How about using natural and semi-precious stones and inlays to create a stunning effect in living spaces?

Exotica in interiors is oft sought after while decorating a residence. This exotica manifests as furnishings, wall paintings, art and sculptures, bringing in differential elements such as inner courtyards, water bodies, and opening up the interiors to enchanting landscaped gardens. But how about using natural and semi-precious stones and inlays to bring splendour into the spaces?

Inlays in the form of semi-precious stones, natural stones, metal and even wood on walls, floors, ceilings, on doors, cabinets, even door knobs, can prove to be arresting in an interior, lending a high level of opulence to the spaces. Inlays of various materials bring in an aesthetic demarcation of spaces by lending a specific character or functionality through their individual portrayal.

Aesthetic demarcation

For instance, in a large free flowing living area, opting for a floor inlay of semi-precious stone or even granite and marble in the form a carpet in the seating area would effectively demarcate the functionality of this space as a formal entertainment zone. Likewise, the entrance to the pooja area featuring a rangoli made of semi-precious stone inlays on the floor would again indicate the specific functionality of the area.

While marble and granite are common choices for such floor inlays, semi-precious stones such as mother of pearl, agate, jade, malachite, amethyst, red jasper, tiger eye, mother of pearl, and red onyx add richness to the décor besides their aesthetic appeal. These inlays, be it a rangoli or fashioned as a charming carpet, also offer easy maintenance by dispensing with woollen and silk carpets.

Material has a say

Says Architect Leena Kumar of Kumar Consultants, “Depending on the materials used for inlays and intricacy of the patterns, these induce feelings of opulence, grandeur, delicacy, warmth or pure artistic delight.”

She further adds, “These inlays, when used creatively, can distinguish between living spaces, sleeping spaces, area of worship and such. A living space calls for brighter colours and greater detail while a sleeping area would be more toned down in both colour and pattern.”

Walls, especially in the pooja area, could feature exquisite inlay work and intricate patterns in metal such as brass, copper, and silver foils and also in natural stone like marble and in wood, the designs even depicting a story.

Similarly, doors, be it the entrance or pooja area, also serve as excellent places to incorporate inlays. These can be again in metals such as brass, copper, silver or gold foils or in natural stone, or semi-precious stones like mother of pearl teamed superbly with intricate carving in wood.

These stone inlays stand out as a strong contrast against the wood base, enhancing the beauty of the wood carvings, accentuating the richness of the décor. Similar inlay work can be extended to wardrobes, mirrors in bedrooms and cabinets, door knobs, table tops in dining and living spaces and even in railings of staircases.

Says Leena Kumar, “These inlays need not be confined to artistic layers on stone and wood but can be fused into tea tables as back-lit surfaces. Semi-precious stones such as onyx are excellent for a back-lit table top which appears spectacular at night when placed in the patio.”

Onyx is also an excellent surface to be used as back-lighting features in spaces where they can serve as demarcating elements or in open spaces incorporating greenery like a large patio overlooking a pool or terrace garden. Here, the light filtering through the stone inlays in the wood would throw arresting patterns on the floor or ceiling to create drama in the space.

Similar backlighting can be opted in bedrooms too where the light filtering through the patterns of the inlays creates a magical aura. Semi-precious stone inlays can be used in bathrooms too, on the tiles.