Arabesque Tile: Here to Stay?

As with many of my posts, this question was inspired by a client of mine. She wanted to use a white ceramic tile, but a white ceramic of the unconventional variety. Even after I showed her all the ways she could use a plain white subway creatively, she still wanted something different. When I suggested she use the white Arabesque tile pattern that I had seen her eyeing, she asked me, “Is this going to be too trendy in a few years?”

Well, this question made me think.

It is true that this pattern has kind of popped up out of nowhere as of late. But in terms of the history, it dates back to Byzantine times. You can hardly call that trendy.

Ancient Byzantine Arabesque Pattern

It also appeals to both sexes because it has nice curves (a traditionally feminine shape) coupled with sharp edges (a traditionally masculine shape) all in one pattern, which makes it both universally attractive and quite unique as far as geometric shapes go.

Walker Zanger "Ashbury"

 In addition to its all-encompassing appeal, it isn’t strictly a “kitchen” tile or a “bathroom” tile, but rather looks beautiful in all applications. It looks more modern when done in a non-traditional color like this baby blue (above), and looks luxe when done with a metallic finish (below). It’s subtle in white and bombards you in red. I love it as a field, as an accent, and even as a floor tile.

Walker Zanger "Contessa"

Mission Stone & Tile "Arabesque Bevel"

Mission Stone & Tile "Tabarka Arabesque"

But my client does have a point…is this going to be the next “fleur-de-lis” epidemic of 2006, which exploded out of nowhere (even though it’s been around forever), showed up on everything from candles to wallpaper, and then disappeared again as quickly as it came?

I really don’t have an answer, which is why I’d like to open up this question for discussion: what do you think? Is it here to stay or going to be “so 2010” in the next few years? Would you use it in your home?

If you would like assistance planning your next tile project, email me at for a free consultation!

*Featured image is Mission Stone & Tile’s Beveled Arabesque

21 Responses to “Arabesque Tile: Here to Stay?”
  1. Mary says:

    Great post!! You had me laughing at the “fleur-de-lis epidemic of 2006″ part, it’s soooooo true! It’s sometimes hard to judge what is going to continue to be ‘classic’ and what will soon be a thing of the past. . . . I struggle with this often when helping clients decorate their homes. I love stuff that is trendy, but will people soon be turning their noses up to it and thinking ‘thats soooo last year’ ?? I do think this tile would be an excellent selection for a client who wants white and ceramic but doesn’t want to go with subway tiles.

  2. Tile Tramp says:

    Thank’s Mary! I absolutely fell victim to the fleur-de-lis trend, so I speak from personal experience on that one haha.

    And I’m with you- I’m always attracted to the trendy stuff as well, but it’s very expensive to switch out tile with every new trend, you know? I think the arabesque works best in white also…as is the case with most unusual shapes.

    I actually just spec’d it for a customer of mine in the exact situation you just described (nixed subway tile, but wanted white ceramic) and she actually loved it so much she’s using it as her bathroom floor as well! Hopefully I can get some photos to share with you guys here when it’s all done 🙂

  3. Steph says:

    Hey, I just came across your blog yesterday via the Mission Stone and Tile blog. I just used the white Beveled Arabesque tile on a job. Love it.
    Anyway, I referenced you in my blog post today, hope that’s okay! 🙂
    Great blog you have here by the way.

    • Tile Tramp says:

      Thanks Steph! I would love to see how you used the tile (just cuz I’m a tile nerd like that) if you wouldn’t mind emailing it to me! And I’m flattered you chose to mention my blog in a post, thanks very much 🙂

  4. I think it will definitely read as of-the-moment in a few years, as will anything that’s very on-trend. There’s nothing inherently flawed about it but the ubiquity is going to date it as the Arabesque Revival of 2010 for sure.

    • Tile Tramp says:

      Yeah as much as I’d like to disagree and argue that it’s here for the long haul because I really love the pattern, I think you nailed it: the Arabesque Revival of 2010. That being said, I’d still install it in my kitchen 🙂

  5. Chris Carmen says:

    Love the Beveled Arabesque Tile!

  6. sheila19 says:

    This is funny because we bought a house that was built in 1971 and it is LOADED with arabesque tile..the entryway floor, kitchen floor, backsplash in kitchen, bathroom floor and even the base of a window seat are all arabesque tile. Now, some of the colors date it (weird mottled mustard/white backsplash and turquoise/white bathroom floor). I’m actually trying to fine a way to to save some of it as I love the look.

  7. My guess is that this design will soon look dated.

  8. mcl531 says:

    I loved this picture so much when I saw it on HOUZZ, that I just ordered the Blue Paris Night Arabesque from Mission Stone and Tile to install as my kitchen backsplash. Should go well with my off-white cabinets and my smoky blue island 🙂
    However, since I ordered the blue color, I wonder if anyone has any tips for installation to make the joins more seamless? What color/type of grout should be used?

  9. Wendy taylor says:

    I don’t care as
    . I love the design. It is beautiful strong and interesting. I will not get bored with it so I want to put it in my kitchen as a floor tile. Can anyone recommend a good arabesque floor tile that I can consider? I have mostly seen wall tiles.

  10. Bibi says:

    Thank you for this post! I think I am am going to use the baby blue version for my kitchen backsplash. It’s not a huge kitchen so this is going to be a fab pop of color!

  11. Jodi says:

    It’s mid-2012 and I’m getting ready to use this as my kitchen backsplash. It looks like it’s here to stay for awhile! 🙂

  12. Despite its popularity in the design world, this tile shape has not permeated the mainstream and thus, I’m saying it has legs. It looks to be 2 years since you posted this, and people are still using Arabesque tile – some in fact are just now discovering it. I’m glad I came across this to remind me it’s out there – I may recommend it to a client of mine. I consider it a nice twist on the subway trend, which has been much more widespread, but I still consider it a classic, too. Because though it may peak and then recede, it will come back again and again.

  13. Nancy perkins says:

    I have a Spanish house from 1927 was going to do black and white as a floor tile in my kitchen which I think is never dated but saw this on a tv show. And thought it might go well as there was often a morrocan influence in many of these houses. I thoought it might go well in a green and white checker board and not appear dated in the future. What do you think.

  14. bijal patel says:

    Do you know where the beautiful red, orange one is from? All the others have captions so I’m curious because I want to use it on a project.

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