Bathroom makeovers show refreshing ways to use marble

Marble bathrooms have long been a staple of elegant homes. But gone are the days of stark white Carrera marble and boring chrome fixtures. Designers are bucking tradition to add a touch of sophistication in a refreshing way.

Using marble in a renovation is a fantastic way to take your old space from gross to glam. Knowing what to do with a space’s redesign potential can be overwhelming for even the most experienced homeowners. Here are four ways that designers use marble to freshen up bathrooms.

Wood wonder

Bring the outdoors in with touches of natural wood among marble. Wood elements are the perfect way to design an all-white space without having to commit to a hospital-like aesthetic, which is exactly why Buckhead-based designer and contractor Jessica Murphy used wood beams and stools in a recent renovation.

The three-month, $30,000 renovation transformed the homeowner’s closed-off, floral-infused bathroom into a spa-like hideaway.

She knew just the right way to add depth.

“White is huge,” said Murphy, owner of herCave. “Everybody wants white right now, but I think the way to do that is to add some natural elements in there.”

Mostly white, the room is warmed by the precise placement of Serena and Lily dip-dyed stools, which are teak, and the hand-stained beams from Blue Ridge.

Color correction

What is old is new again. Designers are embracing colorful marble reminiscent of the 1980s — but this time they’re doing it in style. Beautiful greens or dark and stormy blacks make a statement, but knowing when to use them can be hard.

“A general rule for me is that it just depends on the size of the bathroom,” said Buckhead-based designer Willem Stear, owner of Tonic Design Studio.

Avoid hall bathrooms and powder rooms because it will make the space feel smaller, he added. If you’re daring enough to try colored marble on the vanity, keep the room’s balance in mind.

Pick muted fixtures that will fade into the background. Your colorful marble is the centerpiece; anything too flashy will be distracting.

“It’s kind of like a woman wearing a simple black dress with just a beautiful necklace around her neck,” he said. “She doesn’t need a beautiful belt and crazy shoes and a crazy handbag.”

Rug replacement

Traditional bathmats can lack style. Regular carpets will hold water. Instead of using either of those, opt for this design trick by Buckhead designer Amy Morris, founder of Amy Morris Interiors.

Using a rectangle of intricately designed marble tiling is a smart way to add an exciting and elegant element while staying in budget. Large-scale mosaics are more expensive, so Morris and her team use smaller tiles on the floor as a cost-effective alternative.

“You want it to be centered on something,” Morris said.

Replicating your favorite kilim or dhurrie rug pattern isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Marble tiles come in many shapes and designs. Arabesque marble accents bring a Moroccan theme. Floral-inspired pieces soften harsh lines. Colorful marble can be intricately inlaid for an art deco fan pattern. Pick a metallic shade of grout to add more depth.

Marble masterpiece

Beautiful on its own, a single marble slab on a wall can have more impact than an entire countertop. The key is to find a slab you love.

Alpharetta designer Beth Johnson of Bekel Home + Design incorporated a mosaic into a marble wall for a six-week renovation in Milton with a $60,000 budget. Johnson selected a 3-by-4-foot shower mosaic from Traditions in Tile and Stone, surrounded by a marble frame. She fell in love with the intricate design of the laser-cut tiles.

“The mosaic was really the jumping off point for the color scheme,” she said.

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