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If you’re planning to use Carrara Marble tile in your kitchen or bathroom, you need to be mindful of the undertone and choose your countertop and wall colour accordingly. Here’s what countertop looks good with Carrara Marble. 

We are still accepting applications for a FULL-TIME virtual Senior Colour Designer in my eDesign department. See the job posting here.

Beautiful silver bowl in the entry filled with found objects from the beach and two votives carved from rocks

I love staying in other people’s homes rather than hotels because it’s always fun to see how other people decorate, up close and personal.

Last week, my Mom and I went to the Sunshine Coast for a quick little getaway, sadly we were not far enough from what I’m now calling the #worstsummerever here on the WestCoast where it’s been raining for a full two months. We had one day of sun the day after we arrived and then it was back to rain.

A blanket was still necessary that morning, which I flung over my legs every time the sun went behind a cloud 🙂

Anyway, this house was brand new (built last year) and the finishes had a lovely classic and timeless feeling.

The one mistake they made was choosing quartz countertops that had a violet undertone.

If you’ve been reading my blog (or my white ebook) you will know that Carrara Marble has a blue undertone. And I bring that up not to be critical, because they’ve done a gorgeous job as a whole. But because I think it raises an interesting point worth sharing.

There’s no such thing as a solid quartz with blue undertones.

The even bigger mistake that quartz companies are making is that that a solid quartz with a BLUE undertone currently does not exist.

Therefore, if the homeowner doesn’t realize that Carrara is blue, they would be looking at small samples of their marble (I mean that’s how all samples are before they are installed) in the tile shop. And then the homeowner tries to find the closest match to the countertop, which in this case appeared to be the grey one with the violet undertone.

Here’s the pretty master ensuite (below). If you’d like to see what the right paint colour should be, watch my Instagram video here (you have to swipe left on your phone to see the video).

The existing colour here is Benjamin Moore Grey Mist (in my system it’s classified as a green grey greige). And while it doesn’t necessarily clash with the marble, if you’re going to introduce a super pale neutral, the undertones should be the same to avoid your paint colour looking like a mistake.

That is to say, Carrara would work with lots of paint colours, which makes it a classic and timeless choice. However, you want your paint colour to read like a ‘colour’ and not a barely there, neutral.

I like the alternating Carrara tile sizes on this shower! This is how to design with accent tile if you’re going to go for it in a bathroom.

And again, here’s the violet quartz countertop in the bathroom. It’s not bad, but it could be much, much better.

Read more: Is Your Bathroom Perfect or Perfectly Nice?

What countertop looks best with Carrara Marble?

The countertop that looks best with Carrara Marble is a Carrara slab or a pure white quartz, since a blue grey solid quartz does not seem to exist.

With hard finishes, remember that there is no such thing as “it’s close enough, so it’ll work.” It’s important to remember that if you are looking at some tiny samples and they don’t look perfect, they are definitely not going to be better once that tiny 4″ x 4″ sample turns into a larger countertop.

This is why most bathrooms are not perfect yet… Because people assume there must be more than one good option, or think that ‘close enough’ will work. Or worse, many homeowners are not willing to wait for the right and perfect custom item to arrive and instead, pick up whatever the big box store has available.

With hard finishes, your choices are very slim indeed.

Make one selection and the world is no longer your oyster. If you are lucky, you may end up with a couple of options to choose from that will coordinate perfectly. Believe me, just because there appears to be so many choices in any given tile or countertop store – there are usually only a few options that will work perfectly – especially with Carrara Marble tile. Trust me.

Carrara Marble 


Over to you my lovelies! If you have used Carrara in your kitchen or bathroom, what do you think? Are you happy with it? I often get questions about the durability!

If you’d like to make sure that your colours and finishes end up perfect, see my available packages here. Please note, the smaller packages are still marked SOLD OUT, but my Bathroom package, kitchen package, renovation and new build packages plus Exterior Bundles and are still available. My subscribers will the the first to know when they open up again.

To make sure your whites are perfect, download my White is Complicated; A Decorators Guide to choosing the Right White Here.

Related posts:

Second Rule of Design; Waiting New Equals Beautiful Later

A 10 Year Review of Accent Tile, Should you Install the Current Fad?

One Carrara Marble Bathroom; Four Colours

PS. Here’s a few more pics of my Mom and I in the Sunshine Coast.  I couldn’t resist snapping a photo of the back of my Moms new dress when she was enjoying the view one (on the sunny) morning (below).

Terreeia has been at a health retreat for 3 weeks, I’ll be sharing more on my stories this week because she’s back.

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  • Lorri says:

    If I built that house, that bathroom wall color would have driven me crazy by now. Your choice is excellent, Maria.

  • Kay says:

    My kitchen has Carrara marble countertops, also on the island, honed. They are now seven years old and have lots of etching and even a tiny chip or two around the sink. I don’t care. They are still gorgeous. They look like I cook in my kitchen, which I do. People admire old Carrara marble with its aged patina, and that’s what is gradually developing on mine. I also don’t stress about the wear along the edges of some of the white cabinets.

    But I understand that not everyone loves old things and doesn’t mind seeing imperfections. Carrara marble is not for them!—at least on counter surfaces.

