Mediterranean decor – 11 ways to embrace this relaxed look at home

Create relaxed interiors full of color, texture and rustic charm with these Mediterranean decor ideas

Mediterranean decor
(Image credit: Mandarin Stone | Future | Suzannah Lockwood)

Mediterranean decor is a brilliant way to bring a relaxed, holiday feel into your home. Influenced by a melting pot of cultures from North African and Spanish to Tuscan and Greek, the Mediterranean style encompasses a huge array of different looks, from cool and coastal to rich and textured. 

To get you inspired we've gathered an array of characterful home ideas perfect for bringing a Mediterranean feel to every room, from color palettes for living rooms to beautiful kitchen tile ideas.

Mediterranean decor 

Relating to a huge geographic area, Mediterranean decor can conjure all sorts of different looks, from a Tuscan farmhouse to a Greek coastal villa and offers a wealth of inspiring decorating ideas

Alongside the classic whitewashed look, characteristic colors range from rich, earthy tones through to deep ocean blues. 

There's also a huge focus on texture with rustic surfaces celebrated wherever possible, from warm terracotta floors to raw plaster walls. Indeed, if you're lucky enough to have beautiful original features like exposed stone walls and weathered ceiling beams, then be sure to showcase these as part of the interior design as this is guaranteed to bring the sought after rustic character that Mediterranean decor is prized for.

Tiles ideas are also a common feature and there's plenty of designs available, from Moorish Spanish tiles to Moroccan zellige tiles.

Last but not least, Mediterranean decor blurs the boundaries between outside and in, so be sure to factor in plenty of houseplants such as palms, cacti and scented geraniums.

1. Embrace patterned tiles

Portuguese tiles

(Image credit: Jake Curtis)

Make an impression in an entryway by tiling with Portuguese-style blue and white tiles. As connecting spaces hallways can easily be forgotten about but they're a great place to be bold with decor. Inspired by the elaborately azulejos painted tin-glazed tiles seen on buildings throughout Portugal, these decorative tiles are a brilliant way to bring life, pattern and color to your entryway ideas.

2. Combine sunshine shades and tiles in the kitchen

Mediterranean kitchen

(Image credit: Otto Tiles)

Decorating with yellow is a great way to bring a warmth and joy to interiors all year round. Guaranteed to raise a smile, kitchen cabinets in sunny saffron will evoke happy holiday memories and create an ideal backdrop for rustic and patterned tiles synonymous with Mediterranean style. For tiles that bring beautiful pattern and subtle texture try Otto's Moroccan-style zellige tiles on the wall and patterned encaustic designs on the floor. 

3. Embrace rich, earthy colors

Orange living room

(Image credit: Michael Sinclair)

An instant mood-enhancer, vibrant paint ideas are a quick and easy way to transform the look and feel of a room. Conjuring the facades and roofs of Spanish and Italian buildings, rich terracotta, umber and orange shades are guaranteed to bring summer warmth into the home even on the gloomiest of days. They make particularly good living room color ideas, bringing a cozy and cocooning feel. 

4. Incorporate zellige tiles

Kitchen with terracotta zellige style tiles

(Image credit: Mandarin Stone)

Handcrafted in Morocco, zellige tiles boast beautiful variations in tone, color and depth of glazing, creating a stunning textural backdrop when laid together. Designed to closely mimic traditional zellige tiles, these ceramic tiles in coral from Mandarin Stone will bring beautiful warmth and texture to your kitchen tile ideas and bathrooms.

5. Opt for a blue and white color scheme

Blue painted room with colorful accessorises

(Image credit: Future / Future / Jake Curtis)

Decorating with blue and white is an easy way to channel Mediterranean decor. A timeless combination synonymous with coastal style, blue and white is a brilliant color scheme for restful traditional living rooms and remains ever popular with interior designers for its versatility.

'Rich navy with white is such a smart combination, especially when the paintwork is crisp white too. It’s a classic and not confined to a beach house,' says Saffron Hare, creative director of James Hare. To ensure a living room with a monochrome scheme has plenty of depth and interest try introducing a mix of fabrics in patterns, different textures and scales.

6. Use hot floral prints

Cole & Son Bougainvillea wallpaper

(Image credit: Cole & Son Bougainvillea wallpaper)

If you're looking to embrace Mediterranean decor then consider drawing inspiration from its flora and fauna. Bougainvillea is a common sight scrambling up ancient walls and over doorways in the Mediterranean and is the focus of a beautiful wallpaper by Cole & Son. A flamboyant floral repeat which is brought to life with a delicate ombré effect, the design will spark joy in any room. Alternatively, you could try it in a cupboard for a more subtle touch of pattern.

7. Embrace natural materials

Sitting room with natural materials

(Image credit: Oka)

If you're looking to create a Mediterranean feel then you can't go wrong with a white backdrop. As white reflects sunlight, many interiors in the Mediterranean are whitewashed to help create cool and comfortable environments, as are the exteriors of buildings, for example in Greece. 

