Stone flooring ideas – an expert guide to using and choosing this classic flooring

Upgrade your home with these stone flooring ideas for greater durability and style

Vinyl kitchen flooring ideas
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Stone flooring ideas are a classic, and one of the most coveted floor types. Often features in period homes or rustic farmhouses, they bring warmth and texture to a room. That being said, stone floors can be just as at home in modern spaces, adding charm and character to any style. 

Born of nature, each piece of stone flooring has a definite character and grain. Installing these tiles can lend texture and depth to your interiors, and give the home a sense of age. Stone floors have natural veins, ripples, and today even feature vibrant patterns and motifs, creating a point of interest in the home. 

The natural stone’s organic surface is inherently resistant to dust and germs. From rough and smooth, to porous and dense, choices in this fabulous floor type are many. Here's a lowdown on this incredible flooring material.

10 stone flooring ideas for an earthy home

Stone floors are available in varied colors like yellow, blue, green, pink, black, and more, based on their mineral content. Natural stone is also available in pale marbles to black slates. If you love the organic look, then choose stone floors that have grains and veining. And if this type of look isn't for you, then stone floors are also available in high-sheen polish, matt, or even a weathered effect.

'Our Lundhs Emerald natural stone is one of our most popular surfaces for flooring. Its deep background color and lustrous crystals that shine through make it an extremely versatile choice, suitable for contemporary and traditional settings alike, particularly when paired with a grey kitchen setting,' says Hege Lundh, Marketing Director, Lundhs Real Stone.

'Popularity in stone floors keeps changing but we have been seeing a slight shift towards the warmer beige and taupe tones, although grey remains popular too. Whilst smooth, ‘honed’ stones provide a clean, contemporary feel, stones which have a ‘tumbled’ edge or slightly more antique feel is perfect for creating a more authentic, lived-in feel,' avers Louisa Morgan, Creative Director, Mandarin Stone.

1. Choose stone flooring for their timelessness

A yellow kitchen with sink skirt

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Stone floors are most commonly used as kitchen flooring, in hallways, or outdoor areas and are available in six categories: Travertine, terracotta, slate, limestone, quartz and terrazzo. That's because stone tiles hold up very well in high-traffic areas and do not crack or chip. Stone flooring is hardy, strong, and can last generations,  and is also a great choice for a more eco-friendly flooring.

'Natural stone has been used for centuries in a huge array of architectural settings and no other material quite compares to the inherent natural beauty and variation that stone offers,' says Hege.

In today's time, it's easy to find different colors and designs in stone flooring that provide instant luxury. 

2. Mix style with durability

stone flooring ideas

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Natural stone is denser than other materials and so is more durable. That's not to say that this floor won't be subjected to wear and tear over the years. The stone is porous so it requires sealing regularly; this will protect it from bacteria, acid, and dust. 

Sandstone, limestone, and marble require resealing every few months, while granite and quartz can be resealed once a year. It is common for mold and mildew to crop up on porous surfaces and while people usually deal with it with vinegar, natural stone, which is alkaline, is best not touched by anything acidic. 

A good homemade cleaning solution is one part bleach and four-parts water. Otherwise, you can buy a Ph neutral cleaner to sanitize your floor. 'Using non-acidic products and floor sealants to seal your stone can be a good precautionary move to avoid spillage stains. For marble, polishing is a smart way to reduce the stone's absorbency and hence prevent your flooring from dust accumulation,' says Rajesh Bhandari, Director, A-Class Marble.

Another point to note is that stone is a great conductor of heat and outstrips other floor finishes. So if you're thinking of underfloor heating, stone tiles are great candidates. 

3. You can choose from large to small format tiles

Blue kitchen with marble flooring

(Image credit: Quorn Stone)

Ideally, natural stone tiles are available in a standard size of 600x400, with larger custom formats available subject to quarry possibilities. If you have square tiles, make sure to lay them out in a linear pattern, arranged in lines. With rectangular tiles, you can lay them linear or by overlapping in a ‘brick bond’ design. 

'Large format stones are perfect for creating more of a feeling of space. With fewer grout joints the eye is tricked into the illusion of a larger space,' shares Louisa. If you've chosen marble tiles, it's always better to choose the large format ones so you can see the beautiful marble veining and ribbons.

4. Induce warm colors in your interiors

stone flooring ideas

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Terracotta tiles are made from locally available red or brown clay that is compressed into tile shapes; they are then dried and fired at high temperatures in the kiln. These tiles have an inherent charm, because not only do they lend an old-world feel, they also infuse interiors with beautiful, warm colors and you can get creative with tile and ground color combinations

The benefit of these stone flooring tiles is that they are highly durable, scratch-resistant, and can last longer if properly maintained. Since terracotta tiles are hand-molded, no two tiles are the same, which only adds to the organic beauty of the flooring.