  • Great post, thank you for spelling all of this out. Always helps to see examples of undertones and how they work or don’t work together!

    Very sweet picture of your mom on the balcony enjoying the view.
    And yes, this “summer” we’re having is not feeding my need for warmth either. (I’m in Anacortes, WA.) Love the beautiful Sunshine Coast, and am looking forward to the day when we can travel across the border again, although looks like it may be awhile!!

  • Lara says:

    I wonder if having a paint colour that was a gray with both violet and blue undertones (if such a thing exists) would work to tie together the marble and the quartz. Or maybe a colour that’s purple-blue, rather than a neutral.

  • Linda says:

    Hi Maria. When I asked for a quartz that resembled Carrara marble for our Condo remodel, we were directed to Vicostone brand’s #BQ8840 Eclipse. I was told that it was the only quartz that resembled Carrara. Bear in mind, we did not intend to combine it with real marble. And we ultimately decided to go with granite instead.

    I am mentioning this quartz for the sake of your other readers. As I look at my sample, the undertone looks more green/gray to me. I was just wondering if you are aware of this quartz product.

  • Kelley says:

    We put in honed Calcutta slabs in the kitchen in a new built about 14 year ago. The first 5 years I was a little crazed about stains, the marble Nazi. I invested in lots of coasters and tea towels. We have a local cleaning company that does furniture, floors and countertops. For stone they do a wet sanding process to remove etchings by damming the countertops. The mess isn’t too bad and they look brand new. I’m not obsessed with every stain now knowing it can be removed if it bugs me. We also have used very fine grit diamond pads (glass art supply stores) with water to remove the occasional stain. I love the stone and would use it again. I also have yellow onyx on a bar which is even worse than the marble, it etches when you look at it. The same company applied a very thin coat of clear plastic coating to the onyx and the part of the Calcutta which is a serving platform. It lasts for years if you don’t scratch it. I don’t know the name of the product, the cleaning company was experimenting with different products at the time. I would not use yellow onyx again unless it was a vertical surface in a dry zone.

    • cmy says:

      @Kelley, Could you pls share the name of the cleaning company and approximate cost (is it per sq ft)?

  • Paige says:

    You are too darn cute, Maria, taking your color boards on holiday!!! I love it!!!

    I have honed Carrara on my island that has medium blue-gray cabinet color and like Kay, the marble has some etching and a few tiny chips, but I look at it everyday and think to myself I LOVE YOU!!! In fact, I love my marble much more than I do the gray quartz on my perimeter cabinets!

  • Diane says:

    Come down to N. CA we’re in the 100’s and we have plenty of sun!

  • Anita says:

    I have Carrara Mable for my master bedroom floor, shower and countertop. It looks beautiful and I love it. I wouldn’t use marble as a kitchen counter top but it is great in the bathroom.

  • Connie says:

    I am not as troubled by the quartz and Carrara as I am by the bathroom paint color. And since I will never use Carrara marble no worries…

  • Beverly Leeck says:

    I put marble on our bathroom floor and on the counter of another bathroom. They’ve both developed patina. This house is 106 years old so perhaps the dull scratched surfaces belong here. Unfortunately there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t want to find someone to come in and polish the dullness and scratches out of them. To me they’re just sad and not clean enough looking. I wouldn’t use marble again for anything.

    When I was young my mother had me wash, wax, and polish our hardwood floors every two weeks — that was before the advent of polyurethane type products. I liked the clean shine of those floors and still do. Perhaps in my life the words clean and shine have come to mean the same.

  • Jenny says:

    What about Caesarstone ‘Noble Grey’ for countertop? Would that work with Carrara marble backsplash?

  • Lynne says:

    Good, super informative post as always. I’m a bit disappointed that you are trying to get clicks for your insta page though to see your recommended colour correction for the bathroom wall, rather than just posting the pic here for your loyal blog followers.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Lynne,
      I posted that video on my Instagram a few days ago before I decided to talk about that bathroom in a blog post so it was too late to turn it into a youtube video which is the only way to post it here.
      And if anyone is interested in learning more about colour, that’s another good place to be anyway.

  • Molly says:

    Maria, when you say that a pure white quartz countertop would work well with carrara marble do you mean a true white from your system? What do you mean by pure white? I especially appreciated you showing how the bathroom was beautiful but not quite perfect due to the countertop and wall color. Your attention to detail and willingness to share your thought process is a terrific gift.

  • Kathy says:

    I would think that some sort of black could be an option too, such as was used in the trim in the bottom bathroom photo.

  • cmy says:

    Maria, I loved the pictures and story of your holiday, especially the photo of you and your mom together. So sweet.

    For our kitchen we’ve been looking at a quartzite called Super White that has tones pretty similar to Carrara Marble. It’s supposed to be more stain resistant, but I’m told that with quartzite what happens is that the coating gets etched. We did a few tests with lemon juice, wine, vinegar, and this did seem to be the case.

    Do you have any experience with this type of quartzite?

  • Jen_94506 says:

    Hi Maria,

    In your white e-book do you have recommendations for countertops? I am have currently chosen marble for two bathroom floors (one is a patterned marble and the other is a 12 x24 carrara tile) and I would prefer a quartz countertop over marble, but am so worried about getting it wrong!

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