Every so often there’s a trend that rocks and this year, stone – the natural material or clever faux effects – is chiselling its mark in the decor stakes.
It was tipped as a winner back in 2015, and has amply fulfilled its promise to bring drama, luxury and personality to rooms.
Leading designers, including Matthew Williamson, Ted Baker and Tricia Guild, have embraced the material – especially marble (whose name derives from the Greek words for ‘shining stone’), and creatively captured the magic of its richly veined patterns and subtle shades.
“Marble’s very much proving to be the ‘material of the moment’ for interior schemes. Best-known for being teamed with a rustic style over the last few years, where natural materials from wood to stone have been celebrated, it’s now most frequently used alongside minimalist design, as it’s renowned for exuding a strong sense of luxury and classicism,” says Will Cawson, design manager for sofa specialists Duresta, who have a new bespoke furniture collection by Matthew Williamson, featuring stunning upholstery incorporating a marbled effect and the designer’s signature butterfly motif.
“While marble and pale stones such as limestone are perfectly at home in the bleached wood and neutral palette settings characteristic of Scandinavia, there’s also been a surge in the use of coloured marble,” adds Cawson. “Geometric, coloured marble originally found favour in the Fifties, and its revival is a sign of the increasing exploration of the material’s pleasing visual qualities.”
Think again if you regard stone effects as cold! Lavish designs and rich colourways, from green through to dramatic black, used on wallpapers and fabrics have transformed the effect to stylishly cool rather than chilly.
Be aware, though, powerful and atmospheric shades or patterns are probably best reserved for a feature wall, with the other three walls in lighter, toning shades, otherwise you risk overpowering a space or making it too dark.
“We’ve been inspired by two key trends for our Marbled wallpaper, chosen as our Wallpaper of the Year: the natural simplicity of marbling in stone, complemented by metallic embellishment in blushing gold hues, which makes for a glamorous, handcrafted aesthetic,” says Maryanne Cartwright, senior stylist at Graham & Brown, whose Marbled paper, in charcoal and rose gold, has been created to celebrate their 70th anniversary.
“The natural, organic hues of pebble, stone and graphite ooze understated opulence and team harmoniously with either classic or contemporary accent colours, making them versatile for all tastes and rooms, and offering a cool canvas for interiors.”
White or grey marble is a classic choice, can make a small space appear larger and is versatile, suitable for a sleek contemporary interior, or to ramp up the luxe factor in a traditional setting.
“Marble’s synonymous with opulence. However, its muted tones and sleek finish means it lends itself to a plethora of interior trends,” says Sian O’Neill, head of marketing at Topps Tiles.
“I particularly love the dramatic ‘wow’ factor of large format marble floor and wall tiles. Incorporating marbled touches, combined with all-white decor and bare wood, is an easy way to create the essential bones of the fashionable Skandi look, which is ideal for those who desire a pared-back aesthetic.
“Porcelain tiles can be a hard-wearing alternative to using natural stone, and these days, techniques ensure a marble effect is indistinguishable from the real thing. If you opt for real marble, be aware it’s porous and needs sealing with a stone-specific treatment to protect it from stains and scratches.”