Mediterranean-style homes reflect the warm, welcoming lifestyles found in Greece, Italy, France, Spain and other sun-drenched countries along the Mediterranean Sea. They capture artistic influences of different cultures that range from graceful to flamboyant. Design elements such as red tile roofs, arched doorways, stucco walls, and enclosed outdoor spaces are what you’ll typically find in that region of the world. What features would you include in your own Mediterranean style home? Here are some ideas to consider.
The Mediterranean-style color palette is heavily influenced by natural colors found in the landscapes of the region. Earthy tones of terra-cottas, dusty yellows, grass greens, subtle lavenders, and vivid cobalt blues are found throughout most homes in paints, fabrics, rugs and accessories. These rich colors embody the feeling of long, sun-soaked days and balmy nights with cool salt-air breezes that flow from the sea.
Architecture in Southern European countries is hundreds of years old. Homes are characterized by thick stucco walls that convey rich texture and artistic touches found in the hand-made look of beautiful Venetian plaster. When drywall construction is used, it’s given the look of aged plaster by faux painting techniques like glazing and rag-rolling to create depth and texture.
Beautiful tiles used for roofing, flooring, and interior walls and surfaces are one of the hallmarks of Mediterranean design. From large limestone tiles to tiny, colorful mosaics, hand-made tiles reflect the warm climate and casual lifestyle found along the coast. You’ll find archways, counter tops, kitchen back splashes, tables, and outdoor portico and balcony areas covered in colorful tiles with intricate patterns.
Countries along the Mediterranean Sea, especially Spain, bring Spanish style influences from Turkey and Morocco. Filigree light fixtures, intricate wrought-iron fire screens, and large floor urns in pewter, copper and burnished bronze are popular decorative accessories. Polished metal finishes on stair railings and hammered metal finishes on door and cabinet hardware enhance the beauty of metal design elements within the home.
Whether the interior is formal or casual, Mediterranean style is characterized by large-scale furniture pieces that add presence and depth to the room. Dainty legs and spindles are replaced by chunky legs, sturdy bases, broad tabletops, heavy buffets and towering armoires and cabinets. Dark woods like ebony, mahogany and walnut are used and often distressed and carved with intricate details that enhance the feeling of old-world European culture.
With a warm, temperate climate much of the year, the Mediterranean encourages an outdoor lifestyle. Homes are built with outdoor patios, porticos and porches where people can enjoy sunshine and sea breezes year-round. Outdoor spaces often contain beautiful columns, arched openings, tile flooring, flowing fountains and outdoor lanterns. Outdoor spaces flow effortlessly into indoor spaces and are often separated by flowing fabrics or arched wooden doors. Patios and porches contain heavy, wrought-iron furniture, mosaic tile tables and benches, large potted trees and plants for privacy, and colorful flowers for softness. If you’re lucky enough to have a water view, it doesn’t get much better than that!