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A Guide to a Mediterranean-Style Kitchen

Whether you’re tackling a kitchen remodel with the help of a kitchen designer, architect or contractor, being able to pin down your favorite style will help get your project off to a smooth start. If you love a casually elegant, earthy look inspired by the sun and sea, Mediterranean style might be right for you. Read on for the need-to-know details about this popular kitchen style, including key elements, color palettes, fixtures and finishing touches.

Mediterranean-Style Kitchens at a Glance

Mediterranean-style kitchens are warm and welcoming, with an emphasis on natural materials such as wood, brick and stone. While traditionally Mediterranean kitchens have featured warm hues and heavy wrought iron details, today’s iterations often take a lighter approach, with plenty of white space to offset the rich tilework and natural wood. Here are some common elements to look for:

Whitewashed walls
Tile floors and back splashes
Natural stone counter-tops and details
Rough-hewn wood beams
Richly ornamented details such as patterned tile and carved wood

What You Won’t Find in Mediterranean Kitchens

While Mediterranean-style kitchens can incorporate contemporary touches, the focus is on classics that have stood the test of time. Here’s what you won’t see:

  • An abundance of modern, mass-produced materials
  • The latest trends
  • Highly polished finishes such as chrome
  • Delicate furnishings and decor
  • Bright or pastel color palettes

Earthy Color Palette

Rich hues inspired by the warm earth and sparkling sea look striking in a Mediterranean kitchen, especially against a calming backdrop of white and natural wood.

Colors for Mediterranean kitchens:
Neutral backdrop. Alabaster, parchment, straw, stone
Warm and earthy. Clay, cinnamon, chili pepper, flax, umber, bougainvillea, terracotta
Oceanic. Azure, cerulean, cobalt, turquoise, moss, sea green

Dark Wood

Natural wood with a deep, rich hue, such as walnut, looks right at home in a Mediterranean-style kitchen, particularly when paired with warm white for contrast. Incorporate natural wood cabinetry, windows, shelving, range hood details, counter stools — or all of the above.

Materials With Patina

Brick, stone and reclaimed wood bring welcome texture and a sense of history to a Mediterranean-style kitchen. Look for reclaimed-wood beams and furnishings, natural stone counters and rustic brick or stone flooring for an old-world look and feel.

Colorful Tile

Whether used on a floor or a backsplash, colorful tile is a must in Mediterranean kitchens. Look for hand-painted patterned tile, or work with a pro to create a design using solid-colored tiles in geometric shapes.

Design Detail: Statement Lighting

Oversize lanterns, classic candelabra fixtures and pendants can all work well in a Mediterranean kitchen. Look for lighting made from materials with a bit of natural patina, such as wrought iron, hammered metals and reclaimed wood — and for maximum ambiance, be sure to include a dimmer switch.

Design Detail: Arches

Mediterranean-style homes made from stucco or adobe often feature elegantly curving arch details. In the kitchen, consider the addition of an arched breakfast nook, windows and window seats, doorways or wall niches to add architectural interest.

Finishing Touches

Help your Mediterranean kitchen radiate warmth and welcome with the right finishing touches. Look for rugs in rich hues or natural fibers; leather stools; open shelves; and decorative objects in ceramic, wood and warm metals such as brass and copper.