How to Decorate a Spanish Style Home
There are few sights more beautiful than a well-decorated Spanish style home. And, with so many ways to go about sprucing up the interior of a Spanish style home, you’re bound to find the right mix of colors, functional decor, and aesthetics that will make your home pop. Elements of a Spanish style home include things like:
Spanish Style Home Decor
- Spanish Style Full Doors
- Spanish Style Divided Doors
- Vibrant Colors
- Adobe Bricks
- Wrought Iron
- Whitewashed Stucco
- Terracotta Tiles
- Talavera Tiles
- Spanish Accessories
- Authentic Textiles
- Spanish Architectural Design
- Rustic Furniture and Wood Elements
Spanish style home designers have a flair for style, an eye for color, and the ability to combine furniture, architecture, and Spanish elements to create a fluid interior design that could grace the pages of a magazine. The style is unique and distinct, with many design elements traditionally incorporated in homes from the coasts of Spain to the interior of Mexico. The overall feel of a Spanish style home is one that is simultaneously practical, elegant, and inviting.
What is a Spanish Style Home?
A Spanish style home contains several elements that transport inhabitants and guests to the gorgeous homes of the Spanish Old World. Architecturally, you’ll expect to find interior courtyards, bright bursts of color that contrast exquisitely with darker wood accents, terracotta tiles that pair with elegant Talavera tiles, arches, exposed wood beams, stone floors, cobble accents, and plenty of whitewashing on stucco walls.
This gives you a full picture of the architectural Spanish style home design, but not everyone can or wants to completely remodel their entire house to incorporate these elements and create a Spanish house. So, what can you do if you want a Spanish style home without completely redoing the architectural structure of your house?
The first thing you can do is determine which elements you already have in place, like white walls or arched doorways. Next, you can decide how much remodeling you want to commit to. Not all makeovers require a bulldozer, crane, and dumpster. Finally, examine your home with the eye of a designer to see how you can create a Spanish style home interior by decorating, swapping out doors and furniture, and adding Spanish flair with well-placed accessories.
There are many elements to work with when it comes to Spanish style home decor, so the sky is truly the limit when it comes to creating a Spanish style home.
How to Decorate a Spanish Style Home
Now that we’ve gone over what Spanish interior design is, let’s go into more depth about the ways you can incorporate it into your home:
1. Spanish Style Full Doors
One of the most distinct features in a home that boasts a Spanish interior design is the use of dark wood. This is evident in the use of dark wood ceiling beams, wood furniture, and wood doors. Though traditional style typically features hinged doors, dark stained wood sliding barn doors can also work well to provide a more updated and modern appeal.
Full doors in Spanish interior design styles are almost always stained wood to let the natural, deep colors shine through. Painting the door would detract from the natural design and warmth that wood lends to the interior design. There are plenty of other opportunities to incorporate pops of delightful color into your modern Spanish interior design, but painting the door is not one of them.
In Spanish Colonial design, wood plays a particularly important role. Everything from full doors to curio cabinets and China hutches are crafted from natural wood. If you’re going for a Spanish Colonial or Spanish Colonial Revival style, then you’ll especially want to stick with a wood door and choose a stain that allows the natural hue and grain to shine through. This is true whether you install sliding barn doors or traditional swing doors. For sliding barn doors, you should also choose barn door hardware
that best complements Spanish style elements, such as the use of wrought iron. Go with a flat black finish or clear coat raw steel to best mimic the look of wrought iron.
2. Spanish Style Divided Doors
One unique element of a Spanish house plan is the use of divided doors. These doors were left half open, with the bottom half secured to keep farm animals out, and the top half open to let the cool breeze and sunlight in.
Most house plans included a divided single or double door in the entryway from a courtyard to the kitchen area. This same door style is frequently used in homes that range in style from farmhouse and cottage to Mediterranean and shabby-chic.
You probably know these doors by the name, “Dutch door.” Dutch doors were used heavily by ranch and farm homeowners in the American west for the same reasons as their Spanish counterparts. Dutch doors let much-needed light and breeze in, while keeping farm animals out. At Rustica, we have single exterior Dutch doors
, single interior Dutch doors
, exterior double Dutch doors
, and interior double Dutch doors
Any of these doors would look stunning in a Spanish home, whether you’re in Southern California or Spain.
3. Vibrant Colors
Spanish style homes, from Spanish Colonial style to modern Santa Fe homes, all have one thing in common: vibrant colors that brighten up the space and contrast with the darker wood elements. When it comes to expressing yourself, this is where you can really take off and have some fun. While most Spanish homes feature whitewashed stucco walls, you’ll also see bright sunrise colors covering entire walls. Brilliant oranges and yellows are particularly popular and contrast well with wood doors and furniture.
