Do you long for vast skies, deep waters and smell of salt carried by the breeze? Maybe you still recall your Mediterranean vacation with blissful memories or just dream of visiting one day. But until then, you can bring the charming ambience of the Mediterranean into your home by incorporating some key design elements that are found in traditional Italian, Greek, and Spanish homes. The beauty of the Mediterranean style is that it carries the rich cultural history of the Mediterranean basin, yet it is extremely versatile and can be adjusted to your location and preferences, with some knowledge and understanding.
You may wonder, how does the plethora of colour in Mediterranean interiors still manage to feel warm rather than chaotic and overwhelming? That’s because when decorating and furnishing in this style, all colours are natural – the key concept is to mimic nature. The deep blues are those of the sea and sky, warm tones come with woven baskets and terracotta earthenware, beiges mimic sandy beaches, etc. Any colour can be used, as long as the hue stems from nature.
Au naturel all the way
Incorporating the Mediterranean style into your interior also calls for natural finishes, which is largely where the colours come from. This emanates a raw and authentic feel reminiscent of lovely country homes among vineyards. Exposed beams, unpolished wooden furnishings, and stone pavers all help achieve this. The more natural and left untouched, the better. That’s why it’s best to use locally-sourced materials for a truly authentic interior.
The tactile element
Again, this nature-embracing approach extends to all other aspects of the interior. Walls and ceilings are treated with techniques such as stucco to add architectural decorations and welcome texture to surfaces. Where surfaces are smooth, vibrant and colourful patterns add dimension to them – this is the case with glazed patterned tiles, mosaics, and ornamental furniture. Contrast the raw textured surfaces with smooth and sheer fabrics on curtains and soft textiles on cushions.
The indoor and outdoor are one
This is one of the key elements of the Mediterranean style, as this is a culture that celebrates hedonism, nature, and hospitality. Unite your indoors with your garden by using large arched openings, or wall your garden to create enclosures and semi-outdoor spaces. Pergolas provide shade in the garden and create outdoor rooms for entertaining. In the Mediterranean style, the line between indoors and outdoors is blurred. Sheer curtains bristling in the wind emphasize this approach of vague partitions.
Water for relief
All Mediterranean gardens have some kind of water feature. Just a little bit is needed to provide much needed relief from heat and create a visually simulative space. You might have a pool or a gurgling fountain whose sound will emphasize the calming presence of water. Or, you might opt for a stream of still water, such as a rill, for a contemplative and relaxing water surface. This is probably the easiest option, as you can use garden hoses for water supply with a very basic drainage system. Preferably, place the water feature somewhere where it can be seen from the indoors, once again visually uniting your interior with the garden.
The plants on your garden will provide shade, lush greenery, and scent as well, welcoming birds and bees to celebrate the space with you. Depending on your climate zone and exact location, there are various heat-resistant Mediterranean plants you can incorporate. One of the classics is the Italian cypress, a beautiful tall tree which is best multiplied in a row to create a green enclosure.
Don’t forget the herbs as well: rosemary, thyme, oregano, and sage are just a few that will give off wonderful scents – and they’re edible too. Plants such as lavender are also a great option along footpaths to graze your legs as you walk by and thus leave a refreshing scent to follow you. Plant in the ground, on raised beds, and in large terracotta pots to provide variety.
Gravel is a wonderful and cheap option that works great in Mediterranean gardens. You can also make walkways with natural stone (preferably from your area) and vibrant tilework, just like in the interior. A great way to emphasize the connection with the interior and exterior is by using some of the same materials and patterns in both.
Finally, think about the roof. As everything else in your Mediterranean home, it should also look charming and sturdy, but it should also give your family security and protection. When deciding what kind of material to use, you should consider conditions in which you live in the first place. With the slate roof, you will have the ability to choose the color and to have undeniable quality. The only disadvantage of these roofs is that they are delicate to place, and you will probably have to find slate roof installers who are familiar with techniques and won’t damage your roofing material. The thing you will love about slate roof is the opportunity to choose your personal style and the fact that it will last for years to come.
Now that you understand the basics of the Mediterranean style, adjust it to your area to create that authentic feel. Most importantly, make your home a vibrant celebration of nature through design elements. Adjust, decorate, and invite some friends over to sip on wine in the cool shade of your garden – the Mediterranean way.