Top 15 Outdoor Tile Ideas & Trends for 2016 – 2017

Top 15 Outdoor tile ideas & trends for 2016 - 2017

This trend report dissect the latest innovations, offerings, designs and ideas from European tile manufacturers that relate directly to outdoor tiles and is intended for homeowners and interior designers planning their outdoor projects for 2016 and beyond. Consider tiles for your patio floor as there are so many beautiful designs becoming available lately. Outdoor tile can be used around pool only or can cover the entire patio, you can install it on outside walls, decorate your outdoor kitchen, bar, shower or even have a garden path built with tile. We cover many new ideas and trends in this guide. The today’s materials are very strong and durable – your design will retain it’s color and quality for a long time, and in comparison with wood decks, it’s practically no maintenance. Walking barefoot on chilly tile in hot summers is quite pleasing, and you can easily wash the floor. In Europe and in Latin America, it’s very common to decorate backyards with tile. It makes the outdoors so much more enjoyable. Please read on – it’ll give you a pretty good idea of what’s trending …

Innovation – Outdoor Raised Access Flooring Built with Porcelain Tiles

We start with the most unusual, most innovative idea. The whole new system of tile designs and installation methods has been developed to build outdoor raised floors by laying tiles on top of polypropylene supports. The entire design is based on unusually thick porcelain tiles – 20mm thick (slightly over 3/4″) – and they are very strong. It’s almost like building a raised wooden deck but with ceramics.

We’re still digesting the pros and cons of the raised porcelain floors but some advantages can be seen already. It replaces wooden decks with a no-maintenance alternative. You can easily change tile to change the look – as they are not even glued. You get easy access to utility lines (pipes and wires) hidden underneath – as tiles removable with just a vacuum cup. If you plan to build a patio you can level it with the house by raising it – no need for steps. You can also move the patio as nothing is permanently attached.

Check out these modern examples of beautiful exterior floors created with raised installations.

Strong Porcelain tile designed for raised access floor installation

At Lea Ceramiche, they offer System L2, a new 20mm thick porcelain tile collection that allows for building elevated floors suitable for outdoor applications. The tile has a high resistance to heavy loads. With the design idea shown above, an outdoor terrace is raised to the interior kitchen’s level and the same tile motif continues into exteriors.

To get a better idea, check their complete guide for all types of applications and installations.

Elevated patio tile floor by Serenissima with a fire pit installed on it

Shown above is the Acanto collection of porcelain stoneware outdoor floor tiles with wood effect by Serenissima. They are 19mm thick. Use this beautifully designed decorative tile to erase the difference between interiors and exteriors.

Italfloor offers a very sophisticated modular design for raised tile flooring (see photos below), named Art. The outside floor can be installed even on gravel – it doesn’t necessary require a concrete slab. And notice how the vertical sides get tiled as well. What a smart system.

A modular system for raised access tile flooring by italfloor

Patio with a raised tile floor by Italfloor

New Outdoor Tiles Installed Dry Over Gravel, Grass & Sand

Wow, no sub-floor needed! The above mentioned 20mm thick porcelain stoneware is driving another new trend within the outdoor market. These thick tiles can be laid on grass, gravel and sand using either dry installation (no glue) or in the traditional way with glue.

These gorgeous ceramic tiles are designed with ‘warm’ wood like patterns and ‘colder’ modern stone motifs, which is great for decorating. But their technical performance is what’s really amazing. They are non-absorbent so they won’t stain, and when exposed to sunlight, they won’t alter in color over time. They are resistant to frost and thermal shock, mold, stains and salt. They are very easy to clean and are non-slip, even when wet. In addition, special trims are available for pool edges and drainage grids.

All of the above makes these super strong and decorative tiles perfect for garden paths, walkways, summer terraces, driveways, patios, poolside, and any exterior floor application in general and for outdoor spaces with heavy traffic in particular. Here are just a few examples …

Below are Ceramiche Caesar Aextra 20 tiles, shown installed onto gravel and grass. These are so thick and large they call them monolithic porcelain stoneware slabs for outdoor floors.

20mm thick porcelain stoneware Aextra 20 by Caesar installed onto grass

20mm thick porcelain stoneware Aextra 20 by Caesar installed onto beach sand

Shown below is the Remake T20 in Gold, an outdoor wood look square tile from Ceramiche Supergres, installed over gravel. Its wooden appearance makes it look great on pool decks and any outside floor where you want to recreate warm and vintage identity of aged wood.

Remake T20 outdoor wood effect tiles by Supergres laid over gravel

Remake T20 tile in Grey laid over grass (below).

