How to use book-matching marble and bathroom symmetry

We explain what book-matching marble is, including how it can work in your bathroom and where to place furniture and plumbing to complement it

Kitchen with marble feature wall

Whether real stone or a faux alternative, marble surfaces have long been a popular choice for bathroom and kitchen walls. However, when looking at covering an expanse as large as a wall, getting a seamless piece is largely going to be out of the question, in terms of both the availability of supersized slabs and installing them in a property.

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Neutral shade bathroom with hanging units

Of course, when designing with a strongly patterned piece of stone, the points where the slabs meet will clearly highlight the change in pattern, giving you a more disjointed look. By breaking these pieces down into smaller tiles, you can have far more control on the effect and make it a purposeful part of the design, but with larger slabs, where there are just two or three joins on show, this can look a little clumsy and awkward.

The go-to solution? Book-matching.

As each piece of natural stone is unique, this is where two slabs are cut from the same piece of stone, so that they have identical, or near identical patterning. They are then placed side by side with one flipped around, like a book, but so that their patterns match at the join.

Marble focal-point bathroom wall
Bathroom from Nicholas Anthony

The result is that the lines of the marble veining don’t completely change between slabs, but create a mirror image so that the lines of the pattern don’t end at the join – think, the effect created by butterfly wings – for a more seamless effect.

However, the effect isn’t just a problem-solver – it creates a real focal point. I liken a line of symmetry in a design to the punctum of a photograph. The eye is drawn to it as it notices it as a visual anomaly. This places an importance, then, on where this line is placed and positioned within a space.

The symmetrical nature of the slabs generally means that you use it in a space where it perfectly centres on part of your design ‘scene’. Placing a bathtub, for example, in the centre of book-matched slabs, will create a stunning focal point.

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It’s become a look that works so well that its even been used with marble effect alternatives to great effect. With more control over its appearance, this can be used in more flexible creative instances. Take a look at this veneer clad kitchen from Martin Moore, for example.

Frameless book-matched marble cupboard
Kitchen from Martin Moore