This use of color is as much a part of Spanish culture as it is part of the architectural style. No home modeled after a colonial house in Spain would be complete without the use of brilliant colors. Explore your creative side by choosing wall colors for your kitchen, entryway, and even the living room ceiling. As with any design ideas, it’s important to get ideas from Spanish homes to learn the art of pairing bright colors with whitewash and contrasting elements. When done well, the look is second to none.
4. Adobe Bricks
Many Spanish style homes were crafted from adobe bricks because the bricks provided excellent heat retention in the winter and kept the interior cool during summer. Spanish settlers adopted these features, and the design concept spread to anywhere local Spanish style architecture could be seen.
Though today’s homes aren’t made from actual adobe, the use of bricks and brick patterns is often incorporated into the design element of home styles, including Monterey Revival contemporary homes, Spanish Colonial architecture.
Another place adobe bricks or brickwork made to resemble this element can be utilized is in kitchen pizza ovens or living room fireplaces.
While you certainly won’t detract from the overall look and feel of a Spanish style interior if you don’t incorporate adobe bricks, utilizing brickwork or a brick-type design pattern will infuse any home with the look and feel of Spanish architecture.
5. Wrought Iron
If you go back far enough in history, wrought iron was utilized in Spanish homes around window openings to provide a way for air to enter a home while providing protection from outside intruders. While thick walls provided durability and temperature regulation, the iron railing on windows and door openings provided an extra layer of security.
Today, wrought iron is widely incorporated into nearly all Spanish style homes, from Spanish eclectic houses to Moorish Revival homes to the modern Spanish homes you can find throughout Southern California like Santa Monica, San Diego, and Los Angeles.
While you don’t need to use wrought iron to provide protection from intruders (though that is certainly helpful!), you’ll find it incorporated into decorative pieces, such as an arched entryway and as the material for chandeliers, railing for balconies, and decorative pieces over window openings. You might also find it used for door pulls
, drawer pulls, and cabinet pulls throughout the home.
Another option is to go with an entire steel door as the main focal point and leave out other wrought iron elements. While you may have to do a little steel door maintenance
, it is an excellent option when utilized as exterior doors.
There are numerous ways to incorporate the classic Spanish look into your interior design. Whether you have an interior designer helping plan your home’s look or you’re DIYing it all, you don’t want to skip the addition of wrought iron to your design.
6. Whitewashed Stucco
Another key feature of any Spanish home, from Spanish Revival and Mission Revival style to Pueblo Revival Spanish architecture, is the use of whitewashed stucco. Whitewashed stucco was largely used on the exterior of a home in order to keep the interior cooler in the summertime, though it could also be featured in the interior as well.
The best interior designer will tell you to incorporate this element to promote a decidedly Spanish style throughout the home. Rather than whitewashed stucco, however, you could choose to utilize several shades of white by incorporating it into your interior paint colors. Shades of white can mimic the look of whitewashed stucco and contribute significantly to your interior design project.
When incorporating white into your interior home decor, it’s important to choose an overall design concept that ensures your white walls are balanced with warmer natural tones so you don’t end up with a sterile-looking environment. The sense of inviting warmth is a key element of all Spanish casa decor styles. Spanish interiors should never feel sterile or uninviting.
7. Terracotta Tiles
The use of terracotta tiles in homes is largely due to the Spanish influence of using these tiles for roofing material instead of wood or other materials. One reason why terracotta tiles are featured so heavily in Spanish style design is because the tiles are excellent at providing insulation. A roof made of terracotta tiles meant that the home’s interior was kept warmer in winter and cooler in summer. This was especially needful in the days before modern heating and air conditioning was widely available and accessible.
Today, terracotta tile roofs are incorporated more for style, though they continue to provide the same insulation benefits. If you’re not ready to commit to redoing your entire roof, there are other options for incorporating terracotta into your Spanish style interior.
First, you might choose to incorporate the color of terracotta into your color scheme. To do this, you might paint a room with terracotta-colored paint or style your room with key pieces of furniture that also feature the color. Another option is to utilize terracotta decor, such as vases, bowls, and other small elements.
One popular use of terracotta tiles in modern Spanish homes is for the floor instead of the roof. Terracotta floor tiles provide a beautiful layer of color, an extra layer of insulation, and a distinct style that combines updated and modern design concepts with the classic style of older Spanish style homes.
8. Talavera Tiles
In addition to terracotta tiles, Talavera tiles should be utilized throughout the home to provide an especially elegant pop of Spanish style. Talavera tiles feature classic, colorful Spanish patterns and designs, often utilized to create an extra layer of color and contrast in Spanish style homes. These beautiful tiles are often incorporated into the art of a wall design, featured in the archway of arched doorways, placed on the front-facing portion of stair steps, embedded in countertops, and utilized for kitchen backsplashes.
If you can’t incorporate these gorgeous tiles into your existing layout, consider purchasing some tiles to create classic style wall art, utilizing them as coasters, or even framing them as unique focal points in your home. While you can certainly create a classic Spanish flavor in your home without Talavera tiles, these stunning pieces will provide an authentic feel that is hard to replicate any other way.
