Marble, although in a limited supply, continues to be a very popular material, especially in bathrooms. Marble bathroom counters, floors and walls are appreciated for their refined and elegant look.
But before you fall in love with its beauty, you should take some time to consider all the important facts that are marble-related. First of all, marble may look durable and hard-wearing but it’s actually a very vulnerable material. It’s a soft stone so it’s very porous and absorbent so it soaks up stains very quickly. If you plant on having a marble shower or marble floor in the bathroom, you need to be extra careful.
In addition to the fact that you can stain a marble floor easily if, for instance, you dye your hair in the bathroom, marble also gets easily damaged or etched by acidic substances or certain cleaning products. You need to be careful when choosing your lotions, shampoos and everything else as they can damage the shower floor.
As it turns out, there’s more consider before choosing marble for the bathroom than just the looks. The fact that marble requires constant maintenance and care is just one of the details. There’s also quality and price to think about. Although it’s true that this has become an affordable material lately, there’s only so much marble in the world and not all of it is of good quality.
If you want it for your marble tile shower or bathroom counter, some say that the closer to Italy and Greece that marble is sourced, the better it holds up in a wet environment. If you’re convinced that marble is the best choice of material for your bathroom, perhaps you can find inspiration from what these architects and designers created.
What are the different types of marble?
Marble is a lot more diverse than you might think. It ranges from white to black and various other colors in between and its appearance can also differ in other ways. Here’s a few types of marble you can choose from:
The Calacatta marble variants
Calacatta marble is renowned for its elegance and natural beauty and often considered a symbol of luxury. It’s a timeless marble that complements a variety of different styles but is both rare and expensive which makes it even more sought-after.
The Calacatta gold marble is characterized by elegant golden veins and taupe highlights which stand out and complemented by the white mass of the stone. It’s one of the most beautiful variations of this type of marble.
Other versions include the Calacatta Michelangelo marble which features intricate grey veining and a white main color and the Borghini marble is has dense grey veins as well as gold highlights.
The Carrara marble is the most accessible one of all. It’s characterized by a light grey background and delicate veins that give it a stylish and timeless look.
If you prefer lighter color tones with a warm feel to them, this might be the marble for you. The Talathello marble stands out with its elegance. It features tones of beige and silver and has a light grey background which gives is a soothing and appealing look.
Crema Marfil marble
This is a type of Spanish marble known for its crazy and unpredictable veining and interesting patterns. It features a color palette based on tones of beige which give it a creamy and elegant look.
You can distinguish the Emperador marble from the other types by its dark brown background color and white veining which stands out. This gives the marble a really unique and interesting look.
Nero Marquina marble
If you’re a fan of strong color contrasts or dark nuances take a look at the Nero Marquina marble. It’s a type of black marble with outstanding white veining and it has a unique and super stylish and elegant look.
What’s the difference between marble and porcelain tiles?
When it comes to bathrooms, one of the first decisions you need to make related to the design is what type of tiles to use or whether this is the way to go at all. Many of us find ourselves faced with a dilemma at this point trying to decide between marble or porcelain tiles. So what’s the difference between these?
Marble and porcelain tiles differ in the way they are produced as well as their composition. Porcelain tiles are made by pressing fine-grain porcelain clay together and applying a liquid glass glaze on top. The marble however is very different. It’s a natural stone created from fossil sediment deposits over millions of years.
Other differences include the accessibility of both these types of tiles. Porcelain tiles are easily available while marble is rarer and sometimes difficult to get a hold of. Some types of marble in particular are difficult to find.
Also, marble is usually more expensive than porcelain tiles. The most affordable type of Carrara marble.
In terms of versatility and diversity, porcelain tiles are superior because they come in lots of different colors, finishes, patterns and so on.
A few things to consider before using marble in your bathroom
Before you go ahead and fill your bathroom with marble, it would be useful to know a bit more about this material. Here’s a few things to consider when working with marble in interior design:
Marble is very versatile
You can use marble not just for the bathroom floor but also on the walls, the countertops or even the ceiling. Marble is a very versatile material and has a timeless aesthetic.
Marble hides watermarks and imperfections
Because marble is always unique and has beautiful veins and patterns that the eye can focus on, little things like watermarks or small stains don’t stand out that much. These are basically camouflaged and this makes the bathroom a bit more forgiving when it comes to cleaning and maintenance.
Marble needs to be sealed regularly
If you want your marble floor or walls to look beautiful for years to come it’s imperative to seal them properly. You need to seal the marble when you install it and then every few months on a regular basis.
Marble gets a natural patina over time
Marble contains iron which is embedded deep into its grain and as it’s exposed to moisture and humidity in the bathroom it turns to rust on the surface. This means your marble will get a patina over time and will change in appearance.
Marble raises the value of the house
You may not think about this at the moment but if you’ve ever planning to sell the house in the future having marble counters or a marble shower in the bathroom can increase the value overall. It will also give the house a timeless appeal.
