Marble is the ultimate material for representing luxury and refinement. From grand country houses to sleek, minimal swimming pools, it’s the go-to for creating an enduring style statement that can be wildly opulent or quietly regal. And although it’s a material that calls for a little more financial commitment, its unparalleled natural beauty and calming qualities will return the investment many times over. A full marble room décor may be a little overwhelming for a small apartment, but even the simple addition of a marble tray on a coffee table or a row of marble tile trim can bring a luxurious atmosphere into your home. Before you start planning, read our useful guide to making marble marvellous.
There are some important things to consider before you start with marble. Marble is very heavy, and although obviously a sliver used as a marble skirting board is much lighter than a full marble slab used to wrap a kitchen island, you need to know your floor and walls can handle the weight. Cost varies radically depending on the stone’s rarity and type of marble; a dramatic rare pink-hued colour with deep veining will be far more expensive than a simple plain white, easily mined slab. Some marbles are also more soft and vulnerable to chipping or staining, although there are many innovations in treatments to seal and maintain marble, you need to know which yours is to ensure most applicable usage. If you are working with an architect or builder to achieve your designs, then it’s worth visiting the marble supplier to look at the sheets of marble that may be used. As a natural material, the colour patterns can be strong or subtle and they usually vary from piece to piece, even in the same slab of stone or from the same quarry. It can be astoundingly beautiful if used in large expanses, such as the floor and walls in a bathroom, and is an obvious choice for wet rooms. However, if you want the look without the price tag it can be used to great effect in smaller details and touches – marble wall tiles, pulls for blinds, doorknobs or panels.
A bathroom is the natural home for marble, and brings the ancient art of bathing and spa to even the most modern home. Panels in a shower can be a great addition even in a fairly neutral scheme, and from a design perspective makes that area its own entity, and draws the eye. Use some sparkling heritage styled fittings such as large shower hose or brass temperature gauge to lend some classic Riviera style. If that’s a little overstated for your tastes, consider a marble tile bathroom. Marble mosaic tiles never date, whether a small circle or a more modern hexagonal. If you really want to up the glamour, commit to wall, floor and a sunken tub in a deeply veined stone; grey marble bathrooms will look stunning whether styled traditionally or in a very minimal style.
A marble fireplace makes a wonderful focus in a room and all rooms need a focal point. If you are lucky enough to inherit an antique marble fireplace in your property, then make the most of it. It will mean you have to work your design around it, but it can give a great structure to planning a scheme especially if it is an original feature. It will have been designed with the proportions of the room in mind so works well for the height of ceiling and placement of the windows. These elements also need considering if you are putting in a modern marble fire surround. Don’t put in a design too large or small for the space; it will either overwhelm the room or look lost in it. An unusual tone such as a brown or red shade can seem harder to work with than a white marble fireplace but they lend themselves beautifully to the modern dark wall colours that will be the signature statement of 2018.
Kitchen marble tops have always been a popular choice although for durability people often select its cousin granite, another natural stone, for its superior durability. Although marble is strong it is more porous than granite counter tops so is more likely to stain. A marble kitchen however is great to work on, as the cool stone is a delight for rolling out pastry and fresh pasta dough. If you love red wine or richly hued oils and are worried white marble may become a demanding, high maintenance mistress, then marble kitchen tiles can be used as a splashback to edge a wooden worktop, as a windowsill or as a panel behind shelves. However, if you are happy to take care of them, the fresh, clean feel of natural marble combined with a bank of simple kitchen units are a joy for keen cooks who love to while away the hours in the kitchen.
Marble flooring is a wonderful way to use this versatile material as it bounces all available light around a room. (Make sure you manage the light properly to prevent this from becoming an uncomfortable midday glare. The diffused backing of both Pirouette and Silhouette will filter and soften even the harshest rays and minimise the most aggressive thermal gain). Whilst ideal for homes in countries where the temperatures are often soaring you also need to think about how it will work seasonally when the mercury drops. Underfloor heating will take off the chill, so you can enjoy the sleek feel underfoot and not have to cover up a lovely marble floor tile with a bedside rug. The latest marble flooring designs can bring together contrasting tones, such as black marble tile against a deep green to create an oversized checkerboard, or just a floral mosaic border to edge a wide cream open expanse. Decorative is back.
In The Family
When looking for items to work in the room with your marble, look closely at the slab and consider the marbling that runs through it. It may be a warm or cold grey, rust tone or almost black. At the window, wooden Venetian blinds can be used to pull out this shade and enhance it, adding another luxury element to the room and keeping it tonally harmonious. If you want more contrast, try a dark gloss wood look with brass detailing. Or try flattering colours to work with it, such as a copper or soft pink Pirouette shade to contrast and add some undulating shapes to enhance the virtues of both.
A Bit Of What You Fancy
Want marble, but no rooms need redecorating? Marble accessories are a great way of getting the look, without the commitment or the cost. Marble décor is an enduring statement but not a flexible one. A marble coffee table creates a strong sense of the material in the room, or a marble vase in a tableau that includes leather and brass is sumptuous but not overpowering. If you are happy to play the decorating long game, try collecting secondhand marble items, from candles sticks, picture frames and bowls, and group them together on one shelf to maximise their impact. It will also let you see how the material changes with the light and time of day, if you’re planning a bigger project down the line. Who knows? It could eventually become a love affair cast in stone.
For more ideas on how to use the latest trends, see our article on 2018’s Colour Of The Year, Ultra Violet.