How to transform your living room into a Mediterranean haven
Your living room is often the ‘face’ of
your house, and the first room to greet you when you enter. If it’s
a soothing abode in a style that’s easy to achieve and that allows
you to draw on several influences rather than having to implement one
style rigidly, the widely appealing Mediterranean makeover is for
As the name suggests, this
décor genre draws on the idyllic sea, sad, sun and jewel tones of
countries lucky enough to bask in the warm, moderate glow of the
Mediterranean ocean-side sun.
The main influences are
Spanish, French, Italian, Greek, Moroccan and Turkish – and thanks
to the latter two countries, you’ll find a distinctly Moorish feel
coming through in tapestries, rugs, ornate woven wall hangings and
accessories in particular.
Of these regional
influences, Greek tends to be the most far removed, although by no
means excluded. If you’re going Greek, think of an island getaway
with white, azure blue and aquamarine sea colours, and Greek patterns
on the wall. Mediterranean touches, if you’re partial to them,
could be to incorporate more olive greens and sunset hues.
Under the Tuscan sun –
how is Mediterranean different from Tuscan?
The Italian town of
Tuscany also sits snugly on the Mediterranean coast and while it
shares similarities with Mediterranean décor, the main variable is
that Tuscan décor tends not to incorporate other regional
influences. Tuscan style is quintessentially Italian, and
characterized by the rustic charm of old farmhouses.
The walls are often
textured to resemble crumbling stone. Often real stone or textured
plaster is used. Rustic wood furnishings and frames, stencil décor,
wine motifs and traditional murals are customary along the Tuscan
coast. Missing from Tuscan style most notably, are the ornate,
vividly coloured Moorish influences of Morocco, Turkey and Persia
Mediterranean houses in general tend to be
rather spacious, one-storey affairs with high ceilings. If there is a
second story, this would be for the bedrooms. Often, the living room
area opens onto a central outside courtyard or patio, overlooked by
the rest of the home.
The overall feel is
opulent and luxurious with rustic touches – and the living room is
To this end, solid wood
furniture with ornate embellishments either in the wood craftsmanship
or fabrics is characteristic of this style, as are vintage pieces
with a ‘lived-in’ feel – think of your favourite leather chair,
and you’ve got the picture. The furniture is also bold, with large,
carved table paws and chair legs. Wrought iron accents are not
uncommon. In general, the furniture is bold and aesthetically on the
indulgent side, rather than sleek or modern. This also means that the
furniture is not fully covered with fabric to allow the wooden frames
to be on show, with the usual fabric coverings being leather, a
velvet-like material or a rich tapestry.
You’ll often find a
terracotta fireplace or wrought iron heat haven in Mediterranean
These depend very much on
the region. Start with a warm earthy tones, infused with the likes of
warm brown, olive green, gold, tan and charcoal. Then add any jewel
colours you wish, to the extent that pleases you –opal, amber,
citrine, olive green, olive green, burgundy, ruby.
The more vivid you decide
to go with your jewel tones, the more Moorish your influences will
be: here we’re talking tanzanite purple, cobalt blue, azure blue,
emerald green, burgundy and sunset orange.
Luckily, earth and sand
tones complement all jewel tones well, so you are unlikely to go
Walls and floors
Go for texture, texture
and more texture on the walls, in the form of wall plastering, stone,
mosaics, hung tapestry or anything else. Wall-to-wall wood veneers
are not recommended as this takes you into log cabin territory, but
oak, teak and similar wood accents make for on-genre cabinets,
shelving and the like.
Limestone, marble, mosaic
or embellished tiles and terracotta tiles are the Mediterranean floor styles of choice. If your
budget does not allow you to purchase the real thing, go for the huge
array of high quality imitation, cultured and engineers marble and
polished limestone tiles available on the market today.
Cotton-loom rugs are found
in Spanish regions while wool and silk tapestries signify Moorish
Vintage chandeliers and
wrought iron candelabras and lamp bases hit the mark. Curtain drapery
is beautiful and ornate, but on the sheer side as the idea is not to
obscure light. Woven cotton, silk and other light-favourable fabrics
are used as curtaining.
Gorgeous stained windows
are also found commonly but as these tend to obscure light, they are
direct light-facing area and not adorned with any additional drapery.
designer and decorators − find interior designers and decorators in
Need to consult an interior decorator to nail your Med living
room style? We’ve compiled the cream of the crop of designers
who’ll be able to transform your existing look, no matter the
budget. Import bespoke pieces hassle-free, or get some advice on
repurposing an older wooden piece you may have thrown away into that
perfect rustic touch – the more nail scratching and uneven grain,
The investment in your
Mediterranean living room project is one of the wisest you can make –
you’ll have furniture pieces you can hand down as heirlooms but,
most importantly, know that your new haven won’t be out of style
for many decades yet to come. Being able to go as modern or
traditional as you like means being able to dictate how many changes
you’ll make – enjoy the flexibility of this always on-trend décor