Marble decorating ideas - how to use this mesmerizing pattern in every room

Marble decorating ideas bring an ancient art-form right up to date, perfect for adding a luxe note to contemporary decor

Marble decorating ideas Nat Mak's marbled papers used in a period living room with panels painted in bright pink
Wallpaper by Nat Maks
(Image credit: Nat Maks)

Marble decorating ideas are both mesmerizing and alchemical. They are wonderfully temperamental, and utterly covetable marbled patterns are a key look in decor right now.

But how to work this bold interior design trend? And why have marbled patterns won the hearts of designers and shoppers alike? We're seeing it used on pretty occasional tableware and brightly colored accessories - but how can we use the pattern to decorate our homes? 

7 marble decorating ideas to bring this classic style into your home

Created by floating paints of a liquid in a tray and laying paper over the top to catch resulting patterns - ancient marblers were careful to keep their methods secret. Having found its way from 12th century Japan via the Renaissance period in Europe where vibrant pigment-based papers were used to line boxes and decorate furniture - into our contemporary homes as living room wallpaper ideas, or cushions, or even furniture.

Using fabrics, papers and styling techniques we speak to experts on how to interpret these marble decorating ideas and use this romantic print to adorn our homes.

1. Pair marble prints with unusually shaped seating

Beata Heuman's Dappled Velvet Fabric used on a vintage lounge chair

Dappled Velvet Fabric £150 per metre, Beata Heuman

(Image credit: Beata Heuman)

Just launched, Beata Heuman's incredible Dappled velvet fabric marries both modern hues and artistic charm and is a lesson on how to perfectly pair a pattern with seating.

‘This fabric works beautifully if you want to add a subtle edge in a classic setting, particularly on unusually shaped pieces which lends to the playfulness of the marbling.' says Beata, explaining why the pattern is increasingly seen on modern living room furniture ideas. 'The pattern repeat is large and organic, and it looks particularly good as it twists and turns across the arms and backs of upholstered pieces.' 

2. Pick out one color and go big

A living room with period panels painted in bright pink with panels framing marbled papers by Nat Maks

Bespoke Marble and Wallpaper Prints £95, Nat Maks

(Image credit: Nat Maks)

Artist Nat Maks creates hand-printed wallpapers made using the traditional Japanese art of Suminagashi meaning ‘floating ink’, her large-scale wall-coverings lend well to bright color schemes - even showing how marbled patterns can include within them shades bold enough to be colors that go with pink.

'Walls are the new clothes – dress them up, make them bold and use them to express yourself.' says Nat. 'In creating this room, we picked out the bright pink contrast from my print and painted the period paneling in a matching neon hue. The panels act like frames for giant works of art. The color alongside the marbled panels add an energy to the room which feels uplifting and positive.'

3. Artfully layer multiple patterns

An eclectic pile of marble cushions from Susi Bellamy

Marbled Cushions from £125, Susi Bellamy

(Image credit: Susi Bellamy)

The more the merrier as far as we are concerned with this print - and Susi Bellamy's collection of psychedelic accessories makes it hard for us to pick just one.

'There is something about marbled papers that you don’t just want one design but a plethora of patterns to jumble up together in a colorful mix. I love to mix up our various marbled cushions in a variety of finishes and trims to remind me of the interior of a Florentine stationery shop!' says Susi. 

'Tasseled and piped velvets sit prettily against jumbo double-sided linen designs and smaller ruched cushions for an eclectic home interior,' Susi says, giving us more reason to embrace maximalism in interior design immediately. 'These book-end paper designs have a historic feel to them but bring them up to date by contrasting them with contemporary sofas and chairs to keep it fresh! Play with scale and texture to create the most fabulous sofa-scapes.'

