Tile Style with Sunday Times Home

Our director, Ghizlaine Menebhi, sat down with Sunday Times Home to share her top tips for making an impact in your kitchen with feature tiles.

1. People are often scared to use colour in their kitchen. Do you have any advice for bringing in colour (with tiles)?

Tiles are the perfect way to add colour in to a kitchen. It is a timeless option and brings in an element of texture which you will not achieve by simply painting a wall. If you’re afraid of adding colour, work in small spaces. There is no need to suddenly go big and bold immediately. Keep in mind that although you want to create a feature with your colorful tiles and appreciate it, you do not want to feel bothered by them. We suggest calming colours and earth tones such as our Zellige squares in honey or petrol blue. 

2. Some interesting ways to incorporate feature tiles in your kitchen? Most of us know about splashbacks - do you have other suggestions?

A new trend we have seen amongst European designers is using Zelliges for counter tops and bar areas and although it is possible to do this with our cement tiles we would suggest keeping these for your floor. Creating a “rug” visual with our hexagon and patterned collection of cement tiles surrounded either by plain concrete tiles or wooden flooring has become popular with both hospitality and residential clients across the globe and it’s one of our favorite trends we have seen in surface solutions. 

If you’re afraid of adding colour, work in small spaces. There is no need to go big and bold straight away.


3. Are there any rules, or no-no's, when using feature tiles in your kitchen?

When it comes to walls and counter surfaces we advise our clients to stick to Zellige because cement tiles require maintenance and sealing on a regular basis to avoid stains. Zellige are made to resist almost anything so it is the perfect option when considering a feature tile in your kitchen. 

4. Tiles can be a practical, as well as an aesthetic solution - do you have some guidelines for using them as a practical solution?

The most important factor when it comes to cement and zellige tiles is that they protect walls against humidity and damp patches especially when water condensation is not always absorbed by extractors in your kitchen. Besides the beauty of these products, the original use for zellige was in spas and hammams as they are highly resistant, easy to clean and their colour doesn’t fade with time. All these characteristics create a highly practical yet beautiful kitchen space. 

In an environmental sense, all our products are made of natural materials and the technique involved is still the same as one hundred years ago so you won’t find any chemical emanation that is produced by paint, especially in high condensation areas. Practically we cannot move forward as an industry without adopting clean production methods.

And lastly, At Opia we are against fast consumption but still need to meet the demands of the design industry so we have carefully chosen suppliers in Morocco who honor ethical and sustainable production practices while creating a timeless and durable product. This means out products may require some initial budget planning but our clients are guaranteed a high return on their investment in Moroccan tiles as the chances of having to replace or repair is highly unlikely.

5. I see you make both concrete and clay tiles - what would be the best application for different tile materials?

Both are suitable for interiors but we usually recommend Zelliges (clay tiles) for outside areas - our favorite application right now is a terra-cotta courtyard using our Bejmat style and an emerald green pool using our classic squares zelliges. 

Of course a patio or courtyard using our patterned cement tiles is another bold option but it is important to note that weather conditions will give them a beautiful patina. If you prefer something that will not be altered, then Zellige is the way to go. 

6. Do you have any tips for combining different tile designs to create a feature?

  • If you are afraid of using patterned cement tiles in a large space, mix them up with plain tiles in between. A mix of our Hex Arrow and Plain Hex tiles in midnight have been a popular choice here.
  • Always consider your lighting; the movement and glazing of zellige reflects light so consider placing them in direct sunlight or indirect warm lighting. 
  • Mix zellige and cement in the same space. For example, create your shower wall using zellige and the rest of the bathroom floor out of cement tiles. The contrast is magic.
  • Follow us on Instagram, we post pictures of installations that will certainly inspire you.

7. If there is any advice you would like to share that is not covered here, please do so and I will incorporate it.

We accompany our customers throughout the process to ensure the product is installed correctly and the client is 100% satisfied with the outcome.