How to Awaken Your Space: Three Southern Themes to Welcome Spring

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  • “Southern Charm” is easily exemplified in basic colors, classy solid materials, and the use of intricate adornments, and can effectively display an Antebellum era of the refined Old South.

  • Twentieth-century Appalachia is conveyed through the “Rustic Southern” theme, which incorporates easy-to-find farmyard antiques, playful vintage textures, and simple collaborations in a homey setting.

  • A pre-American era is born again in the “Tribal Journey”, a theme which uses elements of nature and Native American culture to provide a relaxing and insightful environment.

  • Whether we find inspiration in refined Southern magazines, antique Appalachian farmyards, reviving native festivals, or a combination of the three, we must allow our new springtime bedroom to encompass our own views of revival and the world around us. There is no reason for us to stress over perfectly achieving one theme or another; if we are the ones performing the reorganizing for ourselves, it will turn out perfectly.

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With the arrival of spring fresh at our doorsteps and ready to be let in, why not take it into our own hands to give spring a warm welcome within our rooms? The snow has passed, the rains are beginning, and green will soon find its way into our spirits and surroundings. Though creativity is a piece of the pie suggested for a worthwhile transition from the most mundane to the most vivacious season of the year, it does not take a lick of talent to transform a bedroom into a spring-time sanctuary.

Compiled below is a three-piece series of room decorating themes to aid our design ventures this season. Decorations are inexpensive and easy to come by; we may even find we already own several of the key pieces needed to rework our space. All we have to do is simply choose a new theme for our environment, or create a personal hybrid reflective of our own inner-self during this season of awakening. Seeing as Cumming, Georgia possesses an air of natural, Southern charm which is especially brought to life in the springtime, the room themes at our disposal are “Southern Charm”, “Rustic Farmhouse”, and “Tribal Journey”. May our first official act of spring be an internal and external awakening of new life, new ideas, and new ambitions for our unique transition from high school to the real world.

Southern Charm: White-railed fences run crisply along Southern fields to encapsulate the subject of this still-life theme of a time gone and by. Inspiration for the “Southern Charm” theme stems from budding floral wallpapers of the antique plantation houses of America’s youth, wealthy Virginia homesteads set for the revolution and beyond, and Antebellum plantations of the deeper South studded with fine china and set amongst a backdrop of soft violin and debutante balls.

Thus is the picture of the “Southern Charm” room theme, an awakening of the American spirit and the era of surging Southern appeal. The color scheme of this theme plays off the white of supersaturated springtime clouds, the light pink of pastel roses, and the easy green of aligned trees along an experienced meadow. Though it would be preferable that our walls match one of the colors of the scheme, we can easily create such a scheme using colorful bedspreads, pieces of furniture, or books. Suggested bedspreads are those blotted in vintage rose or floral design.

Furniture should relay a historical presence, but they should not look distressed in this theme. White wicker furniture matches the theme nicely, and old books such as monotone volumes or classic novels can be set on display upon tabletops, desktops, or the tops of dressers. If the books contain fanciful spines, they can be stacked on any of the aforementioned surfaces. To maintain the refined vibe, we should perhaps stick to artificial, sophisticated flowers such as roses of light colors. Antique silverware, serving ware, and teacups are best displayed in this theme and can be arranged upon a flat and elevated surface to either appear set for a meal or for another purpose such as holding a large cylindrical candle. Ceramic or silver animals, or other ornaments, can beautifully adorn any empty spaces. Antique vanity supplies also serve as gorgeous exhibits, such as brushes, handheld mirrors, and combs. Finally, any other antiques we could cheaply find at a Georgia flea market (faux birds’ nests and eggs, decorative bird cages, jewelry boxes, etc.) complete any blank space within our room to match this theme. With the aid of this theme, we can stun our guests with remnants of class, or combine these ideas with elements from the other themes to personalize our decorating experience.

Rustic Southern: Further along the Southern timeline comes a rustic era of rushing rivers, plunging hills, and steady fiddles to match the tempo of the bluegrass barnyard dance. Culture churns and lives in the lives of the Southern family unit, a generation built upon toil and celebration. Sowing season promises happy harvests to come, and the sense of community is ingrained within every hardened face when that human face finds the need to smile. The “Rustic Southern” theme captures the gist of a trying season in America’s history, one found in the childhood and adolescence of many of our grandparents, and the stories that closed our own child eyes upon visits to Grandma and Grandpa’s.

