How to soften the look of natural stone in your home

Recently renovated or wanting to renovate? Thinking of adding a stone feature but think you might lose the cosy feel of a space? 

If you’re worried that the inclusion of stone in your home will look harsh, or alter the aesthetics, fear not. 

Stone, though quite literally hard as rock, can be softened with the addition of some interior styling tricks. 

We breakdown some handy tips on how to soften stone, and point you in the direction of some more neutral selections. 


Soft furnishings

Creating a balance and harmony in your decor isn’t just about the colour palette. Materials and textures need to complement each other too. This is where contrasting can not only help elevate a space but make it all the more liveable. For example, a sheepskin-throw adorning a natural stone bench seat. 

Because natural stone is hard by nature, an easy approach is to make it more comfortable with throws and cushions. Try large plush cushions and heavy pile rugs for a more pleasant and tactile feel in contrast to stone. 

Likewise, the appearance of stone can be softened by other natural materials like light coloured timber and even a mix of stones. 

Soft timber

Light coloured and lightweight timber, favoured in Scandinavian design, is a nice way to offset the darker look of some stones. 

Not only is it ‘soft’ under touch but light timber also brings a bright and airy feeling to spaces. If your stone has square edging or details, match rounded timber edges or bullnose detailing on furniture. 

Light cabinetry or natural timber panelling will also alleviate any hard looks from natural stone in your kitchen. Likewise, light coloured stone, in white or grey hues like Desert Silver, are an easy bet if you don’t want the stone itself to dominate a space. 

Bright colours 

Dark stones or polished stones have a strong presence in a space so brighter colours can liven a room up. Short of a feature wall, try including artwork that pops off the wall and bolder coloured furnishings. 

Or mix and match your stone with some feature tiles. Dark natural stone benchtops can be livened up with a colorful tile splashback. Play with your proportions, create patterns from mosaic tiles, and try out some more colourful options.

Opt for a bright Terrazzo if your kitchen features a Terrazzo benchtop and complement it with bright pops of colouring picked up in the stone. 

Alternatively, a honed or brushed finish on natural stone softens the surface appearance of stone. By having a more matte look, the stone reflects less light which makes it appear more like the other natural surfaces and products in our home, though not quite as soft as a duvet cover or pillow. Polished surfaces and objects typically appear unnatural and hard, like stainless steel, glass, or ceramic tiles. So look to soften them with natural products. 

Stone alternatives 

You can always get the stone look without a stone slab. Including an engineered product like Laminam can lend you the stone look on a finer scale. It looks just like stone but comes in thinner formats so it can be utilised more sparingly, like as cladding on a kitchen bench or stair treads. 

For example, our Calce Nero offers a sleek stone alternative that possesses the same durability and kitchen-ready qualities as all-natural stone. It looks just like its natural counterpart but is lighter, slimmer and when used, it doesn’t add that same mass to a space as traditional black stone would. 

While stone look tiles could help achieve the look too, especially in a bathroom above a vanity or a feature detail around a shower. 

So whether you’re looking to include natural stone in your home, or a stone alternative, consider how you’ll best blend it in and soften the spaces around it. Contrast colour and feel with bright tones and soft natural products and look to lighter timber or stone for an airy aesthetic. 


To learn more about blending in natural stone into your home, or stone alternatives, visit our showroom at 484 Church St, Richmond, or for more information phone us on (03) 9427 9100.