Marble veining - the new trend for dramatic patterns in kitchens and bathrooms, and how to use it

Marble veining is the latest trend emerging in bathroom and kitchen design. Livingetc's deputy editor Busola Evans gives her take on it

Marble veining White marble kitchen with striking veining on the worktop and splashback
(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

Marble veining is a big part of a little kitchen theory which has played out in my mind for a while now.  I reckon if you were to carry out a survey of people who decided to forsake all other stones and splash out on marble worktops, there would be a significant number suffering from what I can only describe as ‘marble remorse’. 

But unlike what you may expect, this regret does not stem from the fact that the cost probably burnt a hole in their pockets, or the discovery that marble really does have a propensity to chip and stain with infuriating ease. No, the remorse I believe, would be because the choice they used their marble bathroom ideas simply wasn’t bold enough.  I can instantly think of two friends who were initially thrilled with their beautiful but simple white marble worktops yet have both since confided that they wish they had not played it so safe.

Marble veining A kitchen with blue cabinetry and a marble splashback and worktop

(Image credit: Matthews Williams)

While a classic white stone is nothing to be sniffed at, it is striking veining, characteristically in black, running with wild abandon through the piece, which can have a real show-stopping impact in a kitchen, or indeed bathroom, and make the space truly sing. Dramatic veining, whether it’s on worktops, splashbacks or sinks has been growing in popularity over the past few years  -  Athena Calderone’s Brooklyn home features arresting Calacatta Paonazzo marble worktops created major kitchen crush and can be singled out for helping spark the trend. 

But this year, the demand - and bar - is set to be higher than ever. I can’t say I’m surprised. Strong veining brings a lot to the party. It adds movement to a surface which in turn gives it depth, can make a wonderful focal point, adds a note of luxury and of course can look utterly captivating.

Freestanding white bath against a marble splashback

(Image credit: Genevieve Lutkin)

Many interior designers and brands have noted the growing appetite for dramatic veining and people asking for marble decorating ideas

Designer Hollie Bowden is known for her exuberant use of striking marble particularly in her bathrooms which give them a sense of timelessness, while Roundhouse  often injects drama with show-stopping stone worktop and splashback surfaces.

New York based And Studio created one of my favorite kitchens of recent months with their Barrow St project, which has caramel coloured cabinetry contrasted with off-white marble with bold charcoal and grey veining. 

Kitchen makers deVOL are well known for incorporating it into their designs - its Tuscan Farmhouse Arabescato Marble Sinks, with their prominent veins, is now one of the company’s most popular pieces.

The beauty with a striking stone is that it perfectly elevates simple cabinetry and hardware, ideal for modern kitchen ideas.  Once it’s a focal point, there’s no need for any more embellishment so it’s important to keep the rest of the design as understated as possible. And that really is the way to avoid any ‘marble remorse’. Here are five ideas on how you can use dramatic stone to enliven your design...

1. Use marble veining on the wall and floor for a seamless, dynamic effect

Shower with deeply veined marble floor and wall

(Image credit: Genevieve Lutkin)

A plain white shower would have been in danger of being dull. But by going bold with the marble veining, and a seamless look for the wall and floor, this space designed by Hollie Bowden makes an instant impact as soon as you see it. Shower room ideas never felt so glamorous. The luxurious note is enhanced by its smart chrome fittings which adds a sophisticated hotel vibe. “I really believe in keeping the number of materials to a minimum," Hollie says. "It’s more dramatic, maximises the look and also feels more cohesive and fluid."

2. Use clean lines and simple hardware to make the marble veining stand out 

marble veining Kitchen with deeply veined white marble on the island, worktop and splashback

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

The book-matched marble splashback in this kitchen by Roundhouse adds depth to the design and is allowed to shine because of the neutral kitchen and backdrop. Clean lines, pale finishes and simple hardware mean that despite the theatrical aspect of the marble, it maintains a feeling of refined elegance.

3. Choose a dark stone for a more opulent look 

A doorway looking into a kitchen with a black marble surface

(Image credit: Mary Wadsworth)

For something different, veiny black quartzite is turned into an intriguing feature in this kitchen designed by Roundhouse, a triumph of dark interior design. The richness of the stone makes a striking contrast against the textural walls and more spartan style.  “It feels restful but still stands out as special,” says designer Victoria Marriott. 

4. Incorporate the sink and worktop for double impact 

Kitchen with pink walls and deeply veined marble on the sink and worktop

(Image credit: DeVOL)

The worktop and fluted sink add high drama to this otherwise muted kitchen because of the boldness of the marble.  In a different, more extravagant design it perhaps would have felt over the top, but balancing it with understated elements like wood and the lime washed walls softens the overall look - adding marble veining to grey kitchen ideas feels like a way to do pale and very interesting.

5. Use a stone with an eye-catching array of colours

Marble veining Kitchen with green cabinets and strongly veined marble on the worktop and splashback

(Image credit: Paul Massey)

This stone, in the kitchen of Roddy Murray, founder of interior design practice R J Murray, is an eye-catching combination of a number of colours from charcoal to light grey to gold and green. The latter is picked up very cleverly in the modern kitchen cabinet ideas and forms a complementary scheme warned up further by warm metallic accents.  

Busola Evans

As the Deputy Editor of Livingetc, Busola Evans works across both print and digital and specialises in kitchens, bathrooms and projects. She is an expert at explaining how to improve, extend and convert your home. Prior to her current role, she was Associate Editor on both Livingetc and Homes & Gardens. A journalist for more than 20 years, she has written for a number of newspapers and magazines including The Guardian, The Sunday Times Magazine and Grazia,  and was an interiors columnist for the London Evening Standard's ES Magazine.