Style a Modern Mediterranean Bedroom with These Tips from Designers

It’s calming on the nerves and cool on the eyes—just two reasons why Mediterranean style works well in a bedroom.

modern mediterranean bedroom with blue bedding

Courtesy of Kristina Phillips / Photo by Jane Beiles

Anyone who’s traveled throughout the Mediterranean region of Europe—think Italy, France, Greece, Spain, and Portugal—has no doubt experienced what’s known as Mediterranean style. “It’s an approach to design that evokes beauty, warmth, and tranquility by incorporating natural materials, neutral backdrops, vivid tiles, and lush plants,” says Emma Kemper, a principal designer at Emma Beryl

The aesthetic took hold in the United States in the 1920s, as owners of seaside resorts started replicating the architecture of Europe’s southern coast. A century later, top designers are still finding ways to update the look. The key is moderation. “If you want to keep Mediterranean style fresh feeling, less is more,” advises Marie Cloud, a principal designer at Indigo Pruitt Design Studio.

Of course, there are some features of Mediterranean design that will never go out of style. “White walls and ceilings, terra-cotta tiles, and crisp linen bedding will always be on trend,” says Natalie Myers, a design principal and owner of Veneer Designs.

Ahead, design experts share the best ways to create a serene and stunning bedroom that will transport you to the Mediterranean night after night.

modern Mediterranean bedroom with white paneled walls and wood accents

Courtesy of Ellen Holt / Julia Lynn Photography

16 Design Ideas for a Mediterranean-Style Bedroom

1. Start with a Neutral Backdrop

For a fresh take on standard Mediterranean white, consider a beige, tan, ochre, burnt umber, or terra-cotta background. “These restful and calming colors are perfect for a bedroom,” says Kemper.

2. Layer in Color

Create a cool coastal aesthetic with blue and white decor. “But be intentional when you design with this color combo,” advises Kemper. “Don’t just throw a blue pillow here and a white rug there—select a few variations of blue that look good together and incorporate them amongst a neutral base.”

Mixing in citrus shades, like those found in Mediterranean seaside locales, with natural tones such as oatmeal and white will create a more modern feel in a bedroom. “Think yellows and oranges for your linens and textiles,” says Ami McKay, the founder of Principal Pure Design Inc. 

3. Include Beams

Wood beams can be found in both traditional and modern adaptations of Mediterranean style. “Hire a millworker who can add faux beams to your ceiling,” says McKay, who shares that many imitation beams are hollow, making them cost-effective. “They work with pretty much any style or aged house, from an older home to new construction. Just be sure to fill in between the beams with whatever is on your walls, be it a lime wash, plaster finish, or paint.”

Mediterranean bedroom with tile walls and wood bed frame

Courtesy of Natalie Myers / Photo by Charlotte Lea

4. Find a Place for Patterned Tiles

Hand-painted and intricate Mediterranean tiles draw inspiration from cultural motifs and come in lots of different shapes and sizes. “Find ones that are more playful than traditional,” advises Kemper. “Those with intricate patterns and various colorways, such as hand-painted zellige tiles, will give your bedroom an organic and natural feel whether you incorporate them on a wall, nightstand, or mirror.”

5. Tap into Texture

Plaster, limewash, and textured wallpaper add depth, making a bedroom feel less like a white box, and provide a unique backdrop for art. “A white plaster wall gives off a more Grecian feel, while a neutral beige, brown, or earthy tone can add moodiness and dimension,” says Kemper. “Don’t be afraid to cover all four walls and the ceiling, which will make your bedroom feel cozy and calming.”

“Plaster is fun but I also like to work with German schmear, where the grout lines on brick or stone are whitewashed with a thick coat of white mortar and then any extra is ‘smeared’ across the surface to create an illusion of perfectly imperfect aged brick or stone,” says McKay. “It’s fresh and bright, especially on something like a bedroom fireplace.”

Another way to give whitewashed plaster walls a modern look while creating a romantic feel consistent with Mediterranean tradition is through limewash paint. Known for its chalky texture, "the paint emulates the variation and movement of plaster in a more immediate way,” says Myers. “Even the most saturated colors read more washed out in limewash on walls.” 

