2018’s Refreshing, New Interior Design Trends

Three-dimensional wall elements? Stacked stone panel accents?

Natural stone weighs heavy in the top 5 design trends of 2018. Interior designers are placing the textures, tints, patterns, and purposes of natural stones in juxtaposition to each other to create pleasing and fascinating features in homes.

Other trends suggest using bold geometric designs and marble veining to “pack a dramatic punch.” Which new natural stone trend is right for your next project? Check it out at Top 5 Design Trends of 2018.

Ten Important Facts about Quartz Countertops

Can you list ten important facts about quartz countertops? Neither could I, until I read The Countertop Investigator’s Guide to Quartz.

And like the title says, an expert has already investigated all you need to know about quartz countertops. You’ll learn about how they’re made, what they cost, where to buy, the common brand names, color options, how to maintain, and where NOT to put quartz countertops.

For details, read The Countertop Investigator’s Guide to Quartz. It covers everything but the kitchen sink. You’ll have to investigate those on your own.

Natural Stone vs. Manufactured Veneer — Not a Hard Choice

Considering an accent area of stone in your home? A wall, surround, or focal point? If so, beauty should be your goal. Why settle for a less impressive look? When natural stone proves too heavy for some projects, veneer offers a great alternative. The choice, then, becomes whether to use natural stone veneer or a manufactured look-alike. For choices like this, it’s always good to take the advice of an experienced installer. In Natural Stone vs. Veneer Architectural Stone, you’ll learn the pros and cons — in chart form — of both natural stone and manufactured veneers, and why installing 100% natural stone veneer is your best choice.

Natural Stone Gets the All-Green Go-Ahead

We love quick and easy. And when it applies to finding information about kitchen countertops, that’s even better. In Kitchen Countertop Comparison Chart, you’ll find good information on various kinds of kitchen countertops without wasting your valuable time by searching all over the Internet. The chart rates natural stone and man-made products, but only granite, quartzite, and quartz surfacing, which uses natural quartz, get the all-green honors. Don’t let the green thumbs-down fool you. It means that the natural stone countertop won’t scratch easily. Check it out!

What Will Your Natural Stone Countertops Have to Say?

When deciding on a particular kind of natural stone countertop, you know you’ll have to consider colors and finishes. But have you thought about the message that you want your kitchen countertops to convey? Do you want guests to see a great work of art? Do you want a more durable countertop that easily welcomes too many cooks in the kitchen? Or do you want your countertop’s natural wear over time to be seen as a banner to your great hospitality?

Your kitchen countertops will speak volumes! What will yours say? Read Five Questions to Ask When Choosing Natural Stone Kitchen Countertops.

Timeless, Sustainable, Durable, Affordable Natural Stone

There are no better words for describing natural stone. But guests who see your natural stone walkways, patios, floors, walls, and countertops might be thinking otherwise. You can set them straight. Read Four Myths about Natural Stone (And Why They’re Not True), and let your visitors know that natural stone is timeless, sustainable, durable, and affordable. Afterwards, they’ll be sure to add one more word to the list — beautiful.

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall — Natural Stone Covers It All

Changing your home’s décor with each season is a great idea, but what’s the best way to do that? By highlighting the beautiful colors that occur naturally in natural stone.

If your home already features natural stone, such as in stone floors, countertops, or walls, draw out the existing colors with seasonal fabrics and accent pieces. If you’re planning to remodel or build, choose natural stone. You’ll find colors — and colors within colors — that make it easy to transition your home from season to season.

Autumn and winter’s textures and hues are waiting for you! Start here: How to Use Natural Stone to Prepare Your Home for Autumn and Winter.

Natural Stone Countertops — Mix It Up!

Creating a perfectly uniform look throughout your kitchen or bathroom might land you a spot in a remodeling showcase feature, but it might not really express who you are. If you want something unique, if you want to express yourself, then mix it up!

Imagine topping your kitchen island with a stunning granite, then choosing another natural stone accent color or texture for around the stove or sink. Even granite finishes can vary for dramatic effect.

By choosing strategically placed natural stones of varying colors, patterns, and textures, you can add character to your building project, designed to show your spark, personality, and pizzazz.

Get started by reading Granite Kitchen Islands.

Accent with Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tile masterpieces emerge when you place various colored tiles together to form patterns or pictures. Inside a home, we associate mosaic tile with backsplashes, surrounds, and countertops. But what about a bold, creative, decorative element, like waves of blue tile behind the mirror in your bathroom? Think eye-catching, refreshing, and surprising. Outside, we might find mosaic tile walkways, patios, and table tops. But what about covering your cement planters and dividing walls with mosaic tile to create a unique accent? For your next decorative expression project, consider mosaic tiles. Let the photos and information at Top Uses for Mosaic Tiles Around the House inspire you! You’ll find no shortage of ideas here!

What’s Beneath Your Feet?

Polished or porous, multicolors or just one, perfectly cut tiles or irregular shapes. The floor beneath your feet serves more than just allowing you to get from point A to point B. The natural stone floor you choose represents your style and character, too.

Start narrowing your choices with Your Guide to Stone Flooring. This quick-read covers some of the characteristics of granite, limestone, marble, slate, travertine, and stone tiles, so when your friends ask what type of flooring you chose, you can answer confidently about what’s beneath your feet.

