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Guide to Interior Design & the use of Natural Stone in your home

Written by Lucy Winters-Underwood, Founder of Lucy Winterwood Luxury Interior Design Studio. Serving St Albans, Harpenden, Hertfordshire & North London.


One of the first things we do when realising a new project is to establish the hard finishes. The hard finishes are the very core of the Interior Design aesthetic, they set the tone for the whole project. Hard finishes, and quite often natural stone, need to be installed first and should stand the test of time.


Lose furniture and fittings can come and go as families grow, move on, and develop differing tastes. But the hard finishes are a staple and we build around them to create a fluid and seamless project.


We will always encourage our clients to spend money on quality finishes and so natural stones are always high up on our agenda. Why you ask? Because natural stones in interior design are exceptionally hard-wearing, add value to a property, offer a truly unique aesthetic and are versatile beyond words.


However, we find that, what can be confusing for our clients is the plethora of options and the varying qualities each material can provide. And so, we hope this blog gives you a clear and helpful understanding of natural stone and how it can elevate your space.


Lazer-cut border patterned stone in a London Townhouse Entrance Hall

Lazer-cut border patterned stone in a London Townhouse Entrance Hall





Now for the scientific bit, stay with us! Most stones can be categorised into two types: Siliceous and Calcareous. A Siliceous stone is composed mainly of silica or quartz-like particles, they are generally considered to be the most hard-wearing and easier to maintain. Types of Siliceous stone include Granite, Slate, Sandstone, Quartzite.


A Calcareous stone is composed mainly of calcium carbonate, it is chalkier and soft, and therefore more sensitive to chemicals and spills. Types of Calcareous stones include Marble, Travertine, Onyx and Limestone.


All stones have differing properties, but what we would suggest, above all, is that it is very important to take good care of your natural stone, we advise all clients to have them resealed on a yearly basis to keep them in optimum condition.


Natural Stone in its most natural form, prior to being Quarried and perfected to use for Interior Design solutions

Stone in its most natural form, prior to being Quarried

As mentioned previously, we believe in investing in quality hard finishes and the expression of; buying once and buying well. However, there are varying cost scales when it comes to stones. At the top end of the scale, we have Onyx.


Onyx is considered to be one of the most rare and beautiful materials in nature, it has a special translucent quality allowing designers the ability to back-light the decorative slabs. A crystalline almost ethereal aesthetic means Onyx is typically used mostly in decorative applications. It is the most vulnerable of the stones and may scratch, stain, and etch more easily.


A back-lit Onyx feature wall Wine Bar, and Table/Counter Surface

A back-lit Onyx feature wall Wine Bar, and Table/Counter Surface


At the lower end of the scale, we have Limestone and Travertine. Limestone is used widely for exterior and interior purposes, mostly on a commercial sized scale in roads or building construction. Travertine on the other hand has more elegant appearance, with grain lines and veining more like a marble. It has become more widely used for furniture pieces, feature walls and floors for an earthy and muted aesthetic.


What’s wonderful about limestone, and all natural stones, is their ability to be used for both interior and exterior applications, allowing our clients a seamless transition from an indoor orangery for example, leading out onto a veranda.


A Limestone floor acts as a seamless transition from inside to outside spaces

A Limestone floor acts as a seamless transition from inside to outside spaces







If your top priority is practicality and budget, then we would point you in the direction of Granite, it is not necessarily the most beautiful of the natural stones but it will stand the test of time. Granite has a grainy mottled appearance with flecks of natural quartz.


A crystalline structure makes it more resistant to abrasion, staining, and discoloration. It is in fact, the strongest of all natural stones. Its non-porous surface makes for easy maintenance, and what’s more it is heat resistant. A winner all round!


A Granite countertop surface in a Luxury Kitchen Design

A Granite countertop surface in a Luxury Kitchen Design

Still confused about what is a marble? Well, we don’t blame you, that’s because Marble is a term widely used in the Interior Design and Construction trade, to refer to as any stone which can be polished, with the exception of granite. So, whilst we talk about Onyx, Travertine etc etc. These can also be categorised as a ‘Marble’.


There is a vast selection of natural stones available to use from around the world and so we are truly spoilt. The variations in colours and patterns offer us timeless beauty and limitless variations. If you are looking to source a natural stone for your project, we’d be delighted to take you on a journey to a stone yard to explore your vision and help bring it to life.

We hope this blog post has given you some insights as to why hiring a luxury interior designer can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. For an effortless, rewarding design and build, book a call today.






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