As homeowners continue to embrace open-concept floor plans inside the home and designated living spaces outside, a trend to blur the delineation of these areas has emerged.
Indoor-outdoor transitional spaces combine the comforts of indoor living with the advantages of outdoor areas, such as fresh air, the view or beauty of natural surroundings, outdoor activities, and spaciousness. Indoor-outdoor living spaces are easily seen as ideal for homes in areas with mild weather, but homeowners are extending the seasons of outdoor comfort in other climates with the addition of outdoor fireplaces, heated floors, pools, covered patios, and fans.
Decor is emerging to furnish the duality of these spaces — outdoor fabrics have been updated to look fashionable in any room, and transitional furniture is less typically wicker and more the style of traditional furniture. Homeowners are also turning to ceramic tile to weather the elements of the great outdoors while seamlessly extending a room from inside to outside.
Indoor-Outdoor Transitional Spaces
Transitional spaces extend the home outside, often with no clear boundary of where the indoors and outdoors begin and end. These spaces are sometimes called “California rooms” because of their popularity in this sunny state, but indoor-outdoor spaces are growing in demand across the U.S.
Transitional spaces don’t need to be entirely open to the outdoors. Many homes use floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors that allow homeowners to extend their home outdoors at will.
A well-designed transitional space allows homeowners to:
- Enjoy beautiful year-round and seasonal weather in comfort
- Extend rooms beyond the physical limitations of walls
- Create a uniform design that extends throughout the property
Outdoor living spaces are already adding value to homes. By expanding living space with indoor-outdoor features, the effort evokes an on-trend “luxury” look with potentially added value that could be well worth the project when it comes time to sell. Of course, the real benefit of adding an indoor-outdoor concept is getting to enjoy the space yourself!
The key to accomplishing the perfect indoor-outdoor space lies in a design that makes for a fluid transition, while remaining functional enough to withstand the elements.
Benefits of Tile for Transitional Spaces
To protect a home’s transitional space, the area must be able to withstand heavy use, spills and stains, leaves and debris, as well as weather concerns depending on the climate such as rain, wind, heat, humidity, sunlight, and snow/ice. The unique nature of indoor-outdoor spaces requires strong, durable, and stylish materials — which is why transitional spaces benefit from the use of ceramic tile.
Ceramic tile stands out as a smart option for indoor-outdoor spaces thanks to ceramic tile’s water, flame, stain, scratch, scuff, and dent resistance — no need to worry about kids, pets (including wildlife), inclement weather, or heavy furniture. With one of the longest life spans and the lowest life cycle cost of all flooring options, ceramic tile is also an economical choice for transitional spaces.
Ceramic tile is low-maintenance, ideal for any area that combines indoor and outdoor use. Muddy or wet foot/paw traffic and spills from food and drinks are no problem thanks to ceramic tile’s stain resistance, and resistance to mold, mildew, and bacteria removes the worry of these unwanted visitors finding their way inside.
When it’s time for ceramic tile cleanup, you won’t have to worry about harsh chemicals coming into contact with your food inside or your garden outside: sweeping and wiping with clean water are usually all that’s necessary with ceramic tile.
Ceramic tile provides multiple safety benefits that combat the potential hazards of outdoor spaces. For one, ceramic tile offers a variety of options that provide slip-resistant features, perfect for areas close to gardens, outdoor kitchens, indoor-outdoor bathrooms, or the pool.
Weather is an obvious concern for transitional areas. Fortunately, many ceramic tile styles are highly moisture-resistant (including porcelain tile and quarry tile), allowing them to withstand the potentially damaging effects of freeze-thaw cycling. This is good news for homeowners in more extreme climates who want to add an indoor-outdoor space.
Moisture from rain, snow, and humidity (or sprinklers, garden hoses, and pool and jacuzzi splashes) typically isn’t a concern for outdoor tile. However, moisture can easily be tracked indoors in transitional spaces. The same ceramic tile that protects against freeze-thaw cycles outside can withstand moisture absorption inside, offering two solutions with just one material!
