Mediterranean Style 101

Lived-in meets luxury, brilliant colors meet simple neutrals and rustic meets opulence when it comes to Mediterranean interiors. Here's how to bring the Old World style into your space.

Mediterranean-Modern foyer with coffered ceilings

Mediterranean-Modern Foyer Showcases Coffered Ceiling

A simple yet sophisticated foyer welcomes guests to this 1930s Mediterranean villa in Los Angeles. By limiting the decor to a marble-topped table and worn neutral runner, the designers ensured that all eyes would be on the room's interesting architectural details, like the coffered ceilings, carved faces and Spanish-style staircase.

Photo by: Hilton & Hyland, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Hilton & Hyland, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

What Is Mediterranean Style?

Originating in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea including Spain, Greece, Italy and Morocco Mediterranean style is warm, full of character and utterly timeless. Each region specializes in its own distinct elements. Touches of turquoise and cobalt blue abound in Greece, while Morocco boasts rich textures and intricate wood carvings. As for Spain, stunning tilework and terra-cotta floors take center stage. These elements culminate in specific hallmarks that define Mediterranean interiors, such as textured walls, stone and wooden materials, vibrant textiles and rustic furnishings.

Whether you're looking to infuse the sun-soaked allure of Mediterranean design into your own interiors or simply scroll through beautiful photos of this definitive style, we're transporting you to the land of the sun and sea.

Mediterranean Style Starts With a Neutral Backdrop

Across the region, Mediterranean homes opt for a neutral setting. Textured white walls combine with natural woods for a warm, inviting atmosphere. Amp up the color of the space with rich textiles and tilework or keep it simple with rustic yet elegant furnishings.

Mediterranean Bedroom With Canopy Bed

Mediterranean Bedroom With Arched Windows

This lovely bedroom mixes classic Mediterranean elements (like the arched windows and heavy wood dressers) with lighter touches (the slim canopy bed). The result is a space that has a refined personality all its own.

Photo by: Lindsey King Photography

Lindsey King Photography

Mediterranean Style Boasts Stone or Terra-cotta Floors

Mediterranean homes are grounded in durable stonework or rich terra cotta. Not only is it easy to keep clean, but it has a long-lasting quality this historic style enjoys. The depth of color and texture establishes an abundant depth to any room.

Mediterranean Hall With Dark Wood Beam Ceiling & Brown Tile Floor

Warm, Mediterranean Hallway

Dark brown details found in the hallway's tile floor and wood beam ceiling bring in lovely contrast and warmth to the neutral walls. Colorful area rugs and hanging plants complete the stunning design.

Photo by: Larny J. Mack

Larny J. Mack

And, Mediterranean Style Embraces a From-the-Earth Color Scheme

Mediterranean hues span the color wheel, but they pull their inspiration from nature. Grounded in warm, earthy tones such as terra cotta, ochre, burnt umber and chestnut, the style also pulls in shades echoing the sea and sky: cerulean, azure, deep purple and seafoam green.

Kitchen With Blue Cabinet

Mediterranean Open Kitchen With Blue Cabinet

Pops of blue offset the handsome wood cabinets and floors in this open plan kitchen, a fun tie-in with the ocean just outside the door.

Photo by: Bailey Properties, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Bailey Properties, a member of Luxury Portfolio International

Mediterranean Style Can Include Exposed Beams

You might be hard-pressed to find a Mediterranean home without exposed wood beams; it's an integral architectural element to the design. Instantly adding warmth overhead, exposed beams create a more intimate, cozy aesthetic.

Mediterranean Neutral Living Room

Mediterranean Neutral Living Room With Arched Windows

Majestic beams and an imposing chandelier set a grand stage for entertaining in this living room. The space looks out onto the backyard through a row of pretty arched windows.

Photo by: Lindsey King Photography

Lindsey King Photography

And, Mediterranean Style Includes Patterned Tile

Patterned tile embodies the beauty of Mediterranean interiors. Often used on floors, walls and stair risers, tile infuses a space with color and texture. Don't be afraid to mix and match different patterns. A Mediterranean home loves the bold blend of variety.

Mediterranean Kitchen With Brass Sconce

Mediterranean Kitchen With Open Shelves

In this Spanish-style kitchen, simple wooden shelves contrast the tile's detailed pattern, but also layer in welcome texture.

Photo by: Amy Lamb: Native House Photography

Amy Lamb: Native House Photography

Mediterranean Has an Old World Feel

Tactile appeal plays a significant role in creating a warm, lived-in space — a pertinent part of Mediterranean design, which is rooted in history. Establish the look, like Becker Studios did in this home, with weathered woods, stonework and painted-over finishes. Additionally, layers of paint and glaze are often hand-rubbed onto plaster or sand-textured walls to add visual depth.

White Mediterranean Dining Room

Mediterranean Dining Room With Slanted Ceiling

The dining room is heated and cooled via laser-cut plaster grills that blend in with the white walls. On nice days, the whole area can be opened up to the back yard, thanks to folding steel-and-glass doors.

Photo by: Spenser Bruce

Spenser Bruce

And, Mediterranean Style Features Wooden Furniture

Mediterranean-style furniture ranges from simply functional to formal, and from rustic and weathered to elaborately carved and detailed. Relying heavily on wooden materials, furnishings are typically short with ornately turned legs and feet. Hardware is heavy and often burnished or wrought iron.

Neutral Old World Bar With Small Island, Barstools and Pendant Lights

Secret Old World-Style Bar With Contemporary Touches

This sunken bar is a completely hidden room that can't be seen from anywhere within the home. The secret space is concealed by bookcases in the hallway. Contemporary touches spice up the room's stunning Old World design.

Photo by: Jenkins Custom Homes Design+Build

Jenkins Custom Homes Design+Build

Mediterranean Style Can Be Ornate

Embrace Mediterranean's maximalist side with embroidered fabrics, beautifully carved wood furniture or elaborate metalwork. Layer pillows and rugs, look for opulent antique or handmade accessories with filigree, and bring in Old World-inspired light fixtures.

Upcycled Living Room

Mediterranean Living Room Featuring Upcycled Design

For this contemporary Mediterranean living room, salvaged mahogany church pews turn out to be the perfect fit. Carved panels from the pews surround the built-in sofa, bringing tactile detailing to the plush seating.

Mediterranean Style Incorporates the Outdoors

Mediterranean homes are often surrounded by gorgeous vistas, so their architecture seamlessly blends indoor and outdoor spaces. Carry architectural details outside with archways and stone floors. To create a continuous design, establish cozy seating spots where friends and family can gather like designer Bea Pila did here.

Mediterranean Covered Porch

White Mediterranean Covered Porch With Daybed

A wide covered porch with lighting and comfortable furnitures gives this home an outdoor retreat that's usable all day and into the night. The daybed features a movable acrylic panel that can be used to prop up pillows in lots of different configurations.

Photo by: Will Falize

Will Falize

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