The weather outside may be frightful…, but that’s no reason to fall out of love with your home. Now is the perfect time to dream about summer living, and to think up some great design ideas on how to liven up your property to make it the best place in the world to spend time in.
Whether your budget only stretches to a few minor tweaks or you’re planning to transform your entire home, how about injecting some Mediterranean style chic? The good news is that the versatile architectural styles and interior designs found in southern Europe and North Africa work in almost any home and can really give your property the wow factor. So, where to start?
Picture any Mediterranean home setting and you’ll be hard pressed to find a window that doesn’t have shutters. Of course, they’re used to keep rooms cool in the often punishing summer heat of Spain, Italy and Greece, enabling life to carry on as normal inside.
However, shutters are a beautiful and useful addition to homes in the UK too. If you have south-facing bedrooms or living rooms, think about fitting elegant window shutters to keep your rooms airy and pleasant, especially during the summer months.
Shutters can be used to give your home a stylish, more streamlined look. Out go heavy curtains and old-fashioned net curtains, and in comes sleek, contemporary window décor to bring your home instantly up to date.
From Portugal to Turkey, tiled floors are a staple in just about all Mediterranean homes, and for the same reason as window shutters: keeping the temperature agreeably cool inside the house. There’s a wide range of materials and styles on offer – from beautiful ceramic tiles in the bathroom, to luxurious marble or travertine in the entrance hall or traditional stone flooring in the kitchen or conservatory, you’re bound to find something you’ll love for your home.
Introducing hard flooring into your home not only makes surfaces easier to keep clean, they give your property an ambience that is undeniably Mediterranean.
Mediterranean homes tend to be much more uniform in their choice of exterior colour schemes, with white, terracotta and brown being the preferred hues. It’s a useful, neutral base to work with that harmonises with most design schemes, whether you’re planning to stay in your property long-term or are thinking of selling.
What looks particularly striking against the plain backdrop are pops of bold accent colour that catch the light. Fuchsia pink can be reminiscent of the bright bourgainvilleas of Seville while azure blue reflects the sparkling sea of the French Riviera. Experiment with tester pots of exterior masonry paint or interior emulsion and see what works for your property.
Embellish your home with trinkets from the Med to add the finishing touches to your restyle. A Moroccan lamp, Turkish rug or Venetian glassware may be just the thing your property needs to give it a final Mediterranean flourish. Whether you source your home décor direct – a perfect excuse for a holiday in Rome or Barcelona perhaps? – or scour local antiques fairs or homeware shops for inspiration, you will be creating a unique style that’s entirely yours.
A failsafe way to introduce some instant southern European flair to your home is with exotic sub-tropical plants that thrive in the Mediterranean climate. Head to your local garden centre and look for luscious palms, ferns and flowering pot plants – orchid, jasmine, orange and ginger will all work wonderfully – and position them strategically around your property. Then sit back and feel yourself transported to the Ligurian countryside, Santorini fishing villages or Mallorcan beaches.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the property industry – working alongside companies such as The Window Shutter Company – who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.