When you live in an extreme climate, every decision you make is based on one thing; survival. All your choices are narrowed down to practicality and necessity to give you the best life you can have in the harsh conditions. Think about the desert for example.

Spanish House with covered porch
Traditional Spanish Style House
Spanish history house with rock garden

Most of the buildings there are made from stone, dirt and clay because those are the materials readily available. Of course the homes that come to mind are the Spanish style homes. You’ll usually find them in hot dry places with cacti in the gardens and sun warmed tiles on the roof, a perfect example of living in an extreme climate. Here’s everything you need to know about Spanish homes that might just convince you to move to the desert.

History of Spanish Decor

 Spanish Decor

Spanish architecture was first seen in America in 1915 at the Panama-California Exposition in San Diego. Architect Bertram Goodhue designed a structure he called the California Quadrangle in Balboa Park. This example of stucco walls and red tiled roofs went wild in the American west. Architects began constructing homes with these features all the way through the 50’s.

The majority of Spanish homes found today are a blend of styles. While maintaining the classic stucco walls and red tiled roofs, you might find a Mission style bell tower or a Monterey style second floor balcony. Since it’s features are ever evolving, it’s easier to lump it under the Spanish style label because that’s what it’s become. With all the different examples of Spanish homes, the options are limitless, making it a great opportunity for home builders.

Exterior of  Spanish style

One of the first things you might notice about a Spanish style home is the white walls. Often times the stucco is painted white because white reflects the sun instead of retaining it’s heat. A good practical choice for a desert home.

The second biggest defining feature of a Spanish home are the red tiled roofs. Clay is easy to come by in desert areas so it makes sense to utilize the material for your home. Not to mention the major detail it provides the exterior of your house.

Here’s where we start finding variances. While stucco always has some place on the exterior of a Spanish house, you might also find stone or brick as well. Usually it creates a visual feature rather than a purposeful choice.

When the majority of your home is flat and plain, you have to have an eye for details. In the Spanish home, you might find that piece in a patterned tile accent. Maybe its on the steps leading to your front door or maybe it’s your front porch area. That bright color will give you the pop you’re looking for.

While you have plenty of pattern above your head on the roof, why not add some underneath your feet? Rather than a concrete or asphalt driveway, consider using brick or stone to give your Spanish home that lux feeling.

Most all of the classic Spanish homes are asymmetrical in design. If you have a grand front door, maybe in a tower like the one above, embrace the architecture and make it stand out with patterned tiles or landscaping or whatever you need to do.{found on jaureguiarchitect}.

Looking for a little more color for your Spanish home? Time to grab the paintbrush. Choose a bright shade that matches any patterned tile you might have and paint your window sashes. You’ll be surprised at how much just a little paint will affect your house.{found on rddavisarchitect}.

Sometimes the front yard of a Spanish home will be a courtyard of sorts with a gate and all. If that describes your Spanish home, definitely take hold of the opportunity and find a spectacular gate. Heavy iron is preferable and any pattern will do.

Lawn care isn’t easy when you don’t have the funds to pay someone else to do it. Rather than mowing and weeding, cover your front yard in landscaping. The hot dry climate means nothing will get too tall and look too wild.

When you live in an area with snakes and coyotes and large bugs, it’s obvious that you might prefer a sheltered outdoor living space. If a Spanish home is big enough, it might just feature a courtyard instead of a backyard. Covered in tile, it’s the perfect place for outdoor lounging and potted plants.

Want to give your courtyard a little more interest than just potted plants and a few chairs? A pergola with an outdoor fireplace makes a lovely seating area and gives you the opportunity to add more stucco to your home.

Outdoor seating nooks are always a fun feature in a yard. Make a bench look built into your home to create a little spot to hide away from it all in your corner of your courtyard.

Everyone who has designed a home of their own knows the value of separate areas for separate purposes. Turn house space into patio space so you can feature an outdoor dining room and an outdoor living room, both separate from each other and your pool.

Do you have kids in your Spanish home? Then a courtyard covered in patio pavers might not be the best option. Give them some grass to play on and they’ll love you forever. Get ready for outdoor bonfires and movie nights on the lawn.{found on mainedesign}.

Are you looking for a way to modernize your Spanish house without losing it’s originality? Think industrial. With iron rimmed windows and linear features, you’ll bring those Spanish basics to an updated beauty.{found on vanguardstudio}.


