What Looks Good With Carrara Marble?

Who doesn’t love a beautiful slab of carrara marble?

Carrara Marble

Relative to other natural and engineered stone options, carrara is actually on the less expensive side, so it can be an attractive option for projects in a wide range of budgets. Of course, carrara has its challenges, and isn’t for everyone; it can etch and stain easily. But for those of us who love it, we’re willing to let nature take its course – it builds patina and character. Stylistically, carrara can work equally well in contemporary, transitional, and traditional settings.

So if you have fallen in love with carrara marble and are determined to use it as a countertop in your kitchen or bath, what should you choose for your cabinetry, hardware, fittings and fixtures? It’s actually a bit trickier than you might think.

 

 1.) Cabinetry

A lot of people look to carrara marble when they’re creating an all-white kitchen. This can be absolutely stunning – IF done right. You have to be really careful about the white you pick for your cabinets, especially if you’re not painting them, in which case you may have 4-5 white options from which to choose. Carrara is a very cool white with cool gray veining, so you can use that to guide your color choice toward a bright white or cool gray with blue undertone for a harmonious look. You’ll want to steer clear of those creamy, warm whites. I see this a lot – including the master bathroom in my own condo (which I did not do, but have not bothered to change). My issue, beyond even the conflicting undertones and color temperatures, is that a warm white makes the cool carrara stone look dingy and less rich.

Here are two examples of cool white cabinetry paired with carrara…

Veranda Magazine - Matthew White

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White & Gray Bathroom with Carrara Marble

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And two spaces where warm white cabinetry conflicts with the cool marble…

Carrara Marble Kitchen

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White Carrara Counters and Cream Cabinets

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Do you see the difference? The last picture of the large vanity works a bit better than the kitchen because the cabinetry color is repeated in the mirror and wall color.

 

On the other hand, if you are willing to be more adventurous with the color of your cabinetry – perhaps a contrasting color on the lower cabinets or your island – you’ll still be well served to look for cool colors. And I don’t just mean blue, green and purple. There is a cool and a warm side to every hue. Stay on the cool side. A darker color allows carrara to pop the most (if that’s what you want it to do), and makes it look incredibly rich and dreamy. Two of my favorite color pairings with carrara marble are royal blue and emerald green.

Blue Lower Cabinets with White Marble

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Emerald Green, Brass & Carrara Marble

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2.) Hardware, Fixture and Fitting Finishes

In my opinion, I think the best metal finishes for carrara marble are chrome (brushed or polished), stainless steel, and brass. Chrome and stainless steel are cool silver finishes that work well with the gray veining in the stone. I have a slight preference for a brushed finish with carrara, but that’s just little ol’ me.

Gramercy Double Glass Washstand

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Brushed Chrome and Carrara Marble

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And then there’s brass. I know, brass is all warm and golden, but it is timeless, elegant and rich when paired with white marble – especially an antiqued or rubbed/distressed brass – yum! It really helps to balance the coolness of the stone – brass is the yin to carrara’s yang.

Kitchen with Carrara Marble & Brass Hardware

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Brass Faucet on Carrara

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Nickel can be problematic because it has a yellow undertone and is therefore a warm gray, conflicting with the stone’s cool gray inclusions.

Polished Nickel with Carrara Marble

 

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See how it doesn’t look quite right – just a little “off” ? Classic clashing of undertones. Oil rubbed bronze – just not a big fan of this combination. Too much contrast with no relationship between the two.

 

What’s your favorite carrara combination? I’m going to have to go with carrara with emerald green and antique brass!

 

 

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20 thoughts on “What Looks Good With Carrara Marble?

  1. I am in love with how restoration hardware pairs their carrara marbles with weathered oaks – the french empire collection is to die for and on sale…where can I find an extra 10,000 to redo my bathroom?

    • How funny, I just bought the RH French empire night stands for our master bedroom (on sale!). They are lovely. I wish I had some ideas for you on the reno budget – you could use my parents’ strategy when I was a kid – save your dimes in an empty magnum of Moet :).

