Marble is a beautiful, noble material that can work in any kind of bathroom style--from traditional to modern, from retro to vintage. It's especially good for elegant, luxurious styles. It makes you think of Mediterranean palaces, of Cleopatra in her bath, of traditional Roman bathhouses that were built out of the beautiful veined stone.
So it's no wonder that lots of people remodeling their bathrooms consider marble for the floor or wall tiling, or even for the vanity countertops.
But the... main problem? Marble is expensive. Even the cheaper Carrara marble can still put a good dent in your bathroom remodel budget. Pre-fabricated marble vanities can cost above $1000, whereas cut marble needs to be installed by professionals, which hikes the price even higher.
Marble also has specific cleaning and maintenance requirements so it lasts for a long time and doesn't etch (especially with acidic products). Although this is mainly a kitchen problem, some cleaning and grooming products could damage marble, especially if left, uncleaned, for long periods of time.
So, you still want marble, but you don't want to pay for the real stuff. Thankfully, there are many ways you can get the look of marble for less money---and also less hassle than real marble.
01 of 05
Use laminate material
Modern technology makes imitating luxury surfaces like marble really, really easy.
A laminate countertop is cheap, durable, and just as pretty as the real thing. Sure, it might not feel the same on the skin, but how long do you really spend touching your bathroom countertops?
Bonus: laminate is really easy to clean. Our Housekeeping expert has a full post on how to care for your laminate countertops. Head over there to see how easy it is to care for, and how practical it is for busy spaces.
Marble laminate is very affordable. A 32 square feet sheet will take you back just about $100---this should be plenty to cover your bathroom countertops.
Don't like the typical white marble look? Try this dark marble laminate for a different style.
Laminate is easy to cut to the size you need, and easy to install on your countertops. It's a well-built all-around material for functional and budget-minded bathroom remodels.
02 of 05
Install a marble imitation quartz
If you feel you absolutely must get a natural stone for your countertop, then you're better off buying quartz than marble. It's cheaper, it's easier to clean and maintain, and unless you're an expert, you probably won't see the difference.
HanStone has several beautiful marble-looking quartz that you could use for your countertops.
Quartz is more expensive than laminate, so you should plan for a little more money there, but compared to marble, it's a bargain. And unless you have a gigantic bathroom countertop, you probably won't need to cover a large surface, making this choice more affordable for smaller bathrooms.
Other good things about quartz: it's bathhouses, which means it won't breed bacteria or mold. All you need to do is wipe it clean. There are some cleaning and maintenance rules for keeping quartz shiny for years, but they're pretty simple.
03 of 05
Paint your old countertop
Can you paint your way to a marble countertop? Yes, absolutely!
The main blogger at Gorgeous Shiny Things has developed a marble painting technique that is absolutely fantastic.
You can check out the post for more on how to achieve that amazing look. But basically, if you are low on budget but have plenty of time, this seems like a nice weekend project.
Since your bathroom countertop probably isn't as large as a kitchen one, it will surely take less time to paint over than kitchen surfaces.
DIY is one way to achieve the look of marble, for a lot less money but a lot more pride when visitors can't tell the difference!
04 of 05
We know that granite can also be expensive, but sometimes cheaper granites can be a good compromise between the authentic marble look, and higher renovation costs.
And if you don't have a very large surface to cover, granite can be an excellent choice if you absolutely want natural stone in your bathroom.
Many countertop material companies will have a few marble look-alike options made out of granite. You'll have a wide variety of choices with more or less veining, a paler or darker base shade.
Also, granite is much easier to clean and maintain than marble.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Yes, you can use concrete (another excellent bathroom countertop material that resists humidity) to get a marble look.
There are plenty of resources online for this other DIY project (see number 3 above), but this Instructables tutorial is easy to follow and should give you all the information you need to do this yourself.
The benefits of doing your own marble? You can control the color, the veining and the depth of the marble. You can adapt it to other features of your bathroom, like its wall color scheme or the other tiles in the space.
As you can see, the example countertop looks really good and could easily pass for dark marble. And you get the satisfaction of doing it yourself too!
Marble doesn't have to be expensive
Marble is beautiful, elegant and stately. It is an important material for traditional bathrooms, but also for more modern looks as well, depending on how it's used. In bathrooms, marble looks luxurious and cool. But it's also rather expensive. These ideas, alternative materials and DIY techniques described above will let you get the look of marble for less. Because you deserve the bathroom of your dreams, and that dream includes marble!