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Bathrooms and kitchens clad in a single, statement-making surface are on the rise. While designers have been blanketing bedrooms and living rooms in floor-to-ceiling fabric and paint for centuries, what’s trending now is a modern take on solid materials—such as Cosentino’s sustainable design surfaces—that highlights both beauty and durability.
Nashville-based interior designer Chad James says he frequently receives requests for all-one-material kitchens and bathrooms, especially from clients in tropical locales like Cabo San Lucas and Palm Beach, where hard surfaces are key for their temperature resistance. New York-based designer Megan Grehl has noticed the trend as well: “A single material has the power to enhance a room’s architecture.” She says, “You can see it change with the lighting throughout the day, and this interaction can transform a space.”
To ensure that your single-surface room neither falls flat nor ends up overwhelming to the eye, take note of the following designer-approved tips.
TAILOR YOUR CHOICES TO THE DIMENSIONS OF YOUR SPACE
Los Angeles-area designer Huma Sulaiman finds that the single-material method can work well in spaces of all sizes. “I tell clients that using just one opens up the space,” she says. “It makes any room look bigger and brighter.”
However, there are subtle differences in how she approaches differently sized rooms. “With a smaller space, such as a powder room, I like to use a strongly colored pattern, because it helps blur the lines and makes the space feel larger,” she explains. “For a large one, I tend to go more for monochrome colors and a mix of textures in the same tone,” to add depth while preventing the look from becoming oppressive.
GO BOLD IN ONE COLOR
“I am obsessed with that monochromatic look right now,” Sulaiman says, pointing to the fashion world—the trend is all over the runways—as her inspiration. James, who recently installed a bathroom in Mexico with floor-to-ceiling emerald tile, agrees: “Vivid color is having its moment.”
And while you might be concerned that a single material in a bright color would overpower your space, both designers say you should think of it as a neutral environment—the canvas for your stunning furniture. That means you can go in a number of directions: You could choose pieces that stand out from the surroundings (think a wood dining nook in your white marble kitchen), or pick items that blend in more, like velvet barstools with metallic accents near your kitchen island against jewel tones. It all depends on the vibe you’re going for.
CONSIDER THE EFFECTS OF SUNLIGHT
“Texture is a way to use the same material throughout a room while still breaking it up a little,” says James, who likes combining matte and polished finishes. For her part, Grehl advises clients “to notice the natural light in the room when working with one material floor-to-ceiling.” She adds that she encourages them to view samples in different textures at various times throughout the day: “You’d be surprised how they change.” You might find, say, that your first choice is so shiny that it becomes blinding when the sun hits it straight-on—likely not the look you’re after—but your second option provides subtly pleasing variations in tone as the day goes on.
PLAY WITH PATTERN AND SCALE
Whether you’re working with full slabs or smaller pieces, map out how your chosen pattern will repeat in the room. Mix and match styles, or choose just one—just be sure the materials you select allow for that repetition in a cohesive look.
For instance, Cosentino makes a series of high-end design surfaces, Dekton Pietra Kode, that offers the beauty of three classic stones—Vicenza Kode, Travertino Kode, and Ceppo Kode—in one chic assortment, each with individual striations, patterns, and veinings. All have been created using the company’s exclusive ultra-compaction process, resulting in sustainable, durable surfaces that make them an excellent choice for large-format projects including floors, walls, and ceilings.
WARM UP THE VIBE WITH COMPLEMENTARY DECOR
To prevent a room clad in hard surfaces from feeling sterile, designers often rely on decorative elements such as wallpaper, soft furnishings like linen towels, and window treatments. “We just completed a kitchen renovation project where I used this beautiful burgundy stone on all the countertops, backsplashes, and flooring,” James says. “Then we paired it with a stunning tropical wallpaper.”
By going with furnishings in the same color family as the stone, you can also ensure they blend in, as opposed to looking like accent pieces. Or you can go in the other direction, and add a soft, cozy rug for contrast.