It’s not surprising to find many exterior features on a Spanish home on the inside as well. Some rooms might have stucco walls instead of drywall which provides plenty of texture and interest to build your decorating on.

Like the exterior, stucco might not be the only thing you’ll find on the walls. Stone makes a great accent in rustic homes and you’ll find it goes perfectly in Spanish homes too. Light shades will match your stucco perfectly.{found on bjdhausdesign}.

While many Spanish homes are standard height, there are a few that feature high ceilings. Stick with simplicity as you decorate and don’t let all that wall space go to your head so your eyes will be drawn to the things that matter.{found on markweaver}.

When you have that height on the ceiling, you can’t help but include some wooden beams. Whether you want them raw and rustic or smooth and stained, that major detail will pull all your wood furniture in the room together.

Of course it isn’t hot all year round which is why many Spanish homes have a grand fireplace. It might just have a chunky mantle or maybe it goes all the way to the ceiling but either way, make that the focal point in your living space.

Let’s talk about lighting. You may have already noticed that much of the lighting in a Spanish home is wrought iron related. Something heavy and dark will stand out against your light stucco and hold it’s own against your dark woods.

Can we talk about Spanish furniture? As you’re looking to furnish your Spanish home, you definitely want to look for wood pieces. Heavy dark accent tables, high headboards, deep rich wood tones that will fill your space with history.

Not only should furniture be wood and heavy, you’ll do yourself a favor if it’s intricately carved as well. This is a nod to the Spanish Baroque design and fits perfectly in your smooth stucco filled home. The more detail the better.

Furniture isn’t the only place you can add some heavy carved wood. If you’re considering a kitchen makeover, find some cabinets that fit that heavy wood description. Bonus points if it has that carved detail like the rest of your furniture.{found on housebeautiful}.

Wood pieces aren’t the only ones with color in a Spanish house. Spanish decor is not afraid to embrace rich jewel shades. Bright reds and blues, golden yellows and oranges, you’ll find it in a Spanish house because that’s where it belongs.

Speaking of pattern, you’ll be happy to know that when it comes to patterned tile, your Spanish house is your canvas. Give your kitchen a big statement with some patterned backsplash. Cover your shower in your favorite design. It’s all an opportunity to make your home a happier place.

Last but certainly not least, you want to give your curtains some real thought in your Spanish home. It’s likely that you have the hot sun coming into a living area in the afternoon so you want heavy curtains that you can close to help keep your space cool. Make sure that they’re hung high and wide to get the most out of your windows.

There’s some truly impressive Spanish-inspired houses out there that definitely do this style justice and we’re about to have a closer look at a couple of them.

A Spanish colonial estate in Southern California

This gorgeous house sits on 1.7 acres of beautiful land in Los Angeles, California and is the result of a collaboration between studios OZ Architects and The JRC Group. It’s definitely a big estate with more than 20,000 square feet of living space. It has 7 bedrooms and 9.5 bathrooms it’s all designed based on a 1920s Spanish Colonial style. There’s a central courtyard and plenty of cool features inside.

Given the size of this place, you’d expect the interior to be opulent and luxurious. In a way it is all of that but it’s also elegant, refined and very inviting. Some areas are quite impressive, like the master suite which measures 2,500 square feet just by itself. It has two bathrooms and large closets. There’s also a massive wine cellar decorated with stone which can hold 7,000 bottles of wine. This place also has its own tennis court, a spa and of course a swimming pool.

A Spanish revival home in Sonoma

The beautiful Sonoma region in California is known for its magnificent estates and its historic value. One of the structures here is a lovely house designed by studio Robert Baumann + Associates. The owners wanted it to reflect their own style. They had an inclination towards Spanish revival architecture so they decided to go with it.

The site was previously occupied by an old house which the new owners had no interest in preserving. They took it down and built something new and slightly bigger in its place and they made sure to preserve as much of the beautiful landscape and trees as possible. There’s now a lovely 3,600 square foot house here with a really big basement and large outdoor terraces and patios. The materials used in its design are mainly traditional and natural ones like stone and wood with iron accents and this gives the house a really authentic look.

The post Everything You Need To Know About Spanish Decor appeared first on Home Decorating Trends – Homedit.

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