Last Updated Apr 18, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider
Morocco began making tiles about 1200 years ago. Called "Zellige," Moroccan tiles were some of the first tiles to use geometric shapes in intricate patterns. Tile making and laying is more of an art than a craft in Morocco, making Moroccan tiles today are some of the most sought after in the world.
Moroccan tiles range in size from small mosaics to larger wall tiles. Some of their distinguishing features are their detailed geometric designs. Mosaics and larger tiles may be of one colour, but they are combined with tiles of other colours to create a geometric pattern.
Moroccan tiles were originally created because of an Islamic restriction against using human images. To create beautiful exterior and interior walls, tile makers created the geometric patterns that are the hallmark of tiling from Morocco.
When we think of Moroccan tiles, we often think of intricate patterns. While these patterns are what brought the art of Moroccan tiling to our attention, they are not the only type of Moroccan tile you can buy.
In fact, you may have seen tiles in a Moroccan style in a tile shop, but not recognised them as Moroccan. We have taken Moroccan designs and adapted them to our culture. Simpler patterns are available that may be suitable for use on larger areas in any room of the house. This vintage pattern is an example of how we use Moroccan style tiles without knowing the origin of the design.
That's just one example of a simpler Moroccan pattern. We use dozens of patterns taken from tiles designed by Morocco's master tilers, but don't always know the origin of the design.
Intricacy isn't the only hallmark of Moroccan tiles. Moroccan tiles can be a plain colour, but it will usually be an earth tone. In fact, many of the tiles we associate with Spanish tiles originated in Morocco. In the 8th century, Spain and other European countries imported tiles from Morocco until they learned tile making techniques.
Some tile shops specialise in tiles imported from Morocco, but others have Moroccan style tiles that may have been made in Australia or Europe. The tiles that have been designed outside of Morocco are often less elaborate than traditional Moroccan tiles, but have hints of Moroccan design in them. You will notice it in the intricacy of the pattern.
It is often thought that depictions of nature were not allowed in Islamic art. This isn't quite true. This floral pattern is a traditional design and can be seen in Mosques.
You may not want to make an intricate Moroccan style pattern on a full wall, but you can take elements of Moroccan tile styles and brighten your home with them. You might want to use a single colour for tiles on your bathroom wall, but use Moroccan feature tiles to make the wall brighter.
You can also use narrow Moroccan tiles to brighten the room. They can be used as accent tiles vertically or horizontally to add colour to your walls or floor.
For a more dramatic look, you can use large format tiles in your bathroom. Each tile will have a different pattern, but if you use similar colours, you can create a wall that will add an element of excitement to the room.
You can use Moroccan or Moroccan-inspired tiles anywhere you want to add style to your home. For example, you can use Moroccan-inspired tiles in your patio. A repeated pattern is perfect for a smaller area. It will make the patio more interesting and give it a stylish look.
Moroccan tiles can be in muted colours or a mixture of bright colours. You may prefer to use bright coloured tiles in a room or as a decorative feature of a tiled room.
You can even use Moroccan tiles or Moroccan tile designs around your pool. Even if Moroccan tiles aren't available in your area, you can choose tiles of different colours and create Moroccan style pool tiles.
If you like Art Deco architecture and interior design, Moroccan tiles are partially responsible for the design motifs of the Art Deco era. Like Moroccan tiles, many Art Deco designs are geometric. When Art Deco became popular in the early 1900s, the style also became popular in Fes, Casablanca and other large cities in Morocco. This is partially because of the French population in those cities, but Art Deco style wasn't incompatible with traditional Moroccan design. This image from our article, Sydney Style: the Art Deco of Potts Point is one example of how Art Deco borrowed from Moroccan and other designs.
There are so many ways you can brighten your home with tiling from Morocco. If you want tiles imported from Morocco, your tiler may be able to tell you where you can buy them. To narrow down your search, ask for Moroccan tiles when you get quotes from tilers. Tiles from Morocco are available in most large Australian cities. If you can't find them in your area, you may be able to have them shipped to you. If you live near a major metropolitan area, it may be worth finding a tile supplier who has tiles from Morocco in stock.
If you can't find imported Moroccan tiles, your local tile supplier may have Moroccan-inspired tiles in stock. If not that, you can buy different colours and choose a Moroccan pattern to brighten your home.
One way or the other, you can be inspired by tiling from Morocco and create a stunning pattern wherever you need tiles that will brighten your home and brighten your life.