Inspiration: Modern Terrazzo Design
I hate saying that terrazzo is “back” or “on trend” right now because, in my eyes, it is a design staple. Like many Floridians, my mom’s house has terrazzo floors. I grew up seeing terrazzo in homes and commercial buildings all throughout the Tampa Bay area. The different colors in terrazzo have always been an inspiration to me and I love how they can bring out other colors in a space.
A little history lesson on terrazzo… It originated in Italy as a cheaper way to create flooring material. If you have traveled to Italy or Europe, you have probably seen terrazzo everywhere. It’s basically just small pieces of marble, quarts, or other stone materials bound together with some form of concrete, then polished for a smooth surface. It’s on floors, walls, tables, and probably looks a little like the image below:
Terrazzo made its’ way into the US around the late 1800s and was a material used by many modern architects around the 1950s (think mid century modern design). It’s probably why those of us who grew up in Tampa are used to seeing terrazzo, most homes were built around that time and the material was used by many builders.
As much as I hate to say it is now “trending,” it’s true. Designers and builders are embracing this terrazzo style, but of course, modernizing it. We are now seeing larger chucks of stones, modern color combinations, and intricate tile cuts, delivering bolder designs. This evolution has been incredibly fun to watch because, well, you know, I love color!
The trend started, as they usually do, in the hospitality industry. Bold terrazzo designs started popping up in restaurants all over Europe and then the US, giving these spaces vibrant personalities.
Now this new terrazzo style is making it’s way into modern home design! Images of how terrazzo is transforming modern kitchen and bathroom designs can be found all over Pinterest and being featured in interior design publications all over the US.
The multi-colored stone pattern has inspired so many designers. I love that we are seeing it on fabrics, wallpaper, and even custom designed murals like the INCREDIBLE one below by House on Sugar Hill.
If huge murals and re-flooring your house isn’t in the cards for you, there are a lot of terrazzo home decor pieces that can still add a unique element to your home. I am personally always looking for an excuse to buy more pots and planters…
If you are interested in adding somer terrazzo to your home, I highly recommend Concrete Collaborative. I love their work (checkout their instagram) and recently ordered some samples for a bathroom remodel I am working on. For fun, I put together some flatlay inspiration below using some of their samples.
I hope you all are as inspired as I am by this modern take on a classic material. Share with me if you have terrazzo in your home!
15 terrazzo bathrooms that prove the trend is here to stay
There's a reason terrazzo is back as the statement surface of choice.
This bathroom in a 1970s bungalow in Byron Bay was given a complete overhaul. The end result is a space with a calming palette and pops of statement terrazzo. Photo: Maree Homer / Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones / Story: Real Living
In interior designer Kristy McGregor's home, grey terrazzo tiles create a stunning visual feature in the bathroom. The subtle marble vanity and white cabinetry add an understated contrast to the rest of the space.Design: Kristy McGregor Design | Styling: Kerrie-Ann Jones | Photography: Maree Homer | Story: Inside Out
The finishes used in this Japanese-inspired bathroom were informed by the owner's desire for a low-maintenance, durable beach house. A hardy terrazzo floor fit the bill perfectly. Photo: Teeland Architects / Jared Fowler / Story: Home Life
Speckled terrazzo tiles form the perfect backdrop for this luxurious bathroom at Paramount House Hotel in Surry Hills. A timber soaking tub adds warmth to the otherwise industrial aesthetic. Photo: Sharyn Cairns / Story: Real Living
The owners of this Brisbane fixer-upper took time to decide on a look for their home. They wanted to strike the perfect balance between timeless style, bold design and fittings that would reflect the home's heritage. Large format terrazzo tiles add just the right amount of interest to this space. Photo: A Pair and Spare / Story: Inside Out
Refined sophistication dominates the look of this Melbourne penthouse apartment but in the bathroom, a more playful style emerges. Between the geometric wallpaper and floor-to-ceiling terrazzo, this space is a feast for the eyes. Photo: Derek Swalwell / Story: Belle
