You Know About Terrazzo Flooring, Right? Here's Why You're Seeing It Everywhere

Sarah Sherman Samuel—Terrazzo Flooring
Tessa Neustadt ; DESIGN: Sarah Sherman Samuel

Consider it the design trend that you've always known by look but perhaps never by name. Recently, terrazzo flooring has reemerged as one of the most desirable details of a modern home, which is an irony that shouldn't be lost on long-standing banks, airport terminals, and dentistry buildings inspired by the Italian Renaissance. But if you've seen this material in those spaces before, you've likely not seen how terrazzo flooring is being used now.

The material consists of a sleek concrete surface flecked with glittering pieces of stone that can be interchanged to match a surrounding aesthetic. And given that versatility, terrazzo is now at the center of a rekindled demand. "I think it complements the maximalist spirit that everyone has been embracing as of late," Caitlin Murray, founder and interior designer of Black Lacquer Design, says. "With the variance in fleck sizes of marble or quartz and the unlimited choices in colors, it's a material that displays a lot of personality, and invites a ton of creativity."

We asked Murray for more of her insights into terrazzo flooring, and why it should be considered as part of either a big home renovation or as a simple switch of accessories. Whatever the inspiration may be, terrazzo should definitely be getting your attention. 

Why should you choose terrazzo flooring?

As you know, typical home flooring options consist of tile, wood, and carpet. While it's possible to customize a finish, hue, and design with these materials, terrazzo takes it a step further. It prompts designers or homeowners to determine how big or small each stone piece can be over a designated area, as well as which colors appear where and how often.

"You'll want to settle on a color palette that will be complementary to the rest of the space, and you'll want to decide on the aggregate size," Murray continues. "For instance, do you want large chunks that give off a retro feel or something more subtle? Since it is a pretty large design commitment, I would highly recommend bringing in samples that you can sit on for a bit!"

Riad Tile Terrazzo Tile, White
Riad Tile Terrazzo Tile, White $5.00
Lindsey Lang "Leaf" Grey Terrazzo Tile
Lindsey Lang "Leaf" Grey Terrazzo Tile $15.00
Lindsey Lang Pale Pavlova Terrazzo Tile
Lindsey Lang Pale Pavlova Terrazzo Tile $15.00

How much does it cost?

Sarah Sherman Samuel Stone—Terrazzo flooring
Sarah Sherman Samuel

Aside from all of the freedom associated with terrazzo, it doesn't exactly come cheap. Terrazzo flooring can cost between $25 and $90 per square foot, including labor, given the selected materials and the fact that a professional has to be hired to install the pieces. Murray also notes that the surface can be slippery, so it may not be the best choice for certain homeowners. Nevertheless, once the terrazzo is installed it requires very little maintenance.

"It can be cost-effective when you consider what a durable material it is," Murray adds. Terrazzo is a composite material that's impervious to water, so it doesn't stain easily. Furthermore, it's tough to chip terrazzo with other items like large furniture or even a dropped glass. But it may dull after some time, so it's worth it to research the best finishes for your space.

How else can terrazzo be used?

Sarah Sherman Samuel Finished Terrazzo—Terrazzo flooring
Sarah Sherman Samuel

If you decide that terrazzo flooring isn't the best idea, after all, the overall look doesn't have to be discarded. In 2018, Pinterest announced that terrazzo was among the most-searched home products on its site, and that popularity has been reflected in everything from dining sets, to wallpaper, to pillows. "It can be incorporated in a host of other ways," Murray says. "You can use it a countertop material, or as small accessories, too."

The Home Depot RoomMates Terrazzo Multi Colored Peel and Stick Wallpaper
RoomMates Terrazzo Multi Colored Peel and Stick Wallpaper $39.00
Anthropologie Elle Table Lamp Base Terrazzo flooring
Anthropologie Elle Table Lamp Base $230.00 $185.00
Maisonnette Lorena Canals Terrazzo Washable Pillow
Maisonnette Lorena Canals Terrazzo Washable Pillow $70.00