Decorating: 10 Ways to Harness the Beauty of Marble
From glorious splashbacks to beautiful bath surrounds, delicately veined marble adds wow no matter what
There’s no denying the beauty fine materials bring to this monolithic kitchen, but extra wow comes from the way the marble has been used. It has been ‘bookmatched’, meaning a single block is sliced into sheets, which are laid side by side so the adjoining surfaces mirror each other, like an open book.
Here, slabs of statuary marble have been chosen for their bright white background and thicker dark grey veining, contrasting elegantly with the lacquered base cabinet.
Using marble on the vertical surfaces rather than the more abused horizontal ones makes perfect, practical sense in this bathroom. Plain, white floor tiles, a wide-rimmed porcelain basin and a double-ended bath provide the ideal foundations for adding great swathes of beautiful grey and white marble on the walls and bath surround. It’s a neutral yet rich palette, with accents of shiny steel and mirror, that should withstand any passing fashion fads.
The subtle veining and neutral shades of Carrara marble make it the perfect stone for kitchens of every style – from traditional to on-trend designs like this one, which mixes dark grey paint with rough-hewn wood.
Carrara marble typically has a greyish-white background with thin, feathery grey veining, and is subdivided into different Carraras, depending on the amount of whiteness.
For a warmer-coloured marble, try Calacatta, which has a white/beige background and veining in shades including beige, light grey and green-grey.
Do take extra care with all marble surfaces, as they can easily be stained by acids, such as red wine and lemon juice.
Read about the pros and cons of marble and other worktop surfaces
Marble tiles are luxurious for the bathroom and look fresh and up to date when used to clad simple, fuss-free outlines. To prevent the stone looking too ornate, pair with simple fittings and plain colours, such as this matt charcoal, which draws out the natural patterns in this Carrara marble to striking effect.
Remember to remove any excess water from marble immediately, and be aware that hard water can damage it more readily, so a little extra vigilance will be required.
The delicate shades of natural marble really do add a wow factor to kitchens, but don’t automatically plump for a marble worktop, as marble floors can inject another layer of subtle pattern. Choose marble with a honed finish, which has a slightly velvety, matt feel and is more resistant to scratches and scuffs – particularly useful in a high-traffic area such as a kitchen – and won’t be as slippery underfoot as polished stone.
If you thought marble fireplaces were most at home in grand period rooms, take a look at this eclectically furnished dining space and you might change your mind. The crisp white marble surround offers the perfect highlight to the very contemporary charcoal mantelpiece. Finish off with a mix of retro and vintage chairs, a sturdy circular table and silvery wood floorboards and you’ve successfully breathed new life into a stunning old master.
If you don’t have the budget to fit marble worktops in your main kitchen, why not save this little touch of luxury for a smaller utility room or walk-in larder? This Carrara marble top contrasts magnificently with the warm copper sink and brass taps, and ticks all the right boxes when it comes to a stylish, hardworking hub.
Marble worktops are, naturally, not as robust or scratch-resistant as granite or composite ones, so why not use it in one area of the kitchen rather than all over? Topping off an island with a fine-veined marble and using a different material elsewhere will help to create an eyecatching contrast and cut down on any potential scratches and scuffs in the main cooking and preparation zones. The island can still be put to good use (as well as look fabulous) for tasks such as rolling out pastry, which benefits from a cold, hard surface.
Don’t restrict marble to the kitchen and bathroom – this natural beauty can work wonders throughout the home. Cladding a chimney breast in a floor-to-ceiling slab looks striking, and here balances effortlessly with the monochrome palette and modern, angular furniture.
The cool colours and glossy finish are elegant rather than ostentatious, if flashy isn’t your thing, and create a pleasing neutral backdrop that could work harmoniously with a change of décor in the future.
If you’re concerned about keeping your marble in tiptop condition, particularly in a busy kitchen, why not play it safe with a marble splashback? Choose a tough material to take care of worktops that need to withstand a daily battering and install a sheet of grey-veined marble vertically at the back. Be sure to wipe off any splashes straight away, but there will be far fewer risks with your marble on the wall, and your star feature will be very much in the spotlight.
See more smart finishes for a stylish splashback
Have you used marble in your home? If not, where would you put it? Share your tips, thoughts and photos in the Comments below.