Greek chic – 5 ways top designers style this new decor trend for summer vibes all year
Greece is the holiday destination of the moment and Greek chic - its simple, sophisticated, sun-washed style - is perfect for the mood of right now
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Greek chic is an enduring trend. Ten years ago it meant gold bangles, braided headbands and gladiator sandals, but now the country's hallmark style is making its mark on our decor. Despite its simplicity, the soft and sun-soaked feel of a Greek villa exudes luxury and sophistication, and it's a sense of relaxed serenity we're all craving this summer.
As the entire world seemingly jets off to Greece for a well-earned rest in the Mediterranean sun (check Instagram for more details) it seems a Hellenistic revival is on everyone's radar as they return home. And the leading names in interior design are noticing that elements of the country's elegant style is coming home. For designers this means statement sculptures, bold geometric designs, and iconic Greek motifs.
If you're a fan of crisp white walls, warm terracotta, and bright bougainvillea - and let's face it, who isn't - here's how you can achieve this effortless style in your own home.
1. Stay away from blue and white
Although the cliche may be blue and white, there are lots of different ways to introduce a Greek color palette to your home. According to London-based designer Gergei Ergei (opens in new tab), warmer colors work best at bringing the warmth of the Aegean to a home outside of Greece.
'Stay away from blue and white unless you are planning to open a touristic taverna,' he says. 'Use burnt orange, cream, warm green, saffron yellow or royal blue. These Pompeiian antique hues will enhance the joyful sun-drenched Mediterranean mood but in a long lasting, versatile way.'
'All these shades can be combined with each other easily and they go really well with mid-century, minimal or even with antique furniture,' Gergei adds. What's more, as seen at some of the best hotels in Greece, he insists they can be incorporated into any room too. It's just a case of how to pair them. 'In your bedroom you can create a calming environment with warm burnt orange tones mixed with greens. Or, you could keep the same bright energy in your living room with sunshine yellow or royal blue details. Both tones work well with white walls and earthly tones.'
2.Choose just the right white
If you do want to achieve the iconic white and blue representative of Greece's heritage, Farrow & Ball (opens in new tab)'s color curator Joa Studholme has a few words of advice when it comes to replicating that clean, crisp feel. ‘You need to go pretty white,' she explains. 'You don't want something which has a yellow base in it because it will immediately look too creamy. I would just use Farrow and Ball’s "All White",' adds Joa. If you can't get your hands on that particular white, another brand of white with no other pigment at all will do the same trick.
To avoid making the room feel too cold, save the blue for smaller details. 'I would paint the walls and ceilings white, and then pick a fabulous blue for the woodwork,' says Joa.
Interiors consultant Juan Sandiego, founder of Happy Home Clinic, is in agreement. 'The secret to infusing your home with the classic Hellenistic colour palette is to tone it down,' he explains. 'White should be the main colour for walls and ceiling. This creates the perfect backdrop for the bright blue accents in curtains, cushions or even door frames.'
For Greek chic with a hint of splendor, Juan recommends incorporating some shine. 'Add gold or brass accent pieces to elevate the classic white and blue combination!'
3. Embrace ancient motifs and geometric patterns
The motifs of Ancient Greece make for a timeless pattern design. Variations of the classic decorative border - a continuous geometric line - were often used on Greek vases, architecture and jewellery. Known as the meandros or the Greek key design, it's thought to represent infinity and unity.
'Due to the extra bold nature of the Greek key, I recommend using it in small doses like faux antique ornaments or subtle DIY paint treatments on furniture,' says Juan. 'If you’re feeling brave, invest in a patterned blanket so you can style it on the sofa as discreetly or boldly as you wish.'
These clean geometric lines can have a modern feel, but Gergei agrees less is more when using these motifs in your home. 'I would suggest adding them in smaller versatile doses such as textiles, accessories, art prints or table decor,' he says. 'In this way you are building a long lasting library of key pieces that you can easily move and rearrange.'
4. Find space for mosaics
Nothing says Greece like a decorative mosaic, and they're a great way to add a touch of ornate ancient Greece into the home. 'Greek and Roman mosaics have a perfectly balanced clean style,' explains Gergei. 'The floral elements have a very interesting abstract style which comes naturally as they are constructed from tiny squares. This only allows a certain amount of details, lines and color gradings.'
While Greek mosaics were typically used for elaborate floor or wall designs, you can introduce mosaics into the home in far more subtle (and inexpensive) ways. Try adding small mosaic detail in a modern bathroom, around the bath or shower. Mosaic tiles, especially the uneven sort, are a great way to achieve that bohemian Greek Chic vibe, especially if you opt for a distressed look or muted tones. They also look lovely in a garden wall, backyard patio, and of course a pool.
5. Don't forget soft furnishings
When it comes to a Greek Chic interior, you might picture stone walls, wooden beams, and terracotta tiles. But away from Greece's long hot summers, some softer decorative elements are in order to add a little warmth.
Woven rugs are a great way to incorporate those Greek motifs mentioned earlier while also offering a bit of warmth and comfort. Gergei also suggests using Greek-themed cushions to introduce color and texture. His Herculaneum range has some beautiful beachy designs that make use of geometric motifs.
'I am a big believer in cushions as they are easy and functional accessories which you can swap and rearrange quickly if you are in need of a change,' he says. 'Our linen cushions are double sided so if you get a little bit bored with the front you can flip them to enjoy the back which is usually printed with a different contrasting design.'
The Greeks take their food very seriously and the country is renowned for it's delicious cuisine, so it's important to consider dining table ideas when it comes to curing a Greek Chic vibe. Consider a patterned tablecloth, or blue and white placemats to evoke the feel of the Aegean coastline.
'With a unique print, they can be the perfect conversation starters around the table and they also make easy gift options,' explains Gergei. 'For the full Mediterranean alfresco dinner mood you can always add colorful rustic plates in mix and match tones and colored glassware.'
Lilith Hudson is the Junior Writer on Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news articles for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration that you need in your home. She discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. Lilith now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London (a degree where she could combine both) and has previously worked at the Saturday Times Magazine, ES Magazine, DJ Mag and The Simple Things Magazine.
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