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5 Design Principles to Borrow From Classic Southern Homes

Whether your home is already tucked away in your favorite corner of the South or you’re rooted somewhere else entirely, you can still find inspiration in the Southern classics that people have called home for generations. The South is a wide, vast stretch of the country with plenty of variations, all with their own details and personalities. The homes you find in Virginia will differ from the ranches down in Texas, but they all have lovely elements you can use as inspiration in your own home.

While designing your home is all about leaning into your personal style, there are a few staples to the classic Southern look you can explore if you’re looking to go for that charming flair.

1. Porches, Decks and Outdoor Living

Front porch living!
Front porch living!

There’s hardly an image more Southern than sipping iced tea out on the front porch on a hot summer afternoon. If that sounds delightful to you, adding an outdoor space is an absolute staple. Not only do patios and decks offer classy curb appeal, but they also sweep you off your feet with comfort.

Make sure you dress yours up with fun furnishings and homey details to truly put on the finishing touches.

2. Dark and Dignified

Rocking chairs on a porch in front of a fire at a cabin.
Rocking chairs on a porch in front of a fire at a cabin.

Whether you’re looking at an office space, a dining room or a bedroom, there’s nothing that says Southern charm more than a lush, dignified and dark splash of color. Go for navy, earthy green or even brown for a tasteful, sophisticated look wherever your house needs an extra dash of something. Not only do dark colors stand out, but they’re long-lasting both in quality and style.

3. Go Vintage

Vintage wooden cabinet
Vintage wooden cabinet

One of the sweetest and most fun Southern traditions is bringing a personalized touch into your home. Find vintage details, family heirlooms and old furniture from years ago — like a statement chair or brass candlestick — for a unique spin. Whether you’re thinking of adding your grandmother’s couch, family portraits or historic knick-knacks, you can incorporate a few old touches of charm.

If vintage detailing isn’t your style, you can always mix the old with the new and give your home an antique twist along with the modern staples you love dearly.

4. Symmetry Everywhere

The South loves symmetry. From pillars to grand staircases to fireplaces, creating clean, simple patterns can make any home look sophisticated and charming. Even if your home doesn’t include a lot of natural symmetry in its design, you can make it yourself. Try placing your bed in the center of the bedroom, going for a centralized dining room table or even using matching wall decor. There are so many ways to create this classic Southern look, even if porches and pillars aren’t exactly your thing.

5. Patterns and Textures

Material As Background Texture
Material As Background Texture

Southern design is no stranger to bold colors and pattern mixing. Florals, intricate patterns and natural textures are great ways to layer a room and make it look a bit more like home. Find some lush curtains or a fun wallpaper that really makes your space come alive. You can even mix and match to create an even more homey environment.

Get Southern With Your Home Design

Southern classic style is a great source of inspiration to draw from when you’re looking to make your home a beautiful place to settle down. From the personal touches to the cozy outdoor living spaces ready for you to kick back and enjoy the sun, adding a few touches of charm can make your house into the home of your Dixie dreams. Whatever you do, don’t forget to brew up a pitcher of sweet tea to sip on the porch.

This post was authored by Holly Welles, Writer, Real Estate & Construction for more of her work check out:

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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