside the box, experimenting with combinations including basalt and sandstone or metal and timber.

A melting pot of ideas
For many, the coronavirus pandemic has intensified the need for uncompromising levels of hygiene within the home to protect residents, particularly the vulnerable, old and young. Essentially, any surface, whether the floor, worktop or cabinet cladding, needs to be waterproof, easy to clean and resistant to germs and bacteria.

Worktop & Island, Neolith Estatuario Silk

The first step of any renovation will be to re-evaluate the work surfaces, to ensure they uphold the highest standards of health and safety. This applies across the whole home, not just the kitchen. However, this does not necessarily mean compromising on the look and feel of the material.

White marble and quartzite style worktops remain ever-popular, with a move towards kitchen islands and cabinetry fully clad in one colour or pattern. Waterfall effects are also popular, particularly specifying the material to seamlessly flow from the counter, to the floor and up the wall, creating a marvellous fluidity within the space.

Worktops, Neolith Iron Corten

A more unusual aesthetic which is gaining momentum is the use of corten steel motifs, creating a gritty urban atmosphere. Proof indeed that rust never sleeps.

In living colour
A focal point within any property, the living room should be designed to balance activity with relaxation, suitable for use both day and night. Often these spaces are all about the furnishings and small details once the fundamentals are in place.

Fireplace, Neolith Zaha Stone

Modern fireplaces are increasingly sought after, with homeowners looking to update tired or unused hearths, turning them into sculptural features which invitingly draw the eye on entering the room.

Even the floor can become an interesting feature in its own right. Particularly polished concrete designs complemented with Kilim or Persian rugs and Le Corbusier furniture deliver a cool, contemporary and metropolitan feel.

Quality in all things
It’s important not only to work with the best quality materials, but also to work with the most skilled and officially accredited professionals. Before undertaking any renovation work, take the time to source a fabricator who understands and has worked with the materials and surfaces you want to specify. This will ultimately avoid unnecessary costs, stress and disappointment during the construction process.

To find out more about Neolith’s extensive range of patterns, finishes, formats and thicknesses click here.