How To Add Southern Style to Your Home

Not your house? No worries. You can inject southern style into any home!
Not your house? No worries. You can inject southern style into any home! | Source

In homes from Dallas to Savannah and Atlanta to Charleston – southern style is alive and well. But what is it? Ask a dozen interior designers and you’ll get a dozen different answers.

Chances are pretty good you don’t live in a southern plantation home. But that shouldn’t stop you from wanting to add a little southern charm to your life. Don’t think your house has to look like Tara from Gone With the Wind – southern decorating reflects many different eras, personalities and geographic areas.

By experimenting with these five southern design elements, you can easily incorporate this look into most any decor.

Whether your collectibles are family heirlooms or newly acquired, they will add a sense of the past to your home.
Whether your collectibles are family heirlooms or newly acquired, they will add a sense of the past to your home. | Source

Collectibles

Using vintage items in edited collections is very common in southern decorating. For instance, a small grouping of shiny antique toasters looks quite charming when displayed on open kitchen shelving. A collection of baskets made by local artisans can be used to organize clutter in the media room.

Other logical choices for collections include family silver and china showcased in a well-worn hutch, on a buffet or displayed as part of a decorative tablescape in the dining room.

Typically, items in a collection should be related in one way or another, whether it be color, type, shape or use. One important rule of thumb is to keep the number of items in your collection to a minimum. Large collections can overwhelm the delicate sensibility of southern style.

Simple florals are simply the best for a classic iron or brass bed.
Simple florals are simply the best for a classic iron or brass bed. | Source

Bed Linens and Fabrics

A hand carved, mahogany four-poster, simple wrought iron or elaborate tester reflect different bed styles found across the South. The bed linens you choose should coordinate with your bed style. Look for simple florals to dress an iron or brass bed. Formal beds look best when decked out in crisp, white linens with an embroidered family monogram!

However, don’t limit your use of southern-esque fabrics to the bedroom. Consider using flour sack tea towels for your low country kitchen. Dress your formal dining room in an exquisite lace table runner.

Ethereal lace is a nod to the past in a modern  dining room.
Ethereal lace is a nod to the past in a modern dining room. | Source

Cotton was king for many years in the southern U.S. That makes it a great choice for upholstered pieces. Breathable linen is also a logical choice for drapery and pillows in hot and humid climes. However, remember to mix in contemporary fabrics to keep your southern style fresh!

Dogwood looks lovely in springtime floral arrangements.
Dogwood looks lovely in springtime floral arrangements. | Source

Indoor Garden Inspiration

Elements from outdoors play a big role in southern style. Some examples include magnolia leaves and flowers, dogwood, azaleas, hydrangeas and Spanish moss, to name a few.

Bring these outdoor inspirations into your home via fragrance – room sprays, diffusers and scented candles. Or, if you’re lucky enough to have them growing in the yard, make arrangements from clippings straight from your garden. Florists can also source these southern botanicals for use in your arrangements.

Another sneaky way to bring the southern landscape into your home is by using wallpapers with floral motifs. This is a great idea for a powder room – wall-to-wall florals in small spaces equal big impact! If that's too much visual stimulation for you, purchase a vintage floral still life to grace one of your walls.

Magnolias are a symbol of nobility, perseverance and love of nature.
Magnolias are a symbol of nobility, perseverance and love of nature. | Source

New and Old Furniture

Interior designers have a knack for using antique and new furnishings to project what they refer to as new southern design. You can do it too!

Pair this old dresser with a few modern furnishings for your interpretation of new southern design.
Pair this old dresser with a few modern furnishings for your interpretation of new southern design. | Source

Southern style doesn’t necessarily need to be matchy, fussy and formal. In fact, mixing old and new furniture is a great way to achieve a contemporary spin on southern design. Repurposing an heirloom sofa with new cushions and modern fabric will bring it stylishly into the 21st century. Painting an old dresser or table and chairs will allow you to maintain the past while looking to the future.

Whether it is old or new, a family portrait adds a sense of history and prominence to your home.
Whether it is old or new, a family portrait adds a sense of history and prominence to your home. | Source

Family History

Still, southern style has much of its roots in history. There has always been a rich tradition of using framed family portraits as wall adornment. In families whose southern ancestry dates back hundreds of years, you might find an oil painting of the old family patriarch ornately framed and in a position of prominence above the fireplace.

Today, you can continue that tradition in your own way with a grouping of photographs of family members printed in sepia tone and framed to suit your version of southern style. Or, take a photo of the entire family and have it transferred to canvas. There are also artists who will paint portraits from a photo – it may cost a bit more, but will surely be a family keepsake and focal point in your home. You can also use framed documents and old maps to help bring your family history to life.

