Tile with Style

I am enamored with these tiles.

Such creativity with installation; such enhancement in architecture.

This is exactly what Interior Design is all about.

In today’s blog we take a look into history and theory behind Zillij style: the foundation for all Moroccan and Spanish tile.

According to Zillij: The Art of Moroccan Ceramics, Zillij is “the subtle application of man’s feelings through form and color, exactly as the house is designed to reflect his requirements. Zillij is an expression of man’s interior world.”

Take a moment, if you will, to reflect on that statement. Building with purpose. Design with inner thoughts expressed through outer decoration and adornment. A true refection of self in design.

Tile, decorative, design
Tile of Spain at Cersaie 2014
Kitchen Backsplash with pattern
Photo Credit: sunset.com

Zillij is an Islamic art that is based on learning, discipline, and faith. The geometric patterns reflect the Islamic belief that life is ordered by cosmic intelligence, even if people cannot always understand it. The abstract patterns reflect the Islamic desire to understand God’s creation through study rather than copy creation through representational art, which is shunned as a pathway to idolatry. Zillij patterns are constructed from archetypal shapes that have been refined by centuries of scientific study, artistic tradition, and religious belief.

Fundamentally, the purpose of zillij is decoration used to inspire the viewer into meditative reflection of the underlying laws governing the universe. Since Islamic tradition frowns on representational art, Muslims celebrate beauty through decorative arts, such as arabesques, textiles, architecture, tile work, and pottery design.

white and blue, pattern, tile
Dandelion in milk/lavender from Swedish architects Claesson Koivisto Rune.

The Prophet Mohammad is quoted as saying “God is beautiful and loves beauty.” The Prophet’s love of learning, appreciation of beauty, and directive to avoid representational art provided an ideal set of constraints for the creation and support of zillij art work. It is hard to imagine this art form arising from any other tradition.

Pattern Bathroom Tile Floor, Black and White
Photo Credit: House Beautiful


The lines in Moroccan geometry are straight as opposed to the curved lines used in Middle Eastern art traditions. This straight line is thought to be an influence of pre-Islamic architecture, constructed by the Berber (Amazigh) populations before Islamic culture arrived in North Africa. The Moroccan line can be seen in both the hard edges of zillij tiles and the rectangular, not round, minaret of mosques.

In 711 A.D. the Moors conquered Spain and introduced a variety of artistic techniques to Europe, including a unique way of painting ceramic tiles… thus begins the Moroccan Tile. Master craftsmen called ‘Maalam Ferach’ would study from a young age to learn how to design and create grand mosaics with the tiles, and not surprisingly it became a symbol of sophistication and wealth in many homes.

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Photo Credit: pinterest.com
Pattern Tile, Moroccan, Flooring, Hall
Photo Credit: pinterest.com




Modern-day Spanish Tiles range from elaborately decorated and colorful mosaic tiles to those with options for replicating wood floors. The tiles may be quite expensive but are extremely high-quality and durable. From bathroom and kitchen ceramic Spanish tiles to high quality wood look Spanish tiles you can find a host of different finishes. The origins of Spanish tile however, are modest and stretch back thousands of years.

Before then Muslim invasion of Spain in the year 711, ceramics had been utilized in structural design in the form of

Blue and White Pattern Tile, Moroccan, Spanish
Photo Credit: pinterest.com

unglazed bricks, mosaic prices, roofing tiles, water channels, eaves, etc.  However, the introduction of glazed tiles or tiles enameled with metallic oxides was a contribution of Islamic culture.  The first European use of such tiles was in Spain, and their use eventually spread throughout the Western world.

Pattern Tile, Moroccan, Pattern, Flooring
“Frame” from Refin
Bathroom Tile, Pattern, Spanish Tile
Photo Credit: pinterest.com

During Medieval times, ceramics were widely produced in Southern and Coastal Eastern Spain, such as tiles for decoration and construction, as well as earthenware utilitarian pieces.  Great pieces of artisan tile were created for churches and palaces throughout Spain.

