This Shimmery Tile Trend is About to Own Your Instagram Feed (If It Hasn’t Already)

updated Dec 12, 2019
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I’m generally a pro-tile person—it’s high impact, relatively easy to clean, and hypoallergenic. Yes, tile can be expensive, particularly when it’s handmade and has an intricate pattern or fancy glaze. But when I notice a tile trend taking off, I’m pretty much here for it and immediately start saving all examples of it that I like on Instagram. One day, I will (fingers crossed) have a place to call my own, and tile is definitely getting installed in a big way—and if things were popping off for me in the house department at present, I would be all about these shimmery, hand-hewn tiles that appear to be taking over the internet. The tile technique at hand is called “zellige,” and I’m in love. 

The thing is, zellige isn’t new. The style itself actually dates back to 10th-century Morocco, and in its purest, most authentic (and probably best) form is, sadly, a bit of a dying art. Tiles are hand-shaped, dried, fired, and then hand-glazed, ensuring no two will be alike. Grout lines tend to be minimal, and thus far, zellige tile applications here have mostly been square or rectangle in shape and neutral in color like the above kitchen—that is, until now. Lately, color has been coming on strong here, and I can’t scroll on Instagram these days without stumbling into bold, jewel tone zellige-look tiles in bathrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and beyond. 

In particular, greens and teals appear to be having a major moment. The above kitchen is sporting a zellige tile stack bond configuration, and I’m a fan. This shape and finish of the tiles is a good compromise for folks that like the classic look but want to switch things up a bit. The vertical installation also helps with that, too. But how pretty are these tiles? The way they catch light adds so much movement, drama, and energy to the space.

Here’s another zellige installation in a shower, still in that same emeraldy-teal color way. Yes, this would still be a stunning bathroom even if the tile were neutral. But you can’t say the bold jewel tone doesn’t turn the space up a notch, emphasizing that steep pitch in the roofline.

Green zellige tiles works nicely—and seems even more modern—on a floor, too, as evidenced by the herringbone installation above.

And yes, you can go darker and take the zellige tile trend out of the kitchen and bath. Check out this fireplace surround, crafted with forest green zellige tiles. The styling here is light and bright, but imagine how moody and chic this feature wall would be with a fire blazing below and some deep colored pottery and pampas grass up top on the mantel.

Or the vibe can be more feminine—think like a pink garnet stone. Here the sink wall, as opposed to the shower surround, is the feature the designer has chosen to highlight with zellige. The marble sink and dark toiletry bottles bring the ethereal look back down to earth a bit.

Lastly, if you’re into bold yellows or mustards, you’ll be happy to know I found an example of citrine zellige tiles, too. I can’t imagine this kitchen being half as exciting without that shot of yellow—see it in the corner there? It perks up the whole room.