Alternatives to Marble

Suppliers Guide


June 2024

Everything you need to know about alternative marble effect table tops.

Marble table tops are the classic gold standard for bar and restaurant furniture.  With its variety in colour, pattern and veining, marble seamlessly integrates into any hospitality interior.  However, marble lookalike alternatives have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years as the market has expanded.  What are these alternative options and why might they be the right choice for your next project?

The Marvels of Marble

Marble tops bring an elegant touch to restaurants, bars and cafes; as a highly desirable natural material, marble is quarried worldwide and offers a wide range of colours, veining and strengths at different price points. Marble is a hard and dense stone which makes it highly resistant to wear and tear. Making it perfect for the daily rigours of a busy cafe or restaurant by withstanding spills, hot dishes, and high traffic use without showing significant signs of damage. 

However, it’s important to ensure proper and regular sealing to maintain their beauty as the porous nature of marble is vulnerable to acids like vinegar and wine. Acid etching will cause imperfections and staining to your table’s surface. Furthermore, the considerable weight of marble can restrict its use with some bases and must be treated with care during shipping and handling to avoid damages. 

You can learn more about marble and natural stone tops on our contract furniture guide to marble table tops.

So what are the alternative options to marble tops? We’ll detail some of the alternative materials we supply and offer why they might be better suited to your project needs than traditional marble.

Resin stone is a handmade alternative to traditional marble made to mimic the colours and patterns of marble, granite and other stones. Because it’s a man-made material, there is a vast range of stunning colours available both as  elegant true to life options and more unique combinations. Resin marble may look almost indistinguishable from the real thing but offers some great advantages; its nonporous surface offers great stain resistance and is easier to clean and maintain due to its protective gel coat, making it a superb choice for restaurant or bar tables. The strong surface is waterproof and ultra hygienic, making it food safe and easy to maintain for years. 

All our resin marble tops are made to order and can be customised by size, shape and edge profile specification. Whether it is a luxurious hotel lobby, an intimate and cosy cafe or a trendy bar, our resin tops are a perfect alternative to marble.

Busy Carrata
Autumn Onyx
Moss Green
Coffee Cream
Royal pavillion
Kirkdale Studios, Bao St James, contract furniture for restaurants and hotels

High pressure laminate tops are a lightweight, slim and durable alternative to marble. With UV, Stain, water and heat resistance, laminate tops are incredibly suited to intense contract environments both indoors and outside. The strong laminate is applied to a MDF core, allowing the top to be thin and elegant while being light enough to move around with ease. As well as being low maintenance, Laminates are incredibly cost effective and are available in a massive range of colours, patterns, wood and marble effects. This wide scope of designs allows for flexibility to fit a project schedule or seamlessly integrate into your hotel, restaurant or bar interior. Laminate is a popular choice due to its hardwearing and easy to clean surface making it ideal for the use of high traffic areas.

However, laminate tops require edging to prevent exposing the MDF substrate, this is commonly a thin strip of material that matches the top laminate or can be a contrasting material to compliment the top.  We also supply our laminate tops with a range of edge banding options including metal, solid wood, or plastic edging depending on your desired look and price point.

Kirkdale Studios - House of Ming, taj Hotel, restaurants chairs, asian interior design

Granite is another beautiful table top option, a natural stone made from compressed rocks and minerals that comes in a wide range of colours and patterns. Similar to marble granite can still be vulnerable to water and oils, causing acid etching and stains if not maintained and resealed regularly. Granite, however, is more durable and scratch resistant then marble and due to its natural stone makeup can withstand a high heat. Granite is typically darker and more uniform in appearance so will hide scratches or imperfections better than marble making it a great choice for tables in bustling restaurants or bars. Like marble, Granite should always be finished with chamfered arris or an edge profile to reduce the risks of chipping and give the table tops a refined and sophisticated look.

via Lactea Granite
Kashmir White
baltic brown
Pearl Blue
Nero Assoluto
Kirkdale Studios, Hilton Park lane contract furniture

Porcelain Tile offers extraordinary resistance to scratch and wear while maintaining a beautiful marble effect that fits perfectly in both classic and contemporary interiors. The nonporous surface is easy to clean, hygienic and resistant to staining making it perfect for anything from a prestigious restaurant to tables in a beautiful  outdoor terrace. Porcelain Tile is great when paired with a hard wood edge to disguise that it’s a ceramic tile and protect from chipping.

Aesthetics, function, price and maintenance should all be considered before specifying table tops and while Marble is the traditional option, there are a lot of great alternatives that will give a similar effect but might work better for your project. At Kirkdale Studios, we’re here to guide you through the process and advise you of your options. Samples of the products detailed in this guide are available in our showroom or can be delivered to your door.

If you are interested in finding more information about choosing the perfect tables for your project, check out our other blogs. At Kirkdale Studios we are dedicated to ensuring the delivery of a perfect solution and provide beautiful and robust furniture for your next hospitality or commercial project.

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