Chances are, you've seen a zellige tile-clad bathroom while scrolling through Instagram or perusing the pages of your go-to interior design magazine. And while the trendy tile has gotten its fair share of time in the limelight, its storied history dates back to over 1,000 years ago. Think of it as the precursor to modern subway tile.
Zellige tile (also referred to as Moroccan tile) is hand-shaped and made from clay, fired in a kiln, and, finally, glazed with enamel. The style's hallmark characteristic is its perfectly imperfect composition derived from its handmade nature. This means no two tiles will ever be the same and there will always be subtle differences in the coloring, so when installed, you won't end up with a completely uniform tonal scheme.
In a bathroom design, zellige tiles can offer a subtle yet visually impactful element that is otherwise hard to replicate. Thirsty for more? Take a peek at a few of our favorite zellige tile ideas that are primed for a remodel.
1. Create an accent wall.
While paint can (at times) feel a little one-dimensional, a textured tile is just the decorative material needed to add a visually dynamic element to a room. In this two-tone bathroom spotted on Gathering Wool, the pink zellige wall tiles set a rich backdrop for the wood vanity while extending down to the shower for a cohesive finish.
2. Go for an understated look.
We're loving the chic simplicity of the weathered white zellige tiles in this serene bath from This Wooden House. The varied coloring of the tile lends a hint of wabi-sabi flair, while also elevating what would otherwise feel like a snoozy, neutral setup.
3. Saturate with color.
Make a statement with an unexpected burst of color. Follow Studio DIY's lead and embrace a vibrant emerald green zellige tile to invite a boho-chic element to your bath. A continuous extension of the shower walls, the small square tiles offer a bright layer against the double vanity while complementing the blush ceramic tiles on the floor.
Get the look: Clé Tile Zellige Secret Lagoon Square, $19.50 per sq. ft.
4. Or, keep it moody.
An all-black scheme paired with lustrous brass hardware invites a major dose of drama to this Silver Lake midcentury modern home. Despite the walls being a dark hue, the subtle textured details of both the paint and the zellige tiles create interest while adding a sense of depth to the space.
Get the look: Clé Tile Zellige Battled Armor Square, $19.50 per sq. ft.
5. Consider wainscoting.
Instead of a floor-to-ceiling tile installation, rethink your bathroom design idea with tiled wainscoting. A cost-effective alternative, the concept allows you to break up the scheme with a two-tone look that feels fresh and chic. Here, the vertical orientation of the off-white tiles visually lengthens the nook while beautifully hugging the wall-mounted sink.
Get the look: Zia Tile Pure White Zellige Tile, $18.85 per sq. ft.
6. Mix and match.
Dabito, of the blog Old Brand New, reinvented his shower with an inspired array of design-forward touches, including zellige tiles for the walls, colorful terrazzo tiles for the floor, and an arched entry for good measure. The creative combo of materials makes for a spa-like oasis that's poised to make every day feel special.
Get the look: Tile Bar Montauk Fog 4x4 Ceramic Wall Tile, $7.15 per sq. ft.
7. Opt for a square tile.
Give the standard subway tile a rest and, instead, switch things up with a square zellige tile. Peek inside this stunning bath from The Repose, an Australian Airbnb property, where the color variations of the tile invite a layer of interest to the backdrop of the freestanding tub.
Get the look: Tiles of Ezra Tierra Nieve Individual Tile Sample, $10
8. Keep the grout lines loose.
The contrast of hand-cut tiles and smooth, lustrous brass hardware is as swoon-worthy a combination as any, and this powder room spotted on Clé Tile is all the proof we need. To up the ante of the beautifully imperfect vibe, take a cue from this scene and allow the grout application to follow suit. Note how the bonding material occasionally overlaps with the tile (sticking outside of the lines) for a cool finish.
Get the look: Clé Tile Zellige Tempered Steel Bejmat, $19.50 per sq. ft.
9. Mix and match styles.
Gray zellige tiles are used for both the wall and floor tile in Emily Henderson's mountain house bathroom. To keep things fresh, the designer opted for two-inch by two-inch square tiles on the ground and an alternating triple stack pattern on the walls for a customized finish.
10. Experiment with shapes.
The beauty of zellige tiles is that they can translate to a variety of decorative schemes, be it modern, farmhouse, or even bohemian. Herringbone tile designs show no signs of waning from interior trends and zellige tiles are a foolproof way to give the classic motif a well-deserved refresh — this rustic bath is a prime example.
Get the look: Riad Tile Forest Green Zellige, $18.50 per sq. ft.