It's Time to Take a Second Look at Terrazzo
Once a staple in an older generation of homes, terrazzo is back to add texture, colour and character in fresh new ways
Terrazzo can come in different forms with wildly different looks, depending on the recipe, but essentially it is a concrete base (or sometimes resin) mixed with small chips of another material, such as marble, granite or recycled materials like broken ceramics. This gives terrazzo its signature rich, multi-tonal appearance.
The scale of the size and spacing of the aggregate chips makes a big difference to the look as well. Notice the difference between the look of the terrazzo floor in the first picture and the countertop shown here. The size of the aggregate changes the impact.
While terrazzo can do a great job of supporting other textural elements, it can also be a way to add some visual texture to spaces that don’t otherwise have much, like a modern kitchen with flat-front cabinets and painted walls.
The subtle texture in the floor pictured here is very similar to the first photo, but it becomes much more noticeable when paired with simple white cabinets, bringing out a sense of welcoming personality.
Looking for a modern countertop material with strength and style? Terrazzo has a similar strength and durability to coveted quartz, but with even greater possibilities for colour customisation. Plus, depending on the supplier, it can be formed to a requested size or shape, rather than having to be cut from a slab, which can avoid waste while creating a feature, such as the very gently rounded corner shown here.
Slab backsplashes are a big trend right now. The fact that terrazzo can be custom-shaped to fit between your cabinets makes it a smart choice, again avoiding wasteful cutting that can come with having to buy an entire 1.2-metre-wide slab just to use half.
If you look carefully at this photo, you can see that the same terrazzo used for the backsplash is also applied to the floor, creating strong architectural appeal and a sense of true custom design.
Sure, a white marble tabletop is beautiful, but sometimes you want something a bit more unique to personalise your style. Try a terrazzo tabletop instead, or a fun terrazzo-inspired print, for a lightweight alternative.
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Terrazzo is a manufactured material, but the multi-tonal appearance helps it look very organic, like a rich stone. This makes it a great companion to warm wood. It can play a supporting role while wood becomes the standout feature.
Terrazzo also works well with rich, natural stone, especially a stone with a bold grain, like many forms of marble.
When mixing materials with terrazzo, it’s often wise to choose one with a more dramatic appearance to dominate, and a more subtle material to go with it that won’t fight for attention.
In this example the tone-on-tone terrazzo floors support the richly veined countertops, bringing in some of the same hues for a subtle sense of harmony.
One of the downsides of using terrazzo on the floor, compared to softer materials like wood or carpet, is that it can appear ‘cold’ to some people. For this reason, it pairs well with warm, inviting colour schemes that use elements of wood, plump lounge-y upholstery and rich wall colours or treatments.
This modern home (the same as the green kitchen shown earlier) shows how you can use a continuous terrazzo floor in multiple spaces, but then give each area its own personality by adding inviting accents.
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