The right tiles recall the magic of Portugal in your kitchen

If you’ve spent time in Portugal you know that there’s something downright irresistible about the country. The welcoming nature of its people, the meandering charm of its cities, or the warmth of its food, whatever it is, you’ll no doubt want to bring a piece of life there home with you. By incorporating one of the country’s most well-known design features into your kitchen you most certainly can: Portuguese tiles, or Azulejos!

What are Azulejos?
The Azulejo is a form of tin-painted ceramic tile found throughout Portugal and Spain. Found on the exteriors and interiors of everything from churches and palaces to transit stations and ordinary homes, Azulejos are omnipresent in Portugal and can be easily identified by their traditional blue and white colour. Sometimes portraying major historical or cultural moments in Portuguese history, they are still a major component of Portuguese architecture.

A contemporary kitchen with clean lines, or a modern riff on a rustic cottage kitchen for example, can have a fair bit of character added with a backsplash made of Azulejos. (c) leicht.com

A contemporary kitchen with clean lines, or a modern riff on a rustic cottage kitchen for example, can have a fair bit of character added with a backsplash made of Azulejos. (c) leicht.com

How can I use Portuguese tiles in my kitchen?
If you’ve decided to incorporate Azulejos into your kitchen décor scheme, rest assured that they look outstanding in a variety of kitchen styles. They are a functional addition when installed as a backsplash, or can be entirely decorative when used for a mosaic.

A contemporary kitchen with clean lines, or a modern riff on a rustic cottage kitchen for example, can have a fair bit of character added with a backsplash made of Azulejos. Not only are they incredibly functional and durable, they can enrich a light and monochromatic colour scheme easily. On the other hand, one or a few antique Azulejos can be used sparingly as accent tiles amidst a basic backsplash made of simple neutral tiles. For major impact in an old world kitchen, consult a professional tile expert to create a mosaic made of Azulejos in a key area, like behind the hob or in the dining area. If done correctly, you will end up with a show stopping décor feature.

The Azulejo tiles would be a great option for a backsplash in a hip urban kitchen. (c) eicht.com

The Azulejo tiles would be a great option for a backsplash in a hip urban kitchen. (c) leicht.com

Are there more modern versions?
If you love the idea of adding the vibrancy and international flair to your kitchen that Portuguese tiles can bring, but are not sold on the blue and white colour scheme, there are other options! In fact, if you’re up for some historical digging, there are a number of small stores and vendors that sell discontinued Portuguese tiles from the mid-20th century onwards. Available in colours and styles that range from retro-cool (like honey brown, or army green tiles with geometric patterns) to downright groovy (think “flower power” blooms in mint green and yellow), they would be a great option for a backsplash in a hip urban kitchen.

Portugal, all we have to say to you is “obrigado”!