The New Riviera: How to Get the Mediterranean Look in a West Coast Home

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by SampleBoard

The West Coast and Mediterranean styles evoke a casual, laidback aesthetic with connections to nature.

Though originating on different coasts, they share common elements that blend seamlessly.

The West Coast style emerges from California, embodying the state's iconic surf culture and breezy attitude. Look to midcentury modern architecture and relaxed living spaces flooded with natural light.

Homes embrace indoor-outdoor living with large windows and doors opening onto patios, decks, and gardens.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the Mediterranean style stems from regions like Italy, Greece, and Spain.

Centuries-old dwellings feature earthy materials like stone and tile, with trellised terraces and trailing vines.

Interiors celebrate texture and artisanal craftsmanship in furnishings like wrought iron, rattan, and hand-thrown pottery.

Despite their distinct backgrounds, the two styles intersect through their laidback vibe and outdoor connection. Both incorporate natural materials and neutral, sun-bleached color palettes.

Simple fabrics like linen and cotton complement the unfussy elegance. Greenery is heavily influenced, from citrus trees to olive groves overflowing with herbs.

Blend these elements together for a relaxed aesthetic perfect for easy living.

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Casual Vibe

The West Coast and Mediterranean styles have a casual, relaxed vibe, making them ideal for laid-back living. This casual aesthetic stems from the coastal influence of both regions.

The west coast style embodies the sunny, beachy atmosphere of southern California. Open floor plans, abundant light, and natural materials like weathered wood create a soothing, informal vibe.

Rooms feel approachable and livable, with slip-covered sofas and soft, welcoming textiles. The focus is on casual comfort rather than formal elegance.

Similarly, the Mediterranean look evokes the easygoing lifestyle of seaside villages along the Mediterranean Sea.

Whitewashed walls, tile floors, wrought iron accents, and brightly colored textiles infuse spaces with a relaxed charm.

Rooms feel breezy and informal, perfect for gathering with friends and family. The casual essence of the Mediterranean creates an inviting, uncomplicated style.

Both styles favor natural, unpretentious materials and unfussy furnishings that encourage relaxation. Their casual spirit is essential for laid-back living.

Natural Materials

The West Coast and Mediterranean styles extensively use natural materials like wood, stone, and tiles to create a casual yet sophisticated look and feel.

Wood is popular for furniture, cabinets, shelves, and architectural details. Driftwood, distressed wood, and reclaimed wood add vintage character.

Warm medium-toned woods like oak, walnut, and teak have an earthy, organic feel. For a beachy touch, weathered gray wood brings a coastal vibe.

Stone is an elegant option for counters, backsplashes, floors, and accents. Mediterranean homes often incorporate limestone, travertine, marble, and terra cotta tile.

Weathered stone looks ancient and organic. Calming neutral hues blend seamlessly. Terra cotta tiles are a hallmark of Mediterranean decor both indoors and out.

Rustic stone or brick floors complement the look. Concrete and Saltillo tiles are West Coast options for patios and walkways. Tile adds artful detail to kitchens, baths, and accent walls.

The West Coast and Mediterranean styles thoughtfully incorporate wood, stone, tile, and other organic materials to create a welcoming, lived-in look that connects us to nature.

The textures and imperfections in these natural elements add cozy appeal and casual elegance.

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Neutral Tones

Neutral earth tones are a hallmark of West Coast and Mediterranean design styles. Think beiges, creams, taupes, and grays for walls, furnishings, and decor accents.

These muted, organic hues evoke a sense of calm and allow other natural elements to shine.

Crisp whites, creams, and pale grays make excellent backdrops for introducing texture and visual interest through wood tones, greenery, tile, and textiles.

Neutrals are endlessly versatile and easy to build upon by layering in pops of color through throw pillows, art, and accessories. This creates a soothing, zen-like ambiance.

Unlike bold or dark colors, neutral palettes feel open, airy, and spacious - ideal for breezy indoor-outdoor living.

They provide a clean canvas that celebrates natural light and allows focal points to stand out, whether it's a view of the water or a beautifully set table.

Ultimately, embracing neutral foundations lends itself beautifully to casual, coastal, and Mediterranean aesthetics.

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Textures

The Mediterranean and West Coast styles incorporate rich, layered textures that create depth and visual interest. Texture adds dimension and brings spaces to life in subtle yet impactful ways.

In the Mediterranean style, textures like weathered wood, hand-plastered walls, wrought iron, and unfinished terra cotta.

The blend of rough, organic textures and sleek marble and tile creates an eclectic Old World charm.

Weather-worn shutters, softly faded rugs, and sun-bleached linens also contribute aged, timeworn textures. These varied textures tell the story of the Mediterranean region's long history.

The West Coast look also layers textures, often combining reclaimed wood, concrete, stone, jute, linen, and outdoor fabrics like sunbrella.