Remake T20 outdoor wood effect tiles by Supergres laid over grass

Lake Stone T20 tile in Sand, also from Supergres, is laid right onto gravel poolside. But in this case, the tiles are glued by the edges (below).

Lake Stone T20 tile from Supergres installed over gravel around pool

The new extra-thick (20mm) stoneware Treverk by Marazzi offers excellent technical properties with style. These outdoor floor tiles with wood effect are perfect for backyard use. In the examples below you can see it installed over grass, beach sand and gravel.

A patio built with Treverk outdoor floor tile by Marazzi laid onto grass

Long rectangular porcelain outdoor slabs by Marazzi installed over grass

Square porcelain outdoor slabs by Marazzi installed over sand

Treverk by Marazzi outdoor tile with wood look installed onto gravel

Watch the installation process:
video for laying tile on grass;
video for laying tile on gravel.

A pool deck area (below) is finished with tiles that are laid onto green grass. The exterior tiles with wood grain motif are from Ceramica Del Conca.

Outdoor Porcelain Tile by Del Conca Installed Over Grass

A Perfect Idea for Fire Pit Setups – Huge Over-sized Outdoor Tiles

Here’s an unusual idea for a backyard – cover it with huge 16″ x 48″ outdoor porcelain tiles available from Ceramica Sant’Agostino. Makes using a fire pit safer and creates a very indoor like appeal. And no need to worry about maintaining grass and wasting water. You simply drop these heavy tiles on top of evenly spread gravel.

Stone look outdoor porcelain tile from Sant'Agostino

This is the Shadestone non-slip tile series with rectified edges (meaning mechanically finished in order to achieve more precise dimensions). So, if you have a smaller area to cover, you could even lay out these tiles side to side, with no gaps in between. In contrast, in the design above, it was probably done such way to drain rain water.

A fire pit setup using oversized outdoor porcelain tiles by Supergres

As you can see, the above fire pit setting idea has over-sized outdoor floor tiles laid with no gaps, and a natural stone fire pit placed just on top. These type tiles are very versatile, you can lay them as you feel right. They are from the Story T_20 collection by Ceramiche Supergres.

These tiles are designed for outdoor areas that require excellent performance in harsh conditions. The area around a fire pit can get very dirty, and these tiles will remain unaltered over time, as they are non-absorbent, resistant to chemicals and are very easy to clean. But the coolest part of course, is that they can be placed onto gravel, grass or sand, or glued in the traditional manner.

Thick Porcelain Outdoor Tiles as Garden Stepping Stones and Paths

We’ve definitely spotted another new trend. Unusually thick porcelain tiles are now being produced to be used to build garden paths, walkways or just as stepping stones. Just like you would drop stepping stones over the grass to build a pathway, you can now use 20mm porcelain tiles to do just that. But the look is totally different.

The below garden path inspirational idea is from Ceramica Del Conca.

Outdoor Porcelain Tiles as Stepping Stones of a Garden Path

Stepping stones idea from Caesar (photo below) – the recycled wood look.

Aextra porcelain tiles from Caesar as garden stepping stones

An outdoor walkway idea by Marazzi – porcelain floor tiles for exteriors are laid on top of gravel.


Slate Never Goes Out of Trend

We love this creative slate tile idea. Varying shape dark grey tiles form an eye-pleasing pattern. It doesn’t have to be its colored version for slate to be so cool. Shown below is a small patio design by Altiis using their Opus Croco series of slate lawn outdoor floor tiles.

Opus Croco is colored slate lawn outdoor floor tiles

But of course, colored slate still creates magic. Just look at these slate outdoor tiles from Porcelanosa on the photo below.

Slate outdoor tiles from Porcelanosa

This particular lavish green tile series is named Pizara Kathmandu Pulido. Slate is a hard natural stone and is great for outdoor application. Slate is all about unusual color variations and combinations – the more contrasting the tiles are the better. And these are good for any application – we’ve built an outdoor countertop with slate.

Colored slate floor tile

Colored slate is great for outside applications. Check out these stunning colorful designs with flagstone look (above). It’s the Autumn Natural Cleft tile collection from Ardesia Mangini. And it’s perfect for the Fall.

Ever Heard of Porphyry Tile?

We’ve never heard of Porphyry Tiles before. It’s developed from a natural rock called Porphyry by an Italian company Odorizzi. Looks gorgeous to us – we can visualize how it can be arranged in colorful patterns to create very decorative outdoor coverings. Would be awesome to use for pavings, garden paths or design the entire patio based on it. The Odorizzi website has many more photos in their inspirational gallery.

