Hello, Terrazzo! This Throwback Trend Is Back in a Big Way

Or should we say, "Hello again, terrazzo?" This flooring trend that was popular in the 1970s is coming back better than ever, and it’s not just for floors this time. We’re seeing terrazzo in everything from countertops to showers to lampstands.

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What Is Terrazzo?

Even if you’re not exactly sure what terrazzo is, you’ve definitely seen it and probably walked on it. Terrazzo is a durable, speckled material, usually made from small pieces of marble, quartz, glass and other materials that are set in concrete or resin and smoothed down flat. There can be a lot of variety in color, size and shape of the smaller pieces that make up the larger slabs or tiles, which means it’s easy to achieve a one-of-a-kind look in your space. This London kitchen designed by POST-OFFICE features sage cabinets (also a major trend this year!) and statement-making black terrazzo with specks of green, yellow and orange. This engineered marble terrazzo, which you may have seen popping up on Instagram and Pinterest, is called Marmoreal, which means "marble-like," and was designed by Dzek in collaboration with Max Lamb.

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Stepping Back in Time

You may think of terrazzo as a material popular in the 1970s, but its origins go back much further than that. It stems from the 18th-century Venetian pavement that became popular in Mediterranean designs when flooring makers started taking scraps from higher-design flooring like marble and quartz and combining them to make the mosaic-like speckled flooring we now know today as terrazzo. NOMOS Architects brought inspiration from Italy into their design of Paradiso, a café in Geneva, Switzerland. "We chose this particular combination of black-and-white Carrara marble with Verona red to emulate the classic Italian café and because it’s sturdy and easy to maintain and will only get better with time," Lucas Camponovo, an architect at NOMOS, said.

Common Uses

Technological innovations like divider strips and the electric grinding machine made the production process easier, and Art Deco designs favored terrazzo, beginning in the 1920s. One of the more recognizable terrazzo floors - the Hollywood Walk of Fame - was created in 1958. You’ll often find terrazzo in museums, schools and public buildings since it’s widely available and easy to clean. Plus, it's long-lasting and can be refinished repeatedly.

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Watching Your Step

While terrazzo is often used as flooring in highly-trafficked areas since it's durable and long-lasting, it can be slippery if not sealed properly. You'll want to discuss adding non-slip additives to the surface with your contractor, especially if you have kids or elderly family members. Saturated with rich blue and gold hues, this eclectic, inviting sitting room combines Italian-inspired tumbled marble terrazzo floors with midcentury modern touches like the Sputnik-style light.

For Your Countertop Consideration

While marble and quartz have been two of the most popular countertop options in the past couple of years, terrazzo is on the rise. With the wide variety available, terrazzo can be the star of the kitchen or can be more neutral like this island with a waterfall edge.

A New Kind of White Kitchen

If you're tired of cookie-cutter white kitchens, add a touch of personality with terrazzo countertops. Designed by Play. Associates, this London kitchen features Dzek's white Marmoreal terrazzo, emerald green cabinets, metallic gold accents and open shelving.

Working With Glass

While some terrazzo gives off more of a rustic Italian vibe or a hint of midcentury modern, terrazzo ties this contemporary kitchen together, proving it works in a wide range of styles. Designer Massucco Warner Miller used a concrete terrazzo mixed with small bits of recycled glass to create a sea-glass-inspired, eco-friendly kitchen backsplash. Continuing the terrazzo from the countertops to the backsplash creates a seamless look, and the blue specks of glass pair perfectly with the light blue cabinets.

Bathing in Terrazzo

Beyond floors and countertops, terrazzo works in the shower, too. This bathroom in Paris takes the trend to new heights by using Dzek's white Marmoreal on almost every surface possible and pairing it with matte black fixtures.

In a New Light

If you're a commitment-phobe and aren't ready to reno your floors, counters or backsplashes, opt for terrazzo accents. We're seeing terrazzo furniture and accessories, even faux terrazzo-inspired prints and patterns, pop up everywhere. Artist Carly Jo Morgan released a design-forward line last year called "Transmutation" of terrazzo products, including chairs, tables, lamps (pictured) and more.

MORE: 10 Terrazzo Buys to Keep You on Trend

#TeamTerrazzo All the Way

What’s more on-trend than terrazzo? Millennial pink terrazzo, obviously. If you're totally #TeamTerrazzo, take inspiration from The Budapest Café in Chengdu, China. Melbourne-based design studio Biasol incorporated speckled pink terrazzo in this bathroom to complement the nostalgic green hues of the rest of the café, which is inspired by Wes Anderson's iconic and whimsical aesthetic as the name suggests.

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