When one thinks of Greece, visions of white-washed villas framed by azure waters and cobblestone flooring are sure to spring to mind. But this storied country offers much more than picturesque landscapes.
Bring the island lifestyle into your home with a few design tricks. Stencil a leafy pattern on walls or upholstery, and introduce rattan furniture to your space for an instant tropical retreat.
For a home on Kiawah Island, color is just as important as the scenic view. While perceptions of colors can be subjective, many hues are known to evoke certain feelings—warm reds and oranges are synonymous with passion and power, while blues and greens elicit calmness and peace. When choosing a color palette for your island-inspired space, draw inspiration from nature’s lush flora and fauna.
A beach house can benefit from natural tones that evoke the ocean, sandy shores, and wooded mountains of the islands. Creams and whites can feel cool and soothing, while sandy and seashell-inspired shades offer a warm, welcoming appeal. To avoid feeling too neutral, add pops of sunset hues like tangy coral or vivid orchid to your space.
The neutral backdrop allows the decorative elements of a room to shine. This clean, coastal living space showcases classic blue and white furniture pieces and rattan chairs, along with an array of woven rugs and baskets. The floor-to-ceiling louvered doors allow the breeze to flow through the open interior while maintaining privacy, and a palm tree brings some fresh greenery.
For a more sophisticated look, combine antiques and modern furnishings with a neutral palette. White serves as the ideal background for a curated collection of treasures from your travels—like the Chinese armoire and Louis XIV chair seen here. Coastal-inspired patterns such as black-and-white stripes, geometric shapes, and florals can make a subtle design statement that’s not overwhelming.
With its wine-dark sea, limitless sky, and ancient islands dotting the horizon, traveling to Greece feels like a voyage into myth. But, unless you’re a billionaire with a yacht at the ready, you’ll likely be relying on ferries to get around.
The system may seem complex, but the result is easy, stress-free travel. Ferries operate as a hub and spoke, with destinations grouped into island chains based on proximity to Athens. Trying to figure out schedules is less daunting once you know the system is designed for locals first.
Embrace the island vibe at home by using light stain wood finishes and adding touches of nature. Tropical foliage and floral patterns are a great way to add warmth without overpowering a room. This bedroom’s azure blue accent wall is complemented by a white headboard and wide-plank pine floors. The asymmetrical shape of the windows allows them to function as both a focal point and privacy barrier.
An electric ferry is scheduled to enter service on the Saronic Islands in 2026, with Greece’s largest operator planning a purely emissions-free fleet for all its destinations by 2040. This model, designed by C-Job Naval Architects, can charge at the dock, eliminating the need to refuel on the islands. It can carry 800 passengers and sail between Piraeus and the islands of Aegina and Agistri.
If you’re lucky enough to have a large island in your kitchen, make it functional as well as decorative. Use the surface for food prep, add stools around the edge, and include plenty of cabinetry for dishes, glasses, and cookware.
Even smaller islands can offer creative storage solutions. In this island, a slatted tabletop becomes a handy spot for storing utensils and can double as an eating space when it’s time to dig into the island’s main attraction—salted meat and cheeses. A light wash on the wood enhances the texture of the slats, while also keeping the space looking clean and tidy.
In this kitchen, a simple blue and white palette keeps the room feeling airy. The azure tile adds a pop of color without overwhelming the neutral backdrop, and frosted glass allows natural sunlight to stream in without jeopardizing privacy. Adding shoe shelves and racks to the island is another easy way to keep the space organized and tidy.
The Greeks love to be on the go—and that includes ferry travel between their beloved islands. But the island system’s hub-and-spoke design can be tricky, with ferries running only on certain days or between islands within different chains. This means that some routes, known as agonia routes, can be unreliable and leave travelers stranded. Yet, these delays often provide an opportunity to see roadside shrines, empty beaches, or inland lamb roads that would be missed otherwise.
The Greek Islands have inspired romance and myth through the ages. The beauty of the blue and white villas, framed vistas, and cobblestone floors have made it into everything from Homer’s Odyssey to Zorba the Greek to Mamma Mia. To experience this magical landscape, you can fly from a major hub like London or New York. But to fully appreciate the islands’ natural beauty, a trip by ferry is an unmissable option.
The ferry system in Greece is based on a hub-and-spokes design that connects Athens with its islands and mainland coastal cities. Ferries move slowly, giving travelers the time to gaze at other islands in the distance and talk with locals. It’s a tried-and-true way to travel, and with a bit of planning can be very comfortable for travelers.
Aboard the ferry, travelers can enjoy a selection of snacks and drinks, as well as 220V power outlets. But it’s best to bring an adaptor, as Greece uses European plugs that differ from those used in the US and UK. In addition, Wi-Fi is typically not available on ferries. Board games, such as Monopoly, Cluedo, or Jungle Speed, are a great way to pass the time and help you stay relaxed during your ferry trip.
The rugged island of Serifos beckoned to designer and skincare entrepreneur Rebecca Korner and her husband, Andrew, who wanted a retreat where they could escape the hectic pace of life in Manhattan. They bought a traditional Cycladic house and began adding herbs, lemon trees, and vines to the grounds.