  2. My kitchen cabinets are a bright, pure white. I wanted Vermont Danby Imperial marble because I want a very subtle, relaxed, airy look, not busy. However, in the samples of this marble I received, it seems to have yellow undertones….creamy white…. and when I hold it against the cabinets, it looks dingy and almost a dirty yellow! So, now I do not know if all Vermont Danby Imperial marble will have this yellow undertone, and not look good with my cabinets! Should I start looking at carrara instead? Help! I really love the softer veining in the Imperial Danby, and hope I can find a carrara with the same look!

    • I would suggest a trip to a stone distributor (or two) so you can look at actual slabs. Sample squares of natural stone are not necessarily representative of the slab you will get, even if they come from the slab itself. This is especially true of highly veined marbles. You may find a Vermont Danby slab that works. Carrara is so widely available, there’s a good chance you could find a slab that has the level of veining you’re looking for. Other white marbles to look at: Calacatta Gold (may have yellow veining, and tends to be a bit warmer), Statuary (similar to Carrara). Stay on the cool side with those bright white cabinets. Good luck!

  3. Hi Kelly……Thanks, so much for your reply. I am going to bring my cabinet door sample with me when I look at slabs. I am disappointed, as I really love the honed Imperial Vermont Danby soft and subtle look, but the creamy color against my bright white cabinets just look so dingy! I think I will also bring the 4 x 4 samples, so I can compare them to the slab…..maybe I will find a Danby that is more white than the samples I have. I did seal the samples, again….maybe the sealer imparted a yellow tinge to them……All I know for sure is, the Carrara with its cooler white looked much better against my white cabinets! Love the Calacatta…..but my home is a beach cottage……wide pine plank floors, one wall of the kitchen a hall are also 10″ pine planks…..and I just think the Calacatta may be a bit too much! Do love it, though!

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  5. I really love the choices here! I would choose Cambria. Now I will say, we have granite and it’s been great! I love the last photo of the granite, if you do go that route. It’s so easy to clean, looks new all the time. I don’t know a whole lot about counter tops but those are my two choices! http://www.forevermarble.com/.

  6. Wish I knew what paint the white in the grey and white bathroom is. It looks perfect. I definitely want white, but I don’t want it to be too too crazy cool and bright. That one is gorgeous.

  7. You have to visit warehouses that have slabs of marble and choose one you like. I guess you could just order it from one of the large box stores, but the sample you are looking at in the store, will be nothing like the countertop they bring to your house to install. So, it is best to find your own slab and then you know exactly what you are getting.

  8. What’s your opinion of carrara mixed with wood tones? Was thinking a walnut or something a bit lighter – something the colour of well-worn pine. Would this work, even though the wood is warm and the carrara, cool?

    • I like to see more neutral wood tones with Carrara – so, not too yellow or orange-y, not too red. Walnut could work quite nicely, depending on the stain, but I’m not so sure about pine. Look to old Victorian marble top tables for inspiration (lots at antique shops, flea markets and on eBay and Craigslist.

  9. I think it would be gorgeous! But,…..I would look for pictures of kitchens with this combination and I would also bring a good size piece of the pine I would be using and see what it looks like against the marble slab I would be getting!

  10. Hi Kelly: We are installing carrera (campanelli) in our kitchen (counters and backsplash) and have decided to paint the cabinets in lacquer BM Sandy Hook Gray with a walnut peninsula. I just couldn’t bring myself to do an all-white kitchen and wanted that contrast. we will have medium brown white oak floors. gorgeous! what do you think of the Sandy Hook choice? i’m now second guessing and agonizing :) i so appreciate your input

    • You have some big decisions to make, and I certainly understand the stress involved in doing so! I don’t feel comfortable giving you an opinion on this without understanding the full context (including the color of your walls, any backsplash tile you are planning to use, undertones in your wood floors and cabinetry, etc.). It’s potentially a complicated answer :). This really falls into the realm of a virtual color consultation – if you’d like to learn more, please contact me here: http://kellyrogersinteriors.com/contact.

      • Hi Kelly: thank you for your response. you’re right – it is complicated! unfortunately i had to make decisions quickly so i’m crossing my fingers.

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