If you’ve ever spent time in the South, you may have noticed that decorating seems to come naturally to those that live there. It’s a part of the lifestyle and the culture, and Southerners often inherit family heirlooms like hand-painted oyster plates, julep cups, and old oil paintings that make their homes all the more intriguing. Needless to say, there’s something about a Southern home that’s hard to emulate—they just have that je ne sais quoi. But we’ll try anyway… Today we’re talking to three interior designers about how to decorate like a true Southerner.
Read on for our conversations with New Orleans-based designer Melissa Miles Rufty of MMR Interiors, Atlanta-based designers Carter Kay and Nancy Hooff of Carter Kay Interiors, and L.A.-based designer Mark D. Sikes, who recently brought Southern spirit to the interiors of Reese Witherspoon’s Nashville store, Draper James.
The first was this idea that décor is collected over time. As Melissa Miles Rufty explained, “My mom always had a saying, ‘You don’t want a room to look like it all arrived on the same day.’” Southern interiors “look collected over time and in most cases, a little imperfect,” she says, which gives them “an unmistakable soulful aura.”
Another tenet is that Southern interiors should be entertaining and playful. Carter Kay Interiors designers, Carter Kay and Nancy Hooff, tell us that Southern style requires a combination of comfort, humor, entertainment, and thought-provoking elements. Southern interiors should not only make guests laugh and smile, but also feel welcome.
As with every region, a few new trends are taking hold in the South. Mark D. Sikes is excited about “shiplap walls, statement lighting (I’m loving white plaster chandeliers), eclectic art, and a mix of textures.”