Lately one high/low hack has been popping up everywhere we look: using bits and pieces of discarded or leftover marble around the house for a luxe look on a budget. Case in point: When we wrote about this Two-Week, $1,000, 500-Square-Foot Rental Overhaul in Bushwick, Brooklyn, design student Kristina Line revealed that she scoured nearby marble scrap yards for unwanted pieces to create shelving and backsplashes in her DIY apartment; the restauranteurs behind the design-forward Portuguese wine bar Cervo’s did the same for the restaurant’s statement-making front counter. And when we looked back over the archives for more ideas for using marble odds and ends we found, among many ideas, some expert encouragement from Anthony D’Argenzio of New York City creative agency Zio & Sons: “Marble can be turned into trim around backsplashes, thresholds, door saddles. It can be cut, so it’s more versatile than tile,” he told us in Expert Advice: What to Source from Salvage.
Head to your local marble yard or retailer and see if they’ll give you discarded pieces for free or at a discount, or use the odds and ends left over from a remodeling project. Even the smallest, scrappiest pieces can be repurposed. Here are 14 ways of using marble scraps to great effect—from small, simple hacks to architectural ideas.
1. Prop up bookends.
Above: Marble scraps as bookends in Done/Undone with Clarisse Demory in Paris.
2. Turn a radiator into a sideboard.
Above: Top radiators with thin marble pieces to create an instant sideboard or place for display, as seen in An Artfully Appointed Parisian Flat.
3. Create an ad-hoc backsplash.
Above: In her Two-Week, $1,000, 500-Square-Foot Rental Overhaul in Bushwick, Brooklyn, design student Kristina Line sourced discarded marble scraps from a nearby stonemason. Among them: a jagged piece repurposed as a sculptural backsplash in the kitchen. “They don’t see the beauty in the broken leftovers, or what in their eyes is trash,” says her partner, Anton Bak.
4. Frame a sink.
Above: Here’s an example of a marble-remnant backsplash that has a more finished look. In Fabr Studio’s office kitchen, a slab of marble, left over from a kitchen project, serves as oversized backsplash. See Kitchen of the Week: An Architecture Firm’s Own DIY Kitchen in Williamsburg, Ikea Hacks Included.
5. Mount open shelving.
Above: A practical use for multiple small scraps: open kitchen shelving (supported by sturdy brackets), as seen in A Historical Hudson, NY, Home Reimagined (European Antiques Included).
6. Install a scrap-marble ledge.
Above: Another artful shelf/counter: The statement marble ledge in the front window of NYC wine bar Cervo’s started as a discarded piece at a marble yard in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “They have lots of scrap pieces left over from bigger jobs,” the owners say. “We spent a couple days going through all these marble scrap yards looking for one that would work with the rest of the color palette.” For a full tour of the interiors, see Cervo’s: 15 Design Ideas to Steal from a Tiny Portuguese Wine Bar in Manhattan.
7. Lay a tiny kitchenette counter.
Above: Add sophistication to even the tiniest kitchen with a small piece of marble as countertop, as seen in Passer Domesticus: 12 Ideas to Steal from an Idiosyncratic Urban Getaway in Greece.
8. Hack an instant kitchen station.
Above: Architect Barbara Chambers topped a metal slatted shelf in her kitchen with a small piece of marble to create a functional surface, which she uses as a coffee and tea station. See the rest of her house at An Exercise in Order with Architect Barbara Chambers.
9. Build a DIY table.
Above: Another of the marble scrap hacks in Kristina Line’s Bushwick apartment: a two-legged marble table that rests on the windowsill. File this under Don’t Try This at Home (or call a professional): Line and her partner built it out of plumbing pipes and a length of discarded marble.
10. Line an architectural niche.
Above: A small wall niche makes an impact when lined in small marble pieces; photograph from A Narrow but Glamorous Marble-Clad Apartment in Lisbon.
11. Design changeable shelves.
Above: Another marble hack in Kristina Line’s DIY Bushwick apartment: Discarded marble pieces fit onto a simple timber frame to create an ever-changeable, multipurpose shelving system (that looks more expensive than it is).
12. Transform the washing machine.
Above: In a small-space bath in an Auckland studio apartment, designer Karin Montgomery Spath topped the washing machine with a piece of marble from an old table that the client owned. Now, it’s a functional countertop for folding clothes and storing laundry and bath accessories. See A Glamorous Studio Apartment in Auckland that Feels Like a One-Bedroom, Hack Edition; photograph by Matthew Williams.
13. Hang a deconstructed bathroom vanity.
Above: A workaround for a bathroom counter fully clad in marble: a small slab anchored to the wall forms a deconstructed vanity, as seen in The Country Rental: A Floating Farmhouse in Upstate New York.
14. Install luxe room trim.
Above: The idea that started it all: using marble as trim, as seen lining the banquettes at Mimi in New York City. Instead of maxing out the budget for the small bistro, the team used marble as an accent: “We found a lot of images from Vienna and France where marble was used instead of wood. This gave us the general concept of using marble as an outline, because we couldn’t afford to have the entire bar or floor be marble.” Read on in French Glam on a Budget: 15 Ideas to Steal from Mimi, New York’s Sexiest Bistro.
15. Create a striking fireplace surround.
Above: For a hack that makes a big impact, make like Remodelista contributing editor Izabella Simmons, who used Carrara marble scraps left over from her kitchen countertops to surround the fireplace. See the full house in Before & After: Remodelista Contributing Editor Izabella Simmons Shares Her Scandi-Inspired Remodel.
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published on April 2, 2018.
More high/low remodeling ideas and hacks:
- Expert Advice: 23 Genius, Reversible, Budget-Friendly Hacks to Transform a Rental Apartment
- Remodeling 101: 6 Budget Backsplash Hacks
- 11 Zero-Cost Room-Changing Ideas