Zelliges dans une nuance de bleu pour habiller la salle de bains - Wow Design

How to adopt zellige tiles in your wall decoration?

Long considered an obsolete material, zellige is today brought up to date thanks to its aesthetic and practical qualities. Mixed with ingenuity with contemporary materials and styles, it can give character to interior decoration. Robust, decorative and easy to maintain, it adapts without any difficulty to damp rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms.

What is zellige?

Zellige gray
Zellige gray Medina collection at Surface with alternating matt and shiny.

Zellige is a type of tile made using an assembly of elements in terracotta. Mainly used as Wall cover, it is also possible to place this earthenware on the ground, in bathtubs or on decorative installations, such as a fountain or a basin. Its design adapts perfectly to kitchens and bathrooms. On the other hand, it is to be avoided in the bedrooms and the living room so as not to refresh the atmosphere. In all cases, prefer the enamelled zellige.


Light zellige used as a swimming pool covering for a Moroccan atmosphere - H&M
Light zellige used as a swimming pool covering for a Moroccan atmosphere – H&M

Origin of zellige

Zellige comes from the region of Fez in Morocco, hence its name “le moroccan tile “. Since its inception, it has been mainly manufactured in countries around the Mediterranean. He made his first appearances there with white and brown shades. Around the 14th century, others colors appear, especially blue, green and yellow. The other shades are not used until years later. Its design is largely influenced by the moroccan culture.

The characteristics of zellige

Decoration ideas: zellige wall mosaic with patterns - Emery & Cie
Decoration ideas: a wall mosaic in two-tone zelliges with plant motifs – Emery & Cie

Zellige is characterized by its irregular appearance. The original cachet that it gives to a piece makes it an authentic material. It owes this unique aspect to its manufacturing which is done by hand, according to an artisanal tradition. Usually it takes the form of small tiles, imitating mosaics. Its classic dimensions are 10 × 10 cm with a thickness of about 1.5mm. It is rare to find zellige of large dimensions.

An attractive material for decoration

The shiny appearance of zellige makes it attractive. It is suitable for all spaces, especially small rooms. Long considered an old-fashioned and out-of-date material, it is back on the front of the stage thanks to shapes and colors in tune with the times. It harmonizes with style with the decoration of contemporary interiors. You just need to combine it with warmer materials to reduce its cold side.

Decorate your kitchen with zellige

Credenza in black zelliges - Emery & Cie
Worktop and splashback in black zelliges – Emery & Cie

The characteristics of zellige make it a suitable material for kitchen splashback. It dresses this element by giving it a particular cachet. Indeed the aspect of the zellige makes it possible to highlight any surface. Robust and resistant, it fears neither humidity nor steam.

Zellige on work plans is also another way of integrating this material into its interior decoration. It has the advantage of not being afraid of the effects of hot nor those of cold and it remains intact. It can quite withstand the temperature of a frying pan or a saucepan straight out of the fire, especially since its treatment presents no risk in terms of hygiene.

Green zelliges with patterns for the kitchen - Emery & Cie
Green zelliges and patterned tiles for the kitchen – Emery & Cie

The different dimensions it can have allow you to create pretty decorative designs. For more originality, dare patterned tiles where the zellig mosaics. The main thing is to combine the shapes of the tiles with the rest of the decoration.

If zellige is very popular in cooking, it is thanks to its ease of maintenance. Its smooth surface can be cleaned withsoapy water, using a sponge. A few wipes of the sponge are enough to get rid of oil stains and dirt. To preserve its new appearance, it is necessary to clean it regularly.

Dressing a bathroom with zellige

Design bathroom thanks to black zellige - Leroy Merlin
Design bathroom thanks to the black zelliges on the wall and in the shower – Leroy Merlin

In Moroccan interiors, this material invades the bathroom. Its resistance to splashing water and to temperature variations adapts to the constraints of this room. Adopting zellige in the bathroom only requires a few ingenious tips. It can be used by small touches or as base material.

  • Around the mirror : for a captivating decoration, opt for zellige tiles arranged around the mirror.
  • The bathtub : as the zellige withstands constant exposure to humidity, it can be used as a coating for the bathtub. Just choose colors that match the style of the bathroom.
  • In the shower : for shower tiles, zellige is one of the preferred materials. In addition to existing in a wide choice of colors and finishes, it is resistant to shocks, water and different products.
  • On a wall facade : to illuminate a small bathroom, you can adopt shiny zellige on a wall plan.
Zellige blue
Zellige blue Medina collection by Surface

A palette rich in colors and shapes

Zellige comes in several forms. Cut by hand, this allows you to shape tiles with personalized shapes. There is something for all styles: square, rectangular, octagonal, star… The assembly of such a variety of shapes creates designs that meet all requirements. Some are even designed to create curly.

To satisfy a wider audience, manufacturers offer more and more colors. Zellige is thus adorned with all the nuances to compose inspiring mosaics.

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