Mediterranean Matters: How to Achieve the Rustic Tuscan Look in your Home
Having talked lots about the ‘period home look’ in recent articles, we thought we’d delve into something a little more up to date and spirited – so this time around we’re going to explore a few ways to achieve the ever-popular Mediterranean or Tuscan look.
Reminiscent of joyful holidays in the sunshine, the Mediterranean look combines a rustic base with echoes of mountains and coast. So what defines a rustic base?
The Rustic Colour Palette
You won’t be surprised that Mediterranean rustic colours are the warm shades of autumn leaves. These come in a wide range from light beige or sand to bright orange or terracotta and chocolate brown, and they also include the green hues of the sea. Choose calmer colours for bedroom walls, while the living rooms can be brighter, making the décor more exuberant to match your memories of active holidays in the sun.
Be sparing with the darker colours on walls, which can be very effective as a contrast to light, bright areas. In many coastal Mediterranean homes, all walls are kept a bright, fresh white. Some exposed wooden beams will add to the rustic feel. You can extend the idea of contrast to fabrics for chair coverings and cushions in a variety of stimulating colours.
Outside is Important Too
Large windows and French doors evoke the idea of outdoor living so prevalent in the Mediterranean lifestyle, so you are lucky if you have them. You can dress them with light, gauzy fabrics. And don’t forget to carry your theme into the garden with patio spaces and pots of brightly coloured flowers.
Using primarily natural materials through your décor will enhance the connection between inside and outside. From your holidays, you might remember light outdoor furniture that contrasted with sturdy indoor pieces in hard wood decorated with elaborate carving or teamed with similarly intricate wrought iron elements.
Adding the Echoes of Mountains and Coast
So what will remind you of the mountains and the sea? Pictures and wall hangings are an obvious answer. Small bronzes or iron figurines, metal candlesticks and other ornaments all give a Mediterranean flavour. And think of padding around in bare feet on the cool tiled flooring. That might not be so welcome in our climate, unless you have the luxury of under-floor heating, but the tiles will seem just as attractive if you add some fluffy rugs in the seating areas. Of course, in the mountain areas, the flooring might be hard wood instead of tiles.
Decorative tiles also have a place on the walls or displayed on shelving. And naturally they will feature in the kitchen and the bathroom in a variety of styles and sizes from tiny mosaics to extra-large. As a splashback, a kitchen tile mural is always an arresting feature.
Fitting Out the Kitchen and Bathroom
You also need to be careful to select the right fittings for your kitchen that will blend seamlessly with the rest of the décor. In Mediterranean houses with white as a theme, the white mixed with bright blues always makes you think of the seaside. It really needs chrome taps and other matching fittings to complete the look.
If you choose more earthy colours for your kitchen, you might choose a warmer metal finish such as brass for your fittings. Mixing antique or shiny brass taps, handles and wall or ceiling hooks with bright copper pans is a very trendy look these days, and will make you and your guests think of comfortable homes in the mountainous areas.
The same applies to your bathroom, where a coastal theme of white with blues calls for silvery metal finishes for taps, towel rails, flush fittings and toilet roll holders. Cream walls and autumnal colours in the bathroom tiling will be complemented with brass fittings for a warm and lavish finish.
A Variety of Styles for the Bedrooms
Bedrooms are often more muted in décor to place the emphasis on relaxation rather than stimulation. You can decide whether to make them uniform or different. Pastel rather than bright colours, or stark black and white can all be given the Mediterranean slant with colourful throws and cushions, metal or terracotta ornaments. Place these against pastel shades of turquoise, greens and sands to mix the coastal and mountainous elements of the Mediterranean.
Make a start with the rustic basics for your new Mediterranean style home, and take your time filling it with delightful echoes of mountains and coast. Then you can retain that relaxed holiday feeling all year round in your own home.