6 Popular Porcelain Alternatives to Marble

Bianco Carrara book matched porcelain marble tiles by Porcel-Thin

From the grandeur of pale Carrara to the rich sparkle of onyx, marble tiles can’t be beat on beauty. But real marble stone comes with plenty of drawbacks. Heavy? Check. Expensive? Check. High maintenance? Don’t even start…


Bianco Carrara book matched porcelain marble tiles by Porcel-Thin

Mindful of these downsides, many designers are now embracing a cheaper, lighter, and more durable alternative: porcelain tiles. Advances in digital printing have spawned a new market in marble effect porcelain tiles that replicate the exact look of marble slabs. The sheer strength and durability of porcelain allows for extra-large, ultra-thin tiles that could not be achieved using marble.

It’s not easy to Replicate the look of marble in a porcelain tile. After all, marble is a true natural wonder – its beauty lies in the unique veins and colours forged over millions of years.

So how do we pull it off? The secret is to mix artistry with technology: Porcel-Thin’s 3D printing specialists can mimic the patterns and textures of marble stone with a close attention to detail. Our design team has created dozens of porcelain marble effect tiles, each indistinguishable from the real thing. In this article, we’ll introduce you to six of the most popular marble effect porcelain tiles in the Porcel-Thin range and explain what makes each so distinctive.

Carrara Marble

Modern bathroom tiled with white Carrara marble porcelain tiles

Walk through any luxury hotel, restaurant, or spa retreat, and there’s a chance you might spot Carrara marble. Mined in the Tuscany region of Italy, Carrara’s popularity rests on its light colours, typically a white or blue-grey background with thin veins lending a darker hue. Carrara marble works especially well in luxury bathrooms: see our recent projects in Surrey and London for just two examples.

Porcel-Thin offers Carrara marble effect porcelain tiles in several versions. The most popular is the 1200x600mm tile from our Ferrara range (4.8mm thick) with a choice of polished and matt finishes. This tile is perfect for kitchen splashbacks and countertops, as well as bathrooms. We also get a lot of interest in our Bianco Book Match tiles (1400x800mm, 6mm), with eight individual pieces that together form a seamless pattern measuring 2.8×3.2m.

Calacatta Marble

Modern bathroom with Calacatta Borghini marble effect porcelain tiles by Porcel-Thin

Paler than its Carrara cousin, Calacatta marble (also from Tuscany) is famed for its dramatic veins with colours running the spectrum from beige to gold. We offer four stunning Calacatta porcelain tiles such as the super-sized Calacatta Borghini (2400x1200mm, 5.5mm thick) from the Leviathan range. Meanwhile, fans of bold design statements will love the Calacatta Antique Book Match tiles (1400x800mm, 6mm thick), also forming a 2.8×3.2m area.

Emperador Marble

Tempted by the dark side? Emperador marble is a safe bet. Renowned for its rich brown textures with web-like veins, the darker version of Emperador’s is beloved by interior designers for its dark, indulgent counterpoint to Carrara and Calacatta.

Porcel-Thin showroom display of Emperador choclate brown marble effect tiles

One popular trend is to combine dark Emperador marble with a light-coloured alternative. Our south London HQ uses this killer combo to great effect. The show-stopping Emperador Onyx tile boasts an extra-large 1800x900mm format at 5.5mm thickness. Its rich chocolate background and thin, icy veins form the perfect mood for a darker design palate.

Statuario Marble

Large dining room with feature wall tiles with porcelain Statuario marble tiles by Porcel-Thin

Another white style, Statuario is among the rarer types of marble and is therefore in high demand. Fortunately, thanks to our digitally printed porcelain tiles, getting hold of a Statuario look is no longer an issue! Statuario tends to be a beige or light grey affair with heavy, bold veins and intricate patterns in between. Check out Porcel-Thin’s Statuario Onyx tiles (1800x900mm, 5.5mm thick) for an affordable alternative to this prized marble.

Crema Marfil Marble

Crema Marfile porcelain marble effect tiles

The clue is in the name: Crema Marfil has a creamy background capped off by host of subtle shades and textures. Mined from vast limestone quarries in Spain, Crema Marfil holds its own in the elegance department with its medley of yellow, gold, white, and cinnamon tones. Our version is soft and sandy in texture and is consistently one of our best-selling tiles from the epic 2400x1200mm Leviathan range.

Nero Portoro Marble

Crazy Bear Hotel featuring black Nero Portoro marble effect porcelain tiles

The black stuff! Italy’s answer to the iconic Negro Marquina, Nero Portoro is among nature’s darkest wonders. All the hallmarks of great marble are here: unique patterns, a striking luxury look, and versatile enough to be used in different kinds of spaces. We recently kitted out a 16th-century boutique hotel near Oxford with 1800×900 Nero Portoro porcelain tiles. The photos of these guest suites illustrate just how suited black marble effect tiles are with traditional furnishings.


These six tiles are just a small selection from our marble effect tiles range. We have nearly 50 ultra-thin marble effect tiles in a variety of size formats. You can explore each tile via our online collections, or experience their beauty in person at our showroom in Rotherhithe, London. Please get in touch to order any samples by request, or for any questions you may have about using Porcel-Thin tiles for your next project.