What once was old is new again, and nothing proves that more than the recent resurgence of the retro terrazzo trend. It was a classic staple during the ’70s, when everything from floors to kitchen countertops was covered in the stone material with its confetti-like chips. But while it might remind you of your childhood kitchen or your grandma’s powder room floor, terrazzo has a long history that extends way past the 20th century—examples have even been found in ancient mosaics in Egypt.
But the Venetians were the ones who made the style famous: 15th-century palace owners wanted to find a budget-friendly alternative to mosaics when it came to paving their terraces. So they had their construction workers throw leftover pieces of marble in a mortar base, and then grind the stones smooth to create a polished floor. It took until 1890 for the trend to hit the United States, but it didn’t become popular until the 1920s, when Art Deco took off. Now, nearly a hundred years later, the style is making its way back into the mainstream.
Using chips of marble, quartz, or granite in concrete or resin, the pattern has been making its rounds on everything from credenza cabinets, to bathroom walls, to cabinet knobs, and even paper plates. To see how to work the look in a modern way, check out some of the design examples and home accents below.
For those with a spunky sense of style and a daring attitude when it comes to going all-in with a trend, you can cover every surface in your bathroom with a retro terrazzo, matching the walls to the floor.
If you prefer a more subdued accent, this rose colored bathroom with concrete flooring is underscored with a blush pink terrazzo that breaks the space up and adds a “color block” effect.
For a playful kitchen with a vintage-inspired design, you can pick out a chunkier terrazzo with muted shades. Accent the space with blush pink chairs and gold hardware to make the pattern look less “18th-century Venetian aristocrat” and more “2018 breakfast nook.”
You can also let your freak flag fly and mix two different terrazzo patterns together, just like this bathroom in a guest suite at The Siren Hotel in Detroit. The mint green speckled sink both clashes with and complements the black and white checkered terrazzo tiling, making for an interesting pairing.
Or contrast a bulkier terrazzo motif with a color-blocked marble.