5 Tips for Designing with Backlit Onyx

Onyx itself is a luxurious material, and when integrated with the proper backlighting techniques the layers and depth of the stone is further brought to life.  You’re investing money and design time into this natural product, so consider the following tips to properly showcase its natural beauty:

1. Choose a stone that has significant visible veining or texture– the natural color and movement will distinguish the high-end natural stone finish from a man-made alternative.

Backlit Onyx White Bar Top
(above image: Maker’s Mark backlit onyx bar in Indianapolis by GPI Design)

2. White onyx is the least forgiving stone for backlighting applications.  Backlit white onyx is prone to hot and cold spots, so allow more space between the stone and the lighting source or consider using diffusion scrims and filters.

Backlit Onyx Shop Detail Drawing

3. When designing with standard dimensional stone panels, ensure that the light source is bright enough to transfer through the stone surface.

4. When designing with glass-backed stone panels, ensure that the glass is non-leaded.  Leaded glass casts a greenish tint and can alter the color of the natural stone surface.

5. When designing a ceiling or wall layout of backlit onyx panels, consider the book matching composition and how the seams will interact with the natural veining of the stone. (Read our previous blog post on book matching natural stone for more details.)

Natural Stone Bookmatch

Designing with light and natural stone comes with its own set of limitations, so take time to mock-up the stone and light assemblies or choose a company with experience in integrating the two products.