by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers
Beautiful natural details are increasingly favored in new home construction, and many people are choosing to update their existing homes to create more organic designs. One of the most popular ways to increase rustic and homey appeal is to incorporate stone accents. Whether you’re looking to add just a few natural touches around key areas of interest such as fireplaces and kitchen islands, or you really want to make a statement with a larger project, you should explore your color, style, and installation options. Here are some things to consider, and some products that will make it easy!
Stone Products Available
Chances are you’ve already seen an amazing stone application that has made you want to create your own. Unless you asked for specifics, you probably don’t know if you fell in love with natural stone or veneer. Manufacturing practices have produced some convincing alternatives that look authentic and just as beautiful as the genuine article, but they come with a host of benefits.
Natural stone has stood the test of time, and it will withstand just about anything you can put it through. Although there are thinly cut varieties out there, natural stone tends to be heavier and more costly to ship than manufactured veneer. Installing it requires more time, effort, and potentially mess—mortar is involved, so care must be taken to keep the project area clean. On the other hand, manufactured veneer can be installed with mortar or with everyday household tools depending on the brand, and the only things you really have to worry about are where to drill the holes for installation and how to adhere the panels. Veneer is very light and easy to work with, and many homeowners are comfortable installing it themselves. If you prefer to have a contractor install it instead, the process will be much quicker and more efficient than using natural stone, saving on time and labor costs.
Areas of Application
You can install stone accenting pretty much anywhere you want, but you should be aware of the practical concerns you might face, and then choose your products accordingly. For indoor applications, you are essentially free to do what you want, but you’ll have to consider drainage and your local climate before committing to a product for exterior use. Freeze-thaw cycles can wreak havoc on anything with cracks or blemishes, natural or manufactured, so you’ll definitely want to invest in a product that comes with a warranty.
Also consider your design goals when making your decorative commitment. Anything with mortar will be much more difficult to change at a later time, so you must be confident in your decision. Manufactured veneer gives you greater style and color choices, and it’s easier to find exactly what you want no matter your region, so you can be sure to find something that fits your vision. Especially for interior designs that call for more specific palettes, manufactured stone opens up the realm of possibilities and offers stylistic freedom.
Selecting Color and Style
When you’re making such a major design change—even the product with the simplest application will have an enormous impact on your design!—you’ll want to choose the best complement for what you already have. The most fitting stone accents will change depending on the type of architecture you’re working with, as well as the surrounding environment. While every case will be different, here are some key points to consider to help get you started.
Stone accenting comes in any shape or size you could want. There are round river rock types, more regularly cut stones that stack like bricks, and asymmetrical and jagged stones for a more rustic appearance. Manufactured veneer is made to fit together, and it will easily create a natural look with color variation whether you install it stone by stone or select larger panels. As you shop for your home, take notice of the palette that its environment provides. Try to match the colors of any rocks you might have dug up during the build, or anything in the yard. Thousands of years of geological history have set the tone that will work best. Interior spaces give you more color freedom, and you can select natural neutrals or bolder hues if you should desire.
The style of the home also affects the best shape for decorative stones. You’ll find that contemporary designs, with their focus on clean lines, look great with neater, more tightly stacked stones that create geometric outlines with right angles. These stones have a more systematic appearance about them, but there will still be size variation to ensure they aren’t unnaturally uniform. On the other hand, homes with more rugged style—think mountain cottages, Cape Cods, Craftsman houses, etc.—can really shine with extra variation and a rougher profile. The stability of the final result isn’t a concern, because uneven designs are just as solid as regular ones, even if they don’t look like it.
If you’re ready to start applying stone accents to your home, check out the beautiful veneers available from ClipStone Mortarless Stone Veneer by Environmental StoneWorks®. With beautiful options you can install yourself, you can transform your home more easily than you’ve ever imagined!