Our Modern Mediterranean House With White Paint

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Transforming our modern Mediterranean house from dull and dated to bright and beautiful starts with a simple solution: white paint. The problem many face is a home that feels heavy and dark, but the promise is in the power of a fresh, light color palette.

Today, I’m sharing our journey to revitalize our space. Phase 1 has kicked off with priming the stained trim and doors, setting the stage for a lighter, airier ambiance.

dark orangey stained hardwoods, handrails, outdated stained door and window trim, arched Italian wood front door, wrought iron scroll balusters
painting our dark stained wood work white was the best decision in order to modernize our mediterranean home

The second phase will tackle the dark kitchen cabinets with white paint, new quartz countertops, and a chic backsplash. And finally, we’ll complete the transformation by refinishing the oak hardwood floors to a natural, lighter finish.

The goal when we started this house renovation was to create a modern mediterranean home to enhance the large windows and natural light while incorporating modern transitional elements.

What is a Mediterranean House

There are 3 types of Mediterranean homes.

  • Spanish Revival
  • Italian Renaissance (Tuscan style)
  • Modern Mediterranean

A mediterranean style house typically consists of a stucco exterior, red roof metal tiles, stone walls, large spacious rooms with high ceilings, textured walls, arched doorways with incredible detailed woodwork and indoor outdoor spaces that flow together.

Mediterranean homes are popular in warm weather climates like California and Florida as well as Spain, Italy and several European countries.

Our Mediterranean home is smack dab in the middle of New England! It’s a rare style home for the North East which makes it kind of fun to modernize!

Modern Mediterranean House

Let’s take a look at how we plan to modernize our mediterranean house.

1. Paint Walls White

The first step to a modern mediterranean house is painting your wall white.

White paint is the best way to modernize a house regardless of style. When we bought our house 5 years ago, the interior was a dark earthy toned faux finish indicative of old world Italian design featuring round columns and dark orangey stained woodwork.

Here is the house below before we painted the walls white featuring round columns, wrought iron balusters and a lot of sponge faux paint with a textured wall feel!

faux finish Italian style walls, dining room, foyer, mediterranean home -5

Prior to moving into the house, we had the interior painted Sherwin Williams Westhighland which is neutral white with a warm undertone but not yellowish.

large foyer entrance with stained stairs,arched wood door, italian columns, black iron balusters, wing back chairs

As you can see above, the white wall paint brightened up the house tremendously.

faux finish Italian style walls, dining room, foyer, mediterranean home -2

At the time, we were not feeling daring enough to paint all dark orangey woodwork.

The white paint really transformed the space though even with the dark orangey stained trim and doors.

Large open foyer and dining room, modern traditional chandeliers with shades, dark arched Italian style front door, dark stained wood trim, wrought iron balusters

The house originally had Mediterranean style light fixtures which we replaced with modern traditional style chandeliers and wall sconces in the dining room and foyer.

You can see that post, modernizing your home with new light fixtures and how to choose the correct size chandelier, for more details.

2. Paint Stained Trim White

The second step to a modern Mediterranean house is update your trims and doors.

Large White Sectional Living Room, cream rug, black leather ottoman, cathedral ceilings, dark stained window trim

We recently tackled the job of having all the stained trim work, painted white.

long wide hallway, white walls, dark stained wood door trim, orangey dark stained outdated floors

We painted the trim and interior doors the same color as the walls, Sherwin Williams Westhighland.

painting trim white
modernizing your mediterranean house with white paint is a great way to brighten things up

You can see the full house makeover by clicking through this post, how to paint trim white.

modern mediterranean house with white trim
I love the seamless look of our white-trimmed modern Mediterranean house.

My friend Cyndy at The Creativity Exchange gave me a lesson in paint colors and how to make a white paint brighter without changing the tone. She’s a paint genius!

how to paint trim white
painting our trim white in our mediterranean house was a game-changer!

As you can see below, Sherwin Williams Alabaster is a little lighter than the Sherwin Williams Westhighland but not bright enough so the SW 75% was the winner!