The textural appeal of trendy terrazzo transforms a classic blue and white colour scheme into something truly special. Story: Inside Out
Terrazzo tiles layered with rendered cement walls lend a dark, sensual appeal to this luxurious apartment designed by Amber Road. The designer says "An early decision was to leave the cement base and services raw and exposed, with a simple palette of terrazzo, timber and stone." Photo: Felix Forest / Styling: Alicia Sciberras / Story: Belle
Terrazzo-look tiles give this compact powder room in a revived Brisbane home an instantly youthful feel, while a millennial pink washstand adds a fun splash of colour. Photo: A Pair and Spare / Story: Inside Out
Beyond the master bedroom is a luxe ensuite bathroom clad in terrazzo tiles. The seaside location of this Palm Springs style beach house in Noosa meant selecting a palette of materials that could cope with the harsh coastal elements and lots of sand. Photo: Fiona Susanto / Styling: Emma Elizabeth / Story: Belle
Terrazzo's status as a divisive material stems in part from its use as a hero, or statement feature. In most cases, it is used to wow and capture attention. This bathroom in a restored heritage home shows that terrazzo really doesn't have to be divisive and can take on an almost neutral quality when paired with understated finishes. Photo: Sean Fennessy / Story: Belle
The Darlinghurst home of interior designer Greg Natale is an "explosion" of pattern and colour. The bathroom is no exception, featuring an expert layering of marble, mosaic tiles and terrazzo. The designer says the interiors were inspired by 70s style and the interiors of the infamous nightclub, Studio 54. Photo: Anson Smart / Story: Belle
In many ways terrazzo's resurgence in popularity can be seen as a natural progression from the mosaic and penny-round tiles that have been all-the-rage for years. The glimmering specks within terrazzo's smooth surface offer a textural interest that take monochromatic bathroom colour schemes from drab to fab. Story: Inside Out
Design-wise, powder rooms are an opportunity to go wild. Pink grouting push the graphic aesthetic of this space to the limit while terrazzo flooring grounds the entire look. Photo: Mark Roper / Story: Belle
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If you are looking for ideas for terrazzo bathrooms, this is the place to be. This fascinating material brings texture, color and individuality to a bathroom – while being incredibly practical and hardwearing, too.
The texture of flecked terrazzo tiles in a bathroom – or indeed elsewhere – can conjure sun-baked escapes to the Italian countryside. Our thoughts? Terrazzo is set to remain one of the most popular bathroom ideas, as we work to make our homes luxurious and relaxing sanctuaries.
Terrazzo bathrooms – ideas, tips and design advice
If you're browsing bathroom wall ideas for something a little different, terrazzo might well be the perfect find. Fascinating, on trend, colorful, textural... it's practical, too.
Getting terrazzo in bathrooms right is something of an art – here we take you through the steps to take to pick everything from the right color scheme to the right material, with a little help from the experts.
1. Combine different styles of terrazzo
Terrazzo bathrooms can be subtle decorated – and in doing so, you can combine different types or looks of this richly-textured material. That means bathroom floor tile ideas can be combined with contrasting terrazzo on other surfaces.
Terrazzo comes in many forms, but the main types of authentic terrazzo are cement- or resin-based. For this bathroom in The Siren Hotel, design development firm ASH NYC cleverly combined both types of terrazzo according to use.
The flooring is a cementitious terrazzo, which feels soft underfoot and is extremely durable but requires annual resealing. The chequerboard installation is a smart visual technique for diluting terrazzo’s bold impact.
The eye-catching basin is resin-based terrazzo, which comes in bright colors and has a smoother, hygienic finish that’s easy to clean and less prone to cracks than cement-based terrazzo, no sealing required.
2. Match the wall and floor to double the impact
In this bathroom, Studio Ogee takes the terrazzo down the wall and across the floor, making it a striking focal point – an ideal look if you are researching modern bathroom ideas.
'We love working with terrazzo and one of its main benefits is just how flexible it can be,’ enthuses Nicoline Sandwith, director, Studio Ogee. ‘It works on so many levels in terms of providing pattern, color and a sense of dynamism and movement.
'From a distance, the speckles almost blur to give a surprisingly crisp and seamless look that’s perfect for a modern bathroom.’