Tiles and other ceramic pieces were exported from Seville and Cadiz first throughout the Mediterranean and then later, the world. With time, the knowledge and styles of ceramics developed in Spain diffused throughout Europe, making Spain just one of many centers of tile and ceramic ware manufacturing.  One of the greatest recipients of this tradition was Mexico, centering in the colonial capital of Puebla.  Latin Accents is proud to bring you the products of this centuries old tradition.

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Primula from Mosaic House
Metallic Tile, Pattern, Gold and White
AKDO Tile
Ceramic Tile, Spanish, Pattern
tabarkastudio.com
Green and White pattern tile
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
Gray and Cream Pattern Tile
Photo Credit: kimgray.co.za
Glass Tile, moroccan pattern tile
Moroccan window shaped glass tile from Edgewater
Gray and White Pattern Tile, Moroccan, Spanish STyle
Photo Credit: myparadissi.com
Moroccan Tile, Ceramic, Bule and Teal
Rireclay Tile: the Moroccan Collection
blue and white Moroccan tile
Purchase at: best-tile.co.uk
Moroccan Tile, Cream and Tan and Black pattern tile
Photo Credit: mokkasin.blogspot.co.uk
green and white, moroccan tile, star tile
PALIO by Tabarka Studio
Gold, Metallic, Glass Tile, Moroccan, Contemporary
Walker Zanger Arabesque

Get Inspired with these General Room installations:

cream and beige Moroccan tile flooring
Photo Credit: pinterst.com
black and white tile, hotel tile, pattern tile
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Glass Tile, Cream, White, moroccan pattern, elegant, style
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
backsplash, mexican tile, pattern
Photo Credit: apartmenttherapy.com
white and gold, moroccan tile, marble
Photo Credit: simplifiedbee.com
spanish tile, black and white
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
outdoor shower, Moroccan tile,
photo credit: enmiespaciovital.blogspot.com
blue and white spanish tile
Purchase through: LUXURYSTYLE.ES
Spanish Tile Backsplash: Yellow and Cream, White Cabients
Photo Credit: elmueble.com
kitchen, DIY, moroccan tile, pattern, white and gray
Photo Credit: stylebyemilyhenderson.com
spanish tile floor, blue and teal
Barraca Restaurant 81 Greenwich Ave, West Village
spanish floor tile, hexigon, kitchen backsplash
Lake Conroe Spanish style, Austin. JAUREGUI Architecture-Interiors.
rustic spanish tile backsplash bathroom, pedistal sink
Schuyler Samperton
spanish floor tile, gray and white
Photo Credit: buckboardhill.typepad.com
Spanish Floor Tile, Spanish Pavers
Photo Credit: apartmenttherapy.com

Feature Walls and Fireplaces

Spanish fireplace tile, pattern tile
Photo Credit: tessaneustadt.com
cream and blue tile pattern, Fireplace
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
Spanish Tile, white and blue, pattern, bathroom, feature wall
Aparici Vanguard System Spanish tile
spanish tile, bathroom vanity, feature wall, tan and brown
Photo Credit: providenceltddesign.com

Inspiring Staircases:

stair risers, tans, cream, spanish tile
Photo Credit: pinterest.com
spanish staircase, blue and white spanish tile
Photo Credit: remodelista.com
white and blue spanish tile stair riser
Photo Credit: coconutandbean.com
gray and cream floor tile, spanish tile
Photo Credit: apartmenttherapy.com

Elegant use in Exteriors:

Exterior Tile, Pattern, Spanish Tile
Photo Credit: casalecanda.com
exterior patio, spanish floor tile
Photo Credit: remodelista.com
patio spanish tile flooring exterior
Photo Credit: c-home.com
exterior foyer tile, spanish tile contemporary, black and white
Photo Credit: remodelista.com
exterior tile, pattern, gray and white
Photo Credit: danielcuevasdesigner.com

As always, I hope today’s post encourages you to do great work.

xoxo Candice

do good work

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