Mediterranean Architectural Style – Meaning, Characteristics, Pros, & Cons


The Mediterranean architectural style was inspired by Italy, Portugal, Spain, and other countries close to the Mediterranean Sea. As time went on, architects started influencing and incorporating architectural features from other countries, such as France, Morocco, Greece, etc.

Furthermore, because of the many influences, this style is often characterized by other names: Mediterranean Revival, Neo-Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial, etc. But despite the different cultural aspects or influences, all Mediterranean-style homes are meant to offer a relaxing retreat that blends in with the surrounding environment.

The Mediterranean architectural style is very popular today. Homeowners still want to experience the Mediterranean air while still being hundreds of miles away. Let’s discuss the history, characteristics, pros, and cons of this unique architectural style.

What is a Mediterranean architectural style?

The Mediterranean architectural style drew inspiration from various countries around the Mediterranean Sea. This architectural style features large windows, picture-carved doors that access patios, raw iron and metal work on balconies, terracotta tiled roofs, and white painted brick or stucco.

The Mediterranean architectural style originated in the 1920s and many loved the idea of the Mediterranean air despite being miles away. This even resulted in a wave of seaside resorts in the United States. Even today, you will find Mediterranean-style homes scattered in warm-weather regions, places like California and Florida.

What are the defining characteristics of the Mediterranean architectural style?

Although many countries influenced this architectural style, it has retained many elements. Some defining characteristics of Mediterranean-style homes are;

1. Large symmetrical facades

Typically, you will find Mediterranean homes to be one or two levels high with large, symmetrical exteriors. The front doors for these homes are stationed in the center and are flanked by tall, wrought-iron gated windows.

Mediterranean homes emphasize bringing the outdoor feeling into the home. So you will find many tall doors and windows in order to make accessing the outdoor living space easier.

2. Red clay roof tiles

Just like in Spanish and Mexican homes, you will find most Mediterranean-style homes with red clay roof tiles. These roof tiles are shaped like half a tube, allowing water to drain easily but still capturing cold air in its pocket. This allows the house to be cold even during hot days, giving the feeling that you are in a seaside resort.

3. Stucco walls

Stucco walls are also commonly found in Mediterranean homes for both interior and exterior. It helps to retain cold air in the interior of the home. And at night when the temperature drops, the wall releases all the accumulated warmth from the day slowly throughout the home.

4. Ornate arches

The windows and doors in the Mediterranean-style homes are often constructed with ornate arches around them. These ornate arches are also decorated with colorful handmade tiles or mosaic tiles, serving both structural and decorative purposes in the home.

5. Outdoor living spaces

Mediterranean homes emphasize blending the home with the surrounding environment; it is all about bringing the outdoors into the home. Hence, a majority of Mediterranean homes will have one or more outdoor living spaces, such as balconies, patios, terraces, atriums, etc. Additionally, there will be plenty of access points to these outdoor spaces throughout the home.

What are the advantages of Mediterranean-style homes?

1. The curb appeal

One of the main reasons why the Mediterranean architectural style is still valid to date is its overall curb appeal. Their beautiful walls, large windows, low-pitched roofs, and the use of terracotta tiles all add to the wonderful curb appeal. It would be hard to see another architectural style that can replicate the charm of Mediterranean-style homes.

2. Indoor-outdoor living

Another advantage of this home style is that it emphasizes indoor and outdoor living. As I have mentioned, they are often constructed with exterior patios, verandas, patios, courtyards, gardens, pools, etc. These outdoor spaces can offer plenty of shadier spots, allowing homeowners to relax easily as if they are outdoors without worrying about sunburn.

3. The layout

The open floor plans used in Mediterranean-style homes are another significant advantage. The large windows combined with the open floor plan allow for great airflow. Additionally, the high ceilings, big arches, and grand entrances are just simply hard to beat.

What are the disadvantages of Mediterranean-style homes?

As with other architectural style, there are some challenges associated with the Mediterranean architectural style. Some notable ones include;

1. They are not suited for every climate

Although there is no one stopping you from building a Mediterranean-style home where you want, it might seem a little bit out of place and won’t be optimal in winter. This is why Mediterranean-style homes are more common in warm-weather regions like California and Florida.

2. They can be costly to build and maintain

As the saying goes, “nothing good comes cheap”, a Mediterranean-style home falls into this category. Although the materials used in building these homes are sturdy and require low maintenance, they are very expensive to purchase and install. When a repair needs to be done, hiring an experienced worker can result in high costs.


Are Mediterranean homes costly?

Yes, they are. Building a Mediterranean home can be costly but the result does speak for itself.

Who made the Mediterranean architectural style?

Addison Mizner is the founding father of the Mediterranean architectural style.

What is another name for the Mediterranean architectural style?

The Mediterranean architectural style goes by many names, such as Mediterranean Revival, Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Classical, French Revival, Italian Revival, Tuscan, etc.

Conclusion – Is the Mediterranean architecture worth it?

Mediterranean-style homes are timelessly beautiful, welcoming, and relaxing. They remain valid and never go out of style, offering a welcoming look that will continue to capture the hearts of people all around the world. If you appreciate simple yet elegant spaces, then this architectural style might just be the right choice for you.

However, it is advised to be aware of the drawbacks associated with an architectural style before you decide on it. This is because, just like other architectural styles, the Mediterranean architectural style has some disadvantages associated with it.

Ready to build your dream Mediterranean home? Have questions? Get in touch with us now!!!

Thanks for reading.

About Samkins

Samkins Construction Inc specializes in custom home building, general contracting, design-build, architectural design, construction management, and real estate services.


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