Guide to the Home’s Hottest Natural Stone Colors for 2023

Guide to the Home’s Hottest Natural Stone Colors for 2023

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The start of a new year is the ideal time to gather inspiration for those exciting outdoor living spaces and home exterior upgrades. In recent years, homeowners have claimed more outdoor space than ever before, transforming neglected square footage into thriving year-round outdoor spaces for entertaining and dining. Many homeowners also boosted their curb appeal and property value with easy exterior stone siding. But let us not forget those interior updates as well, where stone fireplaces and feature walls can make all the difference in your home’s wow factor. Make a resolution to update your home, inside and out, in 2023 with Instone’s hottest stone colors and styles on the market.

So what’s trending in stone colors and style? To find out, we spoke with Justin Alicandro, Instone’s VP of natural stone products, who shared the most popular stones from the Midwest to the East Coast.

Blues and Grays Dominate

Beautiful blue and gray tones and tints have been extremely popular along the East Coast for years. The demand has almost outpaced the availability, which is why Alicandro brought Aura’s Blue Mist Granite to Instone. It quickly became a best-selling product. The timeless elegance of the bluestone wash mixed with the grainy grays of granite makes this stone pleasing to the eye. The blue tones pair nicely with homes with a cooler color palette. Alicandro says the blue and gray colors will continue to dominate along the East Coast for years to come.

Looking to go with blues and grays for your home’s exterior siding or outdoor renovation project? Here are some complementary stone veneer colors, styles and brands available through Instone:

Make Way for the Buffs

Look out blues, there’s a new color in town! Alicandro says buff tones are gaining traction as a popular look for landscaping, with Aura’s Phoenician Buff leading the charge. 

This stone features pale speckles and veins of gray and pink mixed with beige-buff coloring to create beautiful texture and movement with a gentle warmth.

Another buff stone is Aura’s Oxford Buff Sandstone, which Alicandro says is relatively new, but quickly gaining popularity. “It’s really catching the eye of homeowners,” he says. The taupe beige sandstone is speckled with darker tones of black and brown for a classic neutral that will go with warm color palettes.

When planning your project in buff tones, here are some complementary colors, styles and brands available at Instone:

Lighter Colors Are In

Lighten up! At least in your backyard space. That’s what Alicandro says is trending at the moment. “I see the lighter colors coming on strong. We have some travertines that are ideal for these palettes.”

Silver Travertine has become in high-demand for pool stone, says Alicandro. “It’s popular because it’s light, and doesn’t get as hot in the summer, so people won’t burn their feet on it.”

As for granites in lighter colors, Alicandro recommends Silver Ridge Granite. “This is really a nice, light granite with a lot of character and movement throughout. It’s very unique,” he says, adding that the product is exclusive to Instone and recommends placing orders this winter for those spring and summer patio and pool projects.

Alicandro says Gray Granite is in the same color range as Silver Ridge but without the movement. “This is a more formal-looking, light-colored granite.” Here are some complementary pairings for a light- color project palette:

Home Improvement Projects

Just fell in love with a stone color and style but not sure how to begin planning your new project? Check out our blog on creating a backyard oasis with natural stone for a little help. Some projects to consider:

  • Curb appeal – siding, entryways, driveways, walkways, steps, pavers, curbing, walls
  • Interior – fireplace surrounds, feature walls, bars, kitchen islands
  • Backyard entertainment – patios, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens
  • Water elements – pools, hot tubs, fountains

This winter, spend some time indoors planning your next home project thanks to a little inspiration from Justin and our wide variety of the hottest stone colors and styles of 2023.

Fill out the form below for access to our 2023 Color Guide!

We want to know your favorite stone color combination! Vote for one of the combos above in the comments below.

Warm Up The Indoors With Cultured Stone Manufactured Stone Veneer

Warm Up The Indoors With Cultured Stone Manufactured Stone Veneer

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Winter is coming. With the chilly temperatures driving us indoors more, wouldn’t it be nice to visually warm up your home so you can feel extra cozy in the months ahead? Cultured Stone is a manufactured stone veneer (MSV) product that looks like natural stone at a fraction of the price and with a lighter weight for easier and faster installation.

