How to Use Natural Stone to Achieve a Luxury Look On a Budget
Many homeowners flip through interior design magazines and covet the gorgeous natural stone found throughout the glossy pages. They can almost feel the smoothness of the marble kitchen counters or the rough texture of the fireplace surrounds. Going top to bottom in high-end natural stone may not be within reach for some, but that doesn’t mean they can’t add high-end touches to their designs and give their rooms a touch of luxe. Our experts share ways to add luxury natural stone touches into their designs and get the looks they desire without breaking their budgets.
A Little Goes A Long Way
Susan Kathryn Toth, principal of Version International, Inc, a residential interior design firm based in Toronto, Ontario, recommends being strategic with placement of natural stone to get that luxury look without needing a lot of it. Small amounts can be very effective and dramatic if they’re located in high-visibility areas. For example, incorporating a natural stone tile backsplash in a kitchen shows off that luxurious look a homeowner might be craving without it necessarily adding a lot to the overall cost of the project, Toth says. “You can also use stone baseboards on built ins instead of wood,” she adds.
Details matter so focus on spending on highlighting those details. Rather than trying to encompass a large space, like an entire kitchen or bathroom, in nature stone, look for opportunities to call out special spots.
Small areas also offer an excellent opportunity to showcase the natural beauty of stone, according to Joshua Levinson, president of Artistic Tile. “Homeowners are often drawn to porcelain products for use in small spaces, but in close quarters, details matter, and a porcelain replica of a real product will be more obvious,” notes Levinson. “Natural stone in such spaces reveal their inherent quality and stand up to—and in fact are complimented by—close inspection.”
The variety of natural stone that’s available on the market today provides endless opportunities to create unique spaces that complement the owner’s personal style.
Another way to make natural stone go a lot farther with one’s budget is to not forget your remnants. “Use your leftover remnants to trim around the shower or create a custom bench or shelving unit to tie in the entire look across multiple rooms,” says April Graves, vice president of Aria Stone Gallery. “Details like this do not go unnoticed and add an instant luxurious, custom feel.”
Remnants are pieces of natural stone left over from a full slab. For those considering incorporating natural stone into a project, can’t afford larger slabs, or aren’t ready to commit to large installations, remnants can be a starting point. Many fabrication shops have a great selection of remnants on hand and depending on the size, can be used on anything from small countertops or furniture tops such as coffee tables to fireplace surrounds.
Using Natural Stone as Art
“Art pieces on interior walls is one way to create an instant element of WOW without needing a lot of material,” shares Graves.
Not sure how to go about choosing a piece of natural stone art to hit that wow factor? “Choose one element that will be your focal point for the design and splurge on this item – and feel free to mix and match!” recommends Graves. For instance, instead of cladding the entire room in the same natural stone, you could create a dramatic focal wall using two large slabs to create a bookmatch design. Pair the countertops with a more cost-efficient, neutral material, such as White Macaubas quartzite or Hanoi Pure White marble. The neutral colors will balance the dramatic focal piece without breaking the bank.”
At the end of the day, selecting natural stone for a project is primarily based on the client’s emotional response to the piece, according to Graves. “The beautiful thing about natural stone is that no two slabs are the same, making your space entirely unique and YOU,” she says. “If you fall in love with marble and really want to put it in your kitchen, go with your heart!”
For those who want to use a particular natural stone but are concerned about whether it will hold up and worth the investment, Graves recommends homeowners not rule out a type of material without exploring their options first. “There have been so many technological advancements with sealers out there that will allow you to accomplish the look you are going for with much less worry,” she adds.
While some homeowners feel using natural stone in their projects might mean having to go all out in order to get the look they desire, it may not have to be all or nothing. In fact, careful consideration about your goals and opportunities to showcase natural stone as a focal point rather than the main material may end up being both cost-effective and achieve the desired look of a space. Being mindful of your space and choosing stone that resonates with your design goals may be more within reach that you originally thought.
“Stone is often imitated but never truly replicated,” adds Levinson. “Natural stone can effortlessly elevate the aesthetic of even the smallest spaces.”