How to use tadelakt in your kitchen or bathroom

Do you need a beautiful, durable and waterproof material for your kitchen or bathroom? Enter: tadelakt. Here is our lowdown on the possibilities and practicalities of this versatile plaster…

Increasingly, people are looking for unique and interesting interior solutions that create personality and texture in their homes – and what better way to do this than using tadelakt on your walls, floors and even ceilings?

This smooth, natural material made from lime-based plaster and soap, originates from Morocco, and its recipe has mostly stayed the same for more than two centuries. While its distinctive, sleek limewash effect – picture the hammams of Marrakesh – is gaining popularity throughout the home, tadelakt is not just about style; it’s actually incredibly practical, too. 

Blue limewash plaster wall with chrome shower fittings in a bathroom.
Bathroom project by Build by Charlie. Photography: Tony Murray.
Green kitchen with stone worktop with tadelakt pink wall.
Space A balanced blush pink tadelakt and dark green cabinetry to create a welcoming, colourful kitchen.
Photography: Harry Crowder.

What are tadelakt’s properties?

Waterproof, naturally mould-resistant and easy to clean, it’s ideal as a tile alternative, and therefore perfect for both bathrooms and kitchens. “Another reason it’s becoming increasingly popular in these spaces is largely due to the beauty of the seamless finish and lack of grout lines,” explains Lorraine Sakharet, interior designer at Decorbuddi.

“However, people are drawn to tadelakt for a variety of reasons that go beyond the finish. It is a natural product with strong green credentials and therefore popular with clients who are looking to be more eco-conscious. It is also very hard-wearing and easy to maintain.”

White and green modern bathroom with square basin and built-in bath with gold brassware.
AAVA Architects upgraded this Grade II-listed Georgian townhouse to include green tadelakt around the wet areas, paired with wall panelling above.
Pink, blue and white bathroom with tiles on floors and tadelakt on walls. Basin and bath are trimmed in white marble.
The pastel plaster and tiled bath serve as a colourful ode to the traditional Moroccan baths in this project by Andrew Mikhael Architect. Photography: Brad Dickson.

Colours and cost

Available in a wide range of colours, tadelakt can work perfectly in more neutral schemes – great for that Scandi spa bathroom – or you can go bold and colour-match it to anything. “In fact, it can be beautifully incorporated into various design schemes, from modern to rustic,” explains Valentin Tatanov, manager at Tadelakt London. “The key is to embrace tadelakt’s natural texture and warmth, to add depth and character to your space.”

It’s worth bearing in mind that there is a high starting price, as the technique associated with tadelakt is fairly labour-intensive – it involves applying multiple thin layers and then polishing the surface. According to Valentin, the cost for supply and installation can start from around £210 per sq m.

“It is important to work with an excellent craftsman for the application process,” advises Lorraine. “Applying tadelakt is both a skill and an art so I would look for someone with an excellent track record and a passion for the process. The cheapest option could become an expensive mistake.”

Grey minimalist master suite with tadelakt walls and ceiling.
Fourteen a.m. worked with Clayworks to install the tadelakt in a master suite. Photography: Edvinas Bruzas.
Grey tadelakt bathroom with large white freestanding bath and gold brassware.
Decorbuddi‘s interior designer Lorraine Sakharet used tadelekt in this spa-like bathroom. Photography: James Paxton of KT1 Photography.

How to use tadelakt

If covering tadelakt over all five walls is going to push the budget over, why not use it only in certain places? It can create stunning surfaces in shower zones, or even on furniture elements such as vanity units or bathtubs. In the kitchen, it can make a beautiful splashback or feature wall in the dining area. “Think outside the box,” advises Andrew Michael, of Andrew Mikhael Architect. “Tadelakt feels luxurious and it’s at once ancient and modern. It has just enough of a handmade touch without being overwrought.”

Of course, the time required for tadelakt’s installation can vary depending on the size and complexity of the project. But as a rough guide, it could take around a day to install, and then the curing process can take around a month. 

In terms of maintenance, it should be cleaned with mild, pH-neutral soaps, while periodic reapplication of soap or wax can enhance its water resistance and sheen.

Farmhouse style kitchen with open shelving near a sink with gold brassware.
Martina from @thevenetianpantry worked with C Ferri Interiors to install the tadelakt wall in her kitchen.

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