Southern Charm: How to Bring a Touch of the South into Your Home Decor

Updated on May 9th, 2023

Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you’re looking to bring a little Southern charm into your home, you’re in the right place. Whether you’re moving to Raleigh, NC, living in Orlando, Florida, or calling Columbia, SC, home, there’s no denying the appeal of traditional Southern design. From the warm welcome of a front porch to the cozy comforts of a sunroom, Southern style is all about creating a space that is both inviting and stylish. In this article, we’ll share some tips and DIY tricks from experienced designers who specialize in Southern design. Whether you’re starting from scratch or looking to refresh your existing décor, these ideas will help you create a beautiful, Southern-inspired home.

Southern style house with large front porches and palm trees in historic Charleston, SC

1. Create a perfect blend of antique and modern elements

“One of my favorite ways to add a touch of Southern charm to your home decor is by mixing new pieces with antique and vintage finds. I recommend sticking to box stores for items such as couches or bedding and sourcing decorative items like ginger jars, coffee table books, and statement furniture from antique shops. This helps a space look updated, clean, yet lived-in and warm,” recommends Seaside Southern

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2. Add a touch of Southern charm to your porch life with a joggling board

“Obviously, one of the great aspects, beyond interior design details, is how we celebrate life on the porch in the South with gas lanterns, beautiful shutter details, and a few Southern traditions like the joggling board,” shares Crane Island.

3. Create a warm, inviting atmosphere: hospitality in Southern style homes

“I wholeheartedly believe that the most interesting and impactful decor often has an intentional connection to hospitality, something we’re truly known for in the South. While we design our homes to be spaces we love, we also desire to create an atmosphere that is warm, inviting, and a natural extension of our own sensibilities to be shared with guests as well,” says Rebecca Rose Events

“Never be afraid to mix old with new, blend bold and unexpected patterns, prints, and colors that suit your personality, and bring a little bit of the outdoors inside – or vice versa. The most beautiful, interesting, and inviting Southern homes are those that give friends and loved ones an instant feeling of authentic connection to the host.”

Woman reading a book in a nicely decorated Southern sunroom

4. Create inviting color schemes, mix textures and patterns

“Adding Southern charm to a home is sure to make it a cozy and inviting place. Our favorite way to incorporate that feeling in design is by using color and pattern in purposeful ways,” suggests Southern Oak Provisions. “Try using color on trim and not just on a feature wall. Mix patterns by repeating a color scheme, but make sure to use a variety of small-scale and large-scale patterns. If you stick to your color scheme and vision, you’ll have a house full of charm in no time.”

5. Add a touch of Southern style by decorating with repurposed, vintage elements

“Southern Charm can be easily added to any decor. Think about a soft chenille throw, plush pillows, and vintage textiles that add charm to any room. Use vintage goods in repurposed ways to create interest. Antique chests, wooden boxes, large baskets, carpenter’s trunks, and vintage washing machines can all be repurposed into coffee tables,” recommends Southern Home and Farm.  

“Display any collections that you have. Vintage hats, aged ice cream buckets, or any other personal collection can become the focal point of any room. Be sure to match the materials and colors of frames and finishes. For example, use mostly wood frames in off-white colors. Use what you already have to avoid unnecessary spending. The best way to utilize your items is to repurpose them in new ways. Your space is a reflection of who you are, so create your own sanctuary by adding a bit of Southern Charm”

southern home and farm design repurposed furniture and decor

Courtesy of Southern Home and Farm

6. Add Southern charm to your curb appeal with colorful doors, flower pots, and plants

“Curb appeal is everything in the South, ” says Wine and Design. “Your guests should be wowed the moment they arrive and see your brightly colored peach or blue door. Consider the color choice of your door to flow and transition into your home. As your guests walk up to your porch, they can see the pillows, flower pots, and your brightly colored door visually come together. This theme continues to flow into your home through your tile selection, lighting, and incorporating more plants to bring the outdoors into your home.

At Wine & Design, we’ve seen a big surge in people creating pieces that combine soft elements like hydrangeas and peonies with stronger, textured elements. People are not only creating for the experience but for the opportunity to bring something warm and personal into their home. Southern living is not just a way of life, it’s a feeling of warmth and comfort that comes from being surrounded by the people and things you love.”

A family sitting together on a large light blue, front porch swing

7. Blend classic and contemporary furniture for a timeless and modern look

“Southern charm is all about creating a harmonious blend of classic furnishings mixed with contemporary touches and color,” recommends Dorrie Ann Buccafusca from Simple Southern Charm. “I love a space that pairs a few classic foundational furnishings that evoke the warmth of traditional Southern style with bold and unexpected elements to keep the vibe fresh, exciting, and anything but cookie-cutter.”