Cloud recommends wallpaper that mimics the look of natural stone, terrazzo, plaster, or stucco. “It can create the illusion of textured walls without having to do any construction,” she says.

6. Consider Carved Furniture

The craftsmanship of carved wood creates an intimate and intricate space. “Whether it’s a sculpted detail on a headboard or bench, a carved furniture piece adds Mediterranean warmth to any bedroom,” says Ellen Holt, a lead designer at MDI Interior Design.

Dark furnishings with curves are common in Mediterranean design, but they can look heavy and dated when overused. “Mix in lighter woods, along with natural materials such as grasscloth, rattan, and whitewashed clay for a modern approach,” says Kristina Phillips, founder of Kristina Phillips Interior Design. You can also incorporate metal, ceramic, and glass with wood if you’re looking to update the style, says Tina Ramchandani, founder and principal interior designer at Tina Ramchandani Creative.

modern Mediterranean bedroom with arched doorway and carved furniture

Courtesy of Ellen Holt / Joshua Drake Photography

7. Add Arches

Arches are a classic Mediterranean shape, often showcased on doorways, furniture, and accessories. “You can reconstruct a door frame and then replace a rectangular door with a curved vintage find or you can incorporate arches through furnishings, like a rounded mirror or headboard,” says Kemper. You can also add arched caning details onto a traditional closet door or create arches using paint or art.

8. Decorate with Florals

A floral print is one way to add a feeling of newness to a Mediterranean-style bedroom. Consider small-scale prints on throw blankets, draperies, bedding, wallpaper, and accent pillows. “Make sure the fabric colors stay cohesive and feel modern, like combining gray and terra-cotta or muted blues, greens, and yellows,” says Kemper. Or incorporate cut flowering branches, on a bedside table or dresser to bring some Mediterranean flair into a bedroom.

9. Integrate Ironwork

Iron furniture and lighting are classic Mediterranean features that add texture to a bedroom. “To keep things airy, include something small, like a bedside table with iron legs or an iron lamp that feels old world yet looks modern,” says Kemper. “Consider a balcony detail if the bedroom opens to the outdoors.”     

"Whether it sits atop a small table or is large enough to rest on the ground, adding an object d’art that features a scrolling iron design is another way to add visual interest to a Mediterranean-style bedroom,” says Phillips.

modern Mediterranean bedroom with wood furniture and arch doorway

Courtesy of Ellen Holt / Joshua Drake Photography

10. Work in Weathered Wood

Weathered wood featured on a dresser, headboard, or bench gives a bedroom instant Mediterranean charm, whether through the use of reclaimed wood or distressed new wood. “Consider a wood mantel if your bedroom has a fireplace or replace a basic closet or bathroom door with something vintage,” says Holt.

11. Embrace Embroidered Fabrics

Dress up your bed with embroidered linens and throw pillows or frame embroidered fabrics that feature Mediterranean-inspired patterns as wall art. Look for fabrics in earthy tones, like terra-cotta, beige, or warm yellows. “You can find gorgeous embroidered linen at flea markets while visiting countries in the Mediterranean or at home on vintage sites like Chairish,” says McKay.   

Playing with scale is another way to introduce a more modern mentality to traditional embroidered textiles. “Look for textiles with either very small or very large patterns that feel playful and fresh,” says Myers.

12. Place Some Plants

For a fresh feel, take inspiration from things that grow in Mediterranean climates, like lavender and rosemary. “I like to create a mini herb garden near a bedroom window,” says Ramchandani. Or combine lavender and rosemary with vibrant, low-maintenance succulents. “They infuse modern Mediterranean charm into any bedroom,” says Cloud.

mediterranean bedroom with wood four-poster bed and grasscloth wallpaper

Laura Hull

13. Bathe a Bedroom in Light

Sunlight and fresh air are key to Mediterranean bedrooms. “You want to use curtains to frame your views to the outdoors but you don’t want a too tailored or textured look,” says Kemper. “For window treatments, think breezy and flowy fabrics like gauze, woven, lace, and linen.” Choose curtains and blinds that allow you to easily switch between natural light and darkness for optimal sleep. “I like to include two layers—sheers for privacy and blackout curtains to block morning light,” says Kemper. You can also install woven shades underneath sheers for privacy.