The veining can be tricky to work with
Marble is a natural stone and each piece is unique in the sense that it has veining which doesn’t follow a specific pattern. This can sometimes make it tricky to balance the tiles and the décor. Before you begin installation take a look at all the marble pieces to figure out what the best way to combine them would be.
Inspiring Marble Shower Decor Ideas
Marble, glass and wood
Seamless marble floor transition
The Russian Hill Residence designed byJohn Maniscalco Architecture has five full baths and this is one of them. It has beautiful white marble tiles on the walls and floor, with soft veins and a color palette that maintains an open and bright ambiance throughout, a detail also emphasized by the glass shower doors and walls.
Camouflaged wall nooks
Marble is very luxurious and there’s no doubt about that. We particularly enjoy the way it looks in doorless shower designs. You can witness that beauty here. Notice that, even though very simple, the shower looks glamorous.
Giant marble tile pattern
Each marble tile is unique thanks to its veins and coloring. That means some tile patterns are more uniform than others and that has a lot to do with the dimensions of the tiles and the type of marble.Studio William Hefner opted for an abstract design for this residence in Beverly Hills, California.
Marble tiles and wooden shelves
The shower shelf niche designed byDisak-Diseño de Interiores for this beautiful house in Madrid is a feature that helps maintain a minimalist and open design for the bathroom. The wooden shelves contrast with the marble tiles and that makes them stand out.
A glass-enclosed shower area
Too much marble can become a bit overwhelming but not when it looks as beautiful as in the bathroom of this townhouse renovated byTurett Collaborative Architects. There’s a really nice cohesion between the walls, floor and counter.
Elevated marble shower
The dimensions of the shower are definitely important and this matters when choosing the material for the wall and floor tiles. A small shower size means that glass is best-suited for the enclosing walls and that the color of the tiles should be light and soft. Perhaps the design ofSPACE Architects + Planners can be of some help.
Angled walls and soft marble veins
It’s not just the marble that makes this walk-in shower designed by Nha Dan Architect so beautiful. It’s the combination between the soft veins and coloring of the marble, the clear glass walls, angled walls and the contrast with the warm wood accents.
Marble walls and concrete floor combo
Contrasts are important, as proven by this beautiful bathroom designed by Ritchie Construction for a residence inPenticton, Canada. Marble, concrete, wood and glass looks great because they’re together.
Soft shower accent lighting
Marble and wood makes for a great combo. For instance, picture a beautiful roman shower with marble walls and flooring and a wooden floor for the rest of the bathroom matching the vanity and wall shelves. It would be a look pretty similar to that Agraz Arquitectos created for House X.
Continuous marble tile surfaces
Cleaning and maintenance can be a bit tricky when you’re dealing with marble so perhaps you should think twice before using this material for everything in your bathroom. Still, it looks great. Just look at this modern home in Hiroshima designed by NAP Architects.
Wall-to-wall marble tiles
Republika Architektury choseto only use marble in the shower of this stylish apartment in Warsaw, Poland. It was a wise choice looking at the veining on the marble and how nice it contrasts with the wood on the floor.
A glamorous décor and a great view
Some say marble is best used on flooring and this luxurious apartment in Quebec is a wonderful example. Its interior was designed byRené Desjardins and has just the right amount of glamour and simplicity.
Clean and simple patterns
When using marble, sometimes you get a uniform look and sometimes the pattern is quite random. It seems that simplicity and cohesiveness were preferred over randomness in the case of this Manhattan apartment byHandel Architects and Moed de Armas & Shannon Architects.
Large marble tiles and mosaic patterns
Don’t you just love the interplay of large marble and mosaic tiles featured in this bathroom designed by Alexander Zenzura for an apartment in Germany? The combination is both soothing and eye-catching.
A very bright and open shower design
Marble can make anything look elegant and beautiful and this can be a good strategy when you want to add some glamour to a small bathroom or when you want to emphasize the openness of a large bathroom. Take your cue fromCharles Gwathmey and Robert Siegelwho designed this penthouse in Manhattan.
A balanced ratio of marble and wood
It’s important to not overdo it when working with marble. Sometimes less is more and studioCecconi Simone Inc.used this strategy when they designed this apartment in downtown Toronto, Canada.
Small, diverse and stylish
A diversity of materials needs to be used in order to create a balanced look and ambiance in a room. For this apartment in Vancouver,Robert Baileyused a combination of wood, marble and glass in the bathroom and the result is a very charming one.
Elegant details and decorative trims
Although we’re used to seeing marble used in minimalist, contemporary bathrooms with smooth and flat surfaces, that’s not the only option, asDariel Studioelegantly shows us in this residence located in Shanghai, China.
Glass door combo and matching marble walls
We find the bathroom of this contemporary residence in Jalisco, Mexico to be nicely organized, with the shower and the toilet on one side, both featuring glass doors. This was a design byElías Rizo Arquitectos.
