Marble touts a long precious history in design. For thousands of years, the beautiful stone has been used to complete some of the most famous structures in the world, such as the Taj Mahal, the Supreme Court building, the leaning tower of Pisa, the Pantheon and Michelangelo’s Statue of David.
However, in the 1980s, the material lost some of its classic appeal in American design, becoming synonymous with gaudy, over-the-top style. Throughout the decade, homes were outfitted with marble bathrooms, kitchens and other living spaces, accented with shiny brass or gold fixtures.
Fast forward to today and marble is making its way back into homes — thanks to an ‘80s design renaissance — but designers are thinking differently about how to incorporate the look in ways that are more timeless and less ostentatious. Companies are even giving marble a fashionable, playful twist, creating everything from backpacks to yoga pants to furniture inspired by the stone.
“Especially in the kitchen, we’re seeing a huge trend to mix-and-match materials,” says Mar Esteve, marketing manager for surfacing material Neolith by TheSize. “The marble look beautifully complements warm materials such as wood, metals and brick. Today’s designs are using classic white Carrara-inspired marble with gold or silver veining as a custom accent, rather than the whole-home marble styling of decades past.”
If you’re planning an upcoming home renovation, here are five tips for incorporating the marble look.
Make a grand entrance.
In the foyer, marble floors make a statement for visitors. Adding marble to the floor is a great option since it is traditionally a smaller space — meaning more bang for the buck. Marble also adds visual interest to a home from the moment someone steps through the front door.
Add sophistication to the kitchen.
The marble aesthetic will continue to be a staple in the kitchen, as there are few countertops that look as luxurious and everlasting. However, the natural material should be used with caution on high-traffic surfaces like countertops. Considered a porous soft stone, marble requires regular sealing, and accidental spills from wine, acid or any dark liquid could easily stain the material.
To get the same look as marble with less worry, consider innovative alternatives, which are constantly being introduced to the market. Brands like Neolith — a 100 percent natural, high-performance, sintered compact surface — offer a true interpretation of marble in a lightweight, low maintenance material.
Turn a functional bathroom into a spa-like retreat.
The industry is bringing back yet another popular idea from the 1980s: the resurgence of the separation in the bath, with separate showers and oversized bathtubs. Homeowners and designers today are customizing the rooms with thoughtful elements that integrate better with their lifestyles and design preferences.
Consider whole slabs of marble or marble-inspired surfacing to line the shower walls or floors. Use softer colors such as gray, white and cream, which will make the bathroom feel light and clean.
Focus on marble accents in living spaces.
Marble makes an excellent material for furniture, but if you entertain a lot or have young children, marble could be too difficult to maintain. When a simple glass of water can leave a permanent ring behind, it’s important to seek out alternative materials to get the high-end look that can withstand the wear and tear of life. Marble and its alternatives are offered in numerous colors, so do not feel the need to stick to neutral tones; a colored marble tabletop could add just the right pop of color needed to bring the space to life.
The marble aesthetic can also instantly elevate the look of a living room when used around a fireplace. Websites like www.neolith.com offer visualizer tools so you can how envision how the marble look will enhance your living space, before making a purchase commitment.
Incorporate marble into a home with accessories.
One of the best aspects of the marble revival is that marble accessories are showing up on store shelves. This allows people to try out the trend before making a permanent decision to incorporate the material. A marble clock in the living space, a marble coffee mug or marble lamps are perfect for those seeking to incorporate the material on a smaller scale.
Marble is a great way to infuse luxurious elements in your home as it will add a timeless feature, but it is important to do your research to see where the material is most appropriate to ensure its longevity. It’s important to know when to use authentic marble and when to turn to an alternative option.