The designer has also taken terrazzo in a more feminine direction by picking up the subtle powder pink aggregates in the tile and matching to the paint color on the door – Temple by Paint & Paper Library. Warm gold brassware further dilutes terrazzo’s industrial heritage.
3. Use terrazzo to enliven small bathrooms
Allow terrazzo tiles to do the talking by choosing simple monochrome fittings and furniture, as Simply Bathrooms Ltd has in this small but bold bathroom.
‘We never shy away from color in a compact bathroom as it brings wonderful depth into a small space,’ says director Neil Harrold. ‘The terrazzo’s natural patterning adds interest and color without the need for an overly complicated design, involving multiple tile styles.
'A practical benefit of terrazzo tiles is the pattern goes all the way through, so cut edges look just as beautiful as the face of the tile, perfect for smart storage niches in the shower.’
4. Choose large-scale terrazzo to make a statement
Looking at terrazzo bathrooms with a contemporary feel? The size of the flecks are key. When developing Marmoreal for Dzek, designer Max Lamb sought to ‘celebrate the stoniness of stone’ by using the largest possible aggregates as the primary marbles.
‘This generous scale reveals more of each stone’s textural and color subtleties than traditional terrazzo,’ explains Brent Dzekciorius, founder, Dzek. ‘It’s a balance between the natural and manmade worlds. Marmoreal’s random patterning creates a warm natural energy and can do the heavy lifting as a feature surface on floors and walls, as shown in this Berlin shower room by David Kohn Architects, or it can be used in complementary pieces like fireplace hearths to complete more subdued interiors.’
5. Use terrazzo as a small and single focal point
Smitten by terrazzo bathrooms but concerned yours might look too chaotic? Keep it contained by investing in one focal point, like this funky freestanding unit by designer Italian brand Globo Ceramica. This is a wonderful addition to your list of master bathroom ideas, since it will create a focal point, without making the room feel busy.
‘Flecked with multiple colors, a terrazzo basin is a fun way to tie paint colors and brassware finishes together,’ adds Kirsten Wain, designer, West One Bathrooms. Here, darker flecks on the basin complement the black brassware, but brushed brass would work equally well for a softer look.
If a basin still feels like too much commitment, seek out terrazzo accessories such as toothbrush holders, soap pumps and trays.
6. Use practical terrazzo lookalike porcelain tiles
If you're looking for a new take on bathroom tile ideas, get your terrazzo bathroom hit for less with lookalike porcelain tiles, which are around half the price of traditional terrazzo per square meter and low key on the maintenance front, too.
‘Traditional terrazzo often has limitations associated with cost and also the thickness of the tiles which can affect their usage,’ explains Louisa Morgan of Mandarin Stone. ‘Terrazzo inspired porcelain tiles are the perfect way to enjoy the visual impact of traditional terrazzo but with all the practicalities of a porcelain tile. Cleverly printed graphics on porcelain creates a very durable material, available in minimal thicknesses and with no maintenance.’
7. Go dark for a sophisticated twist
We’re all familiar with terrazzo’s playful side – hello, retro fun in ice-cream hues – but dial it dark and terrazzo bathrooms suddenly become far more grown-up and sophisticated – perfect for spa bathroom ideas.
Melbourne-based studio Biasol designed this ensuite as a deeply immersive space, using rich black Eventide terrazzo by local firm Fibonacci Stone on floors and walls. The result is dramatic yet cocooning.
‘Chiaroscuro, translating to “light-dark” in Italian, inspired and guided the design language as we balanced natural light and dark surfaces to create both voluminous and intimate spaces that have a calming effect,’ explains Jean-Pierre Biasol, founder of Biasol.
8. Use terrazzo as a half-wall with tiles
Venturing on the safe side, a half-wall will concentrate terrazzo’s speckly busyness below eye-level, allowing you to bathe in calmer surroundings. Here, soothing green subway tiles above the terrazzo offer a fail-safe way to foster a relaxed environment.
Meanwhile, a roll-top bath, which leaves more flooring visible, makes the most of terrazzo’s eye-catching pattern underfoot. It’s worth noting that both porcelain and cement-based terrazzo is good at conducting heat so works well with underfloor heating, which will help take the chill off and keep flooring puddle free.
