Natural Stone Uses Outside The Ordinary

The most common uses of natural stone are kitchen and bathroom countertops, but these natural works of art can be used in many other places as well to achieve a beautiful finished product. In any metropolitan area, you have likely encountered stone entryways, statue bases, outdoor benches and more. When visiting a church, you’ve likely seen natural stone basins, altars, and ornate fixtures. Perhaps you have visited a casino or hotel with a marble floor, or been to a friend’s home with an outdoor kitchen outfitted with granite. These are just some of the alternate uses for natural stone we have encountered. In this article, we will explore a variety of applications for natural stone outside of the kitchen and bathroom. I hope this gets your creative mind thinking about unique ways you could apply natural stone in your project. Those of us in the stone industry love a challenge!

Why Natural Stone is a Good Fit for These Applications

Natural stone is a beautiful alternative to hardwood, tile, and in some cases masonry. Granite and marble are both very durable, will stand up to the test of time as well as weather in outdoor applications. Natural stone is also a classic style that will last for years to come. When considering the cost, remember that that natural stone will hold up to both time and style. This may prove the cost over time to be equivalent or better than other traditional options.

The Most Common Uses Outside of Countertops

Marble or Granite Tables

You can find granite or marble tables at almost every furniture retailer for a variety of applications. From a modern, sleek dining room table, to coffee tables or outdoor furniture. In addition to purchasing a ready-made table, you can also have a table made with your chosen stone by a stone fabricator. This would allow you to customize your dimensions, base, material, pattern, and edge.

A few key features make this look unique and one of a kind:

  • Customized base from traditional legs, pedestal base, or decorative base utilizing other materials such as wood or metal.
  • The opportunity to bring additional materials into the design such as a decorative pedestal base made of natural stone combined with a glass tabletop.
  • Seating options for chairs or benches in a complimentary design or color to convey your desired design style
  • Waterfall edge table design allowing you to bookmatch the stone creating a unique piece of art for your table.
Outdoor Marble Table Chairs
Outdoor Marble Table & Chairs


Similar to a coffee table, but this is a full box or “cube” in natural stone. We see this in coffee tables or perhaps side tables. For this design, we would start with a wood box in the dimensions desired for the project. The natural stone covers the wood to create the cube. It is critical to be mindful of the pattern and edges that will connect to make the square or rectangle shape ensuring a final design that flows appropriately.

Granite Cube
Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Bar Tops

A granite bar top is not only durable it allows you to add pattern and color to your bar. This area of your home may be more relaxed than your kitchen and allow a little more freedom when it comes to choosing pizzaz over practical. Natural stone can stand up to glasses, bottles, cans, and more with little maintenance and will add a feeling of class to your home bar.

Marble may be a bit tricker for a bar top, as it is a more porous and softer stone. Marble is similar to a wood top, it needs to be treated a little more carefully than granite but still serves many purposes for people who appreciate marble’s natural characteristics.

Pictured here is an example of a dual height bar that completed for a customer, in Fantasy Brown Quartzite. This stone has great movement and flow, and a standout color palette that looks fabulous with the dark stained cabinets. The backsplash, rounded edges, and undermount sink complete the clean look. The dual height is interesting for a bar as it allows the bartender to be the mixologist and serve from their space, leaving a nice clean countertop for the guests to relax, enjoy a cocktail and be served.

Natural Stone Bar Counter Top


There are definite pros and cons to a natural stone floor. It can be strikingly beautiful, yet you may worry about the maintenance and durability. Natural stone flooring is something that can be in a residential or commercial setting. We will explore the benefits and drawbacks of a stone floor and some of the applications where we commonly see this type of floor.

Benefits of a stone floor include:

  • Durability – granite flooring typically outlasts other popular flooring materials that may scratch or weather more quickly.
  • Impenetrable – granite flooring creates a surface that’s practically impenetrable to liquids, protecting the subfloor. Marble is less resistant but still capable of many decades of great performance.
  • Hypoallergenic – a granite floor can reduce the amount of allergens present in your home when compared to other popular flooring options.
  • Style options – with a wide range of colors and patterns, you can customize the look of your flooring to fit with any design style.
Four Winns Casino Floor

Drawbacks to a stone floor include:

  • Slippery – especially when wet, a granite floor will be quite slippery. In a commercial setting, such as a foyer, it can be difficult to keep the floor dry, especially in rainy or snowy seasons.
  • Weight – a granite floor will be heavy, a square foot granite tile with a .75-inch depth weighs about 12.8 pounds. A slab measuring 1.25-inches deep weighs about 18 pounds. You will want to confirm your subfloor can handle the weight of a granite floor.

Common Installations of Natural Stone Flooring

  • Home foyer, bar area floor, powder room or bathroom
  • Hotel Lobby
  • Casino Flooring – Four Winns Casino Pictured (Stones: Light Crema Marfil, Absolute Black Granite, African Red Granite)

Indoor and Outdoor Fireplaces

There are many ways to customize your indoor fireplace and mantle using natural stone. The opportunities are endless and a quick Pinterest or Google search will have your head spinning. You will find endless inspiration and combinations of granite, marble, stacked stone, and wood to create your customized look.

