Honed vs. Polished Marble – What You Should Know

When planning out a home renovation project, choosing the perfect materials can make all the difference.

Marble is a beautiful choice for countertops, flooring and tile, but what many homeowners don’t realize, is that there are two distinct styles to choose from – honed surface and polished finish.

But what’s the difference exactly? And how do you know which marble surfaces to use for which project?

Do you know the difference between honed and polished marble? Find out which one is best for your project!

I’ll break down exactly how each type of finish looks and feels in order to help you decide which one is right for your renovation project. So if you’re thinking about incorporating marble into your home design, this is a MUST read!

Is honed or polished marble better?

Marble is one of the most timeless materials for adding luxurious style and subtle glamour to any space. But when it comes to whether honed or polished marble is the best choice for your design vision, the answer really depends on the overall aesthetic you’re hoping to achieve.

For years, polished marble reigned as THE classic choice in luxury home design. The way light reflects off the glossy finish creates a unique effect that adds a touch of sophistication and opulence that’s hard to find with other materials. Its surface has been buffed to a smooth perfection creating a highly reflective surface.

Do you know the difference between honed and polished marble? Find out which one is best for your project!
polished marble backsplash photo credit: liv.on.lakeside

Here’s an example of polished marble subway tile that we installed on our fireplace surround several years ago. I absolutely love how marble can instantly elevate the overall look of your space.

tiled fireplace makeover

But there’s another close material that’s been making its presence known on the design scene, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon!

Honed finish marble has a matte texture with a velvet-like touch, and its satin finish gives off a subtle warm glow. You might even notice that it’s slightly lighter in color than its polished version.

Do you know the difference between honed and polished marble? Find out which one is best for your project!
honed marble countertop photo credit: firsthouseonfinn

Opting for a honed, natural look will create an earthier feel – perfect for a more casual, relaxed design atmosphere. But don’t let that description fool you. This beautiful stone surface gives off a high-end look all its own.

Whether you choose honed or polished marble should depend on what kind of design style and aesthetic works best with your home’s decor and architecture. So make sure to do your design research and truly narrow down your style before committing to these expensive stones.

Is honed or polished marble easier to maintain?

When it comes to keeping a marble surface clean and free from dirt and grime, the type of stone matters.

Honed marble can be more challenging to keep clean than its polished marble counterpart, which has a smooth surface that allows water and cleaning solutions to slide right off.

This is because the honed version of the stone is buffed down creating subtle depths within the surface texture.

Polished marble on the other hand, has a much less chance of staining or other discoloration due to its shiny finish, making it a great choice for high-traffic areas such as kitchen and bathroom countertops. and this makes cleaning it easier as well.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s maintenance free. You still need to be careful when cleaning polished stone as using some chemicals can result in dull spots over time.

All in all, if you’re looking for an easy to maintain elegance in your home, consider opting for polished rather than honed marble.

Does honed marble stain easily?

When it comes to marble, one of the biggest questions many homeowners have is whether or not the honed version of this beautiful stone is prone to staining.

The short answer: yes, honed marble can be quite susceptible to staining, since pores in the surface of the stone are left open and exposed when it is honed down. 

If you plan to use honed marble flooring in high traffic areas of your home, like kitchen or bathroom floors, you should know that the pores of the stone can absorb anything from dirt and grease to acidic liquids.

But don’t let this deter you from a gorgeous design decision.

It’s best to protect the stone with sealers on a regular basis because that creates an extra barrier between spills and the porous surface of honed marble. Doing so will ensure that it stays looking flawless far longer than if left untreated.


Can you mix honed and polished marble?

Absolutely! Marble is a classic, timeless addition to any home, be it honed or polished. The beauty of mixing and matching a matte surface with polished finishes can create an eye-catching look.

Whether it’s contrasting materials in an entryway or kitchen backsplash, combining different textures will allow your unique style to come through in your design and make for a space that is truly one-of-a-kind.

This is exactly the reason I chose to incorporate a matte look using honed marble subway tile in our own kitchen. The polished look of our dark kitchen countertops contrasted beautifully against the honed marble finish backsplash.

Honed vs polished marble cost

Honed marble is becoming increasingly popular among interior design trends, but it typically comes with a higher price point than its polished counterpart.

The cost difference stems from the fact that honing the material requires more time and skill to perfect than the traditional polishing process.

Traditionally, these price differences are seen more often in larger marble slabs, such as countertops, which require additional skill to finish.

Smaller versions of tile tend to be somewhat similar in cost.

So, that’s the long and short of polished and honed marble—the pros, the cons, and all the essential information you need to know.

This stone has been around for thousands of years, with a reliable history as a timeless material in interior design. Marble is still relevant today and can be utilized in refreshing new ways to make your home uniquely beautiful.

For more tips on how to elevate your interior design with marble surfaces, explore my blog for more ideas.

And if you have a design question? Don’t be afraid to reach out! Have a question about anything related to home decor? I love hearing from my readers; do leave your thoughts in the comments section so we can chat about it!

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