You might not know the name (yet), but you’ve seen them: zellige tiles are quite the trend right now — we’ve seen them pop up everywhere we’ve looked over the last year or so, our Instagram feeds are filled with pictures of them, and their appeal is both in their handmade appearance and their “perfectly imperfect” character.


Ironically, one of the biggest tile trends of the past year isn’t new — in fact, it’s older than subway tile (and that’s really old)! Zellige tile dates back to 10th-century Morocco, and in its purest, most authentic form is unfortunately a bit of a dying art. Tiles are hand-shaped, dried, fired, and then hand-glazed, ensuring no two will be alike. Grout lines tend to be minimal, and a typical zellige is square or rectangle in shape and neutral in color. But lately, color has been a huge part of the zellige movement, with moody jewel tones and our favorite blush tones paving the way in a range of applications. Interesting tile lays like an offset vertical stack or a running bond give zellige an even cooler look. We thought it would be fun to give zellige it’s moment here on the blog, and show you some of the many ways it’s being used and how beautiful it can be.

Since zellige started mostly in the neutrals, lets start there. Pale zellige tiles bring depth to a space and can create a soothing, calm yet sophisticated feel to any space despite their old world look and feel. Used in the bath, kitchen or even on a fireplace, the white zellige is a stunning yet simple design element in any space.

Pairing Zellige with a contrasting material lends itself to a rich, textural narrative. This massive shower below is lined in wall-to-wall zellige tiles, while the tub is surrounded by marble that bleeds from the backsplash to the floor. It has virtually no color, yet it has layers of texture and tone.

Marble and Zellige are a great combination in any space.

The trend in zellige towards jewel tones like emerald green and blue tones makes for dramatic or moody spaces. Using the zellige on every surface — for instance the shower walls, shower floor and bath floor makes for a high impact punch of color.

We cannot help but show a few blush colored zellige applications. We will never grow tired of this color and in zellige it’s beyond beautiful. Colors like the jewel tones above and the blush pinks below really show the beauty in zellige’s variation from tile to tile. If a tile claims to be zellige, and it doesn’t have major variation in hue, tone and texture, along with imperfections in the tiles, it’s not real zellige. Remember, perfectly imperfect!

Fireplace surrounds are another space ideal for zellige. A unique firing process makes zellige tiles super resilient and therefore is a perfect selection for around a fireplace surround and/or hearth.

Zellige can be used on floors as well. We love the idea of bringing those vibrant colors onto the floor, and of course, a herringbone pattern makes for a stunning installation.

Handmade Zellige is special — the time and effort the craftsman put into making these miniature pieces of art means long lead times of 8-10 weeks before you’ll see them at your doorstep. It’s worth the wait, but if you don’t have the time or the budget, many manufacturers are getting into the game and making ceramic “Zellige-esque” looking tiles that are a pretty decent substitute and achieve a fairly similar look to the real thing.

Let the sunshine in with Yellow Zellige tiles!

We love that zellige is a design darling right now, and we think it’s here to stay!

A Moody Black Zellige Kitchen – super cool!