Design + Decor, Design Trends

What Is Terrazzo?

TERRAZZO TILE PASTEL

What goes around comes around, as they say. Sometimes we like it (high waisted jeans, ladies?) and sometimes we would die (wallpaper borders, yikes!) if it came back in style. But there’s one retro redo that we’re going gaga over…again…and that’s terrazzo. In fact, Pinterest revealed that saves for terrazzo are up 316 percent this year, making it one of 2018’s hottest home design trends.

You remember terrazzo, right? The flooring that was all over your school, ran rampant in banks, airports and hotels and graced the kitchen and family room of your parents or grandparents home? You know what I’m talking about. That speckled wonder of a floor that looked like a sprinkling of little gemstones.

Well, it’s back in a big way, and contrary to the fact that it was once considered a low-cost alternative to marble, terrazzo is now having its own shining moment in the sun as a chic, luxurious and stunning choice, not only for floors, but for walls, countertops, furniture, even accessories.

 

A little bit of history.

Terrazzo (Italian for “terrace”) dates back 8,000 years to Venetian construction workers who took smashed marble chips and set them in clay as a cost-cutting way to lay a floor in pricey marble. The chips were held together with concrete. Ground and polished to a smooth surface, the result was quite striking and could easily be customized into different patterns and shapes.

ANCIENT MOSAIC
Photo from the book, The Venetian Terrazzo” By A. Crovato   via Asin Pavimenti 

 

Fast forward to the 1970s, when thin-set terrazzo (using resin instead of cement) was invented and became a staple in homes everywhere, until it fell out of style again in the 1980s, and we know why. Definitely not our idea of a pretty floor!

One word: “UGH!”

1970s terrazzo

Why it works today.

Today, most terrazzo is epoxy terrazzo, which allows for a wider selection of bold, bright colorways, the use of larger stones and faster installation. Other materials, such as quartz, granite and glass chips are also used, in addition to marble. Its smooth and long-lasting finish is super easy to clean and less susceptible to cracking.

And modern terrazzo is no longer relegated to just the floor, either. Today you’ll find it on furniture, such as side tables, backsplashes, bathtubs, sinks, kitchen counters, stairs, walls, and accessories. Versatility is key with terrazzo. It complements many home décor styles and is as beautiful as an understated monochromatic addition to a room as it is in pastels or vibrant colors.

 

Here are a few spaces that rock terrazzo big time.

 

Just look at that amazing pattern. It’s like a piece of art underfoot.

black and white triangle terrazzo

A terrazzo room divider! Such a unique use of terrazzo and a great way to add pattern.

terrazzo room divider

Isn’t this the most gorgeous countertop?

terrazzo countertop
Dzek     Interior Design by Play. Associates

 

Now that’s a statement bathroom!

terazzo kitchen

Loving the mix of materials here.

grey and white terrazzo

Completely unique and beautiful, this terrazzo sink is a showstopper.

bathroom sink terrazzo

Terrazzo comes in all shapes, sizes and patterns.

Modern terrazzo comes in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colors to fit all design styles, applications and aesthetics.

colorful terrazzo

 

A beautiful combination of three different materials, terrazzo (miele), natural stone (white onyx) and metal (brass). Warm, elegant and luxurious!!

gold triangle terrazzo

These hexagonal terrazzo tiles are unexpected and fabulous!

hexagonal terrazzo tiles

There is absolutely no end to the gorgeous patterns and colors of terrazzo tiles today!

patterned pastel terrazzo

Now this is cool!  Dutch company, Acetual uses huge robotic 3D printers to create the framework made from recycled bio-plastic material for its sustainable floors, which it infills with terrazzo, making an endless array of patterns possible.

making terrazzo floor
Acetual   Design by House of Dus

 

Terrazzo is just as beautiful on furniture and accessories, too.

 

This hand-chiseled sculptural stone table with a removable terrazzo top is amazing.

terrazzo table

What a unique way to use terrazzo and bring a pop of color to this neutral kitchen.

island with terrazzo in kitchen

Ease into the terrazzo trend with these awesome bath accessories.

terrazzo bath accessories

A sophisticated terrazzo platter can be used as serving tray, a board for cheese and charcuterie, or even as a centerpiece on a dining room table.

terrazzo platters
Serax

 

And, even though this is not a residential application (although it could be for some lucky homeowner), we had to include this stunning spiral staircase, done in black and white scallop terrazzo. Absolutely breathtaking, this striking feature truly takes center stage at the center of the Rotunda in the renovated Tate Britain, an art museum in London.

terrazzo staircase rotunda

Whether its done in a riot of color and pattern, or as a rich tonal ground, modern day terrazzo is not for the faint of heart. It’s a bold and nostalgic choice that is anything but boring. Plus, it’s practical! How much better can it get? Let us know in the comments below if you think terrazzo is the way to go, and if you’d like to try this design trend in your home, give us a call at 314.395.1114 or CLICK HERE to contact us.

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