Mediterranean Home Design: Exploring Interior and Exterior Features

Oct 26, 2023

3 min


From ornate interiors to picturesque exteriors, discover the essence of Mediterranean style.

Image: Mediterranean Home in California (Source: Jordan Cohen/Instagram)


Image: Mediterranean Home in California (Source: Jordan Cohen/Instagram)

The word "Mediterranean" has its origins in the Latin term "mediterraneus," meaning "inland" or "in the middle of the land." Historically, this term was used by ancient geographers to describe the sea situated between Europe, Asia, and Africa. Nowadays, it's associated with a unique architectural style that draw from a diverse range of styles, such as Spanish Colonial, Italian Villa, Moroccan, Pueblo, Hacienda, Mission Revival, and Neo-Mediterranean. Each style carries its unique elements that reflect local traditions and preferences. 

In the early 20th century, the Mediterranean style gained a prominent foothold in American architectural landscapes, particularly in Florida and California. This surge in popularity was driven by the deliberate selection of building materials designed to keep interiors cool during the day and retain warmth at night, making it exceptionally suitable for states with warm climates akin to those of Mediterranean regions.

However, Mediterranean architecture is more than just a practical choice. It seamlessly incorporates opulent design elements that resonate harmoniously with American tastes. These elements, marked by luxury and sophistication, played a pivotal role in sustaining the style's popularity until the 1940s. We'll take a closer look at these distinctive features in the following section.

Distinct Features of Mediterranean Homes


Mediterranean homes typically boast smooth stucco exteriors, often adorned with pastel hues or pristine white finishes. This design choice serves a dual purpose – reflecting sunlight to keep the interiors pleasantly cool.

The roofs of Mediterranean homes are primarily crafted from durable and fire-resistant red clay tiles. These tiles not only safeguard the structure but also provide valuable insulation. Additionally, they are designed with minimal eave overhangs, a measure aimed at preventing water damage, particularly in the face of heavy rains.

Windows and doors within Mediterranean homes are distinct, featuring generous dimensions and elegant arches. This architectural choice creates a sense of openness, allowing natural ventilation to permeate the living spaces. To enhance security and privacy, windows often incorporate wrought iron grills or wooden shutters.

The doors, typically wooden in construction, are further adorned with intricate carvings or ornate ironwork.

A hallmark of Mediterranean homes is their incorporation of outdoor spaces, ranging from inviting patios and picturesque courtyards to charming balconies and scenic terraces. These extensions seamlessly bridge the indoors with the natural world, offering an ideal setting for basking in the warm climate and savoring breathtaking views of the sea or mountains. To amplify the aesthetic appeal and tranquility of these outdoor spaces, many Mediterranean homes also feature water features such as fountains, ponds, or pools.


The flooring in Mediterranean homes is often fashioned from natural materials like tile, stone, or hardwood. These surfaces not only remain cool to the touch, perfect for warm climates, but also ensure easy maintenance.

Many floors are adorned with decorative patterns or intricate mosaics that pay homage to the local culture and art, infusing character and charm into the living spaces.

Ceilings in Mediterranean homes contribute to the overall ambiance with exposed beams or wood planks. This architectural choice imparts a rustic and inviting warmth, creating an intimate and cozy atmosphere. The addition of decorative moldings and carvings enhances the ceilings, adding touches of elegance and sophistication throughout the interiors.

Mediterranean kitchens are renowned for their functionality and spaciousness, offering ample storage, generous counter space, and a well-equipped array of appliances. These culinary spaces often feature decorative tiles or murals that narrate scenes inspired by nature or mythology, transforming them into visual feasts.

In the realm of bathrooms, Mediterranean homes set the stage for luxurious and relaxing experiences. These spaces commonly feature large bathtubs and convenient walk-in showers, graced with natural stone finishes that evoke an exquisite spa-like ambiance. The inclusion of decorative tiles or mosaics further elevates the soothing aesthetics.

Furniture within Mediterranean homes is thoughtfully chosen, favoring natural materials like wood, wrought iron, or rattan. These selections not only exude durability but also offer comfort and functionality. Vibrant cushions and textiles, thoughtfully incorporated, infuse spaces with splashes of color, infusing vibrancy and warmth into the interior design.

Having explored the defining interior and exterior features that make Mediterranean homes a captivating architectural style, let's now delve into the world of Mediterranean home decor. From the grandeur of spacious courtyards to the intricate details of wrought iron, and even down to the smallest elements like colorful pottery, these Mediterranean home decor features infuse warmth, character, and timeless charm into every corner of these exquisite homes.

