Using stone to best effect in interior design 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 a stone type
It’s harder than it sounds. Believe us.
There are many stone types and solutions available to the interior designer; from soft limestone to hard granite, from sprawling marble surfaces to brick or even dry-stone walls. Every stone type boasts its own unique qualities (including price tag) and comes in a range of colours and hues, with different grains.
Some common stone choices, 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).
If done correctly, good lighting will accentuate the natural textures of stone surfaces, enhancing their natural beauty. Of course uplights, downlights, spotlights… these all lend themselves to different room shapes, 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. 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.