The SW 50% was too white and too big of a contrast from the wall.

sherwin williams west highland and alabaster on wall as paint sample

In order to accentuate the detail on our trim, moldings and doors, we had the paint store remove 25% of the Sherwin Williams Westhighland color and dilute it with 75% of white base.

In doing so, our trim and doors will be a little brighter than our walls and not be a drastic “white” tone.

Cyndy explained to me that when you are trying to accentuate details and create a cohesive look, your walls and trim need to “mesh” together with minimal contrast.

So, I took a leap of faith and trusted her judgement!

mediterranean home foyer, round columns, orangey stained floors and dark wood trim, wrought iron balusters

We decided to keep the trim and doors the same color as the walls (Sherwin Williams Westhighland) but a little brighter. See this post, “how to paint wood trim” to see all the trim painted white!

The staircase trim, interior doors, handrails and all dark wood work will be painted white.

taping off stair risers with blue painters tape, priming stained stair risers with oil based zinsser cover stain
Taping and priming stair risers white

We considered painting the interior doors and handrails black but ultimately decided to paint everything the same color as the walls to create a seamless cohesive look throughout the house.

See how we updated the staircase above by painting the trim and stair risers white.

priming large dark stained trim with Coverstain oil based primer by Zinsser
a modern mediterranean house will no doubt have white trim and interior doors

Over the last few years we have incorporated natural elements through decor, woven baskets, plaster walls with a focus on a modern mediterranean house interior in the living room, foyer and dining room.

3. Refinish Hardwood Floors

The third step to a modern mediterranean interior design is to address any dark floors with an orange undertone.

Our oak hardwood floors are stained the same orangey color as all of the woodwork so next month, we are having the floors sanded in February to remove the orangey stain color and refinished with a clear coat to enhance the natural oak wood tone.

While dark wood tones are currently making a comeback, the orange toned stains are outdated.

We believe the oak floors under the existing stain are red oak so depending on how strong the red oak tone looks will depend on whether we add a stain color or keep the floors natural with a clear coat.

Red oak tends to have a “pinkish” undertone and the last thing we want is pink hardwoods. However, I truly believe that once the orangey existing stain is removed, the lighter floors (regardless if they are pinkish or not) will be a drastic improvement and feel more modern.

4. Update Stained Kitchen Cabinets with Paint

Our kitchen cabinets have been updated from dark stain to a light gray paint color called Mindful Gray by Sherwin Williams.

dark cherry kitchen cabinets, brown granite, dark cherry floors
prior to modernizing our mediterranean house, the kitchen, floor and trim were all stained a dark color

We originally planned to paint the cabinets white but after all the trim and doors were painted white, we decided the color needed some color.

painting dark kitchen cabinets with paint

You can see the full kitchen before and after by clicking through this post, how to paint kitchen cabinets.

Interior mediterranean house paint colors will typically consist of a light color, usually white. The Westhighland white is the perfect balance between neutral with a little warmth. Be sure to check out the rest of our home renovation projects below.

Now that we’ve shared our journey of transforming our modern Mediterranean house with white paint, are you team darker or lighter interior? What are your thoughts on this choice? We’d love to hear your perspective below in the comments.

Meet Jessica

What started as a hobby, Jessica’s blog now has millions of people visit yearly and while many of the projects and posts look and sound perfect, life hasn’t always been easy. Read Jessica’s story and how overcoming death, divorce and dementia was one of her biggest life lessons to date.


  1. I agree painting yellow ish trim…white all the way! Funny thing is….furnishings in the home are going to feel out of place….but we will watch as that transformation begins..LOL…so far great decision on change.

    1. Hi Karen! The neutral furnishings I think will be perfect as now we can update and add texture / color via decor, rugs, pillows ect. I am so happy to have a neutral backdrop to work with 🙂 The floors are next to be refinished in Feb.

  2. I was one who was skeptical about painting “real” wood, but I have to say it really opens up the space and definitely updates the look. It looks good!

    1. thank you! 🙂 Just shared another blog post today with all the details and some before and afters if you haven’t check it out yet! I am loving it 🙂

  3. jane Lund says:

    I love it!!! Good for you for taking that plunge of painting the woodwork, can’t wait to see it finished!

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