Marble kitchen ideas are still one of the most covetable designs and their popularity shows no sign of abating. With its mix of colors, tones, and veining, marble not only brings a bucketload of beauty, alongside a note of luxury but can add depth and drama to any modern scheme. As a natural material, it gets better looking with age and is heat resistant although it is still advisable to place piping hot pans on a trivet.
There is a surprisingly wide choice of marble to choose from and many luxe marble looks, all which add timelessness and elegance. Take your pick from anything from Calacatta, characterized by its bold veining against a crisp white background, to an intense Marquina Black or a Guatemala Green, known for its flashes of white veining, for color and an element of the outdoors.
While marble can be undoubtedly expensive, one of the advantages is that you don’t need a lot to create a big impact — even small elements of it can go a long way which is great if you don't have a huge budget. Here are 10 inspiring ways to incorporate marble into your dream kitchen ideas.
1. Use marble as a waterfall countertop for instant impact
A marble waterfall kitchen countertop never fails to take a luxury kitchen to the next level, says Irene Gunter, founder of the leading interior design studio Gunter & Co. The waterfall effect is when the countertop continues down the sides of the unit to the floor, essentially wrapping it in marble, in this case, Volakas marble.
‘To successfully achieve this, I strongly suggest you use an experienced fabricator whose job it is to cut the marble according to the dimensions of your island,’ says Irene. ‘If the top is made up of more than one slab of stone, the fabricator will also perfectly book-match the adjoining surfaces so the veining runs seamlessly from one to the other.’
2. Contrast marble with other natural materials for a modern two-tone effect
As a natural material, marble is complemented by other natural materials especially wood. It brings in added warmth and texture so wood and marble make perfect design bedfellows in a two-tone kitchen.
‘Nothing really impresses quite as much as marble in the kitchen,’ says Daniel Bowler, director for Eggersmann. ‘Using this beautiful material to create a two-tone effect can have quite dramatic results, for instance when mixed with wood finishes to create a mix of materials. The patterning of the marble surface offers great contrast to the neutral tones seen elsewhere, allowing the marble to make a real style statement without being too overbearing. With the inclusion of our MOTION system, the marble worktops have a concealed roller system allowing the cooktop to be hidden away when not in use.’
3. Allow the marble countertop and backsplash to lead into a chef’s shelf
Having the countertop and kitchen backsplash in the same marble creates a seamless effect which is visually pleasing, not to mention serene.
In this kitchen designed by Roundhouse, there is an elegant Nordic feel with pale finishes and simple lines which makes it a perfect foil for personal pieces or cooking utensils. ‘The book-matched marble backsplash helps accentuate the room’s depth,’ says designer Sam Hart. Deciding where to stop the marble was determined by the height of the first shelf. Besides, the owner wanted to fill the shelves with shapely ceramics and rustic treasures, which stand out against a plain backdrop.’
4. Introduce marble on the floor for a feeling of grandeur
An often-overlooked stone for the kitchen floor– marble can make a practical yet cool kitchen flooring idea.
‘Marbles take very well to neoclassical designs including chequerboards and diamond-laid formats with cabochon inserts,’ says Isabel Fernandez, director at Quorn Stone. ‘This can help achieve a classic yet contemporary feel and is the perfect stone for a timeless kitchen floor full of grandeur. Very similar to limestone tiles, marble tiles come in a range of finishes to suit a particular kitchen style. We often find the most practical stone finish for a kitchen is tumbled. A softly tumbled, imperfect finish makes for a forgiving choice in busy areas. This finish often yields stunning pastel tones that blend seamlessly with kitchen interiors.’
5. Incorporate a marble sink into a marble countertop
If you explore countertops and choose marble, consider having a marble sink also for additional visual impact and a more harmonious look like in this kitchen by deVOL.
‘Marble is such a beautiful natural stone, its smooth finish feels expensive,’ says Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL. ‘These sinks make me think of beautiful old crumbling Tuscan farmhouses and Michaelangelo. People in the Mediterranean don’t update their homes in the same way as we do and that’s the beauty of things like marble sinks, they just get better and more beautiful the older they are.’
Worried it'll be too high maintenance? Marble sinks are surprisingly easy to keep clean but you need to be sure you use non-abrasive soap and scratchy sponges which could etch the surface.