Porphyry Tile



Lava Stone Outdoor Floor Tile is Trendy

Can you associate volcano magma with home decor? The Nerosicilia tile with a fabric look by Euro Porfidi is made from lava stone extracted from the slopes of Etna. By the force of fire the lava stone is returned to its original state – magma, and in the process a very robust tile is created, and with some beautiful patterns perfect for the outdoor flooring designs. Love the monochrome motifs below.

Lava Stone Outdoor Floor Tile by Euro Porfidi





Beautifying Tiles with Metals

Ductal metalic effect outdoor tiles by Taporo

Imagine your patio floor covered with this tile (see photo above) … This is ceramic outdoor tile for floors made by Ductal and marketed by Taporo. It’s not an appearance of the metallic effect. The actual metals such as bronze or copper are blended into the tile and result in such unique surface finish.

Encaustic Cement Tiles are Still Trending for Outdoor Designs

And there are new ideas and new applications.

Encaustic Outdoor Tiles by Mosaic del Sur

We know that cement or encaustic tiles are commonly used outdoors in Europe and are now quite popular in the US as well, but this idea above by Mosaic del Sur is particularly unusual as it pairs the Victorian pattern tile with the common red brick. Can you see this on your patio?

Cement Outdoor Floor Tile by Ivanka

Apply named Gaudi, this 3D effect tile (above) comes with a motive designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. This modern cement tile is produced by IVANKA, a Budapest based family-run start-up, and is made from IVANKA’s trademarked High Performance Concrete. It is suitable for indoor and outdoor use on floors and walls. More designs on pictures below.



Marble Gravel Gets a New Life in Unusual Outdoor Tiles

These are not your common pebble tiles – just look at the thickness (photo below) of this natural stone flooring by Triflex Italia. This material is a combination of natural marble gravel and UV-resistant polyurea resin, which also makes it chemically resistant. It can be applied easily to create waterproof floors on balconies, also terraces and walkways. The striking blend of differently colored marble gravels produces an unusual appearance that is stunning. Available in two different tile sizes.


Wood Look Outdoor Tiles Dominate

Decorating with warm colors is very appealing to many people, so why not to use the same idea for the outside. And the wood look outdoor tiles will bring that warm feeling to your small patio or a large terrace or an interior courtyard.

Got to love the ‘warm’ appearance of this outdoor porcelain tile from the Etic series by Atlas Concorde. It brings the small patio alive (photos below). And what can be better for outside living areas than the wood looking floors. But … it’s porcelain so your patio won’t need any maintenance and it won’t fade under the hot sun. Just mop it once in a while.

Wood Look Outdoor Tile by Atlas Concorde covers patio

Wood Look Outdoor Tile as Stepping Stones or a Garden Path

Wood Look Outdoor Tile from Atlas Concorde

Metal Inlay Outdoor Tiles

Here is an interesting idea for outdoor decorative floors from a French company Altiis. These very festive looking tiles decorated with stainless steel inlays. The collection is called La Marqueterie au Jardin and is made of high-performance resin Duromer. It’s non-slip and weatherproof, including frost and UV rays, and the colors don’t fade. And the inlay design is customizable.

Metal inlay outdoor floor tiles from Altiis

Inlay design close-up

Add a Tile Rug for Decorating Effect

Outdoor rug like tile design by Sant'Agostino

Above is another beautiful idea by Ceramica Sant’Agostino. In this design for a narrow patio, two different tiles are used to create an appearance of an outdoor rug. The light color porcelain stoneware is from the Pietra Emiliana series (what a name for a tile) and the “rug” is created with wood look ceramic tiles.

Colored concrete tile rug idea from Altiis

In this design idea by Altiis (above), it only took 8 large tiles to create a “rug” effect. They opted for colored concrete tiles for its outdoor performance and its wide range of colors.

Color Is Always in Trend


Using simple tiles, you can create the design as modern and beautiful as shown above. Imagine how your patio would look like under the rain. The colors will shine. The above idea uses outdoor ceramic tile for floors from Metalic collection by Absolut Keramika.

For colors, they used Beige, Cobalt, Green, Red and Silver, all in metallic shades.


Don’t forget to PIN this trend report for future references.

Top 15 Outdoor Tile Ideas & Trends for 2016 – 2017

About Joe Hats 173 Articles
Joe Hats is the founder of Joe has been remodeling homes since 1997 when he bought his first fixer-upper. He has built many pieces of indoor and outdoor furniture with his own hands and has every DIY woodworking tool in his possession. Coming from an engineering background, he has designed and built many patio fixture plans. Following his wife's lead, he is also very passionate about home decor and together they keep track of the latest trends. When he is not remodeling or trying a new woodworking tool, he is busy gardening or designing a new outdoor plan.