Elements of Modern Mediterranean Flavor

Influenced by the warm, saturated colors of captivating landscapes, the sun and misty sea air, Mediterranean style brings an unbeatable combination of cultural flavor and low-key luxury into a home. Here’s how you can embrace an eclectic mix of elements that has been developed over the centuries.

Elements of Modern Mediterranean Flavor

1. Color and Pattern

Earthy tones of terra-cotta, turquoise, ocean blue, yellow and rusty red are a hallmark of the Mediterranean concept, because they draw on the heavily saturated hues of surrounding landscapes. Jewel tones work well in tile applications, where mixing many colors is visually pleasing. These hues bring that distinctive Spanish-inspired element into a space. Handmade tiles are a great way to bring pattern into a Mediterranean-style bathroom, but they can be costly.

Or completely tile one wall, leaving the other walls and the floor white.

My five favorite Mediterranean-inspired paint colors are Starburst Orange, Sun Porch, Cool Aqua, Mediterranean Breeze and Simply White, all from Benjamin Moore. But if you’re hesitant to go bold with color, focus on shapes and lines instead. Try a Moroccan-influenced tile shape and pair the tile with a border in a contrasting color for definition or a contrasting grout.

2. Archways

Reflective of historical landmarks, Moroccan-inspired archways feel exotic and stand out even in a stark space.

3. Mirrors

Mirrors are flexible accessories that are staple design elements for a Mediterranean-inspired space. They can include many elements of design, such as color, texture, pattern and shape, in one piece. Curved mirrors like the ones here nod to dramatic archway elements without a permanent commitment. A mirror with or without ornate carvings can bring a taste of history into a space when a full renovation is not an option.

4. Lighting

Ornate lanterns, sconces and vase lamps can bring unique ambient lighting into a small space. The delicate piercing of the pendant here creates beautifully detailed patterns for light to shine through, touching on rustic ornamental inspiration without feeling too country.

5. Wood Accents

Whether you bring them in through a rich wood door, seating or window frames, warm wood tones are distinctive of Mediterranean culture. Usually intricate in this style, they create a relaxed, rustic feeling. Try choosing wood accents with a visible grain or an organic carved shape to strengthen the connection to nature.

6. Burnished Metal

Copper and burnished metals add an old-world historical influence to the scheme while maintaining a cozy feeling.

7. Rugs

Since bathrooms are filled with hard finishes, rugs are a great way to add a touch of plushness. The one pictured here elevates the Mediterranean concept with its pattern, draws on the color of the wood and the warm tone of the tile, and unifies the look. Area rugs also can be easily changed out as your taste for the Mediterranean culture becomes seasoned.