Everything you will need to bring greek islands style to your home

A summer home by the sea is a dream for many of us. Walking barefoot on the sand, soaking up the sun, feeling the warm salty breeze... You may or may not make that dream come true but no matter where you live, close to the sea or away from it and even in the big city you can bring some serious summer vibes in your home with the right home decor moves.

 

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If you are about to start decorating a summer home the number one goal you should always keep in mind is this: rest and relaxation. Because what other reason is there for a summer home to exist more important than this? It should be the place where you can unwind and recharge your batteries during the days or months of your summer vacation so that you go back to your normal life fresh as a daisy.

 

If you decided to use the greek islands houses as a source of inspiration, let ’s start by saying: good for you!  Greek islands style is an easygoing, relaxing and timeless style. And in order to bring a bit of greek summer vibe to your summer house, here ’s another word I have for you: natural.

 

I am all for the contact with nature when it comes to designing a summer house, not only as far as it concerns the ability of the building to let its inhabitants enjoy the natural environment but also regarding the choice of the used materials.

 

Is it just me? Do you also feel that there is something soothing and relaxing in natural materials? A quality especially valuable when the real living nature isn ’t close enough like when you live in the big city.

 

On the other hand, natural materials are one of the key features of greek islands style and without them you won ’t be able to achieve that sense of seaside living you aim for.

 

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The cycladic style isn ’t just a decorative style, first of all it ’s an architectural one. If you want to get the look starting with a house that most probably isn ’t built according to the cycladic architecture, the success of your project relies exclusively upon the decoration you choose.  

 

So “natural” is the word to use as a compass when in doubt about what materials and objects to choose while designing your greek inspired summer house.

 

 So let’s dive in the list of the materials that are suitable to reproduce the greek islands decor.

 

Apart from your personal taste there a few significant factors that will dictate your choices:

Do you start building your summer house from scratch or just decorate it? Do you own it or is it a rental? Will you go for a full remodel or want just a few easy changes like color and decorative objects? Is it really a summer house or a city house that wants to look and feel like a summer house?

 

 Here ’s what you ’ll need:

 

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Color

 

And just to contradict myself I am starting the list with a non natural material, paint (although there are natural paints, but that ’s another conversation). Well, it ’s not natural but indispensable I ’m afraid. Obviously we ’re talking about white and blue. You can choose an all white interior from floor to ceiling or paint blue a couple of walls or the ceiling if you are brave enough. If blue is too bright for you a light grey would be a right choice.

If blue is not bold enough, opt for a bright yellow which is the color that can bring sunchine into a house.

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If you don ’t want to mess with painting or your landlord doesn ’t allow you to paint the house other than white you can add your color of choice with textiles and accessories.

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Wooden beams and floor

 

Exposed beams are a powerful element of the cycladic interiors.


However if  the building has no wooden beams from scratch and since the beams are part of the structure of the house it is not possible to add them afterwards.

 

But if you are determined to go all the way to complete the look, there is a solution though: you can use decorative faux polyourethane beams which will have a big impact on your interior ’s feel towards the right direction. Take a look here.

 

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Wood can also be used as flooring, preferably in the form of long, wide planks. Don ’t forget to avoid glossy finishes and go for mat and even distressed ones.

 

If you are not crazy about natural wood all of the above can be painted either white or light grey or if you are bold enough and want to go all the way a bright greek blue.

 

Furniture

 

Like in a greek island house your furniture must be simple and functional. Rough, weathered wood is the best choice. No need for anything extra sophisticated. Wood trunks as stools, coffee tables made from plain thick pieces of wood, weathered wood planks as slelves, rustic chairs, tables and wardrobes with straight lines. Again color can be applied if you if you are a fan of it. Blue of course, but also grey, muted greens and yellows.

 

Wood is largely used in cycladic interiors.

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Accessories

 

Smaller decorative and functional pieces made  of wood are pefect here. Vintage rustic finds or modern pieces in organic shapes compete the look in right way.