25 Mediterranean Home decor elements

1. Courtyards: Interior courtyards with fountains and lush greenery.

2. Sunken Bathtubs: Luxurious sunken bathtubs for spa-like bathrooms.

3. Canopy Beds: Canopy beds with flowing fabrics for a touch of romance.

4. Hanging Gardens: Suspended gardens with cascading greenery.

5. Alcoves and Niches: Architectural alcoves and niches for art and decor.

6. Tapestry: Elaborate tapestries with rich designs and colors.

7. Rattan Furniture: Lightweight and durable rattan furniture for outdoor spaces.

8. Rustic Pottery: Handmade rustic pottery in earthy tones.

9. Moroccan Lanterns: Decorative lanterns with intricate designs and warm lighting.

10. Terra-Cotta Tiles: Terracotta tiles add warmth and character to floors and walls.

11. Natural Textiles: Use of natural textiles like linen and cotton for furnishings.

12. Hand-Painted Tiles: Decorative tiles in intricate patterns or scenic motifs.

13. Colorful Pottery: Vibrant ceramics and pottery for decoration.

14. Wrought Iron: Ornate wrought iron details on gates, railings, and light fixtures.

15. Vibrant Textiles: Bold and colorful textiles in furnishings and drapes.

16. Wooden Beams: Exposed wooden beams on ceilings and archways.

17. Ornate Mirrors: Framed mirrors with intricate carvings for a touch of elegance.

18. Indoor Plants: Potted plants and greenery for freshness and life.

19. Mosaic Patterns: Elaborate mosaic patterns, often in kitchens and bathrooms.

20. Spanish-style Fireplace: Fireplaces with decorative tiles and mantels.

21. Antique Rugs: Antique Persian or Turkish rugs for warmth and texture.

22. Stained Glass: Stained glass windows with intricate patterns and colors.

23. Copper Accents: Copper light fixtures, pots, and cookware.

24. Apothecary Jars: Apothecary jars as charming centerpieces.

25. Water Features: Decorative fountains, ponds, or pools that add tranquility and beauty to outdoor spaces.

Crafting Modern Mediterranean Homes

Mediterranean homes are a timeless architectural style that has evolved over time to meet the changing needs and tastes of homeowners. Today’s modern Mediterranean-style homes combine the best of old-world charm with new-world amenities to create a comfortable and stylish living environment.

If you're interested in crafting a modern Mediterranean-style home, here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Choose a skilled architect: Seek out an experienced architect who specializes in designing Mediterranean-style homes. They can help you capture the essence of this architectural style and bring your vision to life.

2. Incorporate energy-efficient features: Consider integrating energy-efficient elements into your design, such as solar panels, LED lighting, and low-flow fixtures. These additions not only reduce your environmental footprint but also enhance the sustainability of your home.

Source: Inside Climate News/Pinterest

3. Use sustainable materials: Opt for locally sourced and eco-friendly building materials. Sustainable choices not only benefit the environment but also contribute to the authenticity of your Mediterranean home.

4. Create an open floor plan: Mediterranean homes are known for their seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. Collaborate with your architect to design an open floor plan that allows for easy transitions and fosters a connection with the outdoors.

5. Utilize natural light: Leverage natural light to highlight the beauty of your home's interior. Large windows, skylights, and strategically placed mirrors can help maximize the impact of sunlight.

6. Incorporate modern amenities: While staying true to the Mediterranean style, introduce modern amenities like smart home technology, home theatres, and fitness rooms. These additions offer both convenience and luxury.

7. Play with color: Mediterranean homes often feature warm and inviting color palettes. Experiment with earthy tones, terracotta, and deep blues to create a cozy and vibrant atmosphere.

8. Add personal touches: Customize your modern Mediterranean-style home to reflect your personality and lifestyle. Incorporate unique design elements, artwork, or furnishings that hold personal significance.

Additionally, for a more immersive experience during the planning and design phases, consider collaborating with a skilled 3D designer to create detailed floor plans and lifelike 3D renders. A skilled 3D designer can help you visualize your ideas in three dimensions, providing a better understanding of how your modern Mediterranean home will look and feel.

By following these tips and considering the input of a 3D designer to produce floor plans and 3D renders, you can create a modern Mediterranean-style home that seamlessly marries timeless aesthetics with contemporary comforts, resulting in a beautiful and functional living space.

To discover more about  Mediterranean Homes, you can also sign up for our newsletter, 'Architectural Spotlight,' to discover more about Mediterranean homes and various architectural styles and interior designs like Scandinavian, Modern Farmhouse, and Coastal homes.

This article was last updated on Dec 8, 2023