How to Use Marble Without Spending a Fortune (or at least get the LOOK of it)
I love marble. Its timeless and classic style makes it a top choice for many bathroom and kitchen renovations. HOWEVER, it’s freakin’ expensive and a big ole pain in the rear end when it comes to maintenance. I was going to go on a big ole Ginger rant, but I’ll let Edie tell you a few things here on her uber-fab blog post ‘Living With Marble – A Cautionary Tale’.
Now, there are a few ways you can get the MARBLE LOOK for a lower price…
- use a ‘MARBLE-LOOK’ product that mimics the real thing
- install your REAL marble in a THOUGHTFUL and BUDGET-CONSCIOUS way
So, let’s get these marble ROLLING with some great ideas to get you using marble in your own home.
IDEA #1 – If you love the look, think vertical
Marble that’s on a VERTICAL SURFACE will be much easier to keep perfect than a horizontal surface as it won’t be as exposed to products that stain and etch.
While there is a bit more square footage on a backsplash, the visual bang for buck is HUGE, and it’s cheaper and lower maintenance than marble countertops!
In this next bathroom, we only needed 15 sq feet of marble to make a HUGE impact!
You can do an amazing quartz countertop with a marble backsplash and get a different, but equally as stunning look. Quartz countertop is CONSIDERABLY lower maintenance than marble – I’d choose it ANY day for any project…
In this project, we did an affordable porcelain (marble look-a-like) on the walls to save on the budget and keep things lower maintenance. HOWEVER, we did spend some good money on the hexagon marble tile accent (and it was worth it). However, we could’ve done the marble accent in the alcoves ONLY and it still would’ve been beautiful.
A shower surround is usually a minimum of 70sq ft – that’s a LOT of tile. In this next bathroom, we chose a subway tile to save some money and a gorgeous warm marble hexagon tile for the niche. Only SEVEN sq ft of tile was needed and it was worth every penny!
See the before and afters HERE
When it comes to marble, it doesn’t take much to make a big impact, especially in a small bathroom.
See the full project HERE
With the marble-look countertop (learn about it below) and Chelsea Gray cabinets, it’s a striking focal point.
IDEA #2 – Imitation is the BEST form of flattery
There are so many fantastic products out there that look like marble. These are usually a) considerably less expensive and b) much more durable.
CHOOSE QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS THAT LOOKS LIKE MARBLE
CAESARSTONE STATUARIO MAXIMUS is a GORGEOUS substitute for the real thing.
CAESARSTONE STATUARIO NUVO is another great option with a slightly softer look compared to Maximus.
SILESTONE LYRAis an interesting option. I’m not going to lie to you and say that it looks ‘just like marble’ because I find it not as veiny as the real thing. However, it will be MUCH more durable and still look pretty darn awesome.
CAMBRIA TORQUAY is another good one for the ‘marble-esque’ look with a whack-load more durability. Again, I don’t think it’s bang-on in the looks department it’s MUCH more muted looking and also has some warmth to it – still a great contender though!
SILESTONE WHITE ARABESQUE has a slightly softer approach with a mottled background and gray veining.
CHOOSE PORCELAIN TILE THAT LOOKS LIKE MARBLE
In both of these bathrooms below, we chose an affordable porcelain that mimicked the look of marble for a fraction of the price.
See the full project here
CHOOSE LAMINATE COUNTERTOPS THAT LOOK LIKE MARBLE
My fave idea of all!
Formica has a fabulous marble impersonator called Calacatta Marble. It’s a fraction of the cost and while it is a laminate countertop (which has its own pros and cons) the overall look and durability are worth the value.
We chose the countertop above BECAUSE it looks JUST LIKE MARBLE! Pretty remarkable and a fraction of the cost.
A few more laminate countertops that mimic the look of marble…
- Wilsonart White Carrara (terrible online image)
- Formica Neo Cloud
- Wilsonart Calcutta Marble
- Formica Carrara Bianco
- Formica Calacatta Marble
If I were to pick a product based on its COST, durability and ability to withstand my bad habit of spilling everything I pour and the fact that I prefer cutting without a cutting board, I would choose laminate. I’m not saying it’s a superior product in the ‘design hoytie-toytie’ sense, I’m just saying I would trust it a HELL of a lot more than marble for everyday wear and tear. Plus if I DID torch it, the replacement cost would be astronomically lower than replacing a hunk of marble (and ALL of that being said, quartz is my fave countertop product).
So this post was not about trashing marble – it IS a fabulous product. It’s about doing your research to see what else is out there that can give you a similar look with a few additional perks (like freakin’ durability people!)
For your own E-Design Decorating Consultation, check this out…
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN IN 2019, UPDATED FOR CONTENT AND PHOTOS IN 2021