The Mediterranean look is a timeless, chic style that is inspired by the design of Spanish, Roman, or Greek villas. The elegance of the look comes from an effortless style. Carrying the signature of a lazy day on the beach, the colors and textures of the Mediterranean style are light, breezy, and warm.
Although a favorite in larger mansions and homes, the Mediterranean look is perfect for many different abodes, including apartments. Actually, it is a very popular style in the U.S. coastal cities, being present in Miami or Los Angeles apartments and homes. California is particularly famous for the many Mediterranean-inspired villas.
Still, if you dream of days by the sea and want to evoke the memory of a vacation in your rental apartment, you can do that by incorporating a few key elements that really define the Mediterranean style and can reshape your living space.
The Basics of Mediterranean Style
The Mediterranean style is one of the hottest interior design styles. It usually means aged whites, creams, natural textures, stones, and terracotta, airy but cozy interiors, and warm light. However, since we’re talking interiors and not the exterior of a home, the signature style incorporates warm neutral tones, light and sheer textures like linens, natural elements like wood and stone, as well as strategic pops of color, usually blues, yellows, or dark greens.
The main furniture pieces are usually in neutral colors, with clean-cut lines and simple designs, while smaller pieces and décor are more colorful, to bring balance to a room. While the walls and the larger pieces are light, accent pieces are usually dark, including the wooden elements and metals. Dark metalwork details — especially iron — like light fixtures, handles, or frames work perfectly in the design.
What to Choose for Your Apartment
Now, if you’re going through the list and thinking of what you can incorporate in your own place, it’s best to take it one step at a time. Let’s start with basics:
If you are allowed to repaint your walls under your lease, consider going for a light, warm neutral, close to an off-white. A great trick you can take advantage of is to try and replicate archways with paint, by creating a focus point on a wall where you can display art, plants, or décor items. However, if you don’t have this specified in the lease, it’s best to not attempt any repainting. You can always ask your landlord for permission, but make sure you get the answer in writing.
If repainting is not an option, use whatever you have as base and choose the other elements to complement the color of the walls. It’s all about finding the right shade of a color you want in your palette.
If you’re renting an unfurnished apartment and bringing your own furniture, make the large pieces light and warm, with neutral colors. They should have clear-cut lines, to add some edge to the room. Place them in such a way as to allow for light to flow through a room, so don’t block the windows, but rather place sofas and other sitting areas so that light falls onto them.
As for storage, opt for investing in dual-use furniture. Mediterranean looks don’t feature large storage options, or upper cabinets and open shelving. Rely on lower wardrobes, and if you want some open shelving, go for rough, wooden planks, that look natural and quite undone. Don’t overcrowd them, though. It’s very important to reduce clutter to keep the place looking neat and tied together. Many items, especially modern or colorful, loud pieces will disrupt the room.
- Carpets, curtains, and lights
Curtains are an important element, because as we’ve said, you want to allow light in. However, harsh light is not what you want, so a sheer, very light and transparent curtain will help filter the light and diffuse it throughout the room. A light linen is a great material that also adds texture to your room.
As for carpets, it’s actually best to reduce their number for this look, especially if you have (dark) hardwood floors. If still you want to cover your floors, go for flat-weave rugs in muted colors or darker hues.
Metal light fixtures will add such a nice edge to a room, tying together the design. Darker tones and rough natural materials (similar to what you would find in industrial design, but slimmer) complement the light, airy style of Mediterranean look perfectly.
For the little pieces that will complete your look, go for natural textures like rattan, wicker, straw, linen, cotton, or wool. If you want to incorporate plants in your home, you can either go for terracotta or cement pots, depending on which complement your color scheme better. Try to go for plants with a darker foliage, and if you live in an appropriate climate, try growing a small citrus or olive tree. These will add authenticity to your décor. If not, placing dried flowers or branches in large, undone vases will do the trick.
Complementary artwork could include ceramics and vases, or sculptural items that add another natural texture to your home. Handcrafted, rustic items and vintage paintings also go well with this look. Personal trinkets and souvenirs from your trips will make the place feel like it’s truly yours, so don’t overlook this aspect.
If you have a balcony, you have the option of really defining your space. The Mediterranean style is based on cohesion between the inside and outside space, so create a seamless transition to your balcony by adding plants close to your balcony door and relying on natural, rough materials for your balcony furniture and finishes.
These tips are easy to incorporate in a rental, as the Mediterranean style is rather simple, but timeless and beautiful. It is all about creating a welcoming space, for yourself and your guests. Keep the rooms clean and organized, but don’t stress about imperfections. The style is laid back, and that allows for comfort and coziness. Good luck!