An in demand finish in the 1950s and ‘60s, terrazzo is a trend that resurfaced once again in the 2010s.
Reminiscent of an uneven mosaic, terrazzo is often used for floors, countertops and walls as a hard-wearing finish. Being made up of crushed recycled glass, stone and sometimes bits of metal suspended in concrete, it’s a relatively sustainable choice for bringing visual interest to a smooth surface thanks to its confetti–like make up.
However, though its strong popularity has endured for a number of years now, these types of trendy finishes are often cyclical in their fashionableness and it’s not hard to imagine that terrazzo may once again fall out of vogue in the not too distant future. But, by using a non-permanent method like paint, incorporating the look of terrazzo into your home need not break your budget or become an unchangeable fixture. Try this idea on a wall or floor in a hallway, kitchen or bathroom with your favourite Resene colours to get the same effect in a way that’s easy to change if you fall out of love with the look.
Using a high-quality painter’s brush – one with plenty of bristles to give you the smoothest edges – create simple, organic shapes in three or more hues. To get the most natural look, work with one colour at a time and as randomly as possible. The key is to not overthink your placement and paint your forms in a range of sizes. If you have a creative friend or family member, it can be helpful to work on your terrazzo mural together.
In this bathroom, we started with a back wall painted in two basecoats of deep and dark Resene Jaguar, a soft black, before painting our terrazzo tiles in two coats each of Resene Alpaca, Resene Tom Tom and Resene Urbane. We also wanted our terrazzo to work as a focal point which highlights the mirror and the Resene Tangaroa vanity, so we applied high-quality painter’s masking tape from floor to ceiling spaced evenly on each side to give the sides of our mural sharp, clean edges and create definition. Be sure to leave spaces between each of your ‘tiles’ so that the colour of your basecoat shows through to build the illusion of ‘grout’. Sections of Resene Jaguar flank each side of our mural to create continuity, making the ‘tiles’ appear to be embedded, while the other walls have been painted in Resene Tangaroa (left) to match the vanity and large coat peg and Resene High Tide (right) to match the ladder.
To balance out the darkness of the walls, the floor has been kept light in Resene Mercury, a quixotic pale grey while smaller details like the small coat peg in Resene Alpaca and the soap dispenser in Resene Tom Tom help bring the colours of the terrazzo wall out into the rest of the room, tying the whole scheme together.
The finishing touch? Resene Living Palazzo towels in Resene Steel Grey. Available from Briscoes, they can be found in a range of favourite Resene hues so that you can always be sure your towels will perfectly match your colour scheme.
Accessories: Basin and faucet from Plumbing World; Dressing gown, striped beach bag and striped tote from H&M; Shoes and mirror from Kmart; Resene Living Palazzo towels in Resene Steel Grey from Briscoes.
Styling by Kate Alexander. Photography by Bryce Carleton. 2020
Colour inspiration - latest looks gallery
Get inspired with colour and the latest decorating and colour trends! Select just the right look and mood for your space.
Room with a view
Create a landscape-inspired mural
Repetition and rhythm
The artwork you choose should feel very personal