Playing with marbles

PA Photo/Handout

PA Photo/Handout

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Marble may once have been the preserve of swanky homes and museums and, most notably, India’s Taj Mahal, but it’s now on the move and appearing in homes in all sorts of guises.

Whether it’s faux effects on wallpaper and fabrics or embellishing rooms in its natural state, it adds a classic touch to any decor, and designers have lost their hearts again to this gleaming stone with its subtle, unique patterns.

Marble has long been favoured in functional areas like halls, kitchens and bathrooms, where its handsome looks and practicality have always made it a savvy choice, but now it’s making its way in entertaining areas, like open-plan living rooms, too, and bedrooms. Underfloor heating means that floors in this material need no longer be cold to the toes.

Marble’s having a fashion moment too, as perfectly demonstrated in the dramatic fabric of actress Cate Blanchett’s Giles Deacon dress at the Cannes Film Festival recently.

“The marble revival has, literally, rather taken people by surprise, but I think it’s a sign that we’re in a more confident economic era, and are embracing a combination of glitz and sleek modern sophistication in the home,” says Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, ambassador for the Ideal Home Show, taking place in Manchester from June 4-7 (www.idealhomeshowmanchester.com).

“After all, we’ve all been closeted in our burrows for the last five years, indulging in rich, dark colours, woods and general over-indulgent, high-fat decoration to make our homes cosseting sanctuaries from the harsh economic winds outside.

“But last year saw things start to shift to a lighter, altogether more streamlined look, and that was coupled with a revival in gold which is starting to replace white metals like nickel and chrome.

“Decor’s beginning to feel rather sophisticated, and rather early-Sixties, with a dash of James Bond and luxe-nightclub style.”

Marble will feature in Llewelyn-Bowen’s new home - a barn conversion in Gloucestershire - which he’s currently renovating. “I’m a fan and am definitely using the stone in the kitchen, and may consider a marbled wallpaper for one room. In the past, I used marble-design vinyl tiles on a wall, which added a brilliant air of grandeur at a fraction of the cost of the real thing,” he says.