The Artistry of Moroccan Zellige Tiles

As we move into 2020, zellige tiles continue to increase in popularity for use across the stylistic spectrum. From clean and simple spaces to more complex rooms, Moroccan zellige tiles can be seen adding their signature shine in countless new and exciting contexts, and we at Riad Tile are incredibly excited to take part in and watch this burgeoning interior design development. We expect that in coming years, zellige tile will continue to lend its incredible visuals to numerous ambitious projects, but we also recognize that many people question how and where to use this singular style of tile. After all, zellige tile only appeared stateside recently, so in the US, its historical roots aren’t quite as appreciated as in Morocco or surrounding areas. But as zellij makes its home in the US, countless innovative uses of this tile are being explored and created in homes across the country.

As zellige grow more commonplace in American homes, more potential applications are revealed. Our customers have proven their aptitude for finding creative uses for unique tiles, and zellige is no exceptions. Thanks to our customers and their creativity, we’ve seen zellige used for entirely new purposes, never seen here in the States nor in Morocco. From modern showers to accenting backsplashes, zellige demonstrates a great deal of versatility, enhancing many different settings and styles with its textured and glossy appearance. 

At Riad Tile, our goal is to provide our customers with the options needed to create their perfect space, regardless of the style of their home. Our collection of Moroccan zellige tiles are an extension of this goal, offering a spectrum of colors in multiple shapes perfect for any taste. Our diverse range of tiles give our customers the variety needed to explore their own tastes as well as the artistry of Moroccan zellij. Below, we’ll go over a few of the latest zellige applications and how they reflect the unique tastes of the people who pieced them together. We hope you find these examples as inspiring as we do!

Livening Up the Home

The idea of ‘livening up the home’ is, by its very nature, quite broad, which can make such a concept seem very difficult to achieve. When you think of this phrase, there’s a good chance that you see this as a challenge to be met and overcome. At Riad Tile, we prefer to see the act of adding levity to a given space as an opportunity to not simply modernize and enhance style, but to personalize and exhibit creativity. ‘Livening up’ doesn’t just mean adding a little bit of color or character to your home. It means allowing your interior design vision run wild, trying new things and creating something as bold and ambitious as it is stylish. We believe Moroccan zellige tiles are among the most interesting ways you can accomplish this. 

Practically speaking, there are countless ways you can liven up your home, ranging from subtle but significant additions to large, vibrant, and proud applications. Take for example, this absolutely stunning kitchen.

Aside from the prominent zellige, this kitchen is a quintessentially classic design. Thanks to its particularly outstanding wood flooring and dark, rich natural-finish cabinets, and some well-placed shelving, this kitchen has no shortage of the appealing look of natural wood. This wood darkens the rooms just enough to add a healthy dose of contrast to the white paint and countertops. But with the ample contrast already present between vibrant white walls and rich wood, what might the purpose of this Snow Zellige backsplash be? 

In this kitchen, our 4×4 Snow Zellige tiles serve not to contrast the existing design choices, but to balance them. Like all zellige varieties, Snow Zellige isn’t exactly uniform in color, with subtle variations in color leaning toward grey, tan, or brown. These color variations unify the disparate colors present in this kitchen, softening the edges of the vibrant white while ever so slightly lightening up the rich brown of the cabinets. When zellige tile is used to balance color, the entire space is elevated, bringing out the best of any decor style. 

Though zellige is an excellent choice for softening stark white, that is far from its only purpose relating to uniting contrasting bits of decor. Look at this slightly darker kitchen space:

In this space, intermingling of different textures is the name of the game, in which the players are natural wood, marble, and Snow zellige. A space like this one can be tricky to get right, simply because there’s a lot going on stylistically. The designer of this space keeps these very different elements from vying for center stage and working against each other through the outstanding choice in zellige color and a few well-placed pieces of decor.

Like in the first kitchen, this application of zellige serves to unify contrasting colors within the same space. The zellige used in this application is 2×6 Snow, a smaller, more delicate variation on the square 4×4, and though this is the same color as in the first kitchen, these zellige tiles are used in a different way. Because of the adjacent grey-streaked marble, this zellige application serves to add some light and levity to this kitchen space, leaning on its unique glossy finish. This bit of light serves to brighten up the marble a bit, giving the wood a bit more room to breathe. 

Through these two examples, we see how zellige can be used to bring contrasting elements of a kitchen together in different ways, one by adding a bit of complexity to the white space and the other by brightening up highly-textured marble. But both of these kitchens feature Snow zellige and wood finish, what if you’re interested in doing something a bit more colorful in your kitchen?

