The UK is feeling rather Moorish right now. To borrow marketing parlance, Moroccan tiles are having ‘a moment’ and it’s not that difficult to see why. With their colourful tones and playful patterns, they’re a go-to choice if you’re after a style statement.
But with so many different designs available, it can be tricky finding your perfect match. So to help you make the right decisions and avoid any costly mistakes, we’ve put together our top tips for finding your perfect Moorish tiles.
What are Moroccan tiles?
Like the Kingdom itself, it’s impossible to pick out one style that sums up Moroccan tiles. And if you’ve ever visited Marrakesh, then you’ll know that there’s an infinite amount of dazzling designs and pretty patterns that cover almost every conceivable surface.
Traditional Moroccan tiles usually fall into one of two camps; zellige mosaics or hydraulic cement tiles. More often than not, these are handmade locally by skilled artisans using techniques passed down through generations. As it happens, I was recently in the Rose City and these two snaps I took perfectly illustrate the differences between the two:
Crafted from glaze and fired clay, zellige tiles are usually very small and laid in intricate, mosaic-like patterns.
Made from cement, these tiles are larger and feature more simple, geometric designs that are ideal for floors.
For a visitor, sourcing these traditional tiles is rather haphazard; the craftsmen are difficult to track down and probably don’t speak english. And that’s before we get onto long lead times and the famously high tourist prices!
Luckily, here at Porcelain Superstore we’ve got a range of designs inspired by traditional Moroccan tiles. These marry the charm of the originals with the benefits of modern ceramic and porcelain – in effect, the best of both worlds. We hold all these in stock in the UK ready for a speedy delivery and best of all, with our famously low prices, you won’t even need to haggle!
Picking the right Moroccan Tile for you
We always think it’s best to start by considering the look you’re going for. After all, with so many different designs there’s a Moroccan tile for every situation.
Want your walls and floor to sing? Then choose an eye-catching patchwork design such as Casablanca Mix – the different patterns and prints are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Throughout Morocco you’ll find countless examples of geometric patterned tiles. Love their timeless style? Then check out Vintage Cube – the worn patina perfectly captures Moorish charm.
Want to give your home the warm character you’d find in a centuries-old riad? Pick a tile like Heritage Star – these tiles will look like they’ve been laid in your space for decades.
Moroccan style isn’t all about the old – a new generation are forging their own path and marrying the old with the new. The look is perfectly encapsulated by Diamond Twist.
What are Moroccan tiles made from?
Remember the traditional zellige and cement tiles we mentioned above? Beautiful as these are, they can be hard work to live with.
Being handmade means they’re not perfect and each tile will be different from the next. While this is usually part of the charm, it’s not necessarily ideal to find that your expensive new tiles are as varied as a Dulux colour chart or that the surface has more craters than the moon.
And because they’re made from soft clay or natural cement, these tiles can be quite easy to stain or damage.
In contrast, our Moroccan tiles are all made using ceramic or porcelain, which means they’re really easy to install and care for. You don’t need to seal these tiles or endlessly fret about stains and spillages. Porcelain especially is incredibly durable so it’s a great choice for high-traffic floors.
Digitally Printed, Artisan Appeal
We actually source our Moroccan tiles from state-of-the-art factories in Spain and Italy who use the best materials to create quality tiles. Although they might separated from Morocco by the Mediterranean Sea, they’re the world leaders when it comes to digital printing technology.
This rather dry expression is actually the key ingredient when it comes to crafting our exotic tiles. Think of an industrial sized laser printer and you’re not far off the mark; these machines faithfully replicate the beautiful patterned tiles you see all over Morocco in high definition glory. So you’ll get all of the character and charm of olde-world, handmade mosaics, with the benefits of modern materials.
Where can Moroccan tiles be used?
If you’re mesmerised by Moroccan tiles then you’ll be happy to know that our designs can be used almost anywhere. Ceramic and porcelain are really durable which means they’re suitable for most walls and floors throughout your home – let’s take a look below.
These days, kitchens are the heart of the home so naturally, we want them to look good. Using moroccan tiles is a sure-fire way to impress your guests, especially if you contrast eye-catching patchwork prints against sleek white cabinets. Here, cement tiles are used to turn the kitchen island into a real focal point and tie in perfectly with the vintage stools.
Looking for a quick and relatively inexpensive refresh? Then make a statement with your staircase by fitting Moroccan tiles to the risers. Whether you opt for something colourful or some monochrome patchwork prints, you’re sure to add a little Casablanca cool to your home.
There’s no reason that bathrooms should be boring, so why not ditch the plain white tiles in favour of something a little more exotic? Add a little flair to your daily routines by decking your space out in funky Moorish tiles – brushing your teeth is a lot more fun in rooms like this!
Bored of bland but don’t want to go too funky on your floors? You can always rely on geometric Moroccan tiles to add a splash of understated charisma to your room. We’re fond of our Vintage Camden tiles, above. They’re all about grown-up but gorgeous style, in a subtle, on-trend way.
Furthermore, porcelain tiles are frostproof so they can be used outside without fear of cracks developing. Take a look at the individual product page to see which material a particular tile is made from. And don’t be afraid to get creative – we’ve seen customers used Moroccan tiles to create striking ponds and retaining walls outside!
What sizes of Moorish tiles are available?
Although there’s been a trend towards larger styles over the past few years, our Moroccan tiles stay stubbornly small. There’s a reason for this; the original tiles were all rather dinky – just think of all those dazzling mosaics! And anyway, we think that sometimes, decorative design just looks better in small packages.
That said there’s still a far few different shapes and sizes. For example, although our Tapestry Blue tiles measure 33 x 33 cm, they’re ‘split’ into nine different tiles by scored grout gaps to give the illusion of small, artisan tiles. Heritage Star measures up at a relatively weighty 45 x 45 cm although again, it’s divided into four smaller pieces.
A Shapely Choice
Marrakesh’s famous Jem-el-Fna square might be the most exotic place this side of the Amazon, but that doesn’t mean all Moroccan tiles have to be square. Our six-sided Seville Persian Blue and Moroccan Mix tiles combine Moorish style with the trend for hexagons and they’re a great way to show off your design credentials. Just check out London’s trendy Pizza x Drink restaurant below to see how you can easily get the loft look at home.
Bonus Buying Tip
On a final note, it’s really important to test drive your Moroccan tiles – perhaps even more so, given their decorative nature. Order a sample or two and test them in your chosen room to make sure they feel like a good fit. Our tiles might be moorish, but you’ll want to get it right first time!