While sunshine makes indoor-outdoor spaces even more enjoyable, sunlight can cause some materials to fade, just another reason why fade-resistant ceramic tile is best for transitional spaces.
Versatile Design Options
One challenge with indoor-outdoor transitional spaces is that you need a style that looks good both indoors and outdoors. You want the “transition” to be as fluid as possible, and consistent design elements are the answer.
Ceramic tile makes transitional design easy with a limitless amount of styles, including many different coordinating “families” of tile options that have been designed to complement one another for use on many different types of surfaces. Ceramic tile allows you to blur the distinction between inside and outside with coordinated styles for your indoor and outdoor floor tile, wall tile, and more.
Indoor-Outdoor Living Rooms
Benefits of an Indoor-Outdoor Living Room
The living room is the heart of the home, where you’ll likely spend the most time with your family. Extending your living room to the outdoors allows you to spend more time with your loved ones, while some family members may want to be inside and others want to be out. Imagine relaxing on the sofa with a book while your spouse lies by the pool — each of you is doing what you want to do, yet you still have the communal sense of being in the same space.
Your living room is also where you’ll likely do most of your entertaining. Indoor-outdoor living rooms offer much more space for guests, and allow them to be either outside or inside without being cut off from the rest of the party.
Indoor-Outdoor Living Room Ideas
This space isn’t entirely open, but because of the glass walls and tile flooring, it feels like it is. The dark gray stone-look tile leads from the living room right up to the edge of the pool, and provides the perfect stage for the backdrop of the lake and trees.
In this space, we’re surrounded on all sides by a sleek dark marble-look tile. The sliding glass doors provide little interruption between the inside and outside space, and if you look closely, you’ll notice that very few items distract from the flooring. Minimalistic design complements indoor-outdoor spaces well, creating an even more open look with little clutter.
[Related: 2019 Tile Trends: Dark Marble Looks]
This indoor-outdoor living room is a great example of coordinating tile styles: Although the space uses the same stone look inside and out, it features three different tile patterns: a large grid outside and on the fireplace surround, an oversized running bond pattern for the majority of the indoors, and a mosaic herringbone pattern serving as a pathway into the back of the home. This design choice makes for a beautiful and open transitional space while still differentiating the areas within it.
Can you spot any other tile in this room? That’s right — a wood-look tile wall lends a warm look to the outdoor bar area, and we spy even more tile choices in the dining room and kitchen.
Because of the way they are spaced out, these concrete-look large tiles become oversized stepping stones leading you to the house. Once inside, the same tile style that’s outside is used on both the floor and the walls for added fluidity.
Remember that indoor-outdoor living rooms are meant to showcase the interior of homes just as much as the exterior. Imagine standing outside and looking into this stunning living room. If this room had no sliding door, you’d be unable to tell where the interior ends and the outdoors begin!
Homes located above ground level can still be transitional. Indoor-outdoor rooftop living areas can help introduce the transitional concept to your home while still affording you privacy — even in an urban area.
Benefits of an Indoor-Outdoor Kitchen
Have you ever noticed how everyone is always drawn to the kitchen? There’s something about the kitchen that makes people want to gather, and extending this space outdoors only makes it more appealing.
An outdoor kitchen can help you avoid the lingering aromas associated with indoor cooking and may even help you save on utility bills, since you won’t need to run the air conditioner to combat heat from the oven or stove. Locating your eating area outside can be beneficial, too. Many foods just taste better outside, which is probably why so many people love restaurants with outdoor seating. (Hey, with the right indoor-outdoor kitchen design, you might even save money on eating out!)
For those who intend to remodel and eventually sell their home, know that both kitchen remodels and outdoor improvements are among the remodel projects with the best financial impact. Adding an indoor-outdoor kitchen may be just the thing to attract buyers and increase your selling price.
