Travertine vs. Terrazzo: Navigating the Resurgence in Retro Design

Written by: Nauradika Of London



Time to read 5 min

In the realm of interior design, the resurgence of retro-inspired materials brings with it a renewed appreciation for textures and finishes that add character and depth to any space. Among these, travertine and terrazzo stand out for their unique qualities, versatility, and the distinct touch of elegance they lend to both modern and traditional interiors. As continues to champion the revival of retro-inspired homeware and lighting, understanding the appeal and functionality of these materials becomes essential. Let's delve into the world of travertine and terrazzo to help you decide whether to choose one over the other, or perhaps, blend both in harmony within your home.

Travertine: Timeless Elegance

Travertine, a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, has been used in building and architecture for centuries. Its natural, earthy tones and porous texture offer a timeless elegance that can elevate any space. Travertine's durability and versatility make it suitable for a wide range of applications, from flooring and wall cladding to bespoke furniture pieces and decorative accents.


Natural Beauty

Travertine's allure lies in its inherent natural beauty. Each piece of this unique stone carries its own history, marked by distinctive patterns and a spectrum of earth-toned colors ranging from creamy whites and soft beiges to rich browns and even rusty reds. These variations are the result of the mineral composition and the environmental conditions under which the travertine was formed. The presence of pores and cavities, formed by carbon dioxide evasion, adds to its texture, giving it a rustic yet sophisticated appearance. This natural mosaic ensures that no two travertine surfaces are exactly alike, allowing designers and homeowners to create spaces that are truly one of a kind.


Travertine's durability is another key factor contributing to its popularity. Formed under pressure in hot springs or limestone caves, travertine is a hard, dense material that, when properly sealed, can withstand the test of time. Its resilience makes it suitable for high-traffic areas, resisting wear and tear with grace. The sealing process is crucial, as it protects the stone from staining and moisture absorption, which could otherwise lead to damage over time. With the right care, travertine floors, walls, and countertops can maintain their beauty for decades, making it a wise investment for those looking to combine aesthetics with longevity.


The versatility of travertine cannot be overstated. Its natural tones and textures allow it to seamlessly blend with a multitude of design styles, from the rustic charm of a country cottage to the sleek lines of a modern urban loft. This adaptability extends to its applications as well; travertine can be used indoors for flooring, wall cladding, bathroom vanities, and kitchen countertops, as well as outdoors for patios, pool decks, and garden pathways. Its thermal properties make it particularly appealing for exterior use, as it remains cool to the touch even under the hot sun, providing a comfortable surface year-round. Whether polished to a high shine for a luxurious finish or honed for a more understated elegance, travertine's flexibility makes it a favored choice among designers and homeowners aiming to create spaces that are both beautiful and functional.

Terrazzo: A Symphony of Color and Texture

Terrazzo, on the other hand, is a composite material made from chips of marble, quartz, granite, glass, or other suitable material, poured with a cementitious binder (for chemical binding), polymeric (for physical binding), or a combination of both. This technique, which dates back to the 15th century, has seen a surge in popularity for its vibrant patterns, durability, and the playful touch it brings to interiors.



The highly customizable nature of terrazzo is one of its most celebrated features, offering endless possibilities to designers and homeowners. This composite material is made by embedding pieces of marble, quartz, glass, granite, or other durable materials into a cementitious or epoxy matrix. The flexibility in the choice of aggregate types, sizes, colors, and the background matrix allows for the creation of unique patterns and color combinations that can be tailored to fit any design aesthetic, from bold and vibrant to subtle and sophisticated. Whether you're aiming for a minimalist look with monochromatic tones or a bold statement piece with contrasting colors and shapes, terrazzo can be customized to achieve the desired effect. This versatility makes it an ideal choice for flooring, countertops, backsplashes, and even furniture, providing a personalized touch to any space.


In today's design landscape, sustainability is increasingly important, and terrazzo's use of recycled materials positions it as an eco-friendly choice. Modern terrazzo mixes often include recycled glass, porcelain, and concrete, reducing waste and the need for new raw materials. This incorporation of recycled components not only contributes to the reduction of the material's environmental footprint but also adds to the aesthetic diversity of the finished product. Furthermore, the durability of terrazzo means that it doesn't need to be replaced frequently, further reducing the demand for new resources and contributing to a more sustainable construction industry. For projects aiming for LEED certification or simply striving to be more environmentally conscious, terrazzo offers an attractive, durable, and sustainable option.

Durability and Ease of Maintenance

Terrazzo's reputation for durability and ease of maintenance is well-deserved, making it a practical choice for both commercial and residential spaces. Its hard surface resists stains, abrasions, and cracks, standing up to heavy foot traffic and the rigors of daily use without showing signs of wear. Terrazzo floors can last a lifetime with minimal maintenance, requiring only regular sweeping and occasional mopping with neutral cleaners to keep them looking their best. Unlike other flooring options that might require periodic waxing or sealing, terrazzo maintains its luster and integrity over time with far less effort. This ease of maintenance, combined with its long lifespan, makes terrazzo not only a cost-effective flooring solution but also a beautiful one that can withstand the test of time, retaining its aesthetic appeal and functionality for decades.

Travertine, Terrazzo, or Both?

The choice between travertine and terrazzo ultimately depends on the desired aesthetic and functional needs of your space. Travertine offers a subtle, organic look that brings warmth and timeless elegance, ideal for creating serene and sophisticated environments. Terrazzo, with its endless customization options and vibrant appeal, is perfect for adding a bold, artistic statement to any room.

Why not embrace both? Incorporating travertine's natural warmth with terrazzo's colorful exuberance can result in a dynamic, layered interior that celebrates the best of both worlds. Imagine a travertine-tiled bathroom with a custom terrazzo vanity, or a kitchen with travertine floors and a terrazzo backsplash. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination.

As we continue to explore the latest trends in retro-inspired design, Nauradika offers an array of products that complement the unique characteristics of both travertine and terrazzo. Whether you're leaning towards the understated elegance of travertine or the playful charm of terrazzo, our collection ensures that your space not only reflects the latest trends but also your personal style, all while offering great value for money.