Durable, one-of-a-kind choices usher in a new Stone Age.
It demands attention. It’s extremely durable and water-resistant. The unique patterns in each slab guarantee that no two pieces are exactly alike.
A growing trend toward eco-friendly choices and natural materials in 2017 has catapulted stone furniture onto the hospitality industry’s radar. Its sustainability, serenity, beauty, and durability are setting the stage for a new Stone Age that allows hoteliers to pamper guests with one-of-a-kind pieces that blend a peaceful connection to nature with the lap of luxury.
That’s not to say today’s stone furniture is reminiscent of Fred and Wilma’s bedroom set. Stunning bluestone dining sets, elegant marble-topped coffee tables, and gorgeous granite bars are popping up in elegant spreads everywhere from Hamptons beach houses to the homes of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez. The durability of stone furniture – a recent Fox News article on interior design noted, “Given its lifespan, stone furniture is a lifetime investment” – makes it perfect for the high-traffic rooms at busy hotels. Depending upon whether it is used inside or outside, it demands little or no maintenance – a nice bonus for hotel budgets often tapped for pricey repairs or replacements on furniture made from less hardy materials. In fact, most interior designers insist that wear and tear actually enhances stone’s natural beauty.
The one-of-a-kind quality of stone makes it perfect for the custom furniture choices prevalent in the hotel industry. Custom hotel furniture manufacturers are using stones like marble, granite, travertine, slate, and concrete to design showcase pieces that create the unique ambience boutique and premier properties desire for their clientele, as well as memorably beautiful but hardy sets crafted to the exact specifications of guest rooms. The natural beauty of stone allows it to fit any design style, from traditional luxury properties to trendy modern boutiques to rustic mountain resorts.
That doesn’t mean that every stone is created equal. With many variations in color, pattern, strength, and texture, different stones are best for different projects. Which type of stone is best for your hotel’s furniture needs? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular materials.
- Marble – Long synonymous with luxury and elegance, marble has shaped monuments and works of art since the beginning of recorded history. While it never seems to go out of style and adds instant sophistication to any furniture project, it is porous and vulnerable to scratching and staining. Regular sealing and special care is required to make sure marble retains its natural beauty.
- Granite - The reigning king of the countertop industry until it was surpassed by quartz in 2014, granite boasts a unique speckled and glossy look that dresses up countless kitchens and bathrooms. Its varied colors and patterns enable it to fit almost any décor. It is very durable and extremely hard to scratch, but chipping or cracking can occur if it is struck with a hard object. It is also extremely resistant to heat. While sealed granite is easy to clean, it does need to be resealed from time to time to prevent staining. It is also heavy, and extra structural support could be needed to support large slabs. Besides countertops, granite is a great choice for furniture pieces that are frequently exposed to drinks or food items, including dining tables, bar tops, and islands.
- Quartz – Quartz is an “engineered stone,” meaning it’s manufactured from chunks of stone mixed with resins and coloring. It is nearly impenetrable, and its resistance to chips and scratches, as well as its ability to avoid damage from stains and acidic foods without sealing, quickly pushed it past granite as the most popular choice for countertops. Many consumers also appreciate that quartz is the greenest choice – since it is made from waste stone it doesn’t require mining. In the past, some complained that the patterns on quartz looked too regular to resemble natural stone. But recently, manufacturers have figured out how to create irregular variations that closely mimic granite and marble.
- Concrete – No longer relegated to sidewalks and driveways, the use of concrete in countertops and furniture has soared in recent years thanks to the appeal of its industrial but rustic appearance and how easy it is to customize. Concrete can be transformed into any shape and practically any color, and it can even be embedded with decorative elements such as recycled glass or tiles. While it is durable and resistant to heat and scratches, concrete is also very porous and must be sealed regularly to prevent staining. Concrete is also susceptible to hairline cracking, although many designers chalk up those imperfections to part of its natural sheen.
- Travertine – Another popular choice for countertops, flooring, walls, showers and furniture, travertine is available in four natural-looking finishes: honed, or matte; polished, which looks like marble; and tumbled and brushed, which both have a textured finish. It can be marked by acidic liquids like vinegar or lemon juice, but proper sealing should prevent these materials from causing damage.
- Slate – Revered for its rugged surfaces and beautiful rainbow of colors, slate is a popular choice for roofing, flooring, and wall cladding. It can cost more than other options, often because its weight makes it pricey to ship. While slate can chip, its extreme durability and waterproof qualities make it ideal for furniture that’s regularly exposed to water, such as dining tables or patio sets.
- Porcelain – First made in China during the Tang dynasty, porcelain is created by mixing clay with materials such as glass, feldspar, or granite. Once it’s been fired and glazed, porcelain is a strong material with a low absorption rate, meaning it’s very resistant to etching and stains. Porcelain tiles are an incredibly popular flooring choice because of their ability to withstand heavy foot traffic, water, and bacteria.
Any of these beautiful materials can add the perfect, long-lasting touch to any hotel property, so it’s definitely time to welcome back the Stone Age in your next project.