What is interior design with stone?
Before we go into detail on this topic and share our tips and interior architecture ideas, it’s important to define what we mean when we talk about interior design with stone. Firstly, interior design on the whole can be defined as the artistic method of enhancing the interiors of any kind of building. When done well it can be considered a true art form, drawing on practical and aesthetic elements to create atmosphere and character. Ian Knapper’s interior design with stone involves using this versatile natural material to create stunning features, helping you to create truly remarkable interiors.
With decades of experience, Ian Knapper specialises in bespoke stone staircases – however, the possibilities are almost endless and other items and features can be created to complement the designer staircases. For example, previous projects have involved drastically improving interiors with luxury stone stairs, mezzanine floors, and complementary lighting options to give the whole project a polished and premium finish.
As well as being a wonderful material from an aesthetic point of view, natural stone interior design has a beautiful tactile quality and is incredibly long lasting. Interior design elements created in stone are unlikely to ever need replacing, and can form part of an enduring legacy.
Another common material used for interior design is wood which comes with its share of challenges. For example, wood can warp, bend, shrink and swell with variations in temperature and moisture, and it is also vulnerable to attack by insects and fungi; it can also suffer weakness with age. When choosing between wood or stone interior design, bear in mind the limitations of wood and the qualities that make interior architecture with stone the ultimate choice when it comes to style, strength and durability.
Creating interior design with stone is not like using any other material. First of all, it often looks best where, to the untrained eye, it would seem the least obvious choice. Secondly, unlike most ‘luxury’ materials, stone is actually durable, eco-friendly, sound-proof and generally conveys many real benefits aside from just pure aesthetics (which most luxury materials depend on so heavily).
Here is a cheat-sheet for stone interior design, so you can consider all of your options in full before making an informed decision.
1. Choosing materials for interior stone architecture
It’s harder than it sounds. Believe us.
There are many stone types and solutions available to the interior designer to help bring interior architecture ideas to life; from soft limestone to hard granite, from sprawling marble surfaces to brick or even dry-stone walls – when you’re choosing materials for your stone interior architecture, you need to consider the overall look you are opting for. Interior stone architecture offers a versatility that is impossible to achieve with other materials and very stone type boasts its own unique qualities (including price tag) and comes in a range of colours and hues, with different grains.
Some common choices for interior design with stone, to serve as examples, are:
Never underestimate the power of good lighting. We’d put this at number one if the precise lighting required for every project didn’t depend so much on the stone choice (as well as room shape etc). So much can be achieved with well-planned lighting to complement your interior architecture ideas, giving your interiors that finishing touch.
If done correctly, good lighting will accentuate the natural textures of stone surfaces, enhancing their natural beauty; picture the way light interacts with gleaming stone spiral staircases to cast graceful shadows. Of course uplights, downlights, spotlights… these all lend themselves to different room shapes, stone interior architecture types, moods and even times of day. But an added consideration should be the way the light interacts with the finished properties of the stone in the room, such as grain or lustre.
Read more on lighting natural stone here.
3. Warm or cold
Natural stone can look a little cold. It is hard, often expansive and, well, can be cold to the touch (or at least that’s what we have come to learn from our experiences in nature – in actual fact, stone surfaces in interiors often warm up and retain heat very well, insulating the room). The solution is pretty simple: Use lots of ‘cosy’ textiles, such as furs, throws, rugs, pillows or towels. These will soften the overall interior design, balancing the hard stone. Bright, warm colours also achieve the same effect, for example oranges and yellows.
Of course, sometimes the clean, colder ‘white space’ look is exactly what you are aiming for, in which case using harder surfaces (i.e. acrylics, other solid ornaments or leather) and a cooler palette (i.e. black and white) will help to bolster the effect of the stone. Finding the balance here is the key; not simply taking one approach or the other.
4. Borders & Boundaries
Due to the unrivalled character and ‘in-your-face’ qualities of most natural stones, they make excellent materials for adding contrast to a room’s design. Tile borders, highlighted seams, fireplace slips and hearths are obvious examples, but if done well combinations of different stone types can add distinctive qualities within individual pieces too. Take another look at the black granite border around the floor in the image above. Then look at the Ian Knapper Fireplaces and the Ian Knapper lamp in the following images.
5. Exposed Stone Features
It isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but many people love the insight that exposed stone walls and features provide. They are like windows into the inner workings or even the histories of buildings. They make you feel like you’re seeing something special; a beautiful truth that people were never meant to behold.
However, that effect isn’t achieved easily; and hardly ever by accident! Think about the size of your room, the shape of the room and where people will most likely hold their attention. Then, play to those facts. In smaller rooms, find a smaller piece of wall to ‘expose’ and try to make the exposed section flow with the shape of the walls and ceiling. For larger rooms, consider using more than one type of stone to create contrast.
6. Interior design with stone – Inspired by nature
If you can see the beauty in natural stone, the best place to look for inspiration for using that stone in interior designs is (you guessed it) nature!
Plants, soil, wood, water, fire… these are the things that stone contrasts with all around us in nature. Why not bring that beauty into your own home. If you can tame it, you can achieve fantastically bold designs!
Expert Natural Stone Interior Design
We’ve lost count of how many bespoke stone staircases, fireplaces and interior design projects we’ve worked on. As you can see from the images on this website, our focus has always been on making sure all of our work marries perfectly within the architecture, interior design and overall feel of the room.
We’re not just a staircase and fireplace company; we are also interior designers. We can source and create bespoke tile, we can advise on lighting options, we have our own range of decorative lighting… we pride ourselves on an end-to-end service. With a huge amount of experience working in prestigious, elegant and beautiful buildings, we are sure to have the perspective and expertise to tailor your space into something truly beautiful, covering all aspects of interior design with stone.