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Decorating in the Mediterranean Style

By Shelagh Duncan

Okay, so you have your new home and now you have to furnish it. Or, you have purchased a house with some furniture and want a fresh look: whatever the reason, if you are looking for a unique and pretty way to furnish your home, consider the Mediterranean Style.

Mediterranean images

Because the area is so diverse, you will have a multitude of looks from which to choose. The furniture is as eclectic as the region. Very few types of design style can offer the rare combination of exotic looks and rustic simplicity that have come to define the Mediterranean style.

Royal Palm Interiors

The colour schemes traditionally compliment the furniture that is found here. Typical colours are those of the landscape and the ocean, with vibrant splashes of saturated, jewel tones. With several different cultures bordering the Mediterranean, it is no wonder that each type of Mediterranean furniture and its accompanying colour schemes vary a great deal from coast to coast. However, one of the consistent elements that tie it together is the use of terracotta. The Romans loved it and everywhere their Empire spread—so did terracotta.

In the Greek islands the typical colour patterns focus on the fetching combination of blue and white. Most of the houses are whitewashed, and the window shutters and doors are usually painted blue to accentuate this look. The contrast is striking. Greek island furniture tends to be minimalist and it is most often of simple form and highly functional. Mainland Greek architecture is rich in history and design, but the islands have their own special character—remember Mama Mia?

Italy also has a rich architectural heritage, but we are now more likely to look to the Tuscan villa for our Mediterranean inspiration. Rustic stone and ironwork that play off colour-washed walls and decorative accents with a time worn patina all combine to give us the feel of a well loved room. Check out Under the Tuscan Sun for some inspiration.

Spanish style borrows heavily from its Baroque and Colonial past, then adds a touch of exotic Moorish influence. White stucco and dark stained rustic furniture mix happily with ornate metalwork and intricate and colourful tile designs. Tapestries feature here as well as in the Italian villa style.

The North African coast offers an intriguing potpourri of colours and textures. Imagine the streets of Marrakesh with its vibrant colors, intriguing architecture and intricate designs. The colours are earthy and spicy here—think of the golden saffron sun, turquoise blue waters, paprika red and curry brown. Brass elements feature strongly, along with natural stone, punched tin and colourful woven rugs. Tiles with abstract Moorish designs are everywhere, and brightly embroidered fabrics are accented with mirrored sequins. Take your design cues from the bazaars and spice markets.

Finally, the Provence region offers some of the most colourful patterns of the Mediterranean area. Beautifully detailed fabrics and pottery that embrace the colours of sunflowers, lavender fields, blue skies, olive groves and the ocher earth are used everywhere. Wood beamed country farmhouses wrapped in stucco sit on rolling hills, and are furnished with the restrained elegance that gave us the French Provencal style.

Are you hooked yet? To capture this feel for your home, start by choosing your Mediterranean colour palette. Paint an accent wall, or the whole room. Mix a few furniture pieces and accessories that echo this style in with your own, and you will immediately see it start to come together. You don’t have to change everything. By just adding a few of the right elements you can easily transform your space into your very own version of the Mediterranean style.

Until next time…
Royal Palm Interiors – Uvita, 2743-8323, royalpalminteriors@gmail.com

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