9. Spanish Accessories
No Spanish home would be complete without Spanish style accessories. Whether your home is in South America, North America, Mexico City, or New Mexico, featuring Spanish accessories will provide an authentic flair like nothing else. While you certainly need to be careful not to overdo the use of Spanish decor and accessories, a few well-placed items will give your home the feel of authentic Spanish living.
So, what types of Spanish accessories should you consider incorporating into the design of your home? The answer to this question will somewhat depend on the style of your home, as some items will go better with a Spanish Colonial while others can be featured in a Spanish Revival style home. A few items that tend to fit in no matter what specific period your home comes from include rugs, artwork, and pottery. You might also consider incorporating items from a trip to Mexico, musical instruments, or even traditional items of clothing.
The good thing about incorporating Spanish accessories into your home is that you can always move them around. Don’t like the guitar in the corner of your room where you placed it next to a rough-hewn wood chair? Place it somewhere else and see if you like that better. Not a fan of the sombrero on your wall? Take it down and hang a piece of artwork instead.
Play around with the accessories you have until you’ve dialed in on the overall look, feel, and design you want to achieve.
10. Authentic Textiles
When used sparingly, authentic textiles can lend an air of authenticity to your home in a similar way that accessories can be used. If you walk into any Spanish style home, you’ll notice several things in common. First, you’ll notice some of the elements talked about in this article. Second, you’ll notice how every home incorporates these elements differently to create a unique modern style. Finally, you’ll notice the use of items, like accessories and textiles, to provide a sense of completeness to the overall design concepts created.
While you can certainly create a Spanish style home without the use of textiles and accessories, it is these items that really tie the design concept together. Consider layering a Spanish rug on top of terracotta tiles for your entryway. Lay a Spanish patterned blanket over the couch, or utilize Spanish style pillows on furniture in your living room.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate textiles into Spanish style homes, whether your home features a classic Spanish design, sports a Spanish eclectic style, or even if you’re trying to complement the distinct look that Spanish Colonial Revival architecture provides.
11. Spanish Architectural Design
If you’re planning on an extensive renovation project, then you might decide to incorporate elements of Spanish architectural design. These elements include things like arched doorways and arched doors
, a red tile roof, a prominent white wall or two, wall sconces, open entryways, and passageways from the interior of your kitchen to an exterior garden.
These are certainly more labor-intensive upgrades, but you’ll find these architectural elements in use in Spanish style homes everywhere from Spain to San Francisco.
12. Rustic Furniture and Wood Elements
In addition to wall decoration, rugs, ceramic tile, and traditional Spanish carpets, you’ll find rustic furniture and wood elements uses by nearly every Spanish interior designer. Wood elements include things exposed wooden beams, a rustic wood kitchen table, and furniture such as wooden coffee tables, end tables, entry tables, and chairs.
Wood elements can also include large furniture items, like cabinets and China hutches, for a Spanish Colonial design style.
How to Modernize a Spanish Style Home
If you’re in love with the idea of a Spanish style home, but also want to make it a bit more modern, you can definitely have your cake and eat it too. With a few simple tweaks, you can easily create a modern, updated Spanish home. Several things you’ll want to incorporate include:
- Large windows for natural light
- A white color scheme
- Rustic furniture
- Dutch doors
Each one of these elements are found in Spanish style homes, and can be incorporated into nearly any existing home design or layout. Large windows ensure that plenty of natural light can enter the home and provide contrast with the darker elements that are common in a Spanish home. A white color scheme is reminiscent of whitewashed stucco and provides a modern take on the classic look. Dutch doors and rustic furniture both provide a nod to the classic wood elements traditionally found in Spanish homes.
If your home already has a set theme and you watch to change the look and feel of your interior, you’ll be glad to know that there are several design styles that pair well with Spanish style. Modern farmhouse, rustic farmhouse, and Mediterranean style designs all pair well with the Spanish style. You’ll likely find that you won’t have to do a ton of work to transform your home into a Spanish style house when you decide to switch from farmhouse or Mediterranean style to a Spanish style home interior.
With just a few decorating tricks, you’ll find the switch to Spanish style home decorating far easier than you might have expectd.
Creating a Modern Spanish-Style Paradise
If you want to transform your home into a Spanish paradise, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t need to get out the sledgehammer or knock down walls. You don’t even need to rip your roof apart for a redo. Creating a Spanish style interior can be a straightforward process, whether you utilize the services of an interior designer or you decide to DIY your makeover project.
You can give your Spanish style home an authentic feel by incorporating uniquely Spanish elements into your layout and design, such as Spanish style doors, vibrant colors, wrought iron, white walls, terracotta and Talavera tiles, authentic textiles and accessories, and rustic furniture or wood elements. Depending on the architectural elements already present in your home, you may not need to do much in the way of remodeling. With the right combination of elements, you can even take a home that doesn’t have any Spanish architectural elements and still give it a Spanish casa feel.