5 Key Features of the ‘Southern Casual’ Decorative Style
This new style reduces the formality of traditional Southern style and makes it looser, lighter and more livable — no matter where it is you call home.
The phrase “Southern style” typically invokes a richly traditional aesthetic filled with gilt furnishings, and luxe fabrics like velvet and heavy silk. While chic Southern cities such as Savannah and Charleston have an inherent formality to them, a new trend is on the scene, where modern approachability makes the classic style more livable. Dubbed ‘Southern Casual,’ this decorative style is a good match for those looking to create a comforting and carefree ambiance in their home — and in any part of the country. Here are the key elements you need to know:
1. A Warm Welcome
Folks in the South are known for their hospitality, even when it comes in an easygoing form. In fact, Southern hospitality begins even before you step into the doorway, with the home’s curb appeal. By making the exterior look welcoming, you’re essentially inviting guests in with a smile. For example, incorporating a vibrantly-colored front door or lining the steps with joyful flowering planters. If there is a front porch, turn it into a fun place to sit and relax while sipping a refreshing drink. Hang a porch swing for extra ambiance.
Heading into the entryway, statement lighting is a must — consider either an overhead pendant light or a couple of smart-looking lights in matte black.
2. Strategic Color Application
Full of color, but in a well-thought-out way, Southern Casual embraces saturated hues, jewel tones, and unexpected shades. Consider boldly painted walls or woodwork; richly colored cabinets; or a storage bench, ottoman or accent chairs in a colorful upholstery fabric. Colorful and patterned window treatments are another option for a vibrant focal point.
3. Blend New and Old
Appreciation for antiques and family heirlooms plays a sizable role in Southern Casual style, as old and new furnishings co-mingle in perfect harmony. Older items can include furniture, lighting, artwork, rugs or vintage accessories. When picking out modern pieces to incorporate, try to find classic designs that never go out of style, such as a wooden pedestal table or minimalist items that allow the more extravagant historical pieces to take center stage. No family heirlooms? No problem. Just head out to your local flea market or antique shop, or search online for suitable older pieces. If they aren’t a pricey investment, then a coat of boldly colored paint is a great way to freshen them up.
4. Host with the Most
Entertaining is an obvious extension of Southern hospitality. But again, bring down the formality for Southern Casual mode. Rather than asparagus tongs and finger bowls, embrace a more carefree, come-as-you-are spirit. Southern Casual hosts are never caught off guard when it comes to serving up a good time when friends drop by. Seek out serving pieces that are versatile, meaning they can accommodate different types of foods, from appetizers to desserts. And don’t let the fun stop when happy hour rolls around. Simply push in a stylish and well-stocked bar cart for a round or two of mixed drinks.
5. Add Personality
The last key element of Southern Casual is to add personality and character to the space — nostalgic but new, of course. Incorporating personal details reveals pieces of your life story, allowing your character to shine through. To add personality, try arranging a favorite collection, or group of meaningful objects from childhood or a special vacation, on a side table, shelf or bookcase. No family heirloom artwork to hang? That’s okay. Simply celebrate your loved ones, past and present, with a carefree display of framed photos in sleek modern designs.