The big marble makeover
Marble has undergone a serious style update and can now be spotted in the most sleek modern homes. For the past few years, stone - and marble especially - has been the finish of choice for kitchen countertops. But in recent seasons marble patterns have crept out of the kitchen and onto side tables, chopping boards, lamps, candle holders and even phone cases.
Marble went viral at 2014's London Design Festival as well as Milan's Salone del Mobile, and has been popping up all over the high street. "It's a really beautiful, timeless material it's hard not to love," says Sarah Drumm, co-owner of Dublin design store Dust (dust.ie), whose stock of marble products is on the increase.
Overuse had given it a bad reputation and saw it labelled as being overly grand and flashy. This misconception has fallen by the wayside now as a fresh batch of designers find new and exciting ways to work with the material. It still has the ability to add an elegant touch to a room and, though you can find it in lots of different colours, white pieces in particular feel both classic and modern.
Once upon a more affluent time, adding marble to the home was a serious commitment, leaving your kitchen gutted and your bank balance depleted. But its renaissance sees it return in a much more subtle way, and one that suits all budgets. "It used to be the reserve of high-end homes but it's now being used in more innovative ways that make it more affordable, so it's accessible to a wider audience," confirms Sarah. You'll see it paired with natural, pale wood for a simple, clean look or find it accented with bold monochrome for a grown up take.
Its organic, free-flowing pattern means it mixes well with metallic finishes too, and it works well with copper and brass, which is definitely the metal of the moment.
The key to keeping the trend fresh is using it cleverly, and in small doses. "Traditionally you saw great expanses of marble in whole floors or complete kitchens," Sarah explains. "Keep it modern by using little pops of it. At the moment, we have some beautiful marble chopping boards and later in the year we're getting in a stunning marble pendant light." If you're worried about overdoing it, stick to just one or two key pieces in the same colourway.
Part of its appeal lies in its ability to be a durable, long-lasting material. As we shift towards valuing craftmanship and investing in quality finishes, marble is only going to get more popular. If you're currently decorating, consider investing in a marble surround for your fireplace, which makes a beautiful focal point, or go for marble in heavy traffic areas like kitchen counters and sidetables.
The great marble comeback is also brilliant news for small spaces. Not only is it easier than ever to incorporate the finish into your space, but white marble in particular can make rooms feel more airy and open, while still adding that elegant touch that makes it a material that designers return to time and time again.
Nathalie Marquez Courtney is the editor of Image Interiors & Living magazine.