The Mediterranean is a true melting pot of cultures, borne of centuries of travel, communication and collaboration between regions. This is evident in the Mediterranean design style: Spanish passion, French elegance and Moorish exoticism combine to create an aesthetic which is distinctive in its warmth and simplicity. A twist of Mediterranean style can imbue a property with a sunny atmosphere, no matter how far it is from the sandy beaches of the Med. We explore some simple techniques to add Mediterranean flavour to interior décor.
Natural colour palette
Terracotta reds, sage greens, cobalt blues and sandy yellows all evoke the Mediterranean landscape. The style is bold and colourful: Cool tones are accented with pops of warm shades. Yellow is an attractive base colour for walls, while blue and red hues are ideal for soft furnishings, and green is an excellent earthy shade for painted cabinets.
Dark and textured
The Mediterranean style is anything but minimalist. With regard to furniture, it's best to eschew clean lines in favour of sculptured curves, delicate shapes for chunky, and light wood for dark. For metal embellishments, opt for old-world wrought iron, copper and gold rather than polished chrome. Partially exposed stonework and stucco adds texture to walls. Exposed beams are a common feature of Mediterranean design, while exposed brick around archways adds rustic charm.
Carpet and hardwood take a back seat to terracotta or ceramic floor tiles in conventional Mediterranean décor. If you live in a cooler region, warm up the style with throw rugs or under-floor heating. The intricately patterned blue tiles (often referred to as 'cuisine de Monet') which are so common throughout France make ideal work surface delineators for kitchens, frames for mirrors, or simply on their own as wall art.
Intricate patterns, particularly brocade, add a hint of opulence to soft furnishings. Look for heavily patterned curtains, cushions and armchairs. Avoid minimalist decorations: picture frames should be heavily carved or patterned, candle sticks should be large and flamboyant and wine glasses should be cut crystal.
The quintessential Mediterranean look is relaxed and comfortable. Gently sand painted furniture to give it a lived-in aesthetic, and look out for dark wood antique pieces, such as side cabinets, chests of drawers and occasional tables. On walls, the rag-rolling technique gives a charming fresco feel: paint the base coat first and then use a rag to add non-uniform dabs of the same colour to create the impression of texture.
If infusing your home with Mediterranean spirit isn't quite enough, it might be time to add a piece of the Mediterranean to your property portfolio. Engel & Völkers is active throughout the region, with offices along the coasts of Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Malta and Turkey. Our agents have years of expertise in the local market and can offer advice and assistance to help you find the right investment property for holidays or rental purposes.