Front Doors for Mediterranean Style Homes

mediterranean house

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What do you visualize when you think of a typical home found in Florida or Southern California? Do you see an earth-toned stucco home with a low-pitched red tile roof? A central courtyard or other outdoor space? Stone, terra cotta, and heavy iron accents? If this is what you are imagining, you are visualizing a classic Mediterranean-style home.

Let’s take a look at this style in more detail, and particularly, what we may find in the way of front doors for a Mediterranean style home.

What are the characteristics of the Mediterranean Style Home?

Mediterranean style as the name implies, are homes built as recreations of Italian villas and ancient castles. They project a grand and ancient look of permanence, as though they have been standing – and will continue to be standing – for years and years.

Italian castle by the sea at sunset
It’s easy to be inspired by the beauty of an ancient castle by the sea. Note the details – stucco, stone, turrets, tiled roof, tall arched windows, and iron grillwork.

Mediterranean Style Exteriors

The exteriors are generally faced with stone, stucco, or a combination of the two. Turrets, arched doorways and windows, and multi-gabled rooflines all contribute to the regal and luxurious air these homes project. Two or more stories are common, and single-storied homes will often have raised rooflines to make them appear larger and more imposing. Accents of heavy, dark wood, iron grillwork, and decorative stone and tiling are common additions to reinforce this grand look.

Coming from a temperate climate, they often blend indoor and outdoor living, often with a central courtyard. In modern homes, this courtyard may be open or enclosed behind a wall with a heavy gate. In keeping with the indoor/outdoor flow, doors and windows are tall and narrow to allow airflow into the home while reducing the sun’s glare and heat.

A modern suburban version of mediterranean style home
A modern interpretation of the Mediterranean style home includes earth-toned stucco, a stone driveway, arches, and red tile roof.

Traditional Mediterranean Style Front Doors

Intricate carvings and raw iron on a heavy slab of dark wood – that is the typical Mediterranean style front door. The design look is heavy, enduring, and imposing.

Glass panels or windows of any sort are uncommon in traditional Mediterranean style doors. Instead, there is often a wide central panel running vertically the length of the door, and this is where intricate (but not delicate) carvings can be found. Hardware in the form of door handles, knockers, and decorative grillwork will generally be made from iron or other black metal.

Modern Mediterranean Style Front Doors

The essence of the Mediterranean style must be carefully considered when modernizing a front door. Using a door original to the home, or a modern Tuscan reproduction will always look traditional and appropriate. Look for classic details when selecting a reproduction, particularly a carved center panel and black statement hardware.

If the traditional look feels too heavy or dated, however, an easy update would be to add color. Consider painting the door in muted earth tones such as clay, sand, moss green, or deep brown. As many newer builds have lighter coloring, soft, creamy whites can also be attractive. When choosing a color, take care to coordinate with the shades of the exterior walls, trim, and roof.

5 earth toned colors that work well for front doors for Mediterranean style homes
Earth Tones that coordinate with the home’s siding are a striking way to modernize the front door of a Mediterranean style home. (All paints from Sherwin Williams)

Sidelights and transoms are also good ways to modernize the Mediterranean style front door. Because they add to the overall size of the doorway, they maintain the overarching image of a large, imposing structure. At the same time, they add lightness and an updated feel to the entrance.

As a general guideline, it’s best not to mix styles of home exterior and front doors. For example, a Mediterranean home exterior would be jarring if paired with an ornate, overly colorful Victorian-style door or a simple four-paneled Cape Cod door. One style mix that can work well, however, is a Mediterranean style home with a contemporary style door. The door should be large, sleek, geometric, and in keeping with the colors of the exterior.

Two modern front doors for Mediterranean style homes - one wood and glass with arch and ironwork, and the other yellow with glass panels and a sidelight.
Two inspirations for modern Mediterranean front doors – first, a soaring entry with double doors, an arch, and gorgeous iron grillwork; also, a more modest door that expands visually with the addition of geometric panes and a sidelight, painted in an earth tone to coordinate with the stucco siding.

Key Takeaways Regarding Front Doors for Mediterranean Style Homes:

Mediterranean style is luxurious, regal, and imposing, like the castles and villas the style is based upon.

Mediterranean style front doors should be in keeping with the overall appearance of the home. Contemporary styles can also work well when carefully chosen.

Dark stained wood is generally considered the classic choice. Paint in earth tones and soft whites can modernize the look.

To visually expand the size of the entrance, sidelights and transoms can be excellent additions.

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