Azure waters of the Aegean sea, gentle light caressing the pastel facades of Provence or the raw beauty of stone architecture in the Balearics – few other regions offer as much visual poetry as the Mediterranean. The southern coasts of Europe invite us to dream and enjoy the moment, while local design promotes the idea of slow life. Already feeling nostalgic?
Sadly the long summer days are gone, but the good news is that you can prolong the summer vibes by adding a few Mediterranean touches to your own home. Scroll down for a Dreams & Design guide to Mediterranean style that includes some wanderlust-inspiring interior projects, exciting brands on my radar as well as affordable, trendy picks that will elevate your everyday home decor.
Iconic Mediterranean interiors: Menorca Experimental and Les Roches Rouges
Let’s start with two interior projects that have created a blueprint for the current Mediterranean aesthetic. The first one is a recently opened Menorca Experimental hotel, a pastoral retreat located on the southern shore of the Balearic island, a lesser known, more peaceful neighbour of Mallorca and Ibiza. It’s a brand new concept by the Paris-based Experimental Group that unites hospitality with agriculture and creative pastimes such as painting and pottery. Situated in a former finca, a Spanish ranch, Menorca Experimental houses 43 rooms decorated by a sought-after Parisian architect and interior designer Dorothée Meilichzon.
The signature elements of Mediterranean style are all here for you to get inspired: an earthy palette of colours (rusty red, orange, olive green) mixed with pastels against the whitewashed walls, curvy lines and arches inspired by Menorcan architecture, natural wood and terracotta floors, rustic furniture and ceramics mixed with graphic elements and artsy textiles.
The second project is the iconic Hotel Les Roches Rouges, which overlooks the sea on the Côte d’Azur. Its Instagram-friendly interior mixes minimal white with ochre and sandy beige. You’ve probably seen it before, on some influencer’s holiday feed – a terrace perched on the rocks with a natural pool and orange Tripolina chairs (If would like to know more about Mediterranean style outdoor furniture, go to my previous article).
Inside Les Roches Rouges, the simplicity of locally made furniture has been enriched with carefully sourced vintage finds and colourful decorations. It’s an interior that portrays warmth and serenity, while referencing the golden age of the French Riviera in the 1950s and 1960s. Obviously it’s hard to replicate the climate and the stunning location, but you can still apply elements of this aesthetic to your own home no matter where you live. Read on to find out more.
Design brands with a Mediterranean aesthetic
Mediterranean interiors can be rustic or minimal, but all of them feature pieces made of “raw” materials such as wood, straw, rattan, clay or terracotta. Parisian architect and decorator Marine Bonnefoy has created a high-end Dialogue table for a dining room – with wooden base and sensual, curvy form.
Another Parisian studio, AC/AL works with sustainable materials and craft techniques. Their Contour armchair features a rattan caning and can be used as a dining or a desk chair.
If you’re looking for a statement pendant lamp to create an instant Mediterranean feeling, check out Atelier Vime’s wicker lights and their Aramis suspension.
Let’s not forget about tableware, especially if you love Sardinia and colourful Mediterranean patterns. You can find them on ceramic plates from an artisanal workshop Le Botteghe su Gologone. Vertical Dreams, a handmade ceramic lamp by Giacomo Alessi Ceramics, can also brighten up the mood of your bedroom or living room, especially when surrounded by white and ecru.
Terracotta is no longer used for the floor tiles only, but also for pots and vases as featured in the Land collection by a Tuscan manufacturer Poggi Ugo.
The lovers of boho style might be already familiar with LRNCE, a Marrakesh-based lifestyle brand that has become the latest Instagram design crush. Founded by a Belgian artist Laurence Leenaert, the shop sells clothes and home accessories handmade by Moroccan artisans. LRNCE’s textiles are the ones used by Menorca Experimental hotel.
Creative Mediterranean vibes
Mediterranean colours and landscape inspired creative heavyweights such as Joan Miró, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Jean Cocteau. Today their influence is still visible on popular prints and home accessories – abstract compositions, graphic illustrations or subtle drawings on artisanal plant pots by Mathieu Cossé.
I also love the way contemporary designers draw inspiration from mythology and ancient folk tales to create unique objects. One that caught my eye is definitely the Hualos vase by Margaux Keller, inspired by ancient Greece.
Two other unorthodox examples are linked to the Sicialian Moorish heritage – the Donna Assunta vase by Stefania Boemi and The Young Lovers, a couple of Moor’s Heads by Maremoro ceramics, modern in form, but inspired by colours and traditions of Sicily. These objects can introduce a fascinating visual narrative to modern spaces.
Finally, a piece of modern furniture that isn’t rustic or artisanal, but more pop and postmodern. The Roly Poly sofa in pink reminds me of La Muralla Roja in Calpe (you can read more about this architectural gem here). It can be a playful addition to a pared down interior, in tune with artsy Mediterranean accessories listed above.
Budget-friendly Mediterranean home decor
Thinking about a Mediterranean update to your interior that won’t break the bank? In this section I’ve rounded up my selection of affordable furniture and home accessories that you can find at popular retailers, Zara Home, Ikea and H&M Home near where you live or you can buy them online. Will you pick a rattan chair or maybe a ceramic plant pot?