The “Rustic Southern” theme can easily be contained within our room with the accessible antiques and hand-me-downs of our own family or those of local flea markets and antique stores. Even if our families’ roots don’t run south of the Mason-Dixon, we can still find inspiration from the barns and farmhouses that dot every crevice of Georgia. Though any colors can be used in this theme, the green of celebrated fertile fields and the red of functional barns are perfect for encapsulating the rich feeling of life within this period. Patchwork quilts make for the ideal bedspread in this theme to guarantee a variety of colors, textures, and patterns. Random colors, such as those inspired by patchwork quilts and any patches that could be salvaged during this time period, keep the room feeling relaxed and homey. Also, antique furniture, or furniture we make to look antique, gives the theme more of a presence within our room. This gives us leeway with the elements we find to place in our space.

We can place antique farm equipment and tools in various places of our room, even on the walls or in corners on the floor to add the feel of function. Recommended equipment includes anything that one might dig up in a barn even today, such as a watering can, various gardening tools, a bucket, a washboard, or anything of the sort. Also, antique kerosene lamps, though perhaps no longer practical, contain a tasteful appearance. Old instruments, such as banjos or fiddles, we may have but not use can be carefully hung on the wall or propped alongside it to guarantee a musical sensation even in silence. Furthermore, vintage bottles and mason jars contain countless potential uses for decoration and functionality. Some ideas are to fill them with water and wildflowers, set candles in them, use them for pencils, or fill them with more, smaller antiques (buttons, mismatched jewelry, etc.). Recommended flower types for this theme are wildflowers, such as daisies or dandelions. We should remain mindful of potential allergies before setting up live flower displays. Alternatives to living flowers are, of course, artificial or pressed flowers. To press flowers, we simply place them between two clean sheets of paper in a large book under weight for a few weeks. If we press the stem, they can also be placed, though flattened, in a bottle or jar for display. Another idea is to nail old farm tools upon the wall, such as horseshoes or handheld tools. Finally, showcased clothing that contains calico, old flour sack, or patchwork design can be pinned to the wall or draped over the tops of flat surfaces to create a backdrop to the madness that is the rustic South. We can use the above elements in our redecorating, or combine them with any of the other themes to bring life to our personal creative presence.

Tribal Journey: The final theme turns back to times even before the Classic South of the “Southern Charm” theme and the rural age of the twentieth century “Rustic Southern” theme, into a time few of us can claim ancestry to. Set amongst the sound of drums and piercing war cries, living bushes and wooded traps, an era of pre-American history lives on in every inch of land we walk upon. Though few traces remain, the South was once a no man’s land, a land shared by all living beings and appreciated for its natural elements by a grateful human band. The “Tribal Journey” theme uses such natural elements to bring to life a pre-settled world where coexistence claimed dominance and the landscape barely contained a hint of man’s infrastructural footprint.

Colors for the “Tribal Journey” theme are stemmed appropriately from nature and its unprecedented palette of hues. Those such as the red of Georgia clay, the blue of autumn skies and rainfall fields, the green of overhead forest canopy, and the purple of berry stains upon fruitful faces accentuate the nature of this era. Bedspreads can be drawn from these colors, and tribal themed comforters, should we find them, would be ideal. Rugs, especially those such as the esteemed Navajo design, can be hung or draped upon the floor to add a splash of color to our space.

Elements to include in this theme can be drawn from the recesses of our own backyard, including pinecones, acorns, pine needles, flowers, and stones. Stones can be painted, especially with nail polish, to coordinate with the color scheme. Sticks can be assembled to create handcrafted arrows or three-dimensional teepees, should we lean toward the western tribes in our muse. Also easily created is a personalized dream catcher, which can function as a story-piece within our natural assembly. We can use landscape paintings or even abstract, tribal-inspired art to adorn our walls, or we can create our own hybrid of tribal art by incorporating geometric shapes such as arrows and triangles into a collage of collaborative colors. Finally, feathers effortlessly accentuate the space by being functional and beautiful. We can include feathers in our artwork, dream catcher, and homemade arrows, and we can string them upon hung necklaces or display them in vases or bottles (should we assume European influence has already taken hold of our theme’s tribal era). Finally, feathers can be arranged in such bottles alongside other natural elements to form a bursting bouquet of environmental beauty. We can use these particular elements or create a palette of our own to paint for ourselves a gorgeous new bedroom design inspired by the stage on which we perform our high school lives.

Whether we find inspiration in refined Southern magazines, antique Appalachian farmyards, reviving native festivals, or a combination of the three, we must allow our new springtime bedroom to encompass our own views of revival and the world around us. There is no reason for us to stress over perfectly achieving one theme or another; if we are the ones performing the reorganizing for ourselves, it will turn out perfectly. May our spring season be pleasant and foreshadowing of our blossoming transition from childhood to adulthood.


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