Nobody wants to have to fake it.
The ultimate goal when it comes to interior finishes is not having to go down the fake route. It's to opt for the real thing versus the replica, the knock off, the something sort-of kind-of similar or the dreaded synthetic.
90% of the time the finishes we tend to try replicate are the ones with the highest price tag. When it comes to the kitchen, there is no harm in faking it in this room of the house. Opting for a synthetic or a quartz worktop has become the first choice for many, allowing them to achieve the marble look on an IKEA budget.
I will just caveat this and say that if budget does allow, go with real stone. I get that some people still have an issue with the longevity of marble, but going with real stone worktops basically means that the world is your oyster design wise.
Synthetic versions are definitely more limited in aesthetic, and the design may have to sacrifice slightly.
Second caveat, when I say "fake it" I'm not talking about a Formica or a laminate stone lookalike...that's like faking a fake. The Inception of fakes.
So getting back on track - this blog isn't about what you should do so you don't have to fake it, but rather how to fake a marble/stone worktop so well you'll give Rachael Dolezal a run for her money.
Firstly, know your limitations with a quartz worktop. There are far too many kitchens being splashed on Instagram that have these sweeping faux grains that are meant to emulate a slab of marble. Firstly, you bought your kitchen in a sale, and secondly, pure white marble with a perfect 45 degree light-grey grain, that's been stylised to an inch of its life, just screams fake.
Real stone has imperfections. If you are trying to pick a product that looks as close to something that could be genuine, choose a slab with a mottled grain. Something that has more than two colours, and with a ground that isn't pure white.
Keep an eye on the scale. If you spotted a massive sparkling rock on the hand of an after hours Drag Queen, chances are you wouldn't think it was a diamond. Same goes for your kitchen. Having the worktops, island and splash-back all in a marble lookalike might draw a little too much attention. So unless it's a pretty good supplier, only use where it's absolutely essential, and substitute for a tile or secondary finish elsewhere.
Talking of shiny rocks...there is nothing worse than a sparkling kitchen surface. I get that some people literally want their kitchen to glow, but there are about a million other ways to make that happen. You don't need pick a product that has more glitter in it than ASOS festival wear.
Bit of science for you here - real stone or a good quality quartz, is always cold to the touch. A cheap synthetic or a laminate product isn't. Don't ask me how or why, but it's a thing. It's probably minor in the grand scheme of things, but give it a feel before you fake it. It's a bit underwhelming when you touch, what you think is a piece of stone, and it's room temperature.
Polished or semi-gloss finishes trump a matte finish when it comes to faking marble or a heavy grained stone. The opposite applies when it comes to faking a concrete or slate. These are best being matte. If you are going to try pass something off as the real thing, the actual finish plays as big a part as the colour or application of the product.
And finally, a porcelain tile made to look like a piece of stone is such a big no no. If you are really pushed on budget, a look-alike tile isn't the answer. Rather opt for a real stone mosaic. Generally these are much cheaper per square foot, and will save you the shame. Alternatively, see where else you can incorporate real marble or stone into your design.
I have a timber work top in my kitchen, Not my ideal choice I will admit, but budget...However with a couple of well placed chopping boards and a few marble accessories, I am able to inject that essence that marble gives. I'm not saying that your accessories should carry the weight of a bland kitchen, but if you cant afford a certain finish, own that choice. Work with what you can afford. Design within your means, without having to make sacrifices and use your accessories to layer and round off the look.