14. Opt for Stone, Terracotta, or Terrazzo Tile

Natural materials like stone and terra-cotta have been used in Mediterranean homes for years, thanks to their cool composition and resistance to moisture. “Clay tiles remain timeless because of their handmade nature and unfinished edges,” says McKay. 

If you can’t afford to redo your entire bedroom floor, consider tiling the wall behind your bed. “I like to place the tile halfway up the wall, then top it with a shelf and lighting to add visual interest, and if you’re really brave you can add terra-cotta to your ceiling,” says McKay. For a simpler way of adding tile to a bedroom, try a tile-topped nightstand, dresser, or vanity.

15. Reach for a Rug

Layering a stone or terra-cotta floor with a Mediterranean-style rug softens a bedroom while adding texture. “You can go with a traditional Turkish, jute, Moroccan, or flat-weave rug, or opt for a fresh take using a neutral wool rug with a calming pattern,” says Kemper.  

"To modernize, bring in a rug that was made with traditional methods of the Mediterranean region but in a solid color or a more geometric motif,” says Myers. “It’s a way to reference antique-style rugs without feeling weighed down by older styles. Beni Rugs and The Citizenry are two good examples of companies who tap into local makers to create more modern style rugs using age-old methods and knowledge.”

16. Forego Frescoes

Frescoes are often found in traditional Mediterranean homes, yet they don’t always translate in the United States. “Unless a client really wants one, or the bedroom has one existing, I suggest taking a pass on frescos because you want the room to feel authentic, not ‘decorated’,” says Ramchandani.

“They can look a bit over-the-top and you really need someone who understands the history and culture to make them work,” agrees McKay. “But if you decide you really want one, be sure the rest of the room is worthy of it by using European inspirations like limewashes and plasters in your design.”

corner fireplace in a brown bedroom

Edmund Barr

Here's Where Our Experts Find Mediterranean Inspiration

It’s no surprise designers often find their most creative decorating ideas during their travels. Ahead, our experts share their favorite locales for mastering modern Mediterranean style.  

Don Ferrante

Once an ancient fortress, the Don Ferrante hotel in Monopoli, Italy, includes arched stone ceilings in the guest rooms along with beautiful iron balconies. “You’ll also find a modern Mediterranean blue and beige color theme throughout—in the rugs, curtains, and upholstery,” says McKay.  

Le Sirenuse

Located in Positano, Italy, Le Sirenuse features oversized terra-cotta pots around the pool and stone archways. “You’re surrounded by blue water, colorful cliffside buildings, and more terra-cotta tile than you’ve ever seen before,” says Kemper. 

Casa Del Mar

With its villa-like feel, Casa Del Mar, a boutique hotel located in Santa Monica, California, blends old-world Moroccan decor with a modern-day West Coast vibe. “It epitomizes Mediterranean style with its terra-cotta tiled roof, stuccoed archways, and blue and white furnishings,” says Philips, who also loves the Mystique Hotel in Santorini, Greece, for its white plaster walls and hand-carved wooden furniture.

Korakia Pensone

Based in Palm Springs, California, Korakia Pensone features lush courtyards, waterfalls, and Moroccan-style villas. “The property is a hallmark of modern Mediterranean design with its exposed wood ceilings, found furniture pieces, arched doorways, and beautiful stonework,” says Holt, who also loves The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, for its arches and painted murals.  

Finca Serena Mallorca

Hidden away in the countryside surrounded by vineyards, Finca Serena Mallorca in Palma, Spain, features traditional Mediterranean elements like neutral walls and beamed ceilings. “But what I love most is the black metal accents, which can be found in their glass doors, lighting, mirrors, and even the plumbing,” says Ramchandani. “The black is a nod to traditional wrought iron but done in a contemporary way.”


Perched on a hillside along the shores of Greece, Kalesma’s neutral tones, whitewashed walls, and exposed wood beams exemplify Mediterranean style. “The beauty of this hotel is how understated the style is, in the best of ways,” says Cloud. 

Les Roches Rouges

White, brown, and pops of orange set against white walls can be found at Les Roches Rouges, a Mediterranean-style hotel on the French Riviera. “Seeing this hotel brings Picasso’s colorful Riviera paintings to life,” says Myers. 

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