“Antiques are a hallmark of Southern homes,” says Phoebe. But don’t be afraid to make a passed-down piece your own. Charleston, South Carolina, designer Melissa Ervin says, “If I had to, I would update my grandmother’s wing chair with a current version of a traditional damask—in a timeless tone-on-tone style.”
“If you’re not lucky enough to inherit antiques, don’t buy cheap ones,” adds Cindy. “Save until you can buy a good piece. You don’t have to have a room full of antiques—one nice piece in a room can elevate everything around it.” As for which to buy first, Cindy suggests a mahogany Sheraton-style sideboard or a walnut English chest of drawers.