5. Or go for a subtle stone flooring

stone flooring ideas

(Image credit: James Merrell)

'Marble is distinguished as one of the most durable and efficient natural materials available to curate extraordinary designs,' Rajesh shares. It is a metamorphic rock, which shines on polishing and changes the look and feel of any room and space. Marble is available in a plethora of colors such as white, green, beige, brown, pink, red, and black. 

Before buying marble flooring, it's always a good idea to visit the retailer to see the exact marble you want. This is a natural stone and no one slab looks like the other, so it offers up the opportunity of organic, cool new marble decorating ideas. Make it a point to personally pick and choose the one that suits your taste. Look for slabs of the same thickness and dimensions for a uniform floor. 

'Like any natural stone, marble tiles need sealing at the point of installation due to their porosity. We would advise against using any harsh detergents as these can strip the sealants. We would suggest less abrasive cleaners like Fila Cleaner,' Louisa advises.

6. Inject texture and rusticity

Rustic dining room with stone flooring

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Natural stone has an innate attractiveness to it. It has the qualities of permanence and although a tough stone, it features modest grain, colors and patterns, and tactile qualities. Gone are the days of white, off-white, and cream and grey floors. Today slate, sandstone, and natural stone floor can be customized to your choices and help you have a striking interior, and creative that coveted farmhouse kitchen vibe.

7. Experiment with pattern play

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'A plethora of tiles are available to create a space with the perfect balance of eminence and splendor.' says Rajesh. 'Various tiles in materials in natural stone can zest up small spaces by bringing in the excellence of patterns and geometry. Illustrious stone tiles with unique veining are another impactful alternative to bringing in drama. Choose tiles available in pastels to prints, mosaics to lacquered glass, natural stones, and more to visually expand a small space. A generous amount of finishes and textures in tiles are available within all economic ranges to curate glorified yet sublime design solutions.'

In this rustic kitchen, the black and white kitchen floor tiles not only give personality to the space, but the pattern also makes the floor area look larger than it is.

8. Opt for a sleek look with slate

Colorful dining room with grey stone flooring

(Image credit: Anna Stathaki)

The best thing about slate flooring is that it has a cleft, striation effect that draws the eye. This is low maintenance and easy to clean material, and water-resistant making it a great choice for the central rooms of the home. Slate is extremely durable making it particularly suitable for kitchen and hallway floors.

9.  Choose trendy terrazzo flooring

stone flooring ideas

(Image credit: ANNA STATHAKI)

Terrazzo flooring is a mix of marble or granite aggregates, which are ground and polished to create a smooth surface. Distinctive, sustainable, and extremely durable, terrazzo is not just a great flooring material but also ideal for wall-coverings. Terrazzo is also more flexible than concrete and less likely to crack. 

The resin-based tiles can be installed quickly and are thinner and stronger than other natural stone tiles. Another advantage to terrazzo is that it has no grout lines so the headache of cleaning dirt and food stains goes away. However, both resin and cement terrazzo need to be sealed frequently to be able to use them in high moisture areas.

10. Create a fusion look

(Image credit: James Merrell)

Be it original stone flooring or reclaimed flooring options, the dated look of the floor makes it all the more charming in the modern world. The tiles come in several finishes and based on the look you want to create for your home, you can choose the appropriate modern tiles. For instance, if you want the floor to appear crisp and new then choose a pattern-heavy, clean finish. And if you want the stone to look worn-out with some texture you might want to consider the seasoned finish.

What is the most durable stone floor?

Stone floors are known to be naturally hardwearing, and so are ideal for high traffic areas. You can choose from marble, sandstone, travertine, granite, and more for your homes. 

In terms of the most durable type, however, granite is possibly the best choice. It is one of the strongest stone floorings, is resistant to spills, scratches, and stains. This stone is so strong that it's preferred in areas that deal with a high amount of heat or moisture, for instance, the kitchen countertops or the bathrooms. 

Stone flooring pros and cons

Stone floors are super strong, will last you decades, are durable, and don't attract allergens. They give the home a warm, pleasant look and pair well with just about any style of decor. Since stone flooring tiles are natural, no two tiles or slabs look the same, thereby giving your home a one-of-a-kind look. Stone floors are available in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns. 

The biggest con is that natural stone is porous, so it absorbs stains and water easily. This is why the tiles need to be sealed from time to time. 'I have a flagstone floor in my kithchen, and while I like the look of it I'll admit it's hard to keep clean,' says Livingetc's editor Pip Rich. 'The grouted gaps between the tiles is charming but it does tend to gather dirt.'

Meanwhile, other natural stones like marble, are expensive and can stretch your budget considerably. And, in case a natural stone tile does get damaged or chipped, it's difficult to replace it to the exact design, style, and color.

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast).  Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.