A Look at Modern Southern Home Trends in Design

Many consider a Southern style house to be one that looks like it’s been standing for generations, even if it was recently built. Modern Southern home trends can likely be described as “traditional” and “authentic.” We recently spoke with Veronica Smith, head designer and co-founder of Smith House Company based in Texas, to gather her advice around creating charming Southern style homes.  

Attributes of Southern Style Homes

“When people moved to the South, they brought their own style and incorporated it into their homes with what was needed to combat the heat and high humidity,” says Smith. “For example, when they moved from New England, they brought the Colonial home style but added big wraparound porches. They brought farmhouses and added dogtrots, which are breezeways between house sections.”

Smith explains what makes Southern design is taking traditional shapes and adding innovation and genuine function. “There are so many variations that bring us to the different classic Southern styles, like Antebellum, Plantation, Southern Gothic and even Shotgun,” says Smith.

“I explain Southern design as so authentic that it can become its own character in a movie. Think of The Notebook or Hope Floats. The house plays into the story so much so that you can’t imagine the story unfolding in a suburban house,” says Smith. “That sense of style authenticity is what Americans want.”

Design Differentiators in Modern Southern Homes  

Function and authenticity best describe Southern style house trends. If it’s not supposed to be there—like shutters that are too small to protect the window—it’s not a true Southern style house. “While some elements of style have changed, Southern design is about authenticity with good craftsmanship,” says Smith. “It’s like owning Audrey Hepburn’s wardrobe. The jewelry can change with the seasons, but the black classic shirt will always be in style.” 

Classic architectural features found on a Southern style home include:

  • Large and deep wraparound porches with exposed rafters
  • Elaborate door and window trim with defined windowsills
  • Exterior materials like board and batten, Texas limestone, and wood siding east of Dallas/Austin, Texas
  • Functioning shutters near Gulf Coast and Atlantic Coast
  • Elevated foundations

Recent modern Southern home trends have also fueled product development. “There’s more access to durable, high-quality materials in the Southern vernacular,” explains Smith. For example, premium craftsmanship was the hallmark of Smith’s most recent modern farmhouse design—the LP House project. She says, “LP® SmartSide® products allowed us to use board and batten in an original way, with 16-inch vertical boards for fewer seams and 1.5-inch battens positioned every 8 inches. There are other ways to do board and batten with panels, but using vertical boards makes it authentic.”

Southern Style House Trends in a Modern Farmhouse

Many older farmhouses were built on as the generations could afford it, adding new wings and structures. The LP House was designed to look like three separate buildings brought together over time. Smith wanted to give the new build a sense of history.

The modern farmhouse features LP® SmartSide® ExpertFinish® Trim & Siding in Snowscape White with black casement windows and a black galvalume standing seam metal roof. The main house includes LP SmartSide Lap Siding. Connected by a dogtrot, Smith chose to outfit the second building as the master bedroom and used LP SmartSide Vertical Siding & Trim in board and batten design.

Southern House Trends 2020 

Southern house exteriors for 2020 are trending darker. “In the last five years, the trend has been shifting to more moody colors. Saturated olive greens and blacks. It’s on trend to do dark on dark like black trim to match the siding,” remarks Smith about modern Southern house trends. “The windows can either be black, white or beige, and I love a pop of color on the front door. I think that says Southern very well.”

To read up on more 2020 exterior design trends as told by the experts, click here.

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