While they are bright and airy, white living room ideas can lack atmosphere – to bring added texture and warmth decorate with furniture and accessories made from natural materials such as wood, linen, jute and rattan and consider updating your space with a few rustic accessories and cane furniture for a holiday feel, suggests Sue Jones, co-founder and creative director at Oka.

‘I love to bring natural materials and brighter tones inside for the warmer season. Try swapping more wintery vases for ceramics in cool shades, and natural woven planters and vases. There are no rules when it comes to bringing outdoor furniture in; a synthetic rattan chair' she says can make 'the perfect summer alternative to a traditional armchair.’

8. Decorate with tile-inspired wallpapers

Fiori wallpaper Christopher Farr Cloth

(Image credit: Carolyn Barber)

Brightly colored abstract tiles are a brilliant way to channel the Mediterranean look, however tiling a surface is a big decision and not easy to change. 

For a simpler solution, why not try a wallpaper idea that gives the illusion of tiles? While it has a distinct Mediterranean flavor, this eye-catching wallpaper idea is actually based on original artwork by Cornish artist Sandra Blow.

9. Make a feature in a bathroom with abstract tiles

blue Moroccan style tiles in walk in shower, bath tub and mirrored wall

(Image credit: Drummonds)

If there's any room that deserves to have that holiday feel it's arguably the bathroom. The bathroom is a private space where we relax and unwind, so introducing elements that conjure distant lands is guaranteed to help us drift away.  

Shower rooms and bathrooms can run the risk of feeling cold and clinical, but opting for vibrant Moroccan style bathroom tile ideas is a brilliant way to bring color, pattern and personality.

'Maximalism is very much on-trend with more and more people experimenting with bold patterns and bright colors. Using colored or patterned tiles is a great way to make a feature of a walk-in shower area,' says James Lentaigne, creative director at Drummonds

10. Layer up the textures

Mediterranean bedroom

(Image credit: Habitat)

Cool and calming, whites and neutral tones are a go-to choice for a Mediterranean-style bedroom. To create a cosy environment be sure to introduce plenty of textural pieces such as natural jute rugs, rattan lampshades, woven baskets and a cane side table. For an extra hint of Mediterranean style consider painting the inside of an alcove or cabinet in a rich indigo blue.

11. Add in colorful pieces for a summer update

Mediterranean style dining room

(Image credit: Oka)

If you're looking to give your home a summer refresh then consider looking to the Mediterranean for inspiration says Sue Jones, creative director and co-founder of Oka. 

‘It’s easier to add to your home than you might think, even if you’re surrounded by the English countryside like this cottage is. Think large faux olive trees, plenty of natural wood finishes and pops of summery colors; I like citrus yellows and sea blues to really bring that Mediterranean feel to life.’

How do I make my house look like the Mediterranean?

Are you wondering how to make your house look Mediterranean? Whitewashing walls is a brilliant way to bring a relaxed, fresh feel, alternatively, for a lasting impression consider decorating  in palettes of rich terracotta, umber and yellow or ocean blue and crisp white. 

To bring a Mediterranean feel into a kitchen or bathroom try introducing decorative Moroccan or Spanish tiles on the wall of a shower enclosure or as a backsplash. When it comes to furniture opt for pieces made in natural materials such as wood, cane and rattan to bring texture and warmth. 

Alternatively, for a quick refresh, add in a few vibrant and rustic accessories for a nod the the Mediterranean look. 

‘I love to bring a touch of summer to my home in the warmer months, and Mediterranean colors and materials are a great way to do so. It’s all about mixing natural tones with accents of citrusy yellows, calming blues and warming terracotta,' says Sue Jones of Oka.

'You can bring these tones into your scheme just by simply switching out your winter cushion covers (which have had their time to shine) in favor of summery alternatives – palm tree prints and neutral-colored fringing are great ways to nod to the season. To add a little vibrancy, I like to decorate surfaces with hand-glazed ceramics in bold colors’

Liberty cushions on bench with Mediterranean tiles

(Image credit: Liberty)

What are considered Mediterranean colors?

Mediterranean decor is a vibrant mix of different cultural influences so there are a huge array of colors to choose from when it comes to capturing the look. Rich warm earthy tones such as terracotta, umber, ochre, golden yellow and red are all guaranteed to bring a touch of Tuscan warmth to interiors. Alternatively, for a cool coastal look reminiscent of a Greek island with a palette of crisp white and ocean blues, from deep indigo to captivating turquoise. 

Pippa Blenkinsop

Pippa is a contributor to Homes & Gardens. A graduate of Art History and formerly Style Editor at Period Living, she is passionate about architecture, creating decorating content, interior styling and writing about craft and historic homes. She enjoys searching out beautiful images and the latest trends to share with the Homes & Gardens audience. A keen gardener, when she’s not writing you’ll find her growing flowers on her village allotment for styling projects.