This Backsplash Trend Is Actually Totally Timeless

Tired of basic backsplash options...but afraid to commit to pattern in grout? The latest tiling power player might be your match made in heaven. Meet: the zellige (ze-lih-guh) tile—an earthy, terra-cotta alternative to the subway tile. Lustrous, organic and perfectly imperfect, they’re super in line with the hygge and Wabi Sabi aesthetics that are all the rage right now. 

But while these tiles may be experiencing a design revival, it’s important to note that they’ve actually been made the same way in Morocco for over 1,000 years. Below, proof that zellige tiles work across every style—and so, will surely be peak chic for years to come.

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zellige tile country
Courtesy of Clé Tile


In a warm, classic white, these puppies are versatile enough to mix with rustic woods and traditional beadboard. Cozy, textural heaven, amiright?  

Design: Zio & Son

zellige tile modern
Courtesy of Clé Tile


Matte black squares make a gorgeous accent wall in a moody bathroom—and pair brilliantly with modern details like concrete floors and a floating vanity.

Design: Amber Interiors; Photography: Tessa Neustadt

zellige tile glam
Courtesy of Clé Tile


In soft pink, zellige tiles add an earthy and feminine accent to a space with luxe finishes, like Carrera marble and blingy brass hardware. (P.S. Note how the pearly pink reflects in the showerhead—dreams.)

Design: Robert McKinley 

zellige tile contemporary
Courtesy of Clé Tile


Good design is all about thoughtfully mixing the old with the new. Which is why we love to see zellige tiles in a contemporary kitchen, where details like campaign pulls and modern wood finishes balance out harmoniously.  

Design: Jaimie Baird 

zellige tile eclectic
Courtesy of Clé Tile


Unsurprisingly, zellige tiles look right at home in a more curated, bohemian space. We love them set against open shelving, where prized ceramics complement the texture. Hot tip: Wrap 'em around the ceiling for even more drama.

Photography: Clay Grier

zellige tile farmhouse
Courtesy of Clé Tile


With a high-shine glaze and classic rectangular subway tile cut, zellige tiles can add a textural yet totally appropriate twist to modern farmhouse-style kitchens and baths as well. 

Photography: Karyn Millet

All images featured with the kind permissions of Clé Tile


Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.