What Is Mediterranean Design?

by Drew Henry

Stemming from the regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, this design incorporates the iconic architectures, tones, and textures of homes found in countries like Spain, Greece, Morocco, and Italy (to name a few). While the Mediterranean design is best suited to warm climates, with a sea breeze in the air, any home can celebrate the Mediterranean style by adding some key elements to their space.

Whether you want your home to be reminiscent of the lifestyle or the minimalist attitude, discover the features that will suit you and your style. 

A Brief History of Mediterranean Design

Most people will think of Greece, Italy, and Spain when discussing the Mediterranean. However, it’s crucial to remember that there are many more countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea, so the history of design also seeps into countries like Malta, Israel, and Morocco. Each has left an indelible mark on what we now recognize as the quintessential Mediterranean style interior design. Mediterranean design was predominantly birthed from a need to respond to the region's distinct climate and lifestyle.

The houses designed in Mediterranean style often reflect this coexistence with nature. Elements like open courtyards, shaded terraces, and water features were incorporated not only for their aesthetic appeal but also for their cooling effects in a hot climate.
This relationship between design and functionality is still present in contemporary Mediterranean interior design. Examining traditional coastal Mediterranean interior design further underlines this marriage between form and function.
These designs are primarily influenced by the sea and incorporate natural textures like rough-hewn wooden beams or plaster walls into their structures. The color schemes used were usually simple yet vibrant, mirroring hues of the sun, sea, and soil – sandy beiges, cerulean blues or olive greens - enhancing simplicity while maintaining visual warmth.
A key characteristic that sets apart Mediterranean kitchens design is their use of rustic elements paired with modern day comforts to create spaces that exude an inviting sense of homeliness. Often you would find large cooking hearths or fireplaces acting as focal points around which family members would gather just as they did in ancient times.
Functionality aside these open kitchen designs align with an integral part of Mediterranean life – socializing over food and drinks. Mediterranean exterior design along with its landscape variants cleverly brings into play various elements ranging from brilliantly bold tiles adorning courtyards to natural stone pathways leading through lush gardens filled with fragrant herbs so typical for this region – blending the indoor and outdoor seamlessly.
Here again, you see an emphasis on simplicity paired with practicality and beauty. Living spaces designed in this style often embrace the same principles.
A Mediterranean living room design or a Mediterranean design living room would likely involve ample seating options centered around a fireplace or an open hearth. This not only encourages social interaction but also provides warmth during the cooler months of the year.
The enduring popularity of Mediterranean design lies in its ability to blend antiquity with modernity, comfort with luxury, and indoors with outdoors. Whether it's the azure blues mimicking the coastal vistas or terracotta tiles reminiscent of sun-baked landscapes; whether it's a rustic kitchen filled with aromas of hearty stews or an elegantly simple sitting area that extends into a verdant garden – every space designed in this style tells a unique story while carrying echoes from the past.

While Mediterranean design originated in these countries, it’s been a long-standing tradition that other areas of the world adopt and adapt the style, breathing fresh life into it.

Unsurprisingly, this design type is better suited for warmer climates, so this design is more common in California and Florida in the US. However, some key elements will help you identify the Mediterranean design style, which you can incorporate into the interior of your home no matter where you are. 

What Are the Key Elements of the Mediterranean Design Style?

The charm of this style lies in its ability to bring the outdoors in, hence the emphasis on blending the indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly. Traditionally, Mediterranean homes are designed with open courtyards or expansive terraces that flow effortlessly into interior spaces.

This unique feature can be incorporated into contemporary interiors through the use of large windows or glass doors that offer views of verdant gardens or azure bodies of water. In a similar vein, a small Mediterranean kitchen design might feature windows overlooking a herb garden or perhaps French doors opening onto an alfresco dining area. However, if you want a more contemporary look, you might adopt more luxuries like an outdoor pool and bigger rooms. Whichever version of this style you decide on, each essential element is crucial to consider when looking for Mediterranean magic. 


Mediterranean designs often have a minimalist slant, which creates a sense of simplicity. Simplicity can look like sturdy furniture, plain windows, or neutral color palettes. This minimalist style helps an interior to look more spacious and airy. 

