Travertine vs Marble: which should you choose?
Whether it takes the shape of an iconic sculpture such as Michaelangelo’s David, or in monumental buildings like the Taj Mahal, marble has long been associated with luxury and decadence. You can see marble in the construction of many religious buildings, sculptures and cultural landmarks. Travertine, the rough around the edges cousin to marble, is rising in popularity due to its more muted tones and is making its way into many interiors of late. But in the battle of the stones, which one will crumble?
What is marble?
Marble is a type of limestone commonly utilised in sculpture and architecture, and forms when exposed to high temperatures and pressures. It is a favoured material by sculptors in classical times due to its softness. It was easy to carve and relatively shatter-resistant. Its finish gave sculptures a particularly waxy property, making sculptures appear more lifelike.
You can find many different strains of marble globally. Marble’s appeal further grows thanks to its wide colour variety and unique pattern qualities. When mining for marble, impurities in the formation of the mineral in the earth’s crust can result in colourways randing from pure white to red to black as well as unusual patterns or ‘marbling’.
One strain of marble that is quite famous is Carrara. Quite notably, Carrara is popular in England in the creation of fireplaces.
Pros and cons of marble
As stated earlier, marble is a particularly malleable rock which makes it perfect for shaping and sculpture and comes in a variety of colours and patterns that can suit almost any interior decor tastes, and they are very long lasting. On the other hand, marble can be very expensive to procure. Recently, with sustainability and environmental impact at the forefront of everyone’s minds. It has become more apparent the impact that marble has on the environment. Mining for marble does have a detrimental environmental effect, however, there are emerging designers looking to salvage marble off-cuts to minimise environmental impact, whilst still appreciating the beauty of the illustrious material. Consequently, buying vintage marble items helps to reduce environmental effects, and keeps amazingly designed furniture in circulation to be appreciated into the future.
What is travertine?
Whilst marble’s aesthetics are classical and cool, travertine appears as an alternative sibling with a rougher texture and feel. With famous quarries in Tivoli and Guidonia Montecelio, travertine furniture can often be found of Italian origin. The material also comes as a less costly alternative to marble. It’s an interesting choice for those who are looking to evoke the essence of classical architecture and design, whilst maintaining a modern aesthetic.
Travertine is a type of natural stone that is formed around hot springs. Due to this, travertine’s texture is rougher than marble and very porous. Travertine also has a variety of colour strains, although not ranging as deep and cool as marble. Travertine tends to be in warmer hues such as yellow, orange, pink and peach.
Pros and cons of travertine
There are many advantages to travertine. It is lower costs in comparison to marble, and it has a uniquely textural and aesthetic difference that could appeal to more modern design tastes. It is also a much greener alternative to marble and even porcelain. On the other hand, travertine is a lot more fragile than marble because of its texture. Also, if travertine is not finished in a gloss or buffed, the surface can be susceptible to wear, so it does require more maintenance and care.
Both marble and travertine have extensive histories being used in classical artwork and interior design. Whichever material you opt for, you’re guaranteed to have an interior that can evoke a sense of grandeur and luxury, be that in the architecture, flooring, or in the furnishings such as tables and countertops.
In need of more inspiration?
Check out our marble vs travertine Pinterest board.