A sunken tub and marble shower combo
The sunken tub is definitely a cool feature and all the marble in this bathroom makes it look very natural. It’s the design featured in a triplex located in Trubeca, New York.
Marble tiles with pronounced veins for contrast
Some types of marble have pronounced veining and this means the tiles look something like this. This chic bathroom was designed byVora Arquitecturafor a residence inArraiolos, Portugal.
Black marble for a touch of luxury
White marble is often preferred and that only makes the other types more interesting and special. For the M House, ONG&ONG Pte Ltd used black marble with white veins in the glass-enclosed shower.
Minimalism and large windows with panoramic views
Transparent glass is the best option for the shower in cases when the bathroom has large windows with views or when it’s small. In the case of the San Vicente House byMcClean Design, the views were the inspiration.
Marble floor everywhere except in the shower
Surprisingly,Studioe2used marble tiles on the walls and floor of this entire bathroom except for the flooring in the shower. Wood was preferred for this section and it looks amazing.
A very artistic marble wall design
How would you design the bathroom of a glamorous bachelor pad? It’s not a simple question butOfistseems to have a great answer to that. It has a lot to do with marble, the material that was used to cover the shower walls.
Lots of marble and frosted glass accents
Marble is also a very good option for bathrooms that wish to be zen, relaxing or nature-inspired. You can find a lot of inspiration by looking at theSeacombe Grove House designed byb.e architecturein Melbourne, Australia.
Another elegant way to mix marble and wood
This isn’t the first time we see marble mixed with wood in the bathroom. However, this house in Singapore designed bya_collectivegives us a new perspective on this combination.
Horizontal lines create an interesting visual effect
Simplicity and diversity can work hand in hand, although it seems more like a contrast than a matching pair. But before you jump to conclusions, have a look at this stylish bathroom designed byDubbeldam Architecturefor a home they renovated in Toronto.
Complementary marble types for diversity
We find this small bathroom by Il Granito to be very well-balanced. It has a marble shower and a matching counter but the walls are white and the floor is covered in wood.
A blend of neutral tones
The marble was used strategically here to give the bathroom a dynamic and diverse look and feel in spite of its very simple and neutral palette of colors. The marble tiles are concentrated around the shower area while a different design was used for the floor and the rest of the walls. This was a project by October Design Studio.
Chevrons and stripes
This modern and stylish bathroom was designed by Yuriy Zimenko. It’s definitely a minimalist space with only a sheet of glass dividing the shower from the rest of the room and a suspended marble vanity but it’s also a very interesting bathroom. There’s a lot of little details hidden beneath this simplistic design, like the chevrons and the irregular stripes that make the floor and the wall look so different from one another.
A warm and delicate design
Some types of marble have delicate veins which give them a very soft appearance and some feature shares of brown or beige in their composition. When paired with other design elements that share similar characteristics this can result in a very warm and inviting bathroom, like this one which was designed by Stuart Silk.
Apart from giving this stylish walk-in shower a super elegant and modern look, the white marble was also used here to create a smooth and seamless transition between the bathroom and this section of the bedroom. It’s an interesting technique that definitely works here. This is a project by MSWW Ministerstwo Spraw We Wnetrzach.
An unexpected pattern
Usually marble tiles are large in order to avoid breaking the pattern of the beautiful veining that occurs naturally on their surface. However, that’s not always a requirement. This bathroom designed by Studio Jean-Philippe Nuel is actually quite different in this sense. The array of narrow tiles arranged vertically on the walls create a very interesting visual effect.
A simple and refined approach
White marble is perhaps the best material for creating elegant and sophisticated bathroom setups that don’t lost their beauty and charm over time. This design by Bogdanova Bureau is a wonderful example. We love how seamless the pattern formed by the marble tiles is both on the wall and the floor. Also, the glass divider and the bathtub accent lighting help to give this space a super clean and modern look.
Cohesiveness on a big scale
In some cases using the same type of tiles for all the walls as well as the floor of the bathroom can be overwhelming. Here however this strategy gives the room a very serene and beautiful look. The veining on the marble is soft and delicate which helps a lot and allow the furniture and fixtures to seamlessly fit in. This is part of a project by architecture studio Bourgeois/ Lechasseur.
Surrounded by marble
A black and white room design can sound boring but there’s so many different strategies that you can use to make it interesting. A few of them are highlighted in this beautiful bathroom designed by studio CCS Architecture. Notice the huge marble tiles that cover the walls and the floor, the clear glass shower enclosure and the seamless way in which it opens up.
A black and white combo
Both white and black marble look very beautiful and elegant and putting them together can turn out to be a great strategy if you want to give your bathroom an interesting look without introducing any bold color accents. That worked out wonderfully here, in this apartment bathroom by studio Nomade Architettura Interior Design.