Everything about the Mediterranean region evokes a feeling of creativity, balance and peace, with a good dose of passion stirred in. From the bright, varied and nourishing foods, to the soulful depths of art, through to the political, religious and creative structures that form foundation of much of Western civilization, the countries that radiate out from the Mediterranean Sea are vibrant and full of life.
This fervor and devotion to squeezing every last drop of enjoyment out of life is typical of the region, and is reflected in the architecture and interior design that emanates from there. There’s absolutely nothing boring, dull or monotonous about the Mediterranean style and, thanks to the wide variety of elements to choose from, it’s one of the easiest styles to introduce into your home without doing a complete renovation.
In fact, it’s entirely possible to evoke that feeling of the warm and breezy Mediterranean with just a few simple design changes. Of course, if you do decide to fully embrace the style, or are building a brand-new home, there’s plenty to suit every taste in this style.
What is Mediterranean style?
Pinning down a quick and easy definition of the Mediterranean style can be challenging, because of several factors. For starters, this region has been inhabited for thousands of years and modern styles frequently borrow from the extensive — and somewhat convoluted — history of the area.
Secondly, the Mediterranean region consists of several countries, including France, Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal in Europe, Israel, lebanon, Turkey and Syria in the Middle East, and in Africa, there’s Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. Over the centuries, all these countries have interacted with, invaded, colonised, gone to war with, merged with, influenced and otherwise mingled with each other, so that there are hundreds of different elements that crop up in their home design. It’s fair to say that, while each country and region certainly has its own flavour, no two homes will ever be alike.
And next, of course, there’s the fact that even within the individual countries, there are many different regions that have their own unique style. In Italy alone, you can enjoy Tuscan, Roman, Florentine and a host of other styles. For the serious design enthusiast, the Mediterranean region offers months, even years, of inspiration enjoyment.
No matter where you draw your specific influences from, however, there are certain characteristics that all homes in the Mediterranean region share, and that can easily be carried over into Canadian homes to help bring the feeling of the cradle of civilization into your every day.
Common elements of Mediterranean style design
For anyone looking to create their own unique Mediterranean-inspired villa, there are a number of elements you can incorporate, either singly, or in combination with one another, to evoke the warmth and liveliness of the region.
Colour: Mediterranean peoples rarely shy away from colour, and a Mediterranean style home will often have brightly painted or deeply earth-toned interior and even exterior walls, furniture with bright or patterned upholstery, and even painted wood accents. In those instances where colour is eschewed, it will often be in favour of pure white walls, both indoors and outdoors, as well as white furnishings and finishes, with a single dominant accent colour – a classically Greek coastal style.
Texture: Everything you touch or see inside and outside a Mediterranean home will be a feast of texture. From stone walls and floors, to thick wooden beams, to a wide variety of textiles, every surface and piece of furniture will offer its own unique sensation. Imagine slate floors with exquisitely patterned and intricately-woven rugs, deep and carved wood inlaid with smooth glass, and walls whose stones tell a story of storm weathered and summers long past.
Curves and corners: A Mediterranean home will rarely comprise a series of rectangular rooms with rectangular windows, rectangular cornices and rectangular tiles. Instead, you can expect to see curved staircases, rounded arches, round hallways, and fixtures and fittings that mold themselves to the shape of your hand, inviting you to look, enjoy, experience them.
Tiles and metals: From tiny-tiled mosaics to giant slabs of terra cotta, tiles feature heavily in Mediterranean design. You can create intricate patterns or step-and-repeat designs, add a unique feature or highlight a single, beautiful antique tile. They add their own colour, texture and pattern to the home, and contrast and complement the ornate metalwork that will inevitably feature as well. Whether it’s a wrought iron balustrade, delicate filigree light fittings or pressed copper ceiling tiles, metalwork forms its own essential part of the Mediterranean home.
Outdoors indoors: Maybe it’s because of the centuries of interacting with other cultures, but almost no single cultural group in the Mediterranean is isolationist or introverted as a group. Whether you’re having le petit-déjeuner in France, lunch in Morocco, or cena in Italy, it’s likely to be a lengthy affair, often enjoyed outdoors and in company. The region is well known for its temperate climate and, as a result, homes are open, spacious and feature wide spaces that cross the line between the indoors and the outdoors.
Because of the incredibly relaxed and convivial atmosphere that a Mediterranean home encourages, this style is popular throughout the world. In Canada, you will find homes that evoke the style either partly, such as in just a single room, or completely, with a full Mediterranean villa, in most cities and in most country and farming areas.
Creating your own slice of the Mediterranean
Whether you are building a new home and are planning to build in the Mediterranean style, or simply want to add a few elements to your existing building, you can begin by emulating the architectural look of the beautiful, textured stone buildings by cladding the exterior of the home with manufactured stone. You can get anything from the large masonry work look to a finer, more delicately textured look, and some even paint the stonework in a suitably Mediterranean colour.
Indoors, floorwork in tile or stone can help give you the textured feel of a Mediterranean home, while accent walls in Cultured Stone® manufactured veneers like Ancient Villa Ledgestone™ or Southern Ledgestone will give you anything from a cultured, refined feel to a more rustic look. Because these manufactured stone products are significantly lighter, easier to transport and less expensive than natural or complete stone, you can create your own Mediterranean masterpiece almost anywhere, easily and at a fraction of the cost.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]