6. Use marble within a recessed cooking space
If you have an old chimney breast in your kitchen, think about incorporating your cooker within it and adding marble as a striking backsplash. It is the ideal solution if your kitchen budget doesn’t extend to having marble worktops or a marble kitchen island. And not only does it turn your cooking nook into a great focal point, having the marble positioned vertically means it will be less punished through daily use.
‘An everlasting luxury trend is sleek and beautiful surfacing. Marble is continuing to be one of the most popular and beautiful surface materials, but it is important to remember that the aesthetic appeal is only part of the equation,’ says Melissa Klink, creative director of Harvey Jones. ‘We try to encourage clients to avoid using marble on workable surfaces because of its porous nature, however, applying slabs of statement marble in a backsplash adds an instant layer of luxury and sophistication.’
7. Bring in bold colored-marble to create a kitchen centrepiece
It is easy to go ‘safe’ limit yourself to classic white marble but exploring different kitchen color options could give you a more striking design. Keeping the rest of the kitchen neutral allows the opportunity to create an eye-catching focal point.
‘The aim of this project was to allow the Louis Blue monolithic stone island to be the centerpiece of the space, with simple white matt lacquer units behind concealing distractions and reducing the kitchen to a visual minimum.' says Achala Knights, of MinottiCucine.
8. Mix marble with metallic lighting and cabinetry hardware
If you want to dial up the luxe factor, mixing marble with warm metallics like brass and copper in particular can elevate the kitchen design. The possibilities for adding metallics are endless. A brass faucet is a common option but also consider wall and ceiling lights – there are lots of great kitchen lighting ideas. Other elements could be cabinet handles and knobs, metallic strips incorporated into the cabinetry and smaller accessories like shelf brackets.
‘Elegant, tactile and organic, marble is making a comeback as the most popular choice for splashbacks and work surfaces,’ says Adrian Bergman, design manager at British Standard by Plain English. ‘Richly veined varieties, such as the piece in this kitchen, are a great way to make a statement if you are not looking to use bold color or pattern and can look particularly luxurious when paired with metallic lighting and hardware.’
9. Double up dark marble with dark cabinetry
Dark marble can give something bold and different to a kitchen and is extremely versatile — combine it with wood cabinetry to up the glam factor or add it to a white kitchen for an interesting contrast. But for double drama, team dark marble with equally intense cabinetry. It gives a surprising sense of intimacy and sophistication to a space and looks fabulous when entertaining. And one of many black kitchen ideas you can try.
‘The combination of dark lacquered cabinetry with black and grey marble is perfect for the light-filled new extension that this kitchen sits within,’ says interior designer Sophie Roussel who created this kitchen by Design Space London.
‘We combined strikingly figured Pietra Grey polished marble on the backsplash and the back of the island with a complimentary but harder wearing polished composite on the work surface and the sides of the island to create a kitchen that is both beautiful and highly functional.”
10. Clad the pantry walls in strongly-veined marble
Why should the main part of the kitchen get all the attention? The pantry is the most sought-after elements of a new kitchen design so it is worth turning it into a kitchen centerpiece.
Using marble as a vertical surface means that it is less vulnerable to staining and etching and also elevates the mundane routine of grabbing something from the pantry to a pleasurable treat. In this pantry/tea station designed by Blakes London, smoked glass, white marble and brass fittings help zone the area from the thoroughfare of the rest of the kitchen and create a light-filled, luxurious feel.
How do I look after a marble kitchen worktop?
Despite having a reputation of being high-maintenance, marble can be easy to look after. ‘Marble worktops are strong and hardwearing, although prone to scratching and staining,’ says Irene Gunter. ‘So always use a chopping board, and if you happen to spill a glass of red wine, clean it up immediately.'
'Another top tip is to take care with acidic substances such as lemon juice or vinegar, which can also be damaging to marble. Regardless of whether you choose a marble with a polished or honed finish, seal it upon installation to help protect from staining. This process will need to be repeated around every six months or so.’
Why is marble not good for kitchens?
The main disadvantage of using marble in kitchens is that it stains and scratches easily, so may not be the best choice in a busy family kitchen. Marble also reacts to acid, so liquid like lemon juice or vinegar will etch marble. This rules marble out for some but many people love the character and patina a marble surface develops over time.
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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.
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