8. Don’t forget to decorate your yard

“Southern charm begins at the door. After moving to Minden, Louisiana, I found and renovated a 1926 Louisiana cottage and was thrilled it had a front porch, essential in the South,” shares Simply Southern Cottage

“Whether you have a small entry or a nice long porch, create a warm and welcoming feel but with a personal twist.  Add a porch swing if possible and change the pillows for seasonal fun. Hang artwork or photographs which reflect your family history or personality.  Head to your local junk store and find a rustic lantern or terracotta vases, blending old and new. For a fun twist, add greenery from ferns and palm trees to topiaries. And, if you have a black thumb, artificial options will easily fool your neighbors.”Front Porch, Sara McDaniel, Simply Southern Cottage, photo by Simply Southern Cottage

Photo Courtesy of Simply Southern Cottage

9. Create a welcoming seating arrangement for hosting guests

“One of the best ways to achieve this aesthetic is by incorporating bright colors, bold patterns, and seating arrangements that encourage conversation over a cold glass of sweet tea. A seating arrangement with bold pillow patterns is typically a staple in a Southern home,” suggests Z and Co Design Group.

“The more seats, the merrier. A long sofa can be balanced out with two pairs of comfortable upholstered chairs, and a skirted chair with an accent trim band can add a touch of elegance. While some may think rolled-arm upholstery is outdated, there are modern takes on it, such as curved, key, or modern scroll arms that accomplish the Southern upholstery look without the heavy, rolled pleated chair arm of our grandmothers’ houses. Situate this grouping under a large empire crystal chandelier, and you’ll instantly feel the Southern charm.”

Inviting seating arrangement in a traditional living, light blue living room with a chandelier

10. Start with a neutral base, then add layers of design

“Designing with Southern charm in mind is a balancing act that can easily veer towards stuffy, formal sitting rooms with couches that no one can sit on. Who else had a Memaw with one of those? Says   Southern’spirations. Theyrecommend, “creating a welcoming and cozy space, while also incorporating Chinoiserie patterns, timeless blue and white accessories, and other heirloom-quality pieces, is to start with a neutral base, such as a neutral-colored couch. Then, add Southern charm in layers by hanging a favorite Chinoiserie pattern above it and placing a stack of design books and a ginger jar on the coffee table.”

11. Design your classic Southern sunroom

“For me, the quintessential Southern sunroom is designed with classic floral drapery, rattan seating draped with cool summer linen throws, and accented with checks and plaids. Don’t be afraid to refurbish your grandmother’s chest by painting it a soft blue. One of my favorite places to spend summer evenings,” shares lead designer and owner of La Maison Raleigh, Martha Schneider.

Southern style house entryway with formal seating and large staircase

12. Make a statement with wallpapered ceilings and trimmed walls

“Consider wallpapering the ceiling of the mudroom that’s off of the back porch. Perhaps you decide to drench the main floor powder room in a colorful floral wallpaper. These are commonly used spaces by both homeowners and guests, and they’re small. This makes them the perfect spaces to take a leap with daring designs. To complete the space, a dynamic light fixture is the perfect finishing touch to these rooms,” recommends Zandy Gammons, Owner and Principal Designer of Miretta Interiors.

“Additionally, I like to encourage our clients to paint their trim. Trim is often forgotten about or deemed to be ‘always white’ and that is simply not the case anymore. By painting your trim, it adds a colorful architectural interest to the room and is a wonderful way to weave in color found elsewhere in the room such as the draperies or sofa fabric. Paint is the simplest, most straightforward way to make a big impact.”

13. Enhancing your home’s interior and exterior with stained cedar columns and faux beams

“If you wish to include additional features to help bring out the ‘Southern Charm’ and appeal to the interior and exterior of your home, try adding these two features that will be sure to capture your heart. Think about the outstanding look of stained interior cedar columns with stained faux beams in a high ceiling room. This look provides warmth and welcoming comfort while relaxing in the most commonly used room of the house,” suggest Blake Hodnett, Builder and Manager at Southern Design Builders.

Big cedar columns with dark staining and beams

Courtesy of Southern Design Builders

If you are represented by an agent, this is not a solicitation of your business. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for professional advice from a medical provider, licensed attorney, financial advisor, or tax professional. Consumers should independently verify any agency or service mentioned will meet their needs. Learn more about our Editorial Guidelines here.

Holly Hooper

Holly is part of the content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and lifestyle. Her dream home would incorporate both an industrial and biophilic design.

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