That being said, minimalism doesn’t mean boring. You can brighten your home with exciting, bold, or mosaic tile patterns to give that pop of color and unique flair. Wherever you have seating, this style encourages neutral colors with stucco walls; added color comes in abstract art, gorgeous archways, or large windows. 

Bold Tiles 

Bold tiles are crucial to bringing color to an otherwise neutrally decorated space. If you’ve been lucky enough to visit the Mediterranean, you’ll recognize the iconic bold patterned tiles that can deck the floor in any room. Unlike colder climates, Mediterranean countries won’t have carpets; instead, they opt for tiles, allowing coolness in the hotter months.

You don’t have to go with the tiled floor option either, especially if your home is in a colder location. Many homes in this style will have patterned tiles on the walls and stairs, so feel free to be creative about where you want to place yours.

Whether you prefer arabesque tilesmetal insert cement tiles, or glaze tiles, there’s a design that can bring some life into any home. 

Natural Textures

When you see the inside of a Mediterranean house, you might think there’s something otherworldly about it; often, that’s down to the natural textures used in the home. For example, exposed wooden beams or wooden tables with visible natural grains show the connection between the house and the nature outside of it. Using your furniture to its full potential will allow you to juxtapose the natural textures of wood with the grittier, sandier stucco walls. 

Blending the Indoor and Outdoor

When you picture a Mediterranean home, you might think of plants haphazardly crawling up the walls. That’s because this region is all about being a part of nature rather than separated from it. 

The house reflects a balanced and beautiful lifestyle with a balance of indoor and outdoor, color and neutrality. The more you let light in with big windows, the more airy and spacious you’ll feel your home becomes. Likewise, you can have eye-catching plants to brighten your space and blur that boundary between the indoors and outdoors. 

How to Design Your Space With a Touch of Mediterranean Elegance

Every home can have a touch of Mediterranean elegance once you know how to utilize what you’ve got. The key to adding a little touch of the Mediterranean is making small changes that’ll make a big difference; you don’t have to replace all your interiors to achieve the look.

Choose Mediterranean Color Schemes

A great place to start is by choosing a Mediterranean color scheme. It’s worth noting that the Mediterranean encompasses many colors, and each location will have different color palettes. So, to help you decide on your color scheme, consider which region you’d like to inspire you. 

To help inspire you, consider the below combinations: 

  • Spain - Rich shades of blue, green, red, and yellow against dark wood and elaborate patterns
  • Greece - Turquoise, cerulean, blue-greens, and cobalt blue with white walls
  • Italy - Warm shades of gold, red, orange, and light brown against a cream base
  • Morroco - Earthy neutral cream and beige against vibrant blues, greens, reds, oranges

Make Use of Natural Imperfections 

If some of the paintwork on your wall is falling away, let the exposed brick have its place in your home. Even one wall of exposed brick or wooden beam will channel the Mediterranean feel. Likewise, if you remove carpets to find old floor tiles, make the most of them. 

Declutter Where You Can 

This design style is about minimalism - not throwing everything away but finding space and balance. If you have a room filled with objects you no longer want or need, consider donating or throwing them away. The more space you can create, the more Mediterranean your home will feel.

Choose Bold Tile Patterns

Choosing a bold pattern is fun and should offer a flavor of who you are. Tiles are a great option because there are plenty of options to choose from, and you can choose between smaller 4x4 patterns or larger 8x8 patterns to ensure the pattern works for your space. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Mediterranean Design Style?

This iconic design is the look of a home’s interior and exterior based on the style of Mediterranean homes. These homes encompass over 20 countries. Design styles vary, and some homes, restaurants, and towns outside the Mediterranean even adopt variations of it. 

Looking for Mediterranean Tiles? Shop LiLi Tile!

This design style is a timeless classic. Whether you are looking to transform your home with a modern Mediterranean twist or prefer the rustic style, there are plenty of ways to add the style of the region to your home. 

What better way to start than by adding colorful, patterned tiles to a room? Discover patterned tiles at LiLi Tile today and instantly transform your home! 

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