Irregular shape, size and glaze – zellige tiles have charmed their way into becoming a go-to choice for upgrading your kitchen or bathroom. And what’s not to love? They are chic, versatile, and perfect for adding texture to your scheme.
But what are zellige tiles?
They are handcrafted clay tiles originating from Morocco. Because of their handmade nature, the shape and glaze of each tile is completely unique. These imperfections offer zellige tiles their beauty and charm.
How are they made?
The first step is finding the clay. For example, Mosaic Factory uses a clay sourced from the region of Fez in Morocco. “The natural unrefined clay is kneaded with water, moulded by hand, and dried naturally in the sun. The tiles are then shaped by hand into the desired form and fired twice. The first firing produces raw tile biscuits, called bejmat, which are then glazed in a variety of colours in a second firing,” explains Ulrika García, head of communications at Mosaic Factory.
Curious about what the handcrafting process looks like? Then take a look at this video to see for yourself…
Let’s talk about the practicalities. Lesley Taylor, director at The Baked Tile Company, explains that the secret to achieving the authentic Moroccan look is in the installation. “Ensure the tiler avoids spacers. Opt for a tight joint that accentuates the intentional uneven sizing within the tile and a loose mix of a matching grout.”
What’s more, thinking about the colour of the grout is equally important. “As they are smaller-sized tiles, bear in mind that they will require more grout than larger tiles do,” advises Jo Oliver-Singh, director at Stone & Ceramic Warehouse.
Now, let’s find out how you can make this type of tile work in your kitchen or bathroom…
Authentic zellige tiles
To help you embrace this Moroccan design, I reached out to the experts and asked them for their top tips and ideas.
From updating your old kitchen splashbacks to tiling the entire bathroom, there are plenty of ways to welcome authentic zellige tiles into your scheme.
Lesley says that this type of tile works best in a simple paired-back setting. This allows the natural imperfections and the uneven surfaces to stand out. “A nostalgic kitchen scheme can be elevated by the introduction of a Zellige splashback. Stunning in their simplicity, they offer the perfect backdrop for beautifully curated accessories.”
Match your tiles to your cabinetry and, if you’ve got open shelving, keep the decorations in the same colour palette for a cohesive scheme.
“Its beautiful organic nature can work perfectly in a new traditional bathroom setting, when paired with antique brass or gold fittings and bleached terracotta,” advises Lesley.
If you love colour, why hold back? Zellige tiles are available in a wide range of colours, from vibrant pinks and oranges to calming hues of lavender.
You can mix and match relaxing colour palettes to achieve a sanctuary feeling. Shades of blue and green are perfect for upgrading to a stylish walk-in shower, for example.
Want to inject a subtle pop of colour? Then why not opt for wallpaper, panelling or décor in muted shades of pink and yellow?
Planning a kitchen or a bathroom renovation? I’ve rounded up six authentic Moroccan tiles, set to take your scheme to the next level…
Struggling to source authentic tiles? Well, nowadays, you can find this style of tiles made from porcelain or ceramic. Thus, these solutions can help you recreate the look and add texture to your kitchen or bathroom.
Harriet Goodacre, brand communications manager and sTile consultant at Topps Tiles, advises choosing designs in shades of rich bronze, deep ochre, or dark forest green. These shades help you achieve that zellige-inspired look, that’s also in keeping with the heritage of this tile.
In your kitchen, she recommends creating a kitchen splashback using a complementing colour to enhance your units.
Got a small bathroom? Highly reflective gloss tiles are a great way to create a sense of space, says Diane Hyde, marketing manager at Craven Dunnill. “As light beautifully reflects off the glaze finish, it creates a wonderful sense of openness, making the room appear wider.”
In conclusion, thanks to the charming imperfections of Zellige tiles, you can add texture and interest to any kitchen or bathroom. So, take your time when choosing your solution, be it authentic or simply inspired, and seek help from the experts to nail the look.