There are few materials that can create a feeling of luxury in home design that marble can. Elegant, understated and effortlessly beautiful, marble is usually used in kitchens and bathrooms – but can be successfully incorporated into living rooms and even bedrooms.
Below, we offer 10 inspiring ways marble can be used in your home – and offer insight in getting the most from this natural material, with both Interior design tips and practical advice.
1. Using marble in a kitchen – the wrap-around island
'I think when designing a kitchen, if you can afford to install slabs of marble, I would choose that over tile any day,' says interior designer Cara Woodhouse. 'I love seeing the natural markings, veining and colors that trickle through stone.'
Which type of marble to pick? From Vermont, there's Danby, and from Colorado, Yule. Looking further afield, Carrara marble is the most common of the classic Italian marbles, with Calacatta and Statuario other Italian marbles to consider; from Greece, you will find Levadia Black; there's Irish Connemara marble; Crema Marfil and Emperador from Spain; and Tunisian Giallo Antico.
2. Clad a pantry with marble
Pantry doors with glass are a big trend for the year ahead – the idea being to show off rather than hide this hard-working part of the kitchen. Of course, what comes with that premise is the need for the pantry to look a million dollars, which is where using marble in a kitchen can come in useful. The pantry can be clad, like the one above, in a thin layer of marble – or a marble lookalike – to pick up touches of marble elsewhere in the space.
And because marble can be expensive, this can be a clever way to introduce the material in smaller proportions.
- See: Pantry ideas – versatile storage that’s equally suited to modern life
3. Adding texture with marble for countertops and backsplashes
Marble is so much more interesting than tile for backsplashes or plain materials for countertops – but we're the first to acknowledge the drawbacks of this material: it can scratch, stain and chip, plus it needs to be cleaned with great care.
If these 'working kitchen' traits don't appeal to you – and why would they if you are looking for a luxe finish? – there are various options open to you.
The first is to pick honed marble with a matte finish, which will go a long way to preserving its looks. The second is to indulge yourself in marble but to follow all the care and cleaning guidelines – for example, seal it annually, and don't let anything acidic such as lemon or tomato juice anywhere near it. The third is to pick a marble lookalike composite.
'I chose a chunky marble lookalike composite for my kitchen,' says Lucy Searle, Editor in Chief, Homes & Gardens. 'My kitchen sits in a large, open-plan living space that includes two original marble Victorian fireplaces, so I didn't want to introduce another stone into the room. The countertops are a very close match to the fire surrounds, and because they are made from tough composite, they are just about indestructible – despite my best efforts.'
See: Kitchen backsplash ideas – make your kitchen’s vertical surfaces shine
'It used to be a deal-breaker for marble to be used in kitchens and bathrooms because it can stain,' says Cara Woodhouse. 'In recent years, however, there many innovative finishes that have come to the fore. For instance, you can add TuffSkin that protects marble from staining.'
4. Using marble in a living space
Marble used in fire surrounds in a living room is a pretty traditional approach, but interior designer Cara Woodhouse, who has just been inspired by her love of marble in home design to launch a marble jewelry line with Walters Faith suggests introducing it in other fittings and fixtures, too.
'When it comes to using marble, I love using it everywhere and anywhere I can. Furniture is definitely another incredible way to achieve that same look sometimes on a smaller level that is much more obtainable,' she says.
5. Using marble in bathrooms – go floor to ceiling
Using marble in a bathroom is a passport to instant luxury. Consider the marble carefully for spaces where you are using it in swathes because no slab of marble is the same as another. 'What I love most with marble is the activity and coloration,' comments Cara Woodhouse. 'I also love the fact that all stones are different and have their one of a kind unique markings and colors. However, I always suggest going to a stone or tile showroom or a stone-yard to view full slabs before choosing your final stone.'
6. Be adventurous with marble colors
It's worth bearing in mind that marble colors can vary – and therefore can be used as the main shade in a bathroom color scheme. While most of us will go for the more 'natural' shades, such as white or deep grey, you can find marble with elements of pink, yellow, green, black, grey and gold running through it.
Our advice: pick a marble with a background color or veining that will add warmth to a cool space – or cool down a busy, bright space.
7. Bookmatch marble to create a focal point
Designer Hollie Bowden chose to bookmatch the Arabescato marble in this shower room, finishing it with an inlaid nickel trim, to create a striking focal feature. 'I am drawn to natural pieces and finishes and artisan craftsmanship,' she says. 'I believe deeply in the integration of old and new, creating a timelessness. Taking into consideration the context and architectural history of a project is essential for my design process.'
Holly also believes in keeping materials to a minimum in a small space to create a more dramatic finish that's cohesive and fluid, too.
See: Small bathroom ideas – clever ways to max your space
8. Using marble in a bedroom – in touches
'If you love marble as much as I do and would like to incorporate it into your space there are ways to start off small, such as marble accessories, picture frames, or a small marble accessory for your table top,' says Cara Woodhouse of her bedroom design above.
'If you are ready to take a bigger risk, you can implement a marble coffee table or dining table in other rooms,' she expands.
9. Use polished marble on bedroom walls for a boutique hotel look
Admittedly, marble in large proportions is a bedroom is an acquired taste, but if you live in a hot climate, it can feel incredibly cooling and calming to have marble on walls – and floors – like in this bedroom design by Marazzi.
See more bedroom ideas to inspire your remodel in our gallery of inspiring images.
Where will you be using marble in your home design?
Lucy Searle has written about interiors, property and gardens since 1990, working her way around the interiors departments of women's magazines before switching to interiors-only titles in the mid-nineties. She was Associate Editor on Ideal Home, and Launch Editor of 4Homes magazine, before moving into digital in 2007, launching Channel 4's flagship website, Channel4.com/4homes. In 2018, Lucy took on the role of Global Editor in Chief for Realhomes.com, taking the site from a small magazine add-on to a global success. She was asked to repeat that success at Homes & Gardens, where she has also taken on the editorship of the magazine.
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