If home interior trends over the last century have taught us anything, it’s to find unique inspiration and add fun elements to our homes that we never thought of adding before. Southern architecture makes up one of the most prevalent styles. Also called antebellum architecture, this style often describes large homes on farms and plantations. These contained some of the most breathtaking home features, such as Greek-inspired columns and the renowned wrap-around porch. Let’s take a step back in time with a brief history of Southern architecture.
A Brief History of Southern Architecture
Before the Civil War began, Southern homebuilders took inspiration from Mediterranean styles. For example, Greek, gothic, and even Italian designs were popular in Southern home styles during this time.
Even though these styles were famous for their aesthetic beauty, plantation and farm owners chose them for their practicality. For instance, the wrap-around porch blocked the sun on hot days, and large windows allowed a cross breeze to pass through the house. Also, high ceilings allowed the heat to rise, keeping living areas cool.
Every Southern-style home needed at least one of these critical elements to help make the home both dramatic and practical. Take a glimpse at some of the key features that can inspire you in your own home design.
Looking at photos of Southern architecture, you might notice their square, symmetrical structures. The reason these homes were symmetrical was to help make the space attractive and balanced, based on where you placed your furniture inside. This balance helped the homeowners navigate easily from one part of the house to another. The exterior of these homes often featured attractive elements like french doors and tall windows.
The most recognizable—and often the most desirable—part of any Southern home is the wrap-around porch. Since the porch provided plenty of shade, the patio also protected tenants from getting wet in the rain while they sat outside and even prevented the sitting area from flooding. If you’re considering updating your porch, we highly encourage you to consider this feature.
Dramatic Ceilings and Staircases
Cathedral-like ceilings were all the rage in the pre-War era, and they helped keep homes cool during the hot summer months. Staircases are another classic feature that added a bit of drama to a home. In fact, even though these sloping stairs were stylish—and still are—their most valuable quality was that they helped cross-ventilate the house.
The Location of Southern Homes
You won’t find many newer Southern-style homes. In fact, it’s uncommon to find recent constructions that have any of the styles we’ve mentioned. You can find Southern homes in states like Georgia, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Mississippi.
If you’re not satisfied with a quick history of Southern architecture, keep exploring the Southern architecture style and history. Who knows? The fascinating history might even inspire you to move South and buy a home in one of these styles.