 

Wooden artifacts from Greece or elsewhere, painted or not would be a cute addition. Just be careful that they ’re not the “made for tourists” kind and push your decor to a tacky direction.

 

If not all of the above, just a bunch of interesting driftwoods from the beach could act as decorative items in this case. What I ’ve seen and I like very much placed against plain cycladic interiors, are pieces of wood, found in nature, shaped by the natural elements in peculiar ways, like natural sculptures.

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Stone and marble

 

Stone is the other basic material of greek decor. It was used to build the house but also as flooring. In its natural color or painted white it adds texture and special character to an interior or outdoor space. Luckily there are solutions that allow to add the effect of this beautiful material to your space even if it doesn ’t pre-exist as a structural element. With faux stone panels you can get the real feel and come closer to the cycladic interior you dream of. If remodeling is not in your plans though some stone objects with rough textures will do the job. In the same way white marble in its unprocessed, mat state is a material that fits perfectly in greek style interiors.

If all the above aren ’t easy to apply here ’s an idea stolen from a cycladic hotel, an extra large print of a traditional greek island stone wall. It will add that hint of greek island architecture while being cool and modern.

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Cement tiles

 

I love them and I have them in my kitchen. These are for those who wouldn ’t mind a bit of pattern. The original kind preferably but also the reproductions (the good ones) are a perfect match with the greek island decor as they are with mediterranean style in general. They are beautiful combined with wood or lavaplaster. Again if you don ’t want the big fuss of remodeling the floor you can use a few of them just for decor, for example you can cover the top of a small table.  

 


Terracotta tiles

 

Personally this is my least favorite option for a floor when it comes to a greek style decor but generally not bad at all. If you already have terracotta tiles in your house you are in a good starting point.  It ’s an earthy material that adds coziness to a space and definitely mediterranean in style. The imperfections in its coloring matches the laid back character of cycladic style.

 

A terazzo floor suits perfectly a greek summer house.

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Terazzo

This one is a trend right now, but is a material that suits perfectly a greek style summer house . And it will look equally beautiful whether you choose to keep it rustic or give it some more modern feel.

Pebbles are used as floor in greek style interiors.

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Pebbles

 

Pebbles are often used as floors in outdoor spaces but they can also be used in a greek style interior in smaller surfaces for decorative reasons or as a bathroom floor. Which is nice because they remind you of the beach. But even a small group of beautiful pebbles on a table would make a very pretty, natural, minimalist decorative accessory.

 

In greek islands style homes polished cement adds a minimalist and sculptural quality.

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Lavaplaster / cement screed

 

I love love love this one.

You may have never heard of this before, the name in greek is patiti tsimentokonia (you ‘ll stick with lavaplaster, I know). If you wonder how it looks, think of those seamless surfaces with a satin finish and unequal coloring in cycladic interiors.

 

It ’s a traditional greek  material, invented and used for ages in the Cyclades but also elsewhere in the mediterranean sea with some variations. It consists of theran earth (Thera is the ancient name of Santorini), lime powder, silica sand, and ceramic tile powder. It doesn ’t really contain any cement that ‘s why it doesn’t crack. It ’s extremely hardwearing, natural and eco – friendly.  In recent years the recipe has evolved with the addition of modern ingredients, not always in an eco-friendly way though, and the properties of the material improved even more. It ’s appropriate for floors, walls, bathrooms, built in furniture.  You can google it as cement screed, traditional screed, microcement, architectural pressed cement screed.

 

Equally traditional and modern, it gives a minimal beauty to the space and the possibility to create curvy surfaces, both essential characteristics of a greek islands decor.

 

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Textiles  

 

Do your remember the word I told you to keep in mind? Natural, exactly. Cotton, and flax with thick weave are the most obvious choices here. Juta, with its burlap look but softer, although not greek, is also a perfect match. Airy gauzes for the windows and mosquito nets for the beds. 

