Wall art

We can tell you until the cows come home about the hottest trends sweeping across the South right now, but sometimes, it’s best to take home decor back to the basics. Frills like non-functional accessories with the sole purpose of sitting pretty will always be close to our hearts, but it’s those functional pieces that make our homes lovely and livable. These are items you’ve likely had in your arsenal for years—decades even—despite the fact that they very likely wouldn’t win any design awards, but we can’t help but love them so. 

Living room with artwork

What Is Comfort Decorating?

Born out of an extravagant amount of time spent at home due to world events, “Comfort Decorating,” was coined in 2020 and encourages people to choose furniture, artwork, and accessories that evoke feelings rather than aesthetics. It’s about creating a home base that looks good but feels oh-so much better. 

The Warmth of Heirlooms

For many Southerners, “Comfort Decorating” means displaying and using old family heirlooms, from Grandpa’s antique typewriter to your Great Aunt Linda’s collection of crocheted blankets. (Permission to use Grandma’s fancy china for your mid-week takeout granted.) It could also be nostalgic mementoes from childhood, collectibles from past vacations, or even a well-worn blanket that’s been with you since your first apartment and just feels comforting in your home.

“We don’t just want to go shopping and grab a ton of accessories that don’t feel personal to the client,” says Fort Worth, Texas-based interior designer Ashley Higgins. “Personal items that actually have meaning to the client can be layered in the home over time—whether it’s your piece of Grandma’s china, some really cool books that used to be at Mom’s house, or just a piece from your ranch that you loved.” 

Meaningful New Additions

While integrating enduring, vintage pieces is an exceptional way to incorporate a pleasant sense of nostalgia into the home, don’t be afraid to leave blank spaces to add in new, significant pieces that ring with recent memories. Getaways are a particularly stellar way to add to your collection of meaningful memorabilia to decorate your home with according to Higgins. Don’t underestimate the touching addition of a well-placed shell you found on your last family trip to the beach.

Take Time for Thoughtful Touches

It’s not just blank spaces with no emotional attachment that we have to look out for, though; it’s also the rooms jam-packed with thoughtless doodads and embellishments just for the sake of filling the space. 

“I feel like I go into so many houses where they just bought things because they thought they needed something there, but they don’t love it,” says Higgins. “It’s way more important to really take the time to find what you love—whether you have to save for that item— to get pieces that have meaning to you and that you love.”

A Feel-Good Trend That’s Here To Stay

Decorating for comfort is about surrounding yourself with the sentimental things that make you warm and fuzzy inside. Though “Comfort Decorating” started as a pandemic-era convenience, this one’s here to stay because really, this “trend” is what Southerners have valued all along. You’ll be hard pressed to find a Southerner who isn’t emotionally attached to their wedding china or Grandmother’s recipe book. Those are the feel-good pieces that we take pride in having at home, steeping into the sweet bits of life and much preferred over stark spaces that feel as empty as they look. We wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s definitely a bonus that these heirlooms and antiques are hugely stylish right now, but we digress. Loving your home is timeless—unbound by other changing design trends—and that’s what counts.