4. Use the print sparingly in fashion house style

Gucci's vintage inspired marble wallpaper covers a folding screen

Marble wallpaper £385 per metre, Gucci

(Image credit: Gucci)

If Gucci is backing marble decorating ideas then we know we're on the right track. If you don't want to go all out with marbling then consider choosing a wallpaper or fabric that brings maximum impact to a room and use it to cover a room divider - instantly making the print a part of the room without commitment.

Choose a bang for your buck print like Gucci's 'Souvenir from Rome' wallpaper which is made with motifs and patterns borrowed from the fashion house's ready-to-wear collection. The wallpaper is printed with an antiqued marbled effect on faux panelling and though expensive by the metre features the "Gucci" logo mixed throughout - used sparingly its iconic allure is guaranteed to elevate your room.

5. Go for a pretty and pared back take on the print

Brown tortoiseshell wallpaper in a Victorian hallway

Elgin wallpaper £272 per 10m roll by Madeaux

(Image credit: Madeaux)

An exuberant pattern doesn’t have to mean lack of restraint in color. This wonderfully vintage-looking print works well in your hallway wallpaper ideas because of its brown tortoiseshell hues. This grounding shade looks completely at home in a Victorian hallway by teaming it with burgundy painted paneling and the earthy hues in the traditional tiles. We love the added hint of faux brick-work through the repeat elevating the design from pretty to playful.

6. Keep it tonal to create balance

Pretty marbled table linens on a dining table layered with an abundance of tableware and flowers

Summerill & Bishop Marble in Green, Pink & Orange from £25

(Image credit: Summerill and Bishop)

Summerill & Bishop’s extraordinary new collection of marbled tablecloths and napkins are exuberantly pretty and designed to elevate mealtimes from the ordinary, to something far-extraordinary. Seb Bishop CEO and Creative Director of the brand suggests keeping accessories  like plates and glassware tonal to maintain a feeling of balance.

'Such a striking pattern commands attention and so it is important to create balance, perhaps by using masses of white elsewhere on the table.' says Seb. 'I would suggest keeping things tonal or using colors that complement each other. Green together with pink with tonal accents, glimmers of gold, and lots of white make for beautiful combinations. Always be sure to use complementing colors throughout, to maintain a sense of balance and harmony. Clashing colors will feel distracting and chaotic, which is not what the table should be about.'

7. Choose a twist on traditional marble

Blue Palm Springs Foil wallpaper by Timorous Beasties

Palm Springs Foil Wallpaper, £95, Timorous Beasties

(Image credit: Timorous Beasties)

Because of its ancient beginnings, often marble decorating ideas lend themselves well to dark and traditional interiors but in fact the print's watery origins make it perfect for a sunny Mediterranean scheme! Timorous Beasties Palm Springs Foil wallpaper is designed to re-imagine the feeling of looking at the bottom of a swimming pool with abstract patterns inspired by the breaking up of images through reflection and light. We love how it's paired here with mid-century modern ideas like the pottery and a vintage side table giving us bohemian Ibizan vibes.

What prints work well with marble?

The pattern is wonderfully fluid and organic, so it works really well with graphic prints like chequerboard floors and classic stripes. If you want to play it safe, we would say the rule of thumb is to stick to contrasting prints also rooted in the tradition so the prints feel they could have existed at one-time side by side - but throw in some bold color contrasts and contemporary finishes.

What colors work best with marble?

'Such a striking pattern commands attention and so it is important to create balance, perhaps by using masses of white elsewhere in the scheme. Keep things tonal or pick out colors from the pattern that complement each other. Glimmers of gold and lots of white make for beautiful combinations.' suggests Seb Bishop of  Summerill & Bishop.

Rohini Wahi
Rohini Wahi

Rohini Wahi is the News & Shopping Editor for Livingetc and Homes & Gardens magazines. With a decade-long career in the interiors and design industry working as a journalist for premium lifestyle publications then delving deeper into the business as a trend forecaster, Rohini has amassed a wealth of global design knowledge that informs her work. She loves a period drama and keeps a tidy home.