The Main Characterstics of a Mediterranean Style Home

Do you wish you had an Italian villa on the Mediterranean coast? Well then this is the style for you. Let's learn more about this gorgeous architectural and design style.
The Main Characterstics of a Mediterranean Style Home

Last update: 27 August, 2019

Today, we’re going to be talking about a style for people who love luxury and historical architecture. A Mediterranean style home calls to mind those stunning villas by the sea where you spend glamorous summer vacations.

But part of what makes this style so special and so unique is that you can have that coast-side, relaxed feeling at any point in the year. In fact, the Mediterranean style home actually became popular in the United States in the 1920s.

Back then, people wanted to emulate the big Hollywood stars. The desire to be like the celebrities who got to relax in their seaside villas led a lot of people to build themselves Mediterranean style homes.

The basic construction material is stucco, which makes this an especially good option for warmer climates. The outer walls are a gorgeous white or brown, with lovely terracotta roofs, and arched doors and windows.

Characteristics of a Mediterranean style home

This style has some ornamental aspects that really set it apart. Mediterranean doors are big, heavy, and imposing. It’s also a style that tends to include lots of rot iron and shiny tileswhich make it look especially unique. 

A Mediterranean style home will also have a lot of open-air spaces, including wide, grandiose interior patios. That’s actually one of their most striking characteristics. Instead of open-air spaces in front of or behind the house, these tend to have interior patios full of vibrant vegetation and beautiful fountains.

They look like they’re out of an old movie, but they also have all the modern comforts you’d expect in a home. Another thing that makes them particularly interesting is the tendency for all the functional parts of the home to have a history.

For example, vintage garage doors give a much more luxurious feel to your cars. This is one of the many ways that this style of house works with the modern world. The Mediterranean style also tends to use gorgeous wrought iron railings over the windows.

A bit of history

The Mediterranean style of home as we know it has strong roots in the Mediterranean Renaissance. It became extremely popular in the 1920s, especially for places like hotels and touristic areas along the coastline. 

Later on, architects like Addison Mizner and Bertram Goodhue started to experiment with the Mediterranean style for residential homes in Florida and California. Being able to bring the glamour of Mediterranean villas all the way to the Americas was a major luxury.

Types of Mediterranean style home

There are also multiple subsets within this style. This mostly has to do with the variety of countries and cultures on the Mediterranean. The most classic are Spanish, Italian, and what’s known as the modern Mediterranean style. Let’s take a look at all three:

Italian Mediterranean

This look gets its aesthetic from the homes of the Italian Renaissance, in the 16th century. Some of the things that set it apart are its rounded columns and arches, its massive scale and size, and its ostentatious ornamentation.

Spanish Mediterranean

A Spanish Mediterranean style home.

This style has a strong influence from the architecture the Spanish colonists brought to the Americas in the 17th century. It’s probably the most popular style of home in the wealthier areas along the coasts of Florida and California.

Spanish Renaissance homes are a bit more sparse. They have simple, clean lines, and lower ceilings. Those things come together to make for a much more robust, much less showy home.

Modern Mediterranean

This group could either be along Italian or Spanish lines. The main characteristic here is that it will tend to look like a residential resort. It borrows a lot of the aesthetic characteristics of the two traditional styles above and gives them some added contemporary touches.

One big difference between this style and the more classic ones is that it uses open floor plans. The kitchens tend to be huge, with a major emphasis on open-air spaces. But in this case, that takes the form of both interior patios and exterior areas.

Interior and exterior decor

Exterior decor in this style tends to involve long, symmetrical facades, and light-colored tiles for the roof. The doors and windows have arches and wrought iron on them, as do the balconies.

The characteristics of a Mediterranean home’s exterior are also typical of the style. They tend to be one or two floors, with a rectangular floor plan. The layout of the homes makes it so that breezes flow freely through it, and they use lots of wood in the interiors.

So, how do these sound? It makes you want to build your own Mediterranean style home, doesn’t it?