Who doesn’t fantasize about trips to warm climates in the winter? Sunshine, sand, lapping waves, utter relaxation. Perhaps that’s why so many choose (or wish) to outfit their homes in Mediterranean decor; it evokes visions of sun-filled vacation days.
Mediterranean style, however, can be tricky to get right. Too much or the wrong pieces will come across as tacky or gaudy; too little will not make an impact. Plus, Mediterranean homes are, by definition, not modern; those who wish to keep their decor up-to-date may be hesitant to incorporate Mediterranean characteristics for fear of clashing.
That’s why we’re outlining the most important elements of Mediterranean decor. Choose some or all of these features to infuse your house with the flavor of the Middle East and experience just a bit of a getaway every time you come home.
Mediterranean style features bold, vibrant jewel tones and saturated earthy shades of the landscape (terra cotta, turquoise, rust, yellow) contrasted by bright, clean whites.
Touchable walls are a huge hallmark of Mediterranean decor. Stucco and raised plaster lend subtle visual interest to any room.
Some Middle Eastern motifs feature limestone, but the classic look is terra cotta and hand-painted tile; arabesque and Moroccan tile are popular as well.
Authentically Mediterranean furniture is rustic, typically heavy medium-dark wood with ornate hand-carving.
Fabrics feature heavily in Mediterranean design, mainly silk, wool, and cotton in a variety of applications: tapestries and wall hangings, drapes, rugs, pillows, and the ubiquitous Moroccan pouf.
The go-to metal for this style is wrought iron; use it on door hardware, pulls, railings, or light fixtures. Include scrollwork for a truly authentic effect.
Mediterranean style is all about the soft edges rather than straight lines; embrace the curves in architectural features (like doorways or windows) as well as fixtures and fittings.
The inhabitants of Mediterranean areas tend to spend a lot of time outside; their architecture reflects continuity between the indoors and outdoors. Even if your climate is far from balmy, make your Mediterranean home open, light, and airy to emphasize the connection to the outdoors.