Certain elements signal that you’ve arrived in a Southerner’s home.

Photo: William Waldron

It’s easy to know a Southerner by their voice, but if you know the right things to look out for then you might just be able to recognize a Southerner by their home. Sure their homes are colorful, lived in, and gracious. More often than not, they'll be surrounded by a deep front porch overlooking a yard brimming with magnolias, camellias, and azaleas. These are obvious Southern home traits, but there could be other subliminal messages lurking that signal—some real Southern people live here.

Take a look through our list and see if you know someone with a home like this. Think back to that dinner party where you weren’t quite sure if there were actually people in that framed landscape photo and if you had to dig yourself out of that soft, plush sofa. At that baby shower, did the flower arrangements complement the wallpaper? If you’ve said yes to any of the questions above, then you’ve been in a Southern home recently. 

A Comfortable Sofa – The true-life loungeability of a home’s upholstered pieces are a dead giveaway that your hostess is from below the Mason-Dixon. If it’s squishy, down-filled, and covered with chintz—it’s guaranteed that you are in a Southern home.

Silver – Are there collections of antique silver everywhere? A console packed with family photos framed in silver? Flowers arranged in small julep cups with a china cabinet packed with more julep cups, goblets, and every other kind of silver imaginable? Yes, you are in a home with an owner who likely speaks with a slow drawl.

Family Portraits – The only thing better than a framed in silver family photo is a hand-painted, oversized family portrait hanging on the wall. If there is more than one full family portrait then you’re in a home with deep, deep Southern roots.

Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Oversized Monograms on Nearly Everything – Sure monograms have gained popularity all over the country, but in the South our dedication to personalize nearly all of our possessions without inhibition has forged this new appreciation. If you see monograms on fine china, hand towels, cocktail napkins, giant appliques on bedding, even a big round curlicue intial hanging on the front door, you should make a bet that the homeowners were born in the South.

Deer Paraphernalia – Antlers casually displayed on a console or a mounted buck’s head on the wall signify that you’re deep in the heart of hunting country. If the deer head (or heads) hangs in the living room, steel yourself for some type of venison dish to come your way. Also, keep your eyes peeled for family pictures taken while hunting. You’ll have to look closely for the camo dressed humans. They blend into the dark, forest-at-dawn background, but pops of bright orange will give them away.

Ralph Anderson

Really, Over-the-Top Dog Beds – It’s no surprise that Harry Barker is based in Charleston since his prep-tastic dog beds are inside nearly every home. We feel a lot better if our best friends, soulmates, furry relatives, etc. are sleeping on a posh bed rather than the floor—even if they are too hot to ever actually sleep on them. It’s the thought (and our style image) that counts. It also must be mentioned, we take our pet-naming very seriously in these parts.

Floral Patterns – In a region that reveres Steel Magnolias, porches, and garden clubs, it’s little wonder that there’s an abundance of botanical printed fabrics in our houses. We’re trying to bring a little bit of that porch living right into our living rooms. And the men don’t mind living in a lily pad too much—that’s how they get away with hunting every weekend. Bonus points: You’ve got a really fastidious hostess if she coordinates her flower arrangements with her drapery fabrics.

Relics of Eccentric, Bygone Relatives – Known to other people simply as “antiques,” Southerners live one foot in the past and one foot in the present particularly when it comes to our family. Natural born storytellers—we love a piece that reminds of us of “oh crazy Aunt Yvette," etc. While everyone treasures quality furniture, we are likely still holding on to Great-Uncle Buddy’s golf trophy from that time he got a hole-in-one when he was 12.

Laurey W. Glenn

Plates as Decorations – If you thought that plates were just for eating, shame on you. We spend so much time, energy, and money amassing a to-die-for china collection that’s too big to ever actually use on any sort of regular meal rotation, so we group them together and hang them on the walls like the art that this type of collecting really is. Start paying attention—people pair some impressive patterns together for a really striking look.

Subscription to Southern Living Magazine – Seriously, the stack of SLs rests right beside the Bible. Look in the kitchen, there’s also a very long line of SL Annual Recipe Cookbooks. You know the ones—their red spines give them away.