Build Well-being into Your Living Spaces with Natural Stone

It’s a given. Nature nurtures. We’re biological beings, so it’s healthy to surround ourselves with green plants, natural stones, trickling water, and abundant sunshine — the soothing sights and sounds of nature.

Where is your oasis of well-being? Chopping your favorite aromatic herbs on your natural stone kitchen countertops? Strolling through your gardens, patio, and walkways? No matter how simple or extensive, natural stone can be the bedrock of your oasis — as you enter your home after work or step outside at the end of a long day.

Start planning your natural oasis by reading Use Natural Stone in Living and Work Spaces to Increase Well-Being. Make it your first step toward surrounding yourself with all things good and natural.

Finding both Beauty and the Beast in Your Natural Stone

Natural stone adds beauty to any home — undeniably. But the stone you choose has work to do, too. Backsplashes, mudroom floors, kitchen countertops, bathroom surrounds! Each serves a purpose in addition to making your home beautiful. You want both — beauty and beast-like toughness.

To start, consult this list of natural stones and where they work best. Then, read Choosing and Using Stone Surfaces to learn what makes each type of stone unique.

Marble: backsplashes, floors, pastry surfaces, tub surrounds, vanity tops

Granite: kitchen countertops, pastry surfaces, fireplace surrounds

Limestone: bathroom surfaces, kitchen floors, entryways

Onyx: bathtub surrounds, shower tiles, vanity tops

Slate: floors, kitchen countertops T

Travertine: bathtub surrounds, countertops, shower tiles, floors

Sandstone: bathtub surrounds, shower tiles and walls, kitchen floors

Soapstone: kitchen countertops, vanity tops, sinks, fireplace surrounds

Using Natural Stone Helps Enhance Environmental Quality — Inside and Out

Want to do your part to improve the environment? Start by incorporating natural stone into your building projects. The original green building material, natural stone is now harvested by using less energy and water and by producing less solid waste residue and CO2 emissions – an environmental win for all of us.

Inside your home, you can replace man-made products (and their petroleum-based resins) with natural stone – a healthier alternative for countertops, floors, and even walls. You’ll feel good about bringing nature right into your own home.

To learn about the positive attributes of natural stone, watch this 6-minute video on the sustainability of natural stone.

What’s the Best Finish for the Stone You’ve Chosen?

You’ve narrowed down the types of natural stones you love best for each particular project. Now, what are your choices of finishes? Not every finish — polished, honed, brushed, leathered, flamed, bush hammered, tumbled, sandblasted, cleft face, river washing, plus others — applies to each particular type of stone. Which surface is best for how the stone will be used? And which will still portray your style?

Short of creating a spreadsheet, you can find valuable information in the blog post Natural Stone FAQ – Types of Stone Finishes. It offers the details you need to start – and possibly finish – your natural stone projects.

Learning to Live Together (or Cleaning and Caring for Your Natural Stone)

You’ve spent a ton of time, money, and energy building or remodeling your indoor or outdoor living area — and your family loves your new natural stone walkways, countertops, and floors!

Now it’s time to Get to Know Your Stone. Learning to live with the natural stone you’ve installed will go more smoothly if you’re armed with information on how to protect and maintain the stone.

Your stone supplier probably provided some tips on care, but Get to Know Your Stone offers a quick-reference laundry list of which cleaning products to use on what types of stains, like ink, coffee, and even bird droppings. The goal? To preserve both the beauty of your natural stone and your relationship for many years to come.

Natural Stone Countertops – Popular Again

The world’s oldest structures date back nearly 5, 000 years and are built from stone, of course. Later, commercial and industrial structures used stone inside and out. Then, modern homes and buildings relied on man-made materials and used very little, if any, natural stone inside. But now, natural stone has come home again.

Why? Because the kitchen, and specifically the countertops, are the focal point for most families both at the beginning and the end of each day. Whether you’re cooking a full breakfast or supper, making coffee, filling your water bottle, or grabbing your bags before rushing out the door, most likely there’s a kitchen countertop involved. Why not choose the look you’ll love to see every day?

Here’s an interesting two-minute video on how travel, technology, and tastes influenced why more and more people are choosing natural countertops for their kitchens.

Reconnect with Nature – Inside Your Home

How can you experience the peace and beauty of nature when you can’t be outside? By creating biophilic designs and spaces within your home through building practices thought to improve human health and well-being. Imagine seeing and feeling the textures and colors of a natural environment when you step inside your home. Imagine a beautiful blend of wood and stone in the floors, walls, or ceilings – in rustic to polished design styles. You, in an outside world even when you’re not.

For photos and inspiration, visit this Houzz article (Healthy Home: Wood and Stone Are Naturals in Home Design) for tips on building stone and wood into your living areas.

Colorful Granite

White, black, brown, beige, and the less common blue, burgundy, gray, green, red, and yellow.

Granite’s solid color palette includes stalwart choices that will coordinate with any color scheme, from classic to country. Want to see your options?

Start here for lots of photos and articles on white, dark, and neutral granite colors, plus a sidebar titled “Kitchen Countertops in Depth,” with links to a buying guide, ideas, styles, trends, and how-tos. And because we love pics, here are more (106 to be exact!).