Interior Decorating

Back to Bedrock: Stone furniture fit for the modern age

A stone table and stone fire pit add just the right of Paleolithic glamour to this modern backyard.

A stone table and stone fire pit add just the right of Paleolithic glamour to this modern backyard.  (Copyright: 2015 Jeri Koegel)

It’s back to Bedrock for one of the latest trends in furniture.

Modern families are taking a cue from the Flintstones by incorporating stone couches, bars, benches and tables into their homes and yards across the country.

“Our stone pieces have sold equally well off our Hamptons’ showroom floors as they have online where we recently took a web order from a client in Kansas,” says Michael Hofstadter, regional manager at Mecox Gardens.

But before you go out shopping for boulder beds, here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to shelling out for rocks.

What Stone Brings to the Table

Dramatic stone slabs demands attention.

“My clients love a focal point piece that doubles as a conversation starter,” says New Jersey based designer Diane Romanowski who often works with stone furniture. She notes that it’s often used in high traffic rooms like entryways or dining areas where it can be seen on a daily basis-- and its durability is appreciated. One piece can go a long way in terms of leaving an impression—a good thing, considering a bluestone chair can set you back $9,000.  

Given its lifespan, stone furniture is a lifetime investment. Plastic and wood patio furniture lasts 20 years if you’re lucky. But a bluestone table can be around as long as Stonehenge. While marble and granite are more attainable luxuries, bluestone is the Rolls Royce of rocks.

“Bluestone—an exceptionally hard limestone—has a low water absorption so it’s an ideal dining surface,” says Coco Peterson, director of merchandise at DEQOR. Peterson also touts it for being on trend with 2016’s Pantone colors, Rose Quartz and Serenity (cloud blue).

Stone is also feng shui friendly. “Furniture made of stone, the Earth element, helps to ground us and provide us with stability,” says Maureen K. Calamia, a feng shui consultant. Orange And Orange County-based designer Anna Shiwlall uses stone pieces for her clients who desire a rustic element that compliments natural landscaping better than mass market materials like wicker or aluminum.

Go for Broke, Faux and Everywhere in Between

The real beauty of stone furniture is that no two pieces are identical. The New York-based stone mason who recently built a bluestone dining table for Jennifer Lopez credits the colorful minerals for much of the material’s desirability. Depending on its composition, one piece can contain more than a dozen different naturally occurring colors ranging from turquoise to olive, slate and gold. A solid bluestone table such as this oval 14-footer from Mecox costs $27,000, a cocktail table with a bluestone top such as this piece from DEQOR is only $720.

Other, and often more affordable, stone materials showing up in furniture include marble, granite, travertine, slate and even concrete. Paulo Bacchi, CEO of Artefacto, is a fan of this $349 concrete bar stool because of its raw and minimalistic look. “Concrete is a common and popular trend here,” says the Miami-based Bacchi who sees it everywhere from edgy converted warehouses to high-end luxury residential spaces.

For those who want the look but don’t have the budget,  there are faux stone options. Tammie Leach, an interior designer in Ohio, uses an epoxy painting application called Aurastone to get a 3-D stone look for surfaces. Tal McAbian of Casa Medici Designs uses polyurethane resin to mimic stone in his designs. It’s more affordable and easier to mold than stone, plus it’s lightweight which makes it easier to install his signature tubs.

Wear & Tear and Care

Stone furniture is either no-maintenance or low maintenance, depending on the material and whether the piece is used inside or outside.

Dawn Carroll is a leading stone specialist and designer at Cumar Marble and Granite. She thinks stone actually looks better with more wear and tear. “Having just been in Italy, I fell in love with the marble streets and sidewalks of Verona,” says Carroll.

“Millions of footsteps pound and torture that stone daily, but the abuse creates the exquisite finish.”

When you’re stone is looking a little rough, Carroll recommends using neutral stone cleansers instead of lemon-based soaps which will etch the surface. But you can also easily seal your stone, which makes it more stain-resistant, to maintain the piece’s original beauty.

Katie Jackson is a travel writer. When she's not working, she's chasing after a Leonberger named Zeus.