Natural Stone vs. Porcelain
Natural stone, such as marble or Travertine in your bathroom, can be absolutely beautiful. When it comes to having natural stone on the walls in a shower or on a vanity, sealing is key. Sealing after install, and additional sealing 1-2 times a year is recommended.
In addition to your cleaning products, the normal bathroom products can cause damage to natural stone. Anything acidic will degrade the stone. Marble is particularly vulnerable to scratching. This scratching is less likely in a shower, but could be a problem with a vanity top or floor.
The easiest way to decide if natural stone will work for you in the bathroom, is to get a couple of tiles from a local showroom and take them home. You can find sealer at any hardware store. Seal half of each tile so you can see what it will look like if you forget to keep it sealed. Put one next to the toilet, one in your shower, and one on your vanity. Spill makeup on the vanity. Drizzle your shampoo on the one in the shower and leave a blob of conditioner on it overnight. Place the other tile on the side of or behind the toilet, the space that is generally the most dirty when you clean your bathroom. Clean that tile normally when you clean your bathroom.
Take note of how the tiles are affected. This will help you decide if natural stone is right for you!
Overall, Porcelain is cheaper, easier to clean, easier to maintain and easier to install. Yet many people feel they just cannot get the same look and feel as they can with natural stone. In the end, it is up to each individual homeowner to weigh their options and choose what works best for them.