“What’s the next big design trend?” It’s one of the most frequently asked questions for any interior designer. The answer will vary from year-to-year, and even often season-to-season. But there are a few interior design elements that will transcend trends and forever be in vogue. Stone is definitely one of them! So, because stonework and stone elements often find themselves on the tops of these “must-have” lists, I thought it would be helpful to give you a few ways to incorporate it in your design and spaces. Let’s dive in!
Using Stone in Interior Design
It’s no secret that I love using stone when I’m designing. It has a way of instantly adding a layer of sophistication to a space. I like to think of stone as effortless decoration. The various colors and veining mixed with the sheen or shine each material possesses makes it feel elegant. So it’s no wonder many look to utilize it when they’re designing a room. In fact, when I designed UNICA, a modern Spanish villa located in Bel Air, California, we used marble in several places. One of the most unique techniques we took advantage of is called bookmatching. As you can see in the photo above, bookmatching involves positioning two slabs of stone in such a way that they look almost as if they were pages of an open book. We matched the natural veining of the marble, and the result was nothing less than majestic!
When people are drawn to stone, I often believe it has something to do with its natural qualities. We’re seeing more indoor and outdoor living spaces linked by continuous design as so many of us are longing to spend more time outside. The great outdoors and all it has to offer— fresh air, greenery, bodies of water, can be quite soothing. When we bring natural elements into our spaces we often benefit from those same serene sensations. That calming effect helps to bridge the indoor-outdoor gap. These reasons and so many more make stone a no-brainer for those who love it like I do.
Ways to Incorporate Stone in Your Home
What’s the first thing you imagine when you hear the words “stone” or “marble”? For many it’s a huge bathroom in a luxury hotel or the floors in a mansion. It’s true, you may very well find stone in abundance in those kinds of places, but those aren’t the only ways to use this material in interior design. I love using it in kitchens! My own kitchen has stone countertops and a stone waterfall island that I adore. Stone is perfect for these surfaces because there are so many different options of colors and patterns to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a pristine white, or a rich black, the selections are there. There are also different variations in each color family. A white marble might have grey veining, and another might have blue veining. You can choose the one that works with the color palette in your space.
One of the less conventional pieces of advice I give to my clients is to consider using stone as your backsplash instead of traditional tiles. I know, sounds strange at first, until I show them examples of my work. Running a slab all the way up the back gives such a magnificent look to the area, and it also makes it easier to clean! Another great use for stone is in bathroom fixtures, both large and small. I custom created a tub from a single block of marble, and it gave the entire room a luxurious feeling. I wanted the owner to be able to soak in stone, and ease the cares of the day away. The above-counter marble sinks I created for that same space are pictured below.
Stone Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
As an interior designer, I’ve been blessed to use stone in several projects. I’ve used it on a bar program in a restaurant, and I’ve even used it in flooring: limestone in an oversized opus pattern. Those projects were costly, indeed. I even traveled to Italy to source and interact with the materials. But, if you are looking to use it in your home without spending a fortune, I’ve got the suggestions you need! Consider lighting fixtures that feature stone. I’ve seen beautiful sconces with marble detailing. One of my favorites picks years ago from High Point Market was a gorgeous chandelier with slate pieces crowning the top.
Easy Ways to Incorporate Stone in Small Formats
If you want to give your space an easy refresh without the crazy price tag, I often tell clients to switch out door pulls and handles. There are beautiful knobs made of stone that give a space just the perfect amount of dazzle. The options really are endless. Whether it’s a lamp base, a table with stone inlay, or even marble coasters that you elegantly display on your coffee table, adding stone to your space instantly elevates the design. Don’t be afraid to play around with different types of items in your space.
Should You Use Natural or Manufactured Stone?
One of the biggest considerations is whether you should go for marble or manmade stone. The answer lies in your lifestyle and where you intend to use it. Years ago, manufactured stone was an instant “no” for me. It looked unrealistic, and nobody wanted that as an effect when creating an otherwise beautiful space. Nowadays, the technology is so good that you would have a hard time differentiating between the two! Natural marble has an undeniable beauty and a connection with the earth that is one-of-a-kind. There is something magical about knowing this material was formed in the earth, and if you’re a lover of crystals like I am, you might even believe in the healing and grounding qualities it can hold. If those things are important to you, then natural might be the way to go.
If you’re going to be using stone in places where spills are likely, like a kitchen, you might want to consider manufactured stone. This is because it’s easier to clean, and won’t stain or etch as easily as natural stone. Natural marble has to be sealed periodically to maintain a protective layer. I’ve found that parents with young children tend to think about those things before making a final decision. I always say your home should work for you. Your spaces should be more than just beautiful, they should make your life easier. In my opinion, that is the ultimate deciding factor between natural or manufactured.
Trends in design will always be a thing. What’s “hot” this season will quickly be replaced by something new next season. Stone will stand the test of time. Think of the streets of Italy. They’ll always be iconic and classic, because they’re made of a material that never goes out of style. If you’re looking to add a dash of refinement to your home, stone is an amazing way to do it!