The mix of raw, rugged textures with polished, upscale finishes creates a laidback yet refined aesthetic. Distressed woven textures in pillows, rugs, and furnishings soften sleek surfaces and add cozy warmth.

Natural linen and cotton add lightness and breathing ability, while nubby knits and rough-hewn woods ground the space. Thoughtfully juxtaposing sleek and raw textures creates depth and dimension.

Layering and blending organic textures is key to authentically realizing both styles.

The interplay between textures creates a welcoming depth that draws the eye in and makes spaces feel genuinely lived-in.

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Indoor-Outdoor Flow

A hallmark of Mediterranean and West Coast styles is the seamless connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Homes are designed to blur the lines between inside and out with features like:

  • Expansive windows and glass doors that allow natural light to flood interior rooms while providing views of patios, gardens, and landscapes. Sliding doors also allow easy access outside.

  • Outdoor living spaces like patios, courtyards, and decks that flow from and feel like extensions of the home's interior. These spaces are outfitted as outdoor living and dining rooms.

  • There are minimal walls and barriers between homerooms and indoor and outdoor areas. An open floor plan connects spaces visually and aesthetically.

  • Consistent design elements like flooring, tilework, color schemes, and furnishings are used inside and out to create a cohesive flow.

  • Covered outdoor walkways, pergolas, and porticos that transition between the home's interior and the outdoors.

The indoor-outdoor connection creates homes filled with natural light, fresh air, and easy access to leisurely living areas where residents can seamlessly gather, dine, lounge, and entertain.

Lush Greenery

Greenery plays a major role in bringing the beauty of the Mediterranean coast to life indoors and out. Lush potted plants, gardens, trees, and foliage help connect interior spaces to the outdoors.

Ferns, palms, olive trees, herbs, succulents, and citrus trees are commonly used to emulate the coastal landscapes of the Mediterranean.

Their waxy, deep green leaves and tropical shapes evoke resort-like vibes. Position large statement plants in corners, clusters near windows and entryways, or rows flanking walkways and patios.

Let vines like ivy trail down from high shelves, nooks, and hanging planters.

Line the edges of porches, patios, and garden beds with neat hedges or flowering bushes. Allow plants to spill out of containers for a casual, abundant look.

For Mediterranean gardens, choose low-maintenance native plants like lavender, rosemary, thyme, and olive trees. Plant in loose drifts and curves for an informal design.

Mulch beds with gravel or stone. Include water features like tile-clad fountains and pools to complete the ambiance.

When designing indoor spaces, take cues from green conservatories. Adorn window sills with rows of potted herbs or succulents. Include large statement palms or fiddle leaf figs.

Hang macrame plant holders filled with trailing ivy or philodendrons. Aim to infuse every space with ample greenery for a seamless indoor-outdoor feel.

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Vintage Touches

The West Coast/Mediterranean aesthetic incorporates vintage elements to create a relaxed, lived-in look.

Using antique furniture, reclaimed wood, distressed finishes, and flea market finds lends a sense of character and charm.

When sourcing vintage pieces, look for items with a timeworn, weathered patina with a history.

Natural materials like wood, wicker, rattan, and leather work well for furniture, mirrors, baskets, and accessories.

To add visual interest, incorporate unexpected vintage items like chippy-painted doors, windows, shutters, or salvaged architectural artifacts.

To create clusters around the home, display collected vintage treasures like framed botanical prints, glass buoys, heirloom silverware, or antique books.

Create an eclectic gallery wall grouping art, plates, mirrors, or signage from different eras. The imperfections and mix of antique styles will give a relaxed vibe.

For DIY projects, distressed wood finishes using sandpaper, chisels, or chains to mimic an aged, time-worn look. Paint color techniques like rag rolling, crackling, or dry brushing also impart vintage appeal.

You can infuse spaces with timeless character and charm by thoughtfully including reclaimed materials and curated antique finds.

Coastal Touches

The influence of the ocean is an essential element of West Coast and Mediterranean design. Subtle touches of coastal style help bring a breezy, relaxed vibe.

Driftwood makes for a lovely decorative accent. The weathered gray wood is collected from beaches and has a timeworn, organic look.

Place a few pieces in a ceramic tray or bowl on a coffee table, console, or dresser. The natural texture pairs nicely with the casual style.

Seashells also make charming accents. Display some seashells in a glass cloche or cluster them in a hurricane vase. The creamy whites and beachy shapes evoke lazy days by the ocean.

Attach shells to a plain lamp with coastal-inspired glue for a unique lamp base.

Don't go overboard with beachy elements. A little goes a long way. Just a few tactfully placed driftwood and seashell accents are all it takes to give a space that effortless coastal feel.

Their organic nature brings a touch of the outside in.

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Bringing the Styles Home

The breezy West Coast and Mediterranean styles are perfect for creating a relaxed vibe in your home.

Following the guidelines mentioned above, here are some tips for bringing these stylish influences into your decor.