Light semi transparent fabrics and traditional embroidery and knits are a perfect match with greek style interiors.

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If your are on the old fashioned, romantic side, white openwork and crocheted lace are awesome as curtains or bedding.

 

You should also consider loom woven textiles, from curtains to rugs and they can be as traditional / bohemian or minimal / modern as you like them.

 

Winter comes in a greek style house too, as much as we always link this kind of decor with eternal summer. And when it ‘s winter textured wool fabrics, kourelou rugs and flokati rugs –off white preferably- and any kind of ethnic / tribal rug will warm up the space.


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So forget about synthetic fabrics, anything with a sheen, satin silks, organzas, brocade, velvet, fabrics with golden or silver thread and anything too classical or luxurious. I would also suggest you forget about florals.

 

Choose one of the following kind of patterns in order of preference, my own personal preference so feel free to improvise according to yours.

 

- Monochromatic and stripes.

- Shibori, ombre, handyed.

- Boho style, ethnic patterns, not just greek but also from other cultures.

- Minimalist, geometric patterns.

 

Blue glass reminds us of the sea so it ’s a great fit for greek islands style homes.

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Glass

 

Because of his transparency and its blue or greenish tones, it brings sea water to mind. We want that. Besides one of the reasons we love greek islands style is because it evokes seaside living. It doesn ’t have to be anything fancy or expensive, even blue water bottles from the grocery store will do.


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Terracotta and ceramics

 

Potterry in Greece is as old as its history and still goes on. In older times the ceramic items where made for functional reasons like storage of oil or wine.


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Unglazed terracotta is a classic material of  the Mediterranean style and can easily bring a greek island air into your summer house. An old large terracotta vase in the house or your garden or a small collection of terracotta pots on your window seal will do the job. Sometimes they are painted blue, I ’m not very fond of this look, I prefer them in their natural terracotta color or painted white as they merge with the white plastered walls.

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Apart from unglazed terracotta, colorful ceramics, either functional like a serving set or just decorative like a vase can add a little something. Minimal and modern or traditional with patterns can find a place in a greek style summer house, depending on what direction you want to give to your home decor.

 

 

Cane

 

Cane is largely used in cycladic architecture as rooftops inside the house or covers of patios and terraces.

 

In smaller scale the traditional greek wicker and cane baskets, made to transfer produce in older days can be used for storage and add that cycladic element to your summer house.



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But any other kind of basket or similar object made of materials such as bamboo, seazal, seagrass, rope etc. will look perfect for a greek islands style decor even if they are not traditionally greek.

 

Rugs made of seazal also look beautiful in a cycladic interior.


Galvanized iron objects can be used to decorate a greek island house.

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Galvanized iron and wrought iron

 

Both old fashioned, rustic materials can add something special to the character of a summer house.

Wrought iron is a material that adds character to a greek summer house.

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We usually find galvanized iron as pots, buckets, basins, water cans and wrought iron as lamps, candlesticks, furniture , garden doors and window protection.

 

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Shells

 

These little treasures of the sea are the small detail that will bring your interior closer to the beach no matter how far from it your home is. If you combine them with other natural finds like pebbles and woods you can make beautiful vignettes with a lovely summer vibe.

Dried flowers and herbs are the right decorative accessory for a greek island style house.


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Dried herbs and flowers

Relax, with this decorative style you don ’t even have to worry if your plants will survive in your hands (talking from personal experience). Because all you need are a few dry wild flowers and herbs. With their yellow golden color they will bring a hint of summer cycladic nature in your house.

Of course you don ’t have to use all of the above materials and objects. You shouldn ’t aim to make a replica of a greek island house because you would most probably fail. You should aim for a general feel inspired by the greek islands, a light and breezy atmosphere. A few hints here and there could be enough. Choose the materials and objects you like best and use them with simplicity and minimalism in mind.