Some of the most common designs include:

  • Utilizing granite or marble exclusively from floor to ceiling with a linear fireplace for a sleek, modern look.
  • Granite or Marble as the immediate fireplace surround with a wood border and mantle. This design may also include a granite or marble hearth.
  • A combination of natural stacked stone for the fireplace surround with a marble or granite hearth and a mantle utilizing wood or stone to match the hearth.
Black Natural Stone Fireplace

When it comes to outdoor fireplaces, two options come to mind, one being a free-standing chimney style fireplace which typically has a combination of brick, stacked stone, and marble or granite. The other would be a table fireplace style where your fire “pit” is in the center surrounded by marble or granite and sitting atop a marble or granite base. This is a customized and art worthy way of having a fire pit in your yard or on your patio. You can roast marshmallows for s’mores, warm up on a cold evening, and create an ambiance for entertaining. The benefit to designing your own outdoor fireplace rather than purchasing a ready-made one is the option to select the size perfect for your area, as well as the pattern and color complementing your design.

Outdoor Barbeques and Kitchens

Another quick Pinterest or Google search will return inspiration ranging from a simple granite surround to a built-in BBQ grill to an elaborate outdoor kitchen that would rival most indoor kitchens. Regardless of the climate you live in, a built-in grill with a granite surround is a great option. Granite is easy to maintain in this application, it is not affected by rain or snow, you are able to set your hot tools or trays directly on the granite, and it cleans up easily. It is extremely convenient to have your gas line run directly to your outdoor gas grille where you can utilize your grill as an extension of your kitchen.

Building on the outdoor barbeque there are variations which include an extended countertop for food prep or a bar area. This can then extend to full-blown outdoor kitchens made for entertaining.

Interesting concepts to create the outdoor kitchen of your dreams include:

  • An open pergola design for a formal feel, making your outdoor space a true extension of your home.
  • Adding a sink, dishwasher, and refrigerator so you can truly prep, cook, and clean outdoors.
  • A shelving area or cupboards to house serving ware.
  • An extended countertop area with stools or a separate table for outdoor dining.
  • Adding a TV in a covered space to catch the game or latest HGTV episode.
  • Utilizing a stepped design for your countertop so you can prep on the counter height level and serve at the bar height level.
  • Combining granite, natural stone, and wood for a custom look.
  • Adding a retractable awning for coverage from the hot sun or protection from the rain should it start to sprinkle during your gathering.
  • Adding retractable windows so you can close yourself in during gloomy days and still access your outdoor grill area, or open them up when entertaining giving guests space to lounge close to the grill.
Outdoor Stone Bar And Grill

Venturing Outside the Common

Conference Tables

A natural stone conference table or home office desk top not only looks sleek and professional but it is a very durable material that will stand up to the test of time and style changes. With a granite table, you don’t have to worry about water ring marks from hot or cold glasses on the table. You can take notes without worrying that your pen or pencil is going to leave etch marks in a softer wood tabletop. Granite especially is low maintenance, using a soft cloth and most cleaners you can keep the tabletop clean, shiny, and streak free.

In addition, with a natural stone table, you have the option of creating a custom size or shape to fit your conference area or desk perfectly. You could do rectangular, square, round, or even boat-shaped. You can add in power outlets for charging computers or plugging in the conference phone. You can integrate pop up plugs for a functional yet streamlined design. You can do metal legs, wood legs, natural stone legs. The opportunities for customization are definitely there when it comes to a natural stone conference table. And the look of the table can vary dramatically depending on the material you select and the individual slab(s) that are chosen for your project.

In our conference table pictured, the vertical walls of the melon slices are Dakota Mahogany Granite from Millbank South Dakota. The caps are Rojo Allicante Marble from Spain.

Great Lakes Granite Conference Table


Whether this is in your home, an office building, or a hotel, the foyer is the first impression of the space. The first few steps into the space set the tone for the rest of the experience in the home, office, or hotel. Selecting the material wisely and working with a skilled project manager to lay out the space and materials is key.

Granite is one of the hardest flooring materials you can use, it is extremely durable while providing a beautiful aesthetic. Marble is another foyer option, however similar to the issue with bar tops, the porous material can be difficult to maintain. Especially in a public space where you will have people entering the building from the outdoor elements of rain, snow, mud, etc. That is one thing to consider when determining the right element for your foyer entryway.

With natural stone, you can combine colors, materials, and patterns to create about any look you like. Water jet work with an inlay with their logo

The Balmoral Lobby

Traditionally Commercial Applications

Although these applications may be more common in a commercial setting, the principles would apply regardless of the application. When it comes to the use of natural stone, if you can imagine it, it can likely be done. We have been challenged with some fantastically unique projects over time. We’ve included photos and examples of just a few of these instances. If you are curious about doing a unique project with natural stone, just ask! A new challenge is always seen as a fun and exciting opportunity.

Statue Bases

Statue bases are similar to the cubes discussed above. For an indoor application we would start with a wood box just like the cube. For an outdoor application, we start with a masonry box that is then covered in natural stone.

Unique Artistic Applications

Outside of the “Big House” (University of Michigan Football Stadium) in Ann Arbor, MI the Maize M sits to mark the entrance to the stadium. This Maize M is made of Blue Pearl granite which comes from Norway.

UofM Stone Logo

At 30,000 feet

For a truly unique project, we have even manufactured granite panels for a jet! Obviously this was an aerodynamic engineering feat where we milled the panels down very think and then laminated them onto a lightweight backing for installation inside the jet. Like I said, if you can imagine it, a stone fabricator may be up for the challenge.