Working with natural stone

by | Aug 18, 2023 | Inspiration, Interior Design | 0 comments

Natural Stone Bathroom Vanity - Marylou Sobel Interior Designer
Working with natural stone in interior design is the perfect way to encapsulate the beauty of the natural world and weave it into the fabric of your home. Some of the slabs of stone that are coming from the earth at the moment are simply extraordinary, as intricate as a Monet painting,  some with colours and patterns comparable to indigenous artwork. These natural resources can be the starting point in your kitchen or bathroom, and everything else can develop from that element alone. Let’s get into it. 
Natural stone outside shower - Marylou Sobel Interior Designer Sydney

Different types of natural stone 

There are many different types of stone, and within each different type, you will find further variations still. When people think of a natural stone, they will think of marble usually, which itself is categorised using different colour and pattern profiles. Granite, stronger than marble, comes with its own unique colours and veining, and then quartzite which is stronger still. 

There are the more porous natural stone types such as limestone, a softer and easier to work with form of stone. As with its harder counterparts, limestone comes in different varieties, such as travertine, which is a form of limestone that is found deposited around mineral springs, which I love to work with. 

Natural stone in the home

You can use natural stone throughout the entire home almost, as it makes for a very sustainable, practical and attractive option for flooring. Use stone in common areas, entrances, of course kitchen or bathrooms, and then for your exterior of the home like a courtyard or patio, walkway or around (and in) a swimming pool. 

And stone is not exclusively for flooring; from a kitchen benchtop to the vanity of a bathroom or a feature wall in the shower. Not just in slab form, but cut into tiles that match and work appropriately within the space, tying the different elements of the entire design together cohesively. For example you may use the same stone for tiles around the vanity in a bathroom or skirting, that are made from the same stone as the slabs used for around the bathtub or on the floor. 

Natural stone in kitchen interior design - Marylou Sobel Interior Designer Sydney

Working with a neutral palette

If you want to keep or create a neutral palette in your design, there’s certain stones that would work well. Carrar, Calacatta and Grigio Orsola all come in both slab and tile form, and work beautifully within the home.

Marylou Sobel Sydney Interior Designer on site

How to work with natural stone

Cutting natural stone

Stone is a hardwearing, sustainable material and very appropriate for flooring in a home, but laying the stone in slabs can create a problematic surface, for example in a bathroom where it can easily become slippery when wet. By cutting the stone slab into tiles, this can make the surface more practical for use in certain spaces, as the grout acts as a source of friction for feet (big or small). 

If you take a slab of stone and cut it into tiles, your flooring can be pattern matched like a puzzle. In the world of stone, there is a phrase called ‘book matched’ – slabs typically come in groups, as they cut the stone one after another, and they are numbered. By purchasing two or more slabs in the same order, patterns and colours can be matched throughout the home, providing a cohesive design outcome. You can of course get tiles in the same material, rather than cutting a slab up into pieces, but you won’t get the same ‘book matched’ effect. 

Sealing natural stone

Natural stone is a perfect sustainable building material, as it will last for many many years to come if it is cared for properly. Natural stone can be sanded and sealed, which will give a polished finish to the surface. Sealing stone ensures its longevity, and may have to be revisited to keep the shine. 

Or natural stone can be left alone unsealed, giving a matte finish as opposed to a high shine. This way the stone will age naturally and gracefully within the home. A stone like marble is quite sensitive (as I would refer to it), if its exposed to lemon it easily eats into it like a blister, and it might stain over time as like most stone, it is quite porous. But if stone is honed and sealed really well, it is unlikely that anything will stain it permanently.  

Tricks of the stone trade

The thickness of the stone not only changes its appearance aesthetically, but also the cost. But there are clever ways that you can achieve the look that you want from your stone, without having to break the bank necessarily. For example, the bullnose of the counter may be 40mm thick, giving the illusion this is how thick the stone is, when in fact it may only be 20mm. 

To create a European-inspired or more rustic finish in the home, tumble marble works perfectly for stone tiles. When you tumble stone, the edges are rounder, softer. It is this more relaxed softness that creates a gentle feeling within the home, rather than hard polished stone floors. 


I hope that today’s topic of natural stone has inspired you for your next design project. If you’re unsure where to begin and would like to work with Marylou Sobel to design your next home then please contact our studio. 

Natural stone in kitchen interior design - Marylou Sobel Interior Designer Sydney

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