The Unexpected Kitchen Tile Trend Taking 2024 by Storm (It’s a ’70s Throwback!)

published May 13, 2024
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Wide angle of a contemporary modern kitchen with terazzo tiles and countertop, fluted wood island, industrial-style barstools, with gray floors, white wood ceilings, and natural wood rafters.

What do airports, schools, hospitals, and 16th century Venice all have in common? And what does it have to do with kitchen design? Say hello to terrazzo, the material you’ve probably encountered hundreds of times — it’s also the material you’re about to start seeing in kitchens everywhere. 

Yes, that terrazzo — the colorful, durable, lifetime-lasting star of commercial floors and outdoor spaces around the world is moving into the home, and I for one am absolutely here for it.

What Is Terrazzo, Anyway?

Credit: Dana McMahan

Great question. You know those gleaming acres of floors you see in large public spaces, the ones with the multicolor specks and flecks and chunks of … something scattered throughout it? That’s terrazzo. It’s been around for centuries, but came into its modern era in the 1500s when Venetian mosaic workers began using remnants of marble to create terraces. The material has ebbed and flowed in popularity since then, and today we may most closely associate it with mid-century modern style. But it’s currently making the comeback of the century in kitchen islands, counters, floors, backsplashes, and more. I recently attended Coverings 2024, a global tile show held in Atlanta (check out my recap here!), and definitely noticed one major thing: that terrazzo is everywhere.

I flip houses (and kitchens!) for a living, and the first time I really noticed terrazzo was when I found it hiding under several layers of flooring in a bathroom I renovated in a 1920s house in Detroit. I’d seen beautiful terrazzo floors in some of Motown’s stunning 1920s architecture, and it felt like hitting a treasure trove when I found it in this house. 

Terrazzo definitely had a moment about a century ago, Catherine Buehre, vice president of brand operations for Louisville Tile, says, coming on big in the ’50s and ’60s, staying hot through the ’70s, and now we’re seeing it again.  This time, she adds, it’s not just for outdoor or commercial spaces, but coming to our kitchen (and bathroom!) floors, counters, and more. And the aggregate — chunks of marble and glass that you might also think look like confetti — is getting chunkier with this go-round, and leaning into current color trends like muted roses and greens.

Why Is Terrazzo So Hot Right Now?

Credit: Dana McMahan

Buehre says they’re “getting a ton of interest” for all things terrazzo in their showroom these days. It’s gaining traction as a more eco-friendly and sustainable option, but its growing popularity, Buehre thinks, also stems from the exploding adoration of mid-century modern furniture. And it’s not just in the kitchen — the distinctive pattern is showing up on everything from lamps to notebooks (even contact paper I recently used), but for people who want to go all in, it can easily become a fixture of your kitchen design. 

Now, the real deal commercial terrazzo, the kind that’s poured in place, is “ungodly expensive,” she says. But I’ve gone down the rabbit hole as I look into terrazzo for my new kitchen, and was ecstatic to find that there are some options that don’t require a second mortgage. Plus, I was surprised to see so much versatility in the options!

I met Lauriel Leonard at Coverings, too, and became immediately obsessed with the terrazzo products from her company, DEX by GATE. At their booth, seashells were among the aggregate baked into the terrazzo. And it’s not limited to marble — they’ve used glass from wine bottles, zinc, even memorabilia like dog tags in clients’ terrazzo. (I’ve seen disco ball shards in it here in Louisville, where disco balls are manufactured!).

As for color, shape, and size of the aggregate, options are “really endless,” Leonard says. In their terrazzo product line, which features countertops, they can match any Benjamin Moore color in the binder (the cement that the aggregate is swirled into), and clients choose their own adventure with the aggregate — it’s truly infinite. And perfect for someone who wants to design their own kitchen down to the tiniest detail.

Where to Shop Terrazzo (on a Budget!)

But where do you start if you’re not ready for a complete custom counter or floor? The easiest entry is with tiles. My local shop, Buehre’s Louisville Tile (which has showrooms in several states), carried a surprisingly large number of offerings when I went in to browse a little while ago, and the store is adding more all the time. I’ve also been drooling over Concrete Collaborative’s offerings, and Zia Tile has some gorgeous terrazzo tiles as well. Even if you want to shop from the comfort of your couch, lots of popular online tile retailers also sell terrazzo, like Wayfair, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot. (Amazon also has plenty of budget-friendly peel-and-stick terrazzo options to get the same look for less!).

Ultimately, terrazzo is known for lasting a lifetime, so I’m not in any hurry to make a choice — and I think there’s plenty of time for me to choose exactly which color and style speaks to me for my kitchen. From the looks of it, it’s not going anywhere.