9. Mix terrazzo with natural materials for a muted look
We’ve all got the memo that neutrals are big news this year, but how can a material as characterful as terrazzo be made to conform? US-based interior design firm Hive LA Home recommends keeping terrazzo bathrooms grounded by combining with natural materials, like this wall-hung oak vanity topped with natural marble countertops.
The use of concrete basins and cement-based terrazzo, both in muted tones, enhances the sense of harmony for a look that’s relaxed, simple and fluid. Add white walls and muted backsplash tiles for a look that champions calmness and celebrates the laidback appeal of the neutral trend.
10. Play with different scales of the same pattern
Experimenting with different scales of the same pattern is a popular way to add interest and dynamism when decorating with wallpaper and fabrics. It also allows you to use the same colorway from floor-to-ceiling, while retaining clear definition between horizontal and vertical surfaces.
Available in three patterns, from small-scale Minimal Pink to outsized Rock Pink, Reed Harris’ Medley terrazzo-inspired tiles enable you to harness the same technique in the bathroom.
Use the largest scale pattern more sparingly for maximum effect without overpowering and go smaller scale across large areas to give eyes a chance to rest.
11. Go floor to ceiling in terrazzo bathrooms
If you love terrazzo bathrooms that go for a matched look, with the material on both the floor and wall, the best option is to choose larger, well-spaced flecks rather than an intensely busy terrazzo. Doing so will ensure a more restful feel – but it still pays to be restrained, limiting the terrazzo on the walls to a panel or backsplash, rather than covering every available inch with it. The bathroom pictures above are all great examples of terrazzo used with perfect restraint.
12. Create a focal point with a terrazzo wall
If you are looking for shower room ideas that are interesting without being overpowering, terrazzo is a great choice. Here, in a long, narrow bathroom that packs in a shower, bath, vanity and more, it creates a focal point that draws the eye the length of the room, while its light colors and subtle pattern enhance the space.
Is terrazzo suitable for bathrooms?
Yes, terrazzo is more than suitable for bathrooms.
'Terrazzo tiles are not just for floors anymore and look stylish used on countertops, as backsplashes, and on walls too. Whether you’re creating an industrial look, or an open plan living space, terrazzo can complement pretty much any style, including outdoor spaces,' say the experts at Ca' Pietra.
'When it comes to real terrazzo, expect a vintage, handmade charm, often blended with a marble content that makes them very durable and perfect for busy homes. Over time, real terrazzo tiles will create a beautiful lived-in look.
'Terrazzo tiles come in all shapes and sizes, and in different materials too, including porcelain that mimics the original perfectly. By using porcelain, it makes the tile low-maintenance and lighter in weight which makes them perfect for cladding walls.
'If you want to use them in a bathroom, make sure you find out the slip-rating.'
Can terrazzo be used in a shower?
Yes, terrazzo can be used in a shower. Bear in mind that terrazzo-look porcelain tiles are lighter so may be more practical for use on partition walls, for example, but overall, terrazzo is a practical, durable surface that can take the wear, tear and wet conditions of a shower room. Ensure the terrazzo on the floor of a shower is slip-proof.
What is terrazzo made of?
'Dating back to the 15th century and initially created in Venice, terrazzo is a unique and attractive material, originally formed by mixing a range of natural stone and glass,' say the experts at Ca' Pietra.
'The traditional way of creating terrazzo tiles is to mix recycled glass and natural stone, such as marble, granite and quartz. It is then polished, honed or sandblasted depending on the desired finish.'
Why is terrazzo so expensive?
The process of making terrazzo is an extremely involved and expensive process, and ultimately creates a costly end product, say Ca' Pietra's experts.
'Terrazzo-effect tiles offer a more cost effective, yet just as hardwearing, product. When it comes to terrazzo-effect tiles, porcelain is the perfect material to turn to. Porcelain tiles are incredibly durable, making it a fantastic alternative to natural stone, without compromising on style.
'They are also much easier to install, thanks to the many different sizes available.'
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Terrazzo bathroom modern
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