Design Style Spotlight: Spanish Colonial / Contemporary
Style Vibe: Transitional, Exotic, Raw, Either Minimalist or Maximalist
It’s a classically traditional style dating from the historical period when Spain acquired colonies. Depending upon the locale of the colony, it took on specific characteristics that spoke to both the royal houses in Madrid and the locale itself.
Want to know which design style matches the vibe you’re going for in your space? Take our quiz to find out!
What are the Hallmarks of Spanish Colonial / Contemporary Design?
The Spanish Colonial / Contemporary design style is easily recognized by patterned and unpatterned clay tiles, wrought iron, white-washed walls, arched iron windows and doors, heavy masculine forged hardware, leather, gold leaf, tile roofs, and rough plastered walls. Classic Spanish Colonial will feature maximalist stylings, rich colors, and filigree. On the other hand, Spanish Contemporary has a much more monastic, missionary feel with minimalist seating, plain white walls, and perhaps a few iconic art pieces.
Is Spanish Colonial / Contemporary Style For You?
It’s a great Transitional style that feels most appropriate in hot and sunny regions of the world.
What Does a Spanish Colonial / Contemporary Home Look Like?
It will almost always have a Spanish tile roof and white stucco. Other architectural details include arches, wood-beamed ceilings, black windows, and natural wood doors.
How to Design Your Space in the Spanish Colonial / Contemporary Style:
The color palette varies; for the minimalist contemporary version, it’s soft neutrals with an accent of natural leather. The classic Spanish Colonial style will have rich blues and terra cotta tones mixed with dark woods and blacks.
The classic Spanish Colonial will follow the traditional rules for furnishings, like formal layouts, whereas the Spanish Colonial Contemporary will follow the contemporary rules, like more informal, abstract spacing.
In a traditional setting, you will see heavily carved wood tables alongside pairs and trios of furnishings. These were literally pieces that would travel from Spain via ship, so they needed to be heavy and able to withstand the journey.
Flooring will almost always feature clay tiles or wood.
For even more details on flooring, check out this handy dandy resource in The Library: Flooring Fundamentals 🙂
If you’re doing straight-up classic Spanish Colonial, look for heavy Spanish antiques from the 17th century. It also includes lots of gold, sunburst mirrors, and damask patterns with leather everywhere.
For the Contemporary vibe, you’ll see a lot of Christian religious iconography, black and white landscape photography, raw found objects like saddles, riding gear, and other more masculine pieces.
It’s always drapery or nothing. Spanish Colonial doesn’t ever feature things like Roman shades or blinds.
By the way, DezignSpace has your back when it comes to the ins and outs of window treatments; check out Drama-free Drapery: Your Detailed Guide to Understanding Window Treatment Basics
What to AVOID When Styling a Spanish Colonial / Contemporary Space
The wrong traditional period, and anything MCM, Art Deco, or basically anything from 1901 onwards. Skip wallpaper, bright colors, and geometric patterns.
Is the Spanish Colonial / Contemporary design style totally your jam? If so, be sure to hop over to The Store to check out some goodies that we love! If you’re looking for more, check out these retailers: