The Essentials of Southern Girl Style

Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living, spills his top ten home design must-haves.

Courtesy of Southern Living
Courtesy of Southern Living

With every beautiful, Southern home that’s been featured on the digital pages of Lonny, it becomes more evident that the region knows a thing or two about a well-appointed house. (A fact this Florida girl was, of course, already cordially acquainted with.) Come to think of it, there are few swathes of the country that are as enticing when it comes to individual style, grandeur, and even romance. Spanish moss-draped oaks, deep verandas, and soothing drawls are all key of course, but what are the unmissable elements that define the style of the American South? We turned to Sid Evans, editor-in-chief of Southern Living magazine, to offer some insights into what gives Southern homes—and our lovely way of life, for that matter—their incomparable allure. 

For starters, “It’s not as fussy and traditional as some people think,” assures the Memphis-born editor, who also held the top spot at Charleston-based Garden & Gun.  The sole style component weaving all the way from Texas to Virgina he assures, is that the aesthetic is “always inviting, always welcoming.” For us Southern belles who are, say, adrift in New York City, Evans breaks down the must haves, below. 

Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living
Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living

1. Color

“Southerners aren't afraid to use color, but it's good to stick with a palette so everything works together. It's also smart to add color to things like drapes and throw pillows which are easy to switch out.”

Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living
Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living

2. Extra seating for entertaining

"Extra seating is a must for entertaining and ensures that you'll be prepared when company drops by. Ottomans and garden stools are great because they can also be used as tables. "

Hector Sanchez/Southern Living
Hector Sanchez/Southern Living

3. Setting the table

"Setting a beautiful table makes your guests feel welcome, and that's what Southern hospitality is really all about."

Hector Sanchez/Southern Living
Hector Sanchez/Southern Living

4. Monogrammed linens

"Whether it's bedding, hand towels, or placemats, we Southerners just love to put our initials on things. At Southern Living we’re especially fond of New Orleans based company Leontine Linens."

Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living
Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living

5. Porch swings

"In the South, the porch is a sacred place, and there’s no better way to enjoy one than a well-designed porch swing.”

Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living
Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living

6. Bar cart

"I love the versatility of this bamboo bar cart. It's lightweight and moveable, and it adds a casual element to the mix."

Paul Costello/Southern Living
Paul Costello/Southern Living

7. Lattice

"Southerners love lattice, and here it's used inside to make this little room feel almost like a garden."

Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living  
Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living  

8. Silver

"There's no reason to keep your silver heirlooms hidden. Southerners love to show off their silver as a decorative display."

Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living
Laurey W. Glenn/Southern Living

9. Wicker

"This is an odd little porch on the side of my house. I liked the masculine feel of these wicker chairs, a staple on Southern porches."

Southern Living
Southern Living

10. Julep cups

"Contrary to popular belief, julep cups aren't just for the Kentucky Derby. They make an elegant vase for floral arrangements, and they’re always fun to break out for summer cocktails.”

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