Decorating in the Tuscan Style

Tuscan Style is Casual, Warm and Welcoming

Elegant Mediterranean bedroom style.
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Warmed by the sun, cooled by the Mediterranean Sea, steeped in Old-World tradition – the style of Tuscany has been popular for centuries. The look is simple yet refined, casual yet cultured, formal yet easygoing. Perhaps it’s this blend of seemingly contradictory moods that make Tuscan décor so appealing for the bedroom; or maybe it’s just the warm and welcoming vibe, set off with just enough formality to keep the style elegant, that keeps the look a classic year after year.    

Color It Warm and Earthy

Tuscan bedroom with wooden headboard.
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The Tuscan decorating palette is warm and earthy. Burnt orange, gold, terracotta, every shade of brown, mossy greens and the deepest reds are set off with touches of black. You’ll often find just a few small hints of turquoise or cobalt blue as well -- as in the lamp and rug in this bedroom -- to add contrast and a cooling touch to the look. Shiny, new surfaces, overly bright colors or gleaming metals aren’t part of this style – instead, think aged, rustic, distressed, and natural.

Dark, Elegant Furniture is Key

Contemporary Tuscan bedroom design.
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Tuscan-style furniture is generally made from dark and heavy wood, with classic design and ornate touches through the trim. Aged, distressed finishes are common, as are wrought iron, marble, decorative nail heads or leather accents. This is a style for large, sturdy pieces, not delicate or small-scale furnishings, but if your bedroom is a small one, you can work the style by going smaller in your furniture, sticking with just the basics of bed, dresser, and nightstands, and surrounding the pieces with light tones on the floors, walls and windows. A wrought iron bed is another good choice for a small bedroom, as it maintains the theme but is visually airier than a solid wooden bed.

Go Warm on Windows, Walls and Floors

Romantic Tuscan bedroom.
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While terracotta tile floors, aged walls glazed with gold or orange, and heavy, formal draperies are the epitome of Tuscan style, today’s decorators feel free to modify the look with more comfortable alternatives. Instead of tile, which is too cold and hard for the bedroom, choose wood flooring or soft carpeting in brown, tan or terracotta. If you prefer a lighter touch on your windows, try sheer curtains over privacy blinds or shutters, as in this bedroom. Faux, distressed walls are optional, but the neutral, warm palette is not, so stick with brown, tan, mustard or earthy orange paint colors.

Accessories Finish the Look

Beautiful Tuscan bedroom furniture.
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Accessories add the final touches of style to a room but don’t go overboard. Tuscan style is never overly cluttered or fussy, especially not in the bedroom. Black wrought iron is a must for the Tuscan theme, so look for lamps, picture frames, candleholders or mirrors with distressed metal finishes. If you have a large open space on a wall, hang a tapestry with a traditional Mediterranean motif such as a seascape, landscape, vineyard or country farmhouse.

If -- as in many bedrooms -- wall space is limited, choose a few small pieces of framed artwork. A mosaic-topped jewelry box, small pottery or burnished metal vase or statue, majolica plant pot and one or two ornate throw pillows for the bed are enough extras to finish the look.

Updated Tuscan Style

Contemporary Mediterranean bedroom ideas.
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While traditional Tuscan style is reminiscent of the Old World, you can certainly update it for the new age if you’d like. The best way to modernize the look is by keeping to the traditional palette of terracotta, brown, black, mustard, burnt orange or deep red, but choosing furnishings in smaller sizes and with modern lines and less ornate trim.

The bedroom here is definitely Tuscan in feel, with a warm, Mediterranean color scheme, but the bed, armchairs, lamp and upholstered bench at the foot of the bed bring the look into the present day with their simple lines and open design.

Just a Touch of Tuscan

If you like Tuscan style, but lack the budget, space or desire for a full-room treatment, never fear -- with a few well-chosen pieces, you can add Mediterranean spice to your bedroom without a full commitment. Start with an earthy palette, then add a couple of dark nightstands, an ornate bench at the foot of the bed, and a selection of throw pillows that highlight the room's color scheme.