Indoor-Outdoor Kitchen Ideas
Although slats form a border between the cooking area and the pool, the same tan stone-look tile extends from the pool to the countertops, and likely right into the house. Move seamlessly from cooking to swimming with ceramic tile — just remember to wait 30 minutes before getting in the pool!
Another option with indoor-outdoor kitchens is to keep the cooking area inside and extend the eating area outside, much like you see with popular cafes. Ceramic tile throughout allows the transitional design to connect to the indoor kitchen with an easily adaptable outdoor dining arrangement.
[Related: The Complete Guide to Kitchen Floor Tile]
As long as an indoor kitchen connects with the outdoors, the design is still considered transitional. This kitchen uses minimal artwork and lighting, instead letting the outdoors provide scenery and sunlight.
Of course, with such alluring industrial-look ceramic tile on the floor and walls, the outdoor landscape has some competition for our attention!
Benefits of an Indoor-Outdoor Bathroom
We often think of the bathroom as a peaceful retreat from the stress of daily life. Imagine soaking in the tub while listening to birds sing, smelling the flowers in your garden, and being cooled by a soft breeze — it doesn’t get more relaxing!
Bathroom remodels have a high resale value, so your indoor-outdoor bathroom update/addition could add value to your home in addition to a peaceful oasis.
[Related: The Complete Guide to Bathroom Tile]
Indoor-Outdoor Bathroom Ideas
This indoor-outdoor bathroom opens right up into a secluded outdoor pool, so you can go from taking a dip to soaking in the tub by the fireplace. The space creates visual interest by coordinating a family of tile options in a number of different tile layout patterns, including a standard grid on the outdoor wall, a rectangular grid on the bathroom floor, and a herringbone pattern on the wall behind the sinks. The color palette of creams, grays, and whites adds to the freshness of the indoor-outdoor space.
Walls covered in ceramic tiles are an excellent way to keep the private parts of the bathroom private. Locating the shower and tub behind walls gives the homeowner the privacy they need while still allowing them to enjoy the sunshine and views from outside.
[Related: 2019 Tile Trends: Wood-Look Ceramic Tile]
If your home’s outdoor area is naturally private, then the potential of an indoor-outdoor bathroom is nearly limitless. This gorgeous bathroom wraps around a corner of the home with transitions to the outdoors on multiple sides.
How many tile patterns can you spy in this space? Let’s see: a rectangular tile grid on the floors and walls, a herringbone tile mosaic in the shower, a hexagon tile mosaic in the inset, and gauged porcelain tile slabs for the counter.
Benefits of an Outdoor Fireplace
You may have noticed fireplaces in some of the indoor-outdoor spaces featured above. An outdoor fireplace enables you to enjoy your transitional space on chilly nights and year-round in cooler climates.
Imagine soaking in the hot tub or sipping your nightcap of choice on the patio next to a glowing fire. Let’s face it, an outdoor fireplace adds undeniable ambience in any climate.
Outdoor Fireplace Ideas
What a view — and we’re not talking about the cityscape! The natural stone-look tile fireplace creates a rustic vibe on the terrace and is complemented by gray stone-look tile flooring. With a transitional space that is not only beautiful but also covered and heated, the homeowners are sure to dine outdoors year-round.
[Related: Get Cozy With These Outdoor Tile Fireplaces]
Checkerboard quarry tile flooring, white stucco, and roof tiles transport us instantly to the Mediterranean. Fortunately, even if this home is located in a less mild climate, the understated stone-look tile fireplace ensures that the homeowners can comfortably enjoy their indoor-outdoor space anytime.
Transition to a Transitional Space With Ceramic Tile
When it comes to creating your dream home, ceramic tile’s versatile style and functionality literally opens doors.
For more ceramic tile ideas for indoor-outdoor spaces, visit our Indoor-Outdoor Tile Pinterest board and start transitioning to a transitional space!