Mediterranean Design

It’s looking like our much longed for holidays to the sun might have to wait another year.  Sad times.  So maybe it’s time to bring some of the holiday to us.  Whether you’re embarking on a remodel or extension or just looking to bring some sunshine to your home, there are plenty of ways to help recreate that holiday feeling at home. 

This week I’m looking at the architectural and interior design from Britain’s favourite holiday destination, the Mediterranean. 

Mediterranean design is characterized by the simple, rustic aesthetics of Southern Europe.  The style draws heavily on the light and warm tones of the region, using lots of natural materials like stone, ceramics, wood and wrought iron.  The architecture is instantly recognisable with it’s plastered walls, arched openings, terracotta tiles and covered terraces.  The colour palette are crisp whites, natural hues and pops of colour.  How do you fancy recreating the sunny romance of Spain with warm yellows and oranges; or the marine freshness of Greece with bright blues and greens; or the spicy exotics of Morocco with deep yellows and reds?  Or you could recreate the effortless sophistication of Southern France or the laid back cool of an Italian piazza. 

How do I incorporate architectural design features from the Mediterranean in my home?

Mediterranean design is centred on how to keep cool in the summer heat and indoor/outdoor living.  As this is something that will become more pertinent to us in the south of England as time goes on, we could look to incorporate some of the architectural philosophies at when remodelling or extending our homes. 

Many Mediterranean homes are designed round a courtyard.  The courtyard creates a cool, shaded area in the home to escape the midday sun and keep the surrounding rooms cool. 

The quintessential Mediterranean Courtyard: White plastered walls, natural stone flooring, mosaics, gorgeous shading trees, a pop of sea blue and ornate ironwork on the doors and windows.

While designing in a courtyard may be possible in you project, there are other ways to create the same vibe. Lots of open doors and windows are key. Instead of opting for regular rectangular doors and windows, try to incorporate arched windows and entrance doors with gorgeous ornate ironwork or shutters. This is quintessential Mediterranean design and will also create soft lines and a calming feel.

When creating your Mediterranean inspired pad there are a number of must have elements:

  • Terracotta roof tiles
  • Plastered and painted (normally white) walls
  • Archways (as ornate as you please)
  • And a beautiful outdoor space

Terracotta roofs are everywhere in the Mediterranean.

Outdoor living is very much part of the Mediterranean way of life.  Covered terraces achieve a soft transition between the enclosed space and the exterior. They create another room in your home while providing shelter from the sun, helping the internal rooms stay cooler.

Traditional French Doors and casement windows with shutters create an effortlessly relaxed and chic vibe.

Modern Mediterranean can be just as beguiling as the rustic.  It continues with the same muted, natural themes.  Covered terraces, flat roofs, balconies and lots of openings to the connect the indoors and outdoors.  And of course, top of the wish list, a pool!

How do I incorporate interior design features from the Mediterranean in my home?

Interior design, Mediterranean style, draws from many of the ethos’ of it’s architecture.  Clean, simple spaces, filled with light and pops of colour scream Mediterranean chic.  The Mediterranean way of life revolves around friends and family, so aim to create a space planned for hospitality, with plenty of focus on common areas to include multiple seating options and a large dining table.  Interiors should be crisp and simplistic with colours drawn from nature: whites, creams, light blues, earthy reds and soft yellows. Flooring is usually made from ceramic tiles, natural stone or painted wooden boards to keep the house cool yet classy.  Rugs can provide some warmth on hard floors and floaty curtains and plenty of cushions and other soft furnishings can soften the look, making your home cosy and welcoming.

Modern Mediterranean:  Large glazed openings emphasis indoor-outdoor living and to maximise light and views.

Natural materials rule in Mediterranean design; natural stone flooring, use of wood and iron in furniture.  Clean white walls and lots of plants create a calm, nature-based aesthetic.  You could also try incorporating mosaics into your coffee table or mirror frame for that ever important pop of colour.

Traditional Moroccan tiles give this contemporary kitchen an unmistakably Mediterranean feel.

Simple styling, gorgeous tiling, a cosy rug, wrought iron decorate balustrade and exposed beams with a pop of exotic orange create the perfect Moroccan feel to this bedroom.

How do I incorporate garden features from the Mediterranean in my home?

The outdoors way of life in the Mediterranean makes the garden in a home is almost as important as it’s interior.  The garden really is part of the home and there are many ways to plan your space to help create that southern European feel. Mediterranean style means rich in greenery, natural materials like cobbles and undressed stone and lots of shade.  Bright, fragrant flowers, south European trees, like lemon or olive, and maybe even a little fountain create a lovely Mediterranean feel.

For more ideas about creating a Mediterranean garden, check out this article.

Gorgeous flowers in bright, sunny colours are an essential in a Mediterranean garden.  Complete the looks with some amazing shady trees, like an olive or lemon tree.

Consider using some mosaic accents in your garden to complete the Mediterranean look.

A large, oversize fireplace can provide those lovely summer evenings with a bit more warmth in our not-so-sunny climes and allow you to enjoy your fabulously Mediterranean garden well into the night.

A seated area with some shade from the sun is definitely part of the Mediterranean garden.  A pergola with some climbing vines fits the bill.

A covered terrace with archways is quintessentially Mediterranean.  It provides a wonderful place to sit, especially in this country when it might be rain we’re escaping from, rather than the sun. And it also gives those bright climbing flowers somewhere to climb!

Posted on July 9th 2021

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