1. Limewash Walls

In the sun-kissed world of Californian Mediterranean-style homes, an interior design trend effortlessly captures the essence of relaxed luxury and time-honored traditions - limewash walls.

Picture this: stepping into a home where the walls radiate a delicate, chalky texture, echoing the rustic charm of sun-bleached stucco.

The limewash treatment adds depth and dimension, enhancing the timeless appeal of the home's architecture.

As sunlight dances across the walls, casting gentle shadows and highlights, tranquility and harmony fills the space.

This transformative technique not only evokes a connection to nature but also creates a warmth and authenticity that is truly captivating.

Limewash walls embody elegance and sophistication because they seamlessly blend into the overall design scheme.

It's no wonder that this design choice has become a staple in Californian Mediterranean homes, offering a touch of Mediterranean allure to every room.

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2. Slatted and Fluted Wood Details

In the realm of architectural sophistication, a design element evokes a sense of timeless charm and refined elegance: the use of slatted and fluted wood details.

Picture this: you enter a sun-drenched abode where warm California light dances through the windows and caresses the embellished wooden surfaces.

The meticulously crafted and installed slated wood panels lend a sense of depth and allure, creating a visual feast for the eyes.

The delicate play of light and shadow effortlessly highlights the natural wood grain, adding a layer of organic beauty to the space.

Complementing this, the fluted wood details delicately trace their way along columns and moldings, lending an air of sophistication and classical grandeur to the interior design.

This meticulously chosen design element adds character and serves as a testament to the meticulous attention to detail that defines the Californian Mediterranean style.

Whether adorning ceilings, walls, or cabinetry, slated and fluted wood details merge form with function, creating a harmonious and luxurious atmosphere.

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3. Travertine

Imagine a space where every step you take feels like a caress against the cool, smooth surface of this exquisite natural stone.

The creamy hues and graceful patterns of travertine tiles whisper tales of ancient craftsmanship and timeless elegance.

As your eyes wander the room, you'll notice the luxurious sheen that dances across the travertine surfaces, reflecting the warm California sun and infusing the space with a luminous glow.

Whether adorning the floors, accentuating a grand fireplace, or gracing the walls, travertine embodies refined beauty, effortlessly merging with the Californian Mediterranean vibe.

With its versatility and grandeur, this stone cultivates an atmosphere that embodies casual luxury and classical sophistication.

The transformative power of travertine in a Californian Mediterranean-style home unfolds a design narrative that is simultaneously captivating and comforting while gracefully bridging the gap between past and present.

With every touch and every glance, travertine tells a story of enduring elegance, creating a haven of beauty and tranquility within your home.

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4. Marble

In the sun-drenched paradise of a Californian Mediterranean-style home, the marriage of luxury and timeless beauty finds its ultimate expression using marble.

Like satin draping over every surface, marble exudes an unapologetic opulence, becoming the pièce de résistance in creating a mesmerizing interior.

Imagine stepping into a foyer, where your senses are immediately enveloped by the cool touch of marble underfoot.

The pale veining of this noble stone dances across the floor, reflecting the essence of the Mediterranean sun.

As you wander through the house, your eyes are drawn to the magnificent marble countertops, a testament to the craftsmanship that went into their creation.

Here, a space is transformed into a sanctuary of elegance and taste, where luxury intertwines with earthy warmth to create a masterpiece.

Balancing its timeless allure with the distinct Californian Mediterranean style, marble effortlessly merges with the earthy textures and vibrant colors that define the region.

From majestic fireplace surrounds to intricately carved accents, each piece of marble tells a unique story, a narrative of refined beauty and exquisite craftsmanship.

The transformative power of marble in a Californian Mediterranean-style home is undeniable. It transforms any room from mere function to a work of art that inspires awe.

Let the veins of marble guide you through a journey of design possibilities, where sophistication and passion converge to create an extraordinary masterpiece.

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Summary

Transform your California casual home into a stunning haven reminiscent of the picturesque Mediterranean landscapes.

Dive into the world of the "New Mediterranean" design trend, where laid-back California vibes seamlessly blend with the timeless elegance of the Mediterranean coast.

Begin your design journey by incorporating natural materials like wood and rattan, channeling the relaxed coastal lifestyle.

Opt for a neutral color palette inspired by the sandy beaches and cool ocean hues while adding pops of vibrant Mediterranean colors through textiles and accessories.

Embrace the effortless mix of textures, combining smooth linens with rustic ceramics to create a harmonious balance.

Incorporate elements such as wrought-iron accents and mosaic tiles to infuse the space with an undeniable Mediterranean charm.

Finally, don't forget to bring in lush greenery and potted plants that evoke a sense of the Mediterranean countryside.

By skillfully merging casual California style with the timeless allure of the Mediterranean, you will create a space that epitomizes refined relaxation and effortless elegance—a California casual home with a touch of Mediterranean enchantment.

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