One of my favorite things about living in the South is the beautiful homes. I always love seeing the variations in architecture and style across the region. Decorating a home is truly an art. Southern Spaces is a new book that explores the aspects of decorating that are uniquely Southern. Editor Kathleen J. Whaley was kind enough to share some of her inspiration and advice with me, and I’m excited to share her thoughts with you today.
Phyllis: What was the inspiration behind Southern Spaces?
Kathleen: I wanted the book to be similar to a tour of a home. It’s organized so that with turn of a page you feel like you are walking through a house. Each section is then broken down into rooms to provide a focused look at different spaces throughout a home.
Phyllis: What makes a home Southern?
Kathleen: The most essential part to a Southern home is the people and how they fill the space. As far as the actual items within the home, I believe it is those special pieces that reflect the owner’s history. This can be antiques, things they have acquired on travels, as well as art and various uses of color or patterns throughout the home.
Phyllis: What are some easy ways to add Southern charm to a space?
Kathleen: Make the space as colorful as the people who live there! A lot of Southern homes use various combinations of patterns. Starting with a neutral palate will allow you to embrace colorful accents and bold prints like floral, paisley, or polka dots. Family heirlooms, antiques, or monograms are classic pieces that could be used creatively to tie traditional and modern together. Flea markets and estate sales are perfect for adding unique touches to a room.
Phyllis: Is there a particular space that usually gets overlooked in home decorating?
Kathleen: I’ve noticed that private spaces such as master bedrooms are often a last priority in homes. As Southerners we focus so much on hospitality that we spend all of our time on the common spaces and neglect those personal spaces. Home offices or playrooms for kids are other rooms that sometimes fall by the wayside. Finishing spaces for you and your family are what will allow your home to feel truly complete at the end of the day.
Phyllis: How can someone develop their personal decorating style?
Kathleen: Invest in what you love. If you really love a piece you will find a place for it and that will create a meaningful home. Ultimately, it’s your home, so don’t worry about other people’s opinions. Let go of the idea that a room has to be “finished.” Decorating a room all at once can sometimes lead to a “storeroom” feel. Homes evolve just like our lives. They reflect who we are, so build a space piece by piece. Remix what you already have and try rearranging within or between rooms. Practice will help you develop your sense of style.
Make sure to order your copy!