The color scheme in this kitchen is just fantastic. The way the delicate olive green is offset by the black countertops is an ambitious leap that absolutely pays off. That said, a color scheme like olive/black needs a fair amount of brightening in order to keep the space from feeling too dark. The combination of our Natural White zellige tiles and bronze fixtures occupies this role in an impressive manner.

The interaction between colors and textures is quite complex in this space. There are multiple different colors and textures working together to create the space: olive cabinets, black countertops, natural finish wood floors, bronze fixtures, and Natural White zellige. Though working with this level of contrast can be quite challenging, the designer of this kitchen brought all the elements together to create something truly unique. We see the zellige application as something of a glue to bring the different colors together. Natural White in particular has a healthy amount of color variation, extending into light brown and grey palettes, making it the perfect choice for building a colorful, contrasting space like this one. Additionally, the zellige’s glazed appearance coupled with its delicate color serves to brighten up the room a great deal, allowing the darker colors more visual space.

Whether your space needs a bit more light, a sprinkling of complexity, or a dash of Old World charm, Moroccan zellige tiles are unique, inimitable, and stylish way to enhance your space and liven up your home. Beyond these two shades of white, we offer zellige in a multitude of different colors, each of which is prone to its own fascinating variations. We offer vibrant colors across the spectrum, from verdant Emerald Green to vivid Sky Blue to rosy Blush, giving you the options you need to craft a comfortable space all your own. 

Zellige for Fireplaces

Some of the most interesting tile applications that we’ve seen over the last several years are fireplaces.Though we’d never complain about a classic brick fireplace, many people are now using different varieties of tiles to adorn their fireplace to great effect. This is yet another application for the unique artistry of zellige tiles.

Beyond their practical, cozy purposes, fireplaces occupy an interesting role in the living room. Stylistically, they are used to break up the uniformity of a given space, often ending up a centerpiece of the living room. Most living rooms are built around the fireplace in some form or fashion, with the material used to compose the fireplace directing or, at least, informing the style of the rest of the space. This can pose a challenge to interior designers, as fireplaces are obviously a nearly-permanent fixture once placed, but the fireplace can very well be an opportunity to create something fresh and interesting. If you want a fireplace that noticeably different from the classic brick look, Moroccan zellige tiles are an outstanding, intuitive choice. 

The use of zellige for the fireplace makes perfect sense, really. These traditional tiles are born in the olive-branch fires of a kiln in Morocco, so a fireplace seems like the truest home for zellige. Additionally, their simple, rustic appearance provides the perfect base for the rest of the living room, allowing space for many different styles of decor.

When using zellige to create a fireplace, many designers gravitate toward some of the more neutral options to better accommodate changes in furniture and decor. For example, take a look at this use of 4×4 Iron Grey zellige tiles:

While the darkness of the Iron Grey contrasts against the white walls, this style of zellige is well suited for the application thanks to the neutrality of its base color. Should the homeowner choose to do so, they could completely switch up the look and feel of this living room without significant constraint, all thanks to the neutral color of the zellige application. 

This application of zellige shows what is one zellige’s greatest strengths: adaptability. You might not think that handcrafted Old World tile would easily fit in the modern home, but here we are, looking at a brand new fireplace made of zellige. What’s more, this tile provides ample stylistic space for changes in decor, as neutral colors like Iron Grey don’t tend to clash with many other colors. 

Our Moroccan zellige tiles can also be used to match rather than contrast the rest of the space, creating a more subdued-looking fireplace:

This space, still in progress when photographed, makes use of 4×4 Natural White zellige to take advantage of the spaces ample natural light. Here, you can see the shimmering pearlescence of zellige brought to life by a touch of light. While this application matches the white walls well, it doesn’t just sit idly to the side. It proclaims its style proudly, proving that even simple white zellige won’t go unnoticed. 

As something of a center of the home, fireplaces often provide a sense of comfort to families and friends alike. They can be a gathering place just as easily as a respite, emanating warmth both literally and metaphorically. When used on the fireplace, zellige gives our customers the opportunity to customize this very personal and comforting area to their liking, creating a place that is uniquely and wholly theirs.

Our Line of Moroccan Zellige Tiles for Sale

At Riad Tile, we spend a great deal of time and energy focused on ensuring quality. Our Moroccan zellige tiles are sourced directly from Morocco and are individually handcrafted by master artisans who have spent their lives perfecting this art form. This dedication to artistry and quality is what you get in every single order of zellige. 

We want nothing more than to aid our customers in creating the living room, kitchen, bathroom, or other space of their dreams, and our spectrum of zellige helps us and our customers further that goal. If you are interested in seeing our different shades or styles of zellige in person, please feel free to order a sample directly to your door anytime. If you’re local to DFW, you can find our showroom displays at Flea Style in Frisco and the Design Gallery Dallas in the Dallas Design District.