From A to Zellige: An In-Depth Guide to Moroccan Zellige Tiles

by Drew Henry

Morocco is known for its bustling market bazaars, beautiful riad garden courtyards, and, of course, Moroccan Zellige tiles. Famed for their artistry and charm, Zellige tiles are handcrafted glazed ceramic tiles that come in a stunning array of color variations — from crisp neutrals to stunning jewel tones.

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If you're considering upgrading your space or doing a full renovation and want to stand out from the rest of the homes on the block, Zellige tiles are definitely for you. Join the team of LiLi Tile design experts as we travel to the streets of Morocco and delve into the intriguing world of Zellige tiles. We’re covering everything you need to know — from A to Zellige! 

We’ll share the exciting history behind these ceramic tiles, guide you through choosing the best glazes, and offer advice on incorporating them into your space. Whether your project is your bathroom, kitchen, or any other room, our vibrant Zellige tile collection offers a truly one-of-a-kind look. 

What are Zellige Tiles?

Zellige tiles are ceramic tiles steeped in the rich tradition of Moroccan craftsmanship. They are heavily associated with Moroccan and Mediterranean design styles. However, their appeal is so widespread that they are often incorporated into more modern design schemes as well. 

Zellige Mosaic in Morocco

Zellige ceramic tiles are crafted from Moroccan clay, glazed, fired, and hand-chiseled in a beautiful array of rich colors. These tiles have become universally adored for their charm, warmth, and distinctive qualities — especially since each one is hand-crafted and totally unique. 

While the term Zellige specifically defines a style of tile-crafting, in a broader sense, it often connotes Moroccan tiles in general. Each Zellige tile is truly its own work of art because it has been touched by a master artisan, making it an exquisite and timeless design element rooted in history and charm.

Why Choose Zellige Tiles Over Ordinary Ceramic Tiles?

Ceramic tiles are a common choice among homeowners, especially for kitchen backsplashes, showers, and floors. But where does Zellige win over? The answer lies in the distinct glaze and handmade craftsmanship. Unlike traditional ceramic tiles with a uniform factory-produced appearance, Zellige offers unique textural variations that beautifully capture the shimmer of colorful glazes for a visually impactful finish. Minerals in the glaze react to form rich, iridescent colors that beau tifully reflect light with a high-gloss shine. It’s easy to see why Zellige tiles are so hard to resist!

 What Colors and Shapes are Available in Zellige Tiles?

Moroccan garden riads are design jewel boxes that come to life thanks to a wide range of Zellige tile colors and shapes. With a palette spanning from soft whites to bold gem tones like emerald and royal blue, there is a Zellige tile for everyone. Whether you’re seeking the delicate simplicity of white ceramic subway tiles for your kitchen backsplash or the striking allure and movement of blue tiles on your bathroom wall, the Zellige tile collection holds the answer. The expansive variety fuels the imagination and promises to deliver an accent piece that captures your style and makes your home a happy place

How Do Glazes Contribute to the Aesthetic of Zellige Tiles?

The magic of Zellige lies in the glaze. The expansive array of glazes, from matte to glossy ceramic, offers many design possibilities. Matte glazes bestow a calming, subdued aesthetic that exhibits an organic charm, while glossy glazes yield vibrant tiles with a lustrous, mirrored finish that evokes elegance and richness. 

Because the glazes are applied by hand, each tile is slightly different. These variations add to the visual texture and interest that Zellige is known for. Hue fluctuations and charming imperfections make every tile and every installation distinctly beautiful. 

How are Zellige Tiles Made?

The Zellige tile production process dates back to the 10th century, and not much has changed since then. Don’t mess with a good thing, right? Zellige tiles begin their journey as natural Moroccan clay, skillfully molded into the desired shape. After drying, each tile is hand-glazed in a rich, vibrant hue. They are then fired, allowing the colors to intensify and come alive. In the final step, artisans meticulously trace and chisel the edges of each tile to crispen up and define their shapes.

This handmade process prizes individuality, so no two Zellige tiles are exactly the same. These minute discrepancies add unparalleled character to each tile and contribute to the visually captivating play of light and color in every installation.

How to Incorporate Zellige Tiles into Your Bathroom or Kitchen

When it comes to decorating with Zellige tiles, the options are nearly limitless. The LiLi Tile Zellige collection is suited for wall applications, light traffic floors, and even wet areas like showers, fountains, or pools. 

Paprika Zellige Tile

For bathrooms, consider Zellige tiles for a shower accent wall, vanity backsplash, or even as a radiant floor. In a kitchen, they can create a dazzling backsplash, a checkered floor, or even add a dramatic pattern to your counter.

Your choice of color might range from calm blues for serenity to pure whites for timeless elegance or even a mix of jewel tones for a bold splash of personality. Zellige's wide color range allows you to make your interior design project a true reflection of your taste.

How to Install Zellige Tiles

Given that Zellige tiles are so unique, you might be wondering if there is a special installation process. While installing Zellige tiles might appear intimidating, it’s actually a pretty simple process. Because Zellige tiles have texture and color variations, mixing tiles from different boxes and conducting a dry lay to preview the final look is important. While installing Zellige might require careful planning, the final product's beauty and uniqueness make every effort worthwhile. While you can always DIY and learn how to install ceramic tile yourself, we recommend going with a professional if you’re unfamiliar with the process. 

The Charm of White Zellige Tiles

You can’t go wrong with a classic white Zellige tile. White Zellige tiles are timeless and elegant while offering subtle visual interest and unique character. Finished to a beautiful sparkle, they often possess an irresistible pearl quality that makes any space feel sophisticated and luxurious. The gentle color variation, authentic texture, and unique imperfections lend a tranquil yet immensely captivating quality. 

A Peek into Our Glossy Ceramic Zellige Collection

Are you ready to bring some Moroccan history and charm to your space? Whether you resonated with the clean, organic look of white Zellige tiles or found your dazzling personality reflected in rich, colorful jewel glazes, the LiLi Zellige Collection has the perfect tiles for your space. 

Zellige tiles blend character-rich tradition with modern design and functionality. Turn the page towards a more vibrant and dynamic living space filled with the buzzing beauty of Zellige tiles as you explore our new Zellige Collection. 

Shop the Zellige Tile Collection Now

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