Have you always envisioned living in a Spanish Revival jewel box instead of a mid-
70s white box? We’ve all been there (and may still be there, but I’m working on it!). But you know what? That’s OK! Your
future is an open book, and in the meantime, you can bring in some of that Spanish Revival flair without moving,
renovating, or remodeling. You just have to select the right pieces to bring that character into the space.
First, what is Spanish Revival style for the uninitiated? If you live in the Southwest or Florida, you probably see it
everywhere – white, beige, or even pink stucco houses with red clay tile roofs, arched windows, wrought iron fixtures,
and Saltillo tile floors. It is meant to invoke the architectural style originally found in Spain in the 15 th and 16 th centuries
when it was brought to North America by Spanish settlers. However, it evolved over time, really coming into its own in
the 1920s, to become its own distinctive look that combines European character with Art Deco curves. It’s dramatic,
romantic, and classic.
What design elements make up Spanish Revival?
Iconic elements of Spanish Revival design include:
- Dark-colored wood
- Curves and arches
- Colorful glazed tiles
- Terra cotta
- Wrought iron.
Even if your home doesn’t currently have any of these elements in the architecture, you can still
pretend you live in that jewel box if you have the right interior elements. Keeping a neutral backdrop – white walls and
light-colored furniture – you can bring in the following accents to really punch things up:
Think ornate, floral or geometric patterned ceramic tiles. You would normally see these on floors or stairs, but they
don’t have to stay there! You can bring the same concepts into your home via tabletop accessories like dishware, vases,
or drink coasters. You could use a stencil to paint a pattern inspired by these tiles on the surface of your choice or even
use peel and stick tile to create a beautiful (but temporary) backsplash in your kitchen! Colorful, patterned rugs can also
bring a similar, colorful vibe.
Terra cotta is an orangey colored clay that has been used by humans to create for thousands of years. Some of the
earliest terra cotta items found in Greece were small figurines dating back to 3000 B.C.E.! Versatile, durable, and
relatively cheap, it’s the same material used for the tile roofs, the Saltillo tiles, and all those orangey-brown plant pots
you see at nurseries and garden centers. And while you may not be able to install Saltillo tile in your kitchen or out on
your patio just yet, you can bring in that beautiful, earthy orange color to any space via paint or accent pieces. In your
home, add rustic pottery, textiles, or even paint the walls like in the room below.
Not blonde wood – we’re not in Ikea anymore. Instead think deep and rich and dark, like coffee or chocolate. While a
traditional Spanish Revival house would have wood floors and trim and probably some exposed wood beams overhead,
that obviously isn’t a reality for most of us. However, you can bring in wood elements that will warm up your space in
much the same way. Think accent furniture like chairs or benches, home accessories like cutting boards in your kitchen,
or even a statement dining table. A few tasteful antique or vintage pieces can also bring a lot of soul to an otherwise
You needn’t go looking for ACTUAL cast or wrought iron pieces, though you certainly can. What you really want in order
to get the look are black metal accents throughout your home that can bring that same contrast and moodiness to your
space. Black metal pulls on your kitchen cabinets, sculptural candle holders on your dining room table, or dark metal legs
on your furniture are all ways to bring this element into your home.
I haven’t mentioned this one previously, but bringing in heavier, more luxurious fabrics and materials can be another
way to inspire the romance of Spanish Revival in your space. Leather and velvets in muted jewel tones are what you’re
looking for to really get the look. You wouldn’t want EVERY piece of furniture to feel this heavy, but a few accent pieces,
or even a feature piece like the sofa below, in an otherwise neutral space will really bring the drama!
Last but certainly not least, bring in some Mediterranean greenery to freshen everything up. Spanish Revival can,
admittedly, be a heavy look, so bring in plants to lighten and brighten your space! Olive trees can be grown indoors or
out and are very forgiving as long as they have enough light. Palms, rosemary, lavender, and succulents of all kinds can
also be grown indoors and really help create the right vibe. You really cannot go wrong with plants, though if you have
pets, make sure they are out of reach or are not toxic to your animals. There are also more and more realistic looking
artificial plants available out there if you really love something your cat does not.
For more décor inspirational ideas, check out our Design Blog.