Not only is Cultured Stone the longest running MSV maker on the market, they are leading innovators when it comes to their production process and selection of design styles.

“A big part of their success is their constant innovation of colors and textures,” says Tim Wood, Stone Division Manager at Best Block Company. “And they do a very good job with consistency. If you want to put an addition on your home that was built 10 years ago and you want to use the same stone, chances are very good it will match.”

Cultured Stone Has More Varieties of Colors and Textures Than Any Other Stone Product

For Wood, the key selling point of Cultured Stone is that they always have something new to offer. “They really drive the industry forward as far as their colors. When they come out with a new color, everybody else scrambles to make something similar,” he says. “Their whole design team really keeps up on trends for shapes and textures and colors, which no other company does. As a supplier, we really like that because having something new gives us an opportunity to get out in the market and update people.”

Take a look for yourself at some of the options of Cultured Stone:

Cultured Stone Is Readily Available

Like many products during the pandemic, supply chain issues slowed availability and extended lead times. But Wood says that these days everything is pretty much back to normal. 

“Cultured Stone inventory levels are good, freight availability is good,” he says. “We’re able to get Cultured Stone within a few days of lead time.”

The trusted name in manufactured stone veneer is back and better than ever and we just had to show our appreciation.

Cultured Stone is Eco-friendly

When it comes to being environmentally aware about products for a home, natural stone just sounds like it would be an obvious choice. However, a big part of going down a more environmentally-friendly path is looking at how products are made and sourced. Upon closer inspection, you’ll find that natural stone is a finite resource that is extracted from the earth, resulting in damage to our landscapes during acquisition and damage to the environment in processing the raw materials.

It also requires more energy to transport because of its weight.

With manufactured Cultured Stone veneer products, architects, builders, and homeowners can reduce their energy and sourcing footprint without compromising strength, durability or aesthetics. Cultured Stone products contain an average of 58% pre-consumer recycled content. The company also uses low-emitting materials and manufacturing processes in the production of its products, including a closed-loop system for water consumption.

Unlike much heavier natural stone, manufactured stone may not require concrete footings for support. Cultured Stone products can weigh as little as eight to 12 pounds per square foot.

Because of its sustainable manufacturing footprint, architects and builders using Cultured Stone can earn LEED® credits for indoor air quality and recycled content.

As a dealer, Wood says he always tries to mention the environmental aspect. “We try to throw it out there to our builders and their clients. It’s another added bonus. And homeowners can mention at their dinner parties that their house uses green products. It’s kind of a cool thing to be able to say.”

Uses for Interior Design With Cultured Stone 

Fireplace surrounds: If your fireplace is out of date with tired brick or tile, give it a natural stacked stone look without building a whole new fireplace.

Accent feature wall: Warm up a plain space with the natural charm of stone. The rich colors and textures add interest and create a cozy environment.

Home office Zoom wall: Make your office setting reflect your personality with the color and texture of natural stone, delivering the perfect background wall for your Zoom meetings.

Kitchen backsplash: You look at your kitchen backsplash every day when you make meals. Make it aesthetically pleasing with the look of natural stone in a color and texture that speaks to you.

Wine cellar: Create some old-world character in a room where slowing down and enjoying a good glass wine means living the good life.

Cultured Stone Home Exterior Ideas 

If you’re planning your summer project ahead of time during the winter months (which we highly recommend), consider Cultured Stone for the following areas:

  • Outdoor kitchens
  • Outdoor fireplace surrounds
  • Entryways
  • Posts, pillars and lampposts
  • Wainscot siding

Cultured Stone Is Easy to Maintain

One of the biggest tests of Cultured Stone versus natural stone is durability. Yes, it’s true, natural stone is extremely durable because it comes from the earth and can withstand extreme conditions for exterior use. But it turns out that Cultured Stone is no slouch in the durability department either, especially for interior use. The only caution is not to chip it because the color is only on the surface and not all the way through the cement interior. However, even if you accidentally bump something against it hard enough to chip it, you can check with your dealer to assess the damage. They have tint kits for an easy fix.

Keeping it clean is simple and easy. For interior use, you only need to do occasional dusting as you would any surface. If it really needs a clean, such as on exterior uses, a mild detergent with some water and a stiff bristle brush is all you need. Be sure to rinse thoroughly to get off any soap residue.

