This is the first question to ask yourself before choosing marble for your kitchen, according to Nate Berkus

Color isn't the most important consideration, Nate says. Instead, pay attention to this key detail when picking a material for your kitchen countertops

(Image credit: Nate Home; Kelly Marshall / Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent)

Marble kitchen countertops are luxurious and chic, and can quickly take any kitchen to the next level. But selecting the right type of marble for your space can prove quite the challenge. With so many colors, finishes, and types of veining on the market, you're not alone if you're not sure where to turn first.

Color is often our first consideration when exploring marble kitchen ideas, as a bold-hued marble countertop can make quite a statement. But according to famed interior designer Nate Berkus, it's best to take a step back and deliberate a different marble feature first: its 'busyness.'

In a recent video posted to Instagram, Nate shares that the energy, or liveliness, of the marble you select for your space, often has the biggest impact on the kitchen's look and feel. This is how he recommends picking the best countertops for a kitchen, and why he backs making a bold, daring choice in his own home.

'I think actually the first question you should ask yourself when you're trying to pick marble for your kitchen ideas is not about color, but it's actually about the busyness of the stone,' Nate says, standing in the sophisticated and sleek kitchen he shares with husband Jeremiah Brent. 'How much veining do you want? How much energy do you want the stone to have?' he asks.

Marble acts as much more than a static feature in a culinary space – it adds life and character to the entire room. While a clean white or gray marble works wonderfully in a traditional or minimalist kitchen, a busier or more intense vein running through the material will inject warmth and energy into a kitchen you'd like to make well and truly your own.

Nate adds that he has experience designing – and living – with a busy marble kitchen countertop and kitchen backsplash, and hasn't grown tired of the look to this day.

A marble kitchen with large arched skylights

(Image credit: Kelly Marshall / Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent)

'As you can see, this stone in our kitchen has a tremendous amount of veining, a tremendous amount of contrast, a tremendous amount of movement – and that is a statement,' he says.

No matter which color you choose, the veining, contrast, and movement Nate mentions will dominate the look, so it's important to put serious thought into how you'd like your kitchen to feel. Together with the kitchen countertop styling, abundance of natural light, and white kitchen cabinets, the Brent-Berkus kitchen feels stylish and everlasting. But their approach won't work with every home's style.

'You have to decide if you want something that's a statement, or something that's gonna blend seamlessly with the rest of the finishes in the space. I've seen a lot of people on Instagram be like, "I'm really tired of busy marbles in kitchens." I'm not tired of it. However, there's a case to be made for both,' Nate says.

Pick out a marble finish you love, and one you think will last the long term. Kitchen countertops are not an easy (or cheap) feature to redo or update, so you'll want your choice to last. If you love energetic, eye-catching designs, chances are busy veining details are for you. But if you like to stick with the classics and keep things clean, opt for something a bit more understated.

For more beautiful kitchen inspiration, we explore Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent's kitchen redesign in our dedicated feature.

Abby Wilson
Interior Design News Editor

I am an Interior Design News Editor at Homes & Gardens. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.