For as long as I can remember I have loved design. I am one of those rare birds who chose a major my freshman year at Auburn and never looked back. I have had the chance to work under and alongside some really talented and inspirational designers along the way too. So, today, I wanted to share some of my thoughts on what I like to think of as the “new southern” when it comes to design.
Just like any sweet, southern accent… no two southern design styles are alike. Depending on what part of the south you reside in (and your particular design preference of course) your inspiration will vary. Dallas tends to be a little more glam at times, Charleston and Savannah have that beautiful “old south” by the water charm, Nashville can air on the more hip, trendy side and Birmingham is what I like to think of as classic southern. But despite wherever your neck-of-the-woods is, I think we can all agree that southern design is as warm and charming as it gets. But what makes today’s southern trends different from the past?
In my opinion, the most significant “fresh” take on southern style these days verses the past few decades is the use of soft colors across the board. Back in the 80’s and 90’s deep reds, greens and golds were a huge trend (bless our sweet parents hearts). Then through the 2000’s we entered into more neutral territory… literally… with design depending on the use of varying textures rather than much use of color at all (see these posts on how to decorate with neutrals here and here). Now, I do LOVE a good neutral palette and I think there is still a lot to be said for that look. But, I am also excited to see the use of soft colors like pale greens, dusty blues, soft pinks, yellows, etc intermixed with the use of warm neutrals and textures. I think this look is both fresh, relaxed and extremely charming.
Another similar, fresh take on southern style is that patterns are back baby! Boom! Since the 2000’s neutral trend cleansed our palette from the bold use of floral prints from the 90’s, I am seeing more and more of the return of great pattens both in wallpaper and fabrics. I am not talking about your grandmother’s traditional florals either. Again, using more muted tone-on-tone neutrals and soft colors I am loving the mix of patterns that I have been seeing from designers throughout the south. There are so many fresh pattern options available from geometrics to embroidered prints or printed motifs to florals and more. So don’t be afraid to get your pattern on!
I am also noticing a lot of attention to greenery lately too. More and more I have noticed homes incorporating a mix of various types of greenery both inside and outside the home. For example, I have seen climbing roses sweeping a doorway while manicured boxwoods line the porch. Or a mix of small potted topiaries, rosemary and maiden hair ferns along a kitchen windowsill. And lets not forget the oh-so-popular fiddle leaf fig trees that can bring a whole room to life all by themselves.
I love being from the south and so naturally I love designing southern homes. I love the mix of warm creativity that intermingles with traditional, charing roots. I get inspiration from all over the place and have been fortunate to work on projects throughout the southeast which have shaped my design style. I hope these thoughts have inspired you to create your own spin on your personal fresh southern look.