You should never use chemicals or power washing on Cultured Stone since the color is on the surface; it may take the color off. Sealants are also not needed.

The look of natural stone can bring a little bit of Mother Nature’s beauty into your home, add interest and aesthetic appeal, and make your home feel more warm and inviting as you snuggle in for the winter months ahead.


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Creating a Decorative Fireplace With Stone Veneer This Holiday Season

Creating a Decorative Fireplace With Stone Veneer This Holiday Season

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‘Tis the season when your home becomes the focal point for holiday gatherings. There isn’t a better centerpiece than your fireplace for making memories with family and friends. But is your fireplace looking a little drab? Give it a makeover with stone veneers.

The look of a natural stacked-stone fireplace adds charm to any space, and it’s easy to do. Thin stone veneers can be adhered around an existing fireplace made of brick or tile. The industry term is a “fireplace surround,” because that’s exactly what it does to give your fireplace a new look.

 

Installing a Thin Stone Veneer Fireplace Surround

Like the name sounds, a fireplace surround includes all the elements surrounding the firebox itself, which includes the area inserted into the wall where the fire lit. Thin stone veneers can be installed around the firebox and up to the mantel area or all the way up the ceiling to give the look of a natural stone chimney.

Cultured Stone Echo Ridge Country Ledgestone

Thin stone veneers are natural or manufactured stones usually about 1-2” thick that can be attached over an existing brick fireplace. Because thin veneers are lighter in weight, they are faster and easier to install than building a new stone fireplace, saving you time and labor costs. Not to mention not having to take on a messy demo project in your home before the holidays. Not only will you achieve the look of a full stone fireplace, you’ll have the same durability and low-maintenance care.

If you’re handy around the house, you could DIY your fireplace surround. Puzzle lovers will enjoy the process of putting the pieces together in place. If you’re unsure of your DIY skills or you’re in a time crunch to get it done before a holiday party, it will be easier and faster to contract a professional mason or contractor.

Stone Veneers for Your Fireplace Surround Makeover

Dress Up Your Stone Fireplace for the Holidays

Once you have your new stone veneer fireplace done, you’ll want to dress it up with some holiday cheer.

Cultured Stone® Chardonnay Dressed Fieldstone

Start With Greenery

A big staple for your fireplace decorating is the lush greenery. Place garland across the mantel and perhaps drape down the sides of the firebox area (be sure to keep all décor from getting too close to the fire and heat.). Within the garland, the possibilities are endless to nestle fairy lights, figurines, ornaments, fruit such as cranberries, flowers such as poinsettias, pinecones and more. Perhaps, hide an Elf or two. 

Pangaea® New England Quarry Ledgestone

Color Coordinate

Pick a color theme and coordinate your holiday décor. It could be traditional Christmas colors of red and green, more frosted wintery shades of blue, white and silver or even something offbeat such as pink. If you put up a Christmas tree, you can match your fireplace décor with your tree décor by using bauble, ornament, ribbons and candles in matching colors.

Interloc New England

Match Your Décor Style

Is your style ultra modern, vintage/retro or farmhouse? Make your holiday décor match your design style in your home, or give it a style all its own. Modern style may use sleek ornaments, metallics and high-contrasting colors, while farmhouse leans to soft neutrals or all-white with black trim. Mid-century modern has become very popular, with more of this type of décor hitting the market in playful colors of pink, teal and orange.

Once the stone veneer is set and garland is hung, all of us at Instone wish you a joyful season by the fire with loved ones. 

Ready to dress up your fireplace with stone veneer? Make your wish list and contact us for samples of Pangaea, Cultured Stone and Dutch Quality stone veneers. 

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3 Reasons to Use Cultured Stone® on Your Project 

3 Reasons to Use Cultured Stone® on Your Project 

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When selecting a stone veneer for your interior and exterior designs, the question often arises: natural or manufactured stone veneer? There are benefits to both, but the biggest considerations are: how does it look and how much will it cost?

What is Manufactured Stone Veneer?.

