Forget what you thought you knew about Southwestern décor. Here in Austin, designers and homeowners are taking old ideas and giving it a spin that’s not only one-of-a-kind, but addictive. Here are some tips on how to bring a little bit of Austin’s modern Southwestern décor into your own home.
The first thing to remember when trying to infuse your own home with a little bit of Austin is to keep it casual. And I don’t mean denim. Austinites are known for their laid back attitudes and their interiors reflect that nature. How does that translate to your space? Comfortable furniture that YOU love. Dig that retro mid-century feel? Great. Just make sure those straight, clean lines don’t mean a hard cushion not conducive to weekend movie nights. Seek out unique pieces that you love, and keep color palettes simple and neutral—but neutral doesn’t just mean beige! Here, everything from charcoal gray, white, black, to mustard yellow can be considered a neutral. Find one that works for you.
Keep it simple. Austin spaces are inherently useful because designers and owners really consider the sorts of activities taking place in a room and only get the pieces needed for that activity. And here in Austin, activities usually involve hosting great get togethers with friends. Not really a social butterfly? That’s okay, but the surest way to make a space feel more Austin-y is to design it with your guests in mind. Partying, socializing and hospitality are number one in Austin. Homes here have cozy seating arrangements perfect for conversation and wide-open kitchens for guests to gather while the hosts make delicious meals. (remember, salsa and margaritas make great accessories). Think about what activities take place in your own home, how can you distill your furnishings to perfectly fit those needs?
Bring the outdoors in. It seems cliché, I know. What region doesn’t try to do that? Austin is known as a city in a park though, and the beautiful hill country landscape seriously influences designers and homeowners alike. From beautiful local stones and granites used on floors and countertops to how houses are situated in their sites—all pay respect to the wonderful natural resources found locally. Don’t live in the hill country? Try cacti, agave plants and succulents. There’s hardly a yard or kitchen table around this city without a cactus, and these guys can lend a wonderful color and texture to your space. And are easy to care for! Don’t forget to look to your own local resources to renovate your home with natural style.
I’ve already mentioned Austinites are casual. They’re so casual, you could say they love to see the years in a space— the character and life of furniture pieces. That’s why you need a good worn out leather chair and dusty, torn rug to round out your space (not really that specific, but don’t be afraid to choose pieces with character or interesting wear). Show your guests you’ve lived a long and adventurous life. Let your furnishings be your yearbook. And by all means, let your metal planters, fixtures, etc rust. Nothing shows your respect for the passage of time and your love of modern Austin design like a big rusty planter in your front yard.
Austin is full of fun, happy outgoing people. They can’t all live in neutral and rust. Nothing compliments the natural surroundings like splashes of bright, contemporary colors. My favorite choice for bringing in color is beautiful bouquets of flowers, but if you’re a little bolder, feel free to go for painted walls and other more permanent choices. Need inspiration? Do as an Austinite would: look to nature!
All right, so you’ve kept your furniture and seating