Southern homes have a certain je ne sais quoi. It may have to do with the grand architecture of antebellum homes—including high ceilings, arched walkways, and large front porches. Or maybe it's the carefully curated interiors that are at the heart of Southern hospitality. Whatever it is, even the most modern Southern homes retain a certain charm and history that can be lost in other decorating styles. But beyond anything else, Southern décor is known for one thing: the art of the mix.
Even in the most historic homes, you see memories of the past: crystal drop chandeliers, skirted tables, and vintage settees mixed with modern accents like woven baskets, triple-arm midcentury chandeliers, and contemporary art. Southern decorators have a knack for displaying mementos and blending history with modern convenience. And one more thing: They love plants—large sculptural plants in fact. Want to decorate the Southern way? Mix an antique or modern accent with a dramatic plant and pick up a few tips from some of our favorite Southern homes.
Dried Lagurus + Crystal Drop Chandeliers
In this dramatic home by Michelle R. Smith, greenwashed paneled walls are complemented with showstopping herringbone floors, an antique center table, and a Paris flea crystal chandelier. In lieu of fresh plants, the mantel is adorned with dried grass, which fits the home's neutral palette, creating a moody but elegant space.
Palms + Leather Chairs
In the Charleston home of artist Sally King Benedict, modern leather-wrapped chairs are gathered around a round skirted dining table topped with a traditional suzani. In the corner, a dramatic palm plant serves as a backdrop next to a vintage world map. The result is a mix of periods and styles that feels timeless and collected.
Fan Palm Leaves + Rattan Chairs
In this modern home by Hana Waxman, a modern tripod round table sits under a dramatic dome pendant and is surrounded with leather-wrapped Eames chairs. In the background, a single fan palm complements a small circle rattan chair from the 1950s. Though this home has a more modern edge, it retains a sense of history.
In this entrance by William McLure, an antique Scandinavian console table sits under a dramatic oil portrait. Under the console, woven baskets are filled with throws, sea sponges, and a potted agave. The result: a historic beachy home that's collected yet unpretentious.
In the screened porch of Sara Ruffin Costello's New Orleans home, a turquoise trellis lines the wall. In the back, an antique settee is accessorized with palms potted in blue-and-white ceramic jars, while taro plant leaves are arranged in a vase on the console to create an indoor-outdoor greenhouse.
In this dining room by designer Ashley Putman, a traditional table and chair set is centered under a midcentury chandelier. The backdrop of the room is kept a neutral ice blue, but a bouquet of crimson amaranth spray branches break up the color palette, creating dramatic flair.
In Michelle Adams' home, a blue-and-white palette is adopted against a backdrop of woven accents, creating a beachy look that also feels collected thanks to the antique jars and tortoiseshell adorning the room. On every surface, greenery graces the space from palm leaves arranged in a vase to a philodendron filling up a console table.
Next up: 10 things the French always do when decorating.