A Bit of Experimentation with Zellige Tiles

It’s been awhile since we’ve talked about what our customers are doing with zellige tiles. These amazing Moroccan terracotta tiles are popping up in more and more homes every day, and we’re always excited to see what’s next from the world of zellige!

Experimenting with Zellige Tiles

Because these tiles are so new to the States, many designers are taking the opportunity to play with different orientations and settings for their zellige, often creating some really fascinating applications! From vibrantly colored kitchens to tiny accent pieces, there’s no shortage of new opportunities that this variety of tile presents, especially for the designers willing to take a few chances:


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This designer used two different types of zellige to create a new spin on the classic checkered tile look, and we couldn’t be more amazed with the results. We’ve always been a big fan of classic checkered tile, but the use of zellige elevates this style of tile to new heights. Rather than simple black and white contrast, the use of zellige here introduces additional textures and shades through slight variations in color and glaze. Though it can be a bit difficult to see in this image, this application of tile, like all zellige applications, diverge slightly in color and texture. In white zellige, such as the 4×4 Snow seen here, some tiles might skew toward bright white, others might take on more of an eggshell hue, while others still might even appear somewhat pearlescent, as the traditional glazing method often yields quite interesting results. Black zellige tiles, like our 4×4 style, are often a bit more straightforward. The most obvious variations among our Black zellige tile is in hue, with some appearing a rather dark grey and others a nearly obsidian black. While differences in glaze can occur in black zellige, most take on either a glossy or matte appearance, with plenty somewhere in between.

When combined, these two tiles don’t just create an elegant checker pattern, they create an intricate interplay between two distinctly different types of tile. Simply put, it’s the difference between handcrafting and mass production: mass production may be more consistent, but will never capture the beauty inherent in something handmade by artisans. Zellige tile, and this space by extension, is the perfect example of this principle.

Zellige Tiles and Simplicity

One of the best things about zellige is what it brings to simple settings. It’s not uncommon for people to conflate simplicity with backdrop, something to provide context for the more exciting or vibrant pieces of decor that are the real focal point of the room. An example of this might be an accent wall: while it introduces contrasting or matching color to the room, no one ever considers the accent wall to be the high point of the space. Zellige tiles, like these 2×6 Natural White tiles, subvert this expectation of simplicity through diversity in appearance. 


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Though slightly more obvious in our brightly colored zellige, all zellige tiles are different. No two are ever exactly alike, but they are always close enough that there are no discordant mishmashes of different colors. Because of this diversity in appearance, white zellige tiles bring a new dimension along with their simple, rustic color scheme. This shower’s white walls exhibit different tints and glaze textures that makes this bathroom truly one-of-a-kind. In this picture, you can even see how the light shimmers across the glaze, another of the qualities that makes zellige quite unique and lovely. 

In the shower above, our Natural White zellige tiles take on quite a rustic appearance, but it’s certainly not limited to simple, rustic uses. In fact, white zellige tile can be quite diverse, bringing its unique look to sleeker, more modern settings as well:


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This absolutely brilliant kitchen shows that white on white doesn’t have to feel cold or disconnected. Though this color scheme is unfortunately  often associated with overly-modern homes that seem to be designed under the impression that no one will ever actually live there, this designer proves that with some effort, skill, and the right materials, white on white can be quite charming, practical, and enjoyable. 

Using our Snow zellige tiles in 2×6, this designer built a vibrant kitchen that seems more than ready to host friends and family at a moment’s notice. Though this kitchen features bright white windows, white cabinets, and a white backsplash, the delicate off-white of the zellige alongside the brass fixtures and silver appliances keep this space from feeling too stark. Snow white zellige is among our most popular offerings for good reason, and we’re always excited to see it used in a new and exciting space like this one!

Why Buy Zellige from Riad Tile?

Riad Tile was one of the first suppliers of authentic zellige tile in the US, so when you order with us, you are guaranteed to get the real thing. Glazed tile is becoming quite popular, but none of what’s out there today has the same historic roots and dedication to craft that authentic zellige tile has. We partner with artisans in Morocco who have been crafting zellige according to time-tested methods for generations. The glazed terracotta tiles that we stock are all still hand-shaped, kiln-fired over olive-branches, and dyed using natural pigments. 

At Riad Tile, we believe that authentic, high-quality materials shouldn’t be inaccessible to the average person. You shouldn’t have to settle for some cheap copy simply because the real thing is too marked-up. That’s why we work so hard to keep our prices low through strategic partnerships. We feel that everyone deserves to be able to build their dream home, and we love seeing our offerings being used to that end. 

If you’re interested in seeing our zellige tiles in person, please feel free to order a sample today and we’ll ship directly to your front door. If you’re local to the DFW area, you can also stop by one of our showrooms to see our tile in person and order samples.