Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Quality Natural Stones In Interior Design

by: Erika Hansen

Natural stones have been used by man throughout centuries primarily due to their beauty, variety and durability. Today as before their role in interior design cannot be overestimated.

Natural stones can contribute to traditional and contemporary interiors in many ways, from marble wall or floor tiles to limestone windowsills, let alone worktops in the kitchen or bath surrounds and vanity tops in the bathroom. Natural stones also go well with other interior design materials, such as wood or glass.

Even a small piece of quality stonework can make a lot of difference. My favourite examples of stonework for the sitting room are hearths, windowsills and table tops. For the more adventurous, a multi-stone floor inset would easily be the centerpiece of any room. However, nothing beats marble tiled floors, better still if accompanied by skirting made of the same natural stone.

The key principle is to use quality natural stones with top aesthetical and technical characteristics. Quality of the natural stones is driven by a number of factors, the state of the quarry, quality of the block, quality of the machinery and stone grading process at the cutting factory, commitment to quality of the stone supplier who chooses the quarry/factory/stone. You should ask your stone supplier for advice on different grades of a particular natural stone before you make a decision based on quality and budget constraints. Based on my experience, quality should never be compromised.

Fire surround is a good example. In most cases, quality of the natural stone and craftwork play a bigger role that the design itself. There is only one step from a luxurious piece to a tacky one. My favourite natural stones for luxury fire surrounds include Statuario marble, White Cappuccino limestone and Rosso Lepante marble. Fire surrounds are made either of slabs or blocks. Most contemporary and some traditional designs can be made of slabs. Generally, a piece made of slabs costs less than one made of a block.

I always use an opportunity to mention marble windowsills. In Sweden, windowsills made of natural stones are as common as snow in the winter. The reasons for that are twofold, decorative effect and practicality (they are hygienic and easy to maintain). I believe that many interior design projects would benefit from the use of marble (or other natural stone) windowsills.

I strongly believe that the use of quality natural stones in interior design is an investment that pays off.

About The Author

Written by Erika Hansen. Erika provides interior design advice to Stoneville (UK) Ltd. More info on natural stones can be found at http://www.stoneville.co.uk/.


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