Honed vs Polished Marble: Comparing Functionality and Style

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Nelson Tile and Stone
July 8, 2024

With its timeless elegance, marble surfaces remain a favorite in interior design. Choosing between a honed or polished finish for this stone can significantly impact the look and feel of your space. Each finish brings its own charm and functionality, making it worthwhile to understand their differences before a decision takes place. In this blog we’ll get into the distinct characteristics and benefits of honed and polished marble to see which one suits your home or workspace best.

Honed and Polished Marble: Characteristics and Comparison

Honed marble offers a smooth, matte finish that provides a soft, natural look. This finish is slip-resistant, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. It hides scratches and wear marks well but is more porous, requiring regular sealing to prevent stains.

Polished marble features a high-gloss finish that enhances the stone's natural colors and patterns. Its reflective surface brightens spaces and provides a sleek, luxurious feel. Polished marble is less porous, offering better stain resistance but shows scratches more visibly and can be slippery when wet.

Related Article: 4 Different Granite Countertop Finishes to Elevate Your Kitchen or Bath

Maintenance Comparison

Maintaining honed and polished marble involves different care routines. Honed marble's matte finish is more porous and requires regular sealing to prevent stains. Its non-reflective surface hides scratches and etches better, making it ideal for high-traffic areas. Polished marble, with its glossy finish, is less porous and more stain-resistant but shows scratches and etches more visibly, requiring careful handling and occasional polishing to maintain its shine. Each finish demands specific maintenance efforts, so factor this into your choice based on the level of care you're willing to commit to.

Comparing Marble Finishes for Different Applications and Interior Designs


  • Honed Marble: Reduces glare with a matte surface, better at hiding scratches and etches. Works perfect for rustic, farmhouse, or industrial designs where a natural, understated look is desired.
  • Polished Marble: Highlights colors and veins with a high-gloss finish, more resistant to stains. For high-use countertops it will show scratches more visibly over time. Ideal for modern, contemporary, or luxury kitchens that benefit from a bright, reflective surface.


  • Honed Marble: Safer due to higher slip resistance, matte finish hides scratches. Great for high-traffic areas and works well with Scandinavian or minimalist surroundings, where functionality and simplicity are key.
  • Polished Marble: Reflects light, making spaces appear brighter and more spacious. Can be slippery and shows scratches more, but it is easier to clean. Highly suitable for grand entryways, formal dining rooms, or bathrooms that embrace opulence and shine.


  • Honed Marble: Offers a subtle, non-reflective appearance, less prone to scratches. Complements casual, cozy spaces or traditional designs that favor a muted, natural aesthetic.
  • Polished Marble: Provides a high-shine, luxurious look, requires more upkeep. Enhances formal living areas, statement walls, or backsplashes where a glamorous and eye-catching finish is preferred.

Does the Intended Room Have an Impact?

Yes, when choosing marble for specific rooms, you should consider how each finish performs. Envision what kind of impact it will have on the overall design:

  • Kitchens: Honed marble is ideal for countertops due to its resistance to glare and better scratch concealment. Polished marble is great for backsplashes where a glossy, vibrant look is desired.
  • Bathrooms: Honed marble is perfect for floors, offering slip resistance, while polished marble adds a touch of luxury to vanity tops and shower walls.
  • Living Areas: Polished marble can make a stunning statement on fireplace surrounds and accent walls, while honed marble provides a more subdued elegance for larger floor spaces.


In terms of cost, polished marble can be slightly more expensive due to the additional labor and materials required to achieve the high-gloss finish. However, the price difference is typically not substantial. Check with your local supplier for exact pricing.

Ultimately, whether you prefer the subtle elegance of honed marble or the luxurious shine of polished marble, both finishes can significantly elevate your home’s aesthetics. For expert advice and a wide range of marble options, visit us in Bend at our showroom! Contact us today to bring the prestige and durability of marble to your personal living space!