Zellige tiles have made waves in the interior design world for centuries, and modern updates have ensured that they're both accessible and classic. Interior designer Marie Flanigan is proving the tile's staying power with popular designs that push boundaries – and setting trends to last into the new year.
A beautiful touch that blends with nearly any kitchen or bathroom design scheme, Zellige tile is stunning and versatile. This tile trend offers flexibility when it comes to pattern and color, making them incredibly easy to use – and to customize along with the times. Here's how interior designers are using the timeless tiles for 2024.
What are Zellige tiles?
Handcrafted Zellige tiles first appeared in Morocco in the 10th century, most likely stemming from North African mosaics, and have lined the walls of homes and landmarks alike ever since. They're made of glazed clay and due to the manufacturing process, each tile turns out unique.
The tiles now come in a wide range of colors and styles, and are an easy way to bring a bit of character and liveliness into homes. Designers love to use them in kitchens and bathrooms, where their durable and waterproof nature shines.
Are Zellige tiles still on trend?
Though Zellige tiles have a long history, they aren't going anywhere for 2024. Often handmade and natural, with quite a bit of character, these tiles have become an interior designer's best friend.
'As an industry, we have been embracing organic textures and hand-formed details for some time, which is why Zellige is a go-to finish for kitchens and bathrooms,' says Marie Flanigan, interior designer and founder of Marie Flanigan Interiors.
Marie says that the new year will bring 'interesting patterns and hopefully new colorways' when it comes to Zellige, as well as designs featuring a wide grout look – a layout that proved popular on her social media this year.
'As designers, our goal is to push design forward and I think taking unexpected approaches in design will always resonate,' she says.
Marie Flanigan is an award-winning interior designer whose passion and achievements in design have positioned her as one of the nation’s best. She is classically trained and practiced architect, and her trademark style is evident through the sophisticated use of color, texture, and light. Every home she designs receives her personal signature of timeless elegance and innovative simplicity.
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This gorgeous pink bathroom featured on Marie's Instagram was one of her top two posts of 2023, proof that people have an eye for Zellige going into the new year, she says.
And the best part of the look? The surprising technique of stacking the Zellige, which includes wide grout lines for an even more organic look. Marie says she expects to see much more of this earthy interior design trend in 2024.
'The one-inch grout lines allowed each tile’s individual color to pop, almost giving the effect of a beautiful mosaic. The stained cabinetry and light flooring were subtle complements to the pink Zellige,' she says.
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In Marie's second most-liked Instagram reel of last year, which also features Zellige tile, she's skillfully stacked the tiles in an eye-catching mosaic pattern. Though missing out on the wide grout look, this design brings elegance and shine, as well as subtle color, to a mostly monochrome bathroom.
'Light and bright bathrooms are always a crowd favorite and this bathroom tiling presentation was no exception. I think the craftsmanship of the shower alcove also resonates because it is so seamless,' she says.
How to use Zellige tile in 2024
Zellige tile is naturally most suited to kitchens and bathrooms, but can be added in bursts to any area of the home that needs a bit of extra glimmer. And whether you're looking for vivid color or compelling texture, Zellige is sure to be a go-to in 2024.
'The way light hits the tiles' undulated texture creates a beautiful and interesting reflection. I also love that the color in each tile is never exact, which gives stunning dimension,' says Marie.
If you're sticking to the bathroom or kitchen – where you can never go wrong with Zellige – Marie suggests incorporating the tile into backsplash designs, or as shower or tub surround. Zellige flooring is another beautiful addition to a bathroom's design. The tile comes in countless colors, too, fitting in with design styles across the board.
'A lot of the colorways available in Zellige are muted gem tones which are incredibly versatile, working with both subdued and bold palettes,' says Marie.
Caitlin Jones Ghajar, interior designer and principal of Caitlin Jones Design, says that her firm is mainly using Zellige in vertical, rectangular patterns and pairing it with more understated materials for a balanced interior aesthetic.
'It still offers that delicious texture and patina, but in an updated aesthetic. Additionally, we are pairing it with quieter marbles and sand tones versus heavier textured tiles and stones,' says Caitlin.
Caitlin Jones Ghajar is the founder and principal of Caitlin Jones Design, a celebrated firm that has dedicated itself to beautiful interiors since 1999.
According to Grazzie Wilson, head of creative at Ca’ Pietra, authentic Zellige tiles are still being produced, but more modern renditions are readily available to bring us well into 2024. Despite Marie's success with the wide grout look, Grazzie suggests going toward the other extreme and minimizing grout lines for a more traditional look.
'To create the Zellige effect, you’ll want your tiles to be as close together as possible. That means no spacers anywhere near your tiles. If you want the bare look but with the stability of grout, go for a super slim grout line with the excess wiped away and you’ll never know it’s there,' she says.
In the new year, Grazzie says she's looking for interesting color combinations. The tiles already draw attention in one color, shifting slightly with different lighting, but bringing in multiple colors levels up the look.
'For 2024, think about pairing two Zellige tiles together in block colors. We’re used to seeing Zellige used as one colors, with the variations in each tile used to create pattern and texture, but this way, we create additional layers and visual interest,' she says.
Grazzie Wilson is head of creative at Ca'Pietra, a luxury stone and tile brand based in the UK.
The verdict is in, and Zellige seems to be sticking around for 2024. Experiment with eye-catching colors, patterns and textures with your tile for a serene and satisfying look in the kitchen and bathroom – and beyond.
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I am a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, with a focus on interior design. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.
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