Southern Decorating Tips

© 2013 lindacee

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Start a Conversation! 24 comments

carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

After living in Houston and traveling the south..I was in love with the old colonial homes.. I still am and love them ...I also really love the old style furniture...I could go back and live in another century with my computer of course. Thanks for a great hub and ideas. Voting up++++Pinning..


english-zone profile image

english-zone 3 years ago

Making more beautiful and comfortable home will always be my first things to be done. You have inspire me another tips to make it.... another interesting hub..!


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

I enjoyed this so much. I was born and raised in the South and my heart remains here still. I live in Florida which is different from the South I grew up in but I can still be Southern here. Being Southern to me is carrying on the sweet Southern traditions I remember from my youth. One thing, small thing, is using doilies and crocheted coverings for tables. I also have some real special pieces of furniture from my childhood which keeps me connected to my roots.

As I read your writings I was reminded again of how much I love the Southern way. Magnolia trees?? O, yes. and Dogwood blossoms..we had dogwood trees in our home in Virginia and now here in Florida magnolia trees line the roads.

thank you so much for sharing this...I enjoyed it so much.

Sending Angels your way :) ps


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Carol, I was just daydreaming that it would be so cool to buy an old plantation home and do some serious decorating! Yes, I'd love to go back in time also -- a computer would be a must! :) Good to hear from you, as always, my dear!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thank you, english-zone!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

ps, I spent the better part of 20 years in the South and will always have a fondness for the people and charm of the region. I remember being so excited when the azaleas and dogwood came into bloom signaling the beginning of spring! I am so glad reading this Hub conjured up some special memories for you -- as writing it did for me! Thanks for visiting!


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 3 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow my favorite is old furniture antique in fact.. I was a true southern.. modern does not do anything for me.. give me the old..

love this hub

sharing

debbie


rfmoran profile image

rfmoran 3 years ago from Long Island, New York

Good hub about adding a rich American genre of style to a home. Even if you live in the Northeast, as I do, southern touches can add to a home's personality.


mr-veg profile image

mr-veg 3 years ago from Colorado United States

Nice tips and a well placed informative hub !


web923 profile image

web923 3 years ago from Twentynine Palms, California

This hub was interesting and very well done. The Design & Construction of these older homes is amazing .


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Deborah, I love old furniture as well. It has such a story to tell! But I do mix in new pieces also. Thanks for reading and sharing this hub! :)


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks Russ, and you are so right. Southern accents are appropriate in homes no matter where they're located. So happy to stopped by for a read!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Glad you enjoyed this Hub, mr-veg!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

web923, I really like plantation-style homes -- even those more modest in nature. They are quite impressive!. Thanks for reading and commenting!


Angela Blair profile image

Angela Blair 3 years ago from Central Texas

You hit the southern decorating nail on the Hub -- and thanks. Those of us who live in the south sometimes don't even recognize that "southern" decorating is a style all it's own -- and there's so many wonderful ways to go with it. A most enjoyable read -- thanks! Best/Sis


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Angela, so happy this Hub struck a chord with you! Yes, there are many directions you can take to create southern style. These are just a few of my favorites. Glad you enjoyed it!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 3 years ago

Living in the south, I see a lot of lace and antiques in the older homes around here. It is such a nice touch and makes you want to sit out on the veranda to sip on iced tea. Great post and so well done!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Teaches, the southern lifestyle is so civilized. I agree with you--sipping sweet tea on a warm, summer afternoon sounds like a wonderful way to pass the time! Thanks for the read and compliment! :)


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

Now, you've got me thinking of how to redo my kitchen! These are such warm and simple ideas. Thanks for sharing them, linda, and I am passing this on with votes up and across!


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thanks, Michelle! Southern decorating is a warm and inviting style. Hope you can use a few of these suggestions in your kitchen. Take care! :)


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

These are great ideas for getting Southern style into the home. I especially think of wrought iron beds and family portraits, but I like your suggestions for bringing the outdoors inside and southern-esque fabrics. Thanks! Sharing this and voting up.


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Glad you enjoyed these ideas, vespawoolf. When I think of southern style, I always go back to memories of the homes I visited when I was growing up in Louisiana. It is definitely a decorating style unto itself. Thanks for the share and vote! :)


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 3 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Linda what a great hub! I have lived in the south all of my life and love the southern decorating style. I love black and white toile fabric in the bedroom and of course magnolias whether in a floral arrangement or a picture hanging on the wall. And don't forget the handmade doilies ...


lindacee profile image

lindacee 3 years ago from Southern Arizona Author

Thelma, I lived in the South for 20+ years and also love the decorating style. My grandmother had a still life of magnolias in the living room for years and I always admired the painting. Don't know what became of it though. Both my mother and grandmother made crocheted doilies, so we had plenty of them around the house. Thanks for stopping by! :)

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