Mediterranean Decorating

Mediterranean-inspired home designs are known for their bold colors. To design your home based on a Mediterranean-inspired theme, always keep these elements in mind – open space, texture, color, furniture, wall décor, and home accessories.
Mediterranean Decorating

After years of being the ‘in’ thing in home design, minimalist black and white homes are starting to give way to the vibrant colors and textures of Mediterranean design. The old-school look is becoming in fashion, and Greek, Roman, and Etruscan art are now found on modern walls. If your room could use a bit of color, or if you’re simply looking to update your home, Mediterranean is one of your best options.

Of course, like any other style, there’s a right and wrong way of going about Mediterranean décor. Choosing pieces, selecting colors, and putting everything together requires planning and good taste. But once it’s all put up, it’ll all be worth the effort. If you think Mediterranean art will work for your home, here are some of the basics to help you get started.

Open space

Traditionally, the charm of an authentic Mediterranean home lies in its location near the sea, the open air that greets the homeowner each time he opens the doors. But if you don’t live near any coastlines, you can compensate by emphasizing any open space you have. Build a deck, balcony or patio that takes advantage of the outdoor view. If possible, install large windows in every room to give your home an open, airy feel. Make the outdoor view the focal point of your living room; you can bring attention to it by placing accents around your window.


Mediterranean homes prefer bright colors in all sorts of combinations. The colors should channel the look of the Mediterranean sea: vibrant blue, dark green, golden yellow. Red and orange can also be used, although burnt or matte shades are usually preferred. Unlike traditional homes which prefer two-color combinations, Mediterranean homes can sport up to three and still get away with it. Contrast the colors by mixing and matching as much as possible.


One thing about Mediterranean style is that it sets off an old-school vibe despite the brilliant, youthful colors. This is because the walls are predominantly textured, giving it an aged look. Traditionally, the texture was built into the walls during construction, which made painting difficult. What you can do is get pre-textured venetian plaster paints. This adds instant texture to your wall and even lets you work with two or more color accents. If texturing isn’t an option, simply add interest with cornicing, columns, and plaster moldings.

Wall décor

Of course, nothing makes a room more Mediterranean than genuine Mediterranean art. Greek and Italian art should be present in any Mediterranean home, whether it’s a simple painting or an elaborate marble sculpture. If a wall could use a bit of color, decorate it with an Italian fresco or an Etruscan painting. Most Italian and Etruscan art pieces have a religious theme, so they tend to balance out the festive colors with a solemn theme. If you want to keep it light, try breaking up a large space with a Greek column or statue. Just be sure to keep it in proportion: you don’t want to crowd a small room with a large post or hide a masterpiece in an over-decorated room.


Traditional Mediterranean furniture is wide, heavy, and low-set, often accented with tiles or stained glass. To make a nice contrast against your walls, choose pieces that are rustic and have a cozy country look. Hardwoods and wrought iron are the best choices in material, especially if you have an open area where the furniture will be exposed to the elements. Most manufacturers carry pieces that fit the bill, although they won’t be authentically Mediterranean. If you’re lucky, you may be able to find an antique piece that not only goes well with your décor, but also adds charm and historic value to your home.

Home accessories

Even if you follow all the design rules in the book, nothing adds personality like the little accessories you throw in on a whim. Your antique doll collection, your grandfather clock, or the pine table that’s been in your family for centuries—these little details make the room uniquely yours without straying from the theme you’ve chosen.

That said, some items do work particularly well with Mediterranean theme. Glass and tile pieces make great accents to the color, and wall tapestry can be used as a backdrop if you don’t have a large window for interest. Pottery is also a staple in Mediterranean décor, whether color-treated or in natural terra cotta. Look for oversized pots that you can use for storage, or interesting vases that can hold fresh flowers.