How to combine different natural stones in your bathroomJune 22, 2018
Ordinarily, stone décor seems cold and detached. Perhaps it’s because we associate it with statues, history, and high-end facades. They leave us feeling these things are beautiful but distant, somewhat removed from us. However, there are lots of situations where this clean, mature elegance works for us. Stone, like tile, works really well in kitchens and bathrooms.
The seemingly cold texture makes it easy to clean, and because it stays cool even when heated, it doesn’t get uncomfortable when exposed to kitchen flames, steaming food, or scorching bath water. Increasingly, stone is beating tile in popularity. It doesn’t get mouldy like tile does, so grout isn’t really a problem.
And it’s porous, so it’s safe in a bath setting. It’s usually sealed or polished to prevent moisture from seeping though and soaking into the structure of the building, below the layer of stone. It’s easy to maintain, though many forms of natural stone are calcite, so you should avoid using acidic soaps and beauty products. Sealing the stone can minimise acid damage.
Who wears it best?
Often, the discussions around stone décor focus on picking one over the other. You’ll hear that marble is beautiful but expensive and susceptible to etching. Or that travertine works great outdoors but can look washed out and doesn’t embrace a clean polished finish. Limestone – they might say – looks too … ordinary.
Of course each of these materials has its benefits and is gorgeous in its own way. So instead of pitting them against each other, why not bring them together and get the best of all worlds? In fact, why stick to stone alone when you can throw in tile and glass for a full rainbow bathroom? Here are some of the ways you can mingle decorative themes for beautiful bathroom experience.
Accented marble floors
Because marble is on the higher end in terms of cost, you can use it in bits and light touches, if budget is an issue. But also, remember marble works best when applied in a mild, subtle manner. A single block of coloured marble on a limestone floor makes a bigger impression than using it wall to wall. Consider paving the floor with polished limestone slabs. Pick a neutral tone that allows you to jazz up the rest of your bathroom.
Then in the middle of the floor, plant a single marble piece. The design will depend on your sensibilities. Uneven slabs can be vibrant and quirky but can also leave you off-balance, so if you think it will irritate you over time, just use symmetrical stone tiles, both for the limestone and the marble. Contrast their colours though, so you can use a bright marble brick in pale limestone, or greyed-out limestone against white marble.
Marble also works well for small touches like a soap tray or a backsplash. If you want a bigger chunk, get a carved bowl or basin for your face. It doesn’t have to be the same as the sink where you brush your teeth. It could actually be a separate feature just for beauty treatments. This will allow you to keep it small and dainty, and because your face is sensitive, you’ll take extra care to keep it spotless and free of sediment.
If you have a shower, you could use travertine for the lower half of the walls, then use tile or limestone for the top half. These three materials have the same properties as marble, but they’re a little lower on the price chain, so you can afford to use more of them. You don’t need to worry about them getting mouldy but give your walls a once-over whenever you shower. If they’re properly sealed, water will slide down in beads, just like it would on tile.
Half-and-half shower walls
However, if the water seems to disappear into the wall, it’s likely the top coat has worn away and you need to reseal your walls. Apart from the sealant, your stone needs to be cut or sanded to smoothness. This prevents you from scraping yourself, but it still retains the soulful texture of natural stone. Tumbled travertine has the most character of all three stones, because of its soft, textured feel, while marble and limestone are more refined.
If you suspect you’ve neglected the elegance of your shower cubicle, insert a sneaky row of marble to separate the travertine and limestone / tile sections of the wall. You can also add a line of marble framing the bathroom mirror and window. Don’t overdo it though, or the marble may overpower the room.
Pick two or three spots, so it’s either floor and shower or mirror and window, with the little marble facial bowl to tie it all together. As an alternative to marble on your window, mirror, or wall divider, you might try colourful crushed glass. Then, apply marble accents on the floor tile and countertop basin, keeping your marble touch adequately subtle.