So you love the look of tiles in kitchens and bathrooms but you’re ready to graduate beyond the classic subway look. Welcome, you’ve come to the right place. Zellige tiles (pronounced ; even their name sounds cool and sophisticated) are ultra-glossy, handmade tiles with wabi-sabi charm. Though most commonly square, they come in all shapes and sizes, and due to the imperfect nature of the glaze the color variations are also endless. Bottom line: Zellige tiles are having a major design moment in 2020, which is a welcome treat in an era where everything feels manufactured and mass-produced. Keep reading for fourteen gorgeous examples you’ll want to replicate in your own home.
A unique firing process makes zellige tiles super resilient and therefore popular in kitchens and bathrooms. But elsewhere they can be functional as well: Designer Eva Holbrook put them around this hearth to protect the wall from heat.
The zellige tiles used in this powder room designed by Hecker Guthrie are tinier than most, creating a sequin-like effect. Paired with moody black details and elegant white marble, that shimmery glow makes you feel like you’re inside a disco ball.
The texture of the glossy finish shimmers so much more than standard subway would. To contain a small zellige accent section, add a floating shelf right above it, as in this space designed by Arent & Pyke.
One of the many great things about zellige tiles is that you can create a tonal cocoon effect, since each tile offers more variety than a single shade of paint would. ETC.etera chose a rainbow of pinks for this mosaic shower.
This massive shower is lined in wall-to-wall zellige tiles, while the tub is surrounded by marble that bleeds from the backsplash to the floor. Studio DB designed this bathroom with virtually no color, yet it tells a rich, textural narrative.
Match your zellige tile backsplash to your tiled floors and shower walls, as done in this high-impact and eclectic bathroom designed by ETC.etera for Firehouse Hotel.
We’re loving the modern monochrome look of this Arent & Pyke-designed pantry. The zellige tiles tiles make for a fittingly geometric backsplash above the pull-out shelves.
Yes, these tiles can get pricey, but you don’t need much to make an impact. Zellige is a perfect counterpart to more streamlined design elements, like Shaker cabinets in this kitchen designed by Heidi Caillier Design.
In this swanky kitchen nook by Kingston Lafferty Design, the mosaic of zellige colorful tiles extends overhead, making the niche stand out even more.
Heidi Caillier Design chose to use zellige tiles for this shower’s walls for an earthy feel that contrasts well with the playful and energizing green patterned tiles on the bathroom floor.
The shimmery gold details in this bathroom designed by Arent & Pyke pop against the dark gray grooved drawers and black sconces. The gold works well with the pale blush zellige tile backsplash to warm up the cool tones throughout.
The zellige tiles in this space by Heidi Caillier Design create an aesthetic and mood that are both grounded and sophisticated, polished and easy-going. That’s thanks to the tiled hood, which turns a typically bulky item into something graceful.
Like subway tiles, zellige tiles look particularly cool when you create color-blocked patterns with them. In this space designed by ETC.etera, the thin red stripe corresponds with the red floor and also breaks up the white walls nicely.
In this texture-rich kitchen designed by Arent & Pyke, pale zellige tiles add even bring more depth and intrigue. The warm tones in their surface soften the crisp white ceiling.