Manufactured stone veneer, also known as MSV, is a lightweight building material used as a decorative wall covering for exterior or interior surfaces. Produced by using a concrete mixture that’s poured into a mold and colored using mineral pigments – its porous and light weight properties make it easy to cut and handle, creating compared to natural stone.

Manufactured stone veneer originated in 1962 by a pair of brothers in Vallejo, California. They developed a concrete mixture to cast in flexible molds that were created from natural stone to give it a realistic size and texture. They began distributing this stone into the market under the brand name Cultured Stone®. Today, Cultured Stone remains the industry-leading brand offering premium manufactured stone veneer (MSV) products.  

How is Manufactured Stone Veneer Used?

Manufactured stone veneer as a decorative architectural element that can be used on a variety of project applications. It is applied to the wall using lath, scratch coat, mortar, and grout. Manufactured stone veneer is lightweight, does not require ties or footings, and offers panelized systems for easy installation. This makes it a great alternative to natural stone.

The varied shapes, sizes, colors and textures of manufactured stone veneer provide design versatility that’s perfect for creating an inviting space. Range of applications include

  • Interiors
  • Exteriors
  • Outdoor Living
  • Commercial
  • Multi-family
  • Signage

3 Reasons Cultured Stone® Is A Great Choice

For homeowners, installers and dealers, there are three solid reasons to choose Cultured Stone MSV over a natural stone.

1. Manufactured Stone Veneer Can Save Homeowners Money

For homeowners choosing Cultured Stone, one of the biggest benefits is cost savings. Since the stone is made from cement and not quarried, it’s less expensive to produce compared to natural stone, and the savings are passed on to the consumer. However, not all manufactured stone looks natural. Cultured Stone has created an intricate process to create the most realistic-looking stone product on the market and offer a versatile range of styles.

 A manufactured stone veneer product can cost as much as 50% less than natural full bed depth stone. Another cost saving comes in the form of labor. Read on about the installation process for Cultured Stone and how its light weight features means faster install times and lower labor costs

2. Manufactured Stone from Cultured Stone® Looks Like the Real Deal

Cultured Stone is made from a mold of actual natural stone so it has the shape and texture of a quarried real stone. Before cement is poured into the molds, each stone and brick is literally hand painted piece-by-piece by highly-trained artisans. Using only the highest quality natural mineral oxides, the stone’s surface is infused with rich, authentic tones, offering an unmatched depth and variation in color.

This attention to detail gives consumers an authentic look of natural stone. It also means that Cultured Stone provides a wide range of finishes and styles that are consistent in shape, color, and availability.

According to Joel Ginsberg, branch manager at Hearth & Home Technologies, which sells manufactured stone veneer for interior projects, consistency in color is one of the biggest selling points of Cultured Stone. “If you ever need to replace it or add more to your project down the road, it will be the same color you bought previously. With natural stone, you’ll get whatever color is cut out of the mountain, which may be different from another piece cut somewhere else or at another time.”

The range of offerings with Cultured Stone includes:

  •  20+ textures 
  •  100+ colors 
  •  Accent products 
  •  Capstones 
  •  Hearthstones

Think you can tell the difference between natural stone and manufactured stone? Watch our recent episode of “In Building Design” to see how hard that can be:

3. Manufactured Stone Veneer Is Easier and Faster to Install Than Natural Stone

If you’ve ever held a piece of natural stone in one hand and manufactured stone in the other, the first thing you may notice is the difference in weight. Cultured Stone’s products are made of lightweight aggregate materials and are approximately one-quarter the weight of natural stone.

For installers, this means it’s easier—and therefore faster—to install. There isn’t as much worry or challenge with the stone sliding down the wall as you install it, so your project can be completed more efficiently in less time. Cultured Stone is available in a variety of stone types, including individual pieces and modular, panelized profiles. While panelized profiles offer a quicker installation, individual stone profiles allow for more customization in application and grout technique that can enhance overall design.

 Some of the benefits of installing Cultured Stone include:

  • No ties or footings required 
  • Adheres to any structurally sound surface
  • Simple installation process: lath > scratch coat > mortar and grout 
  • Panelized systems are available 

How to Install Manufactured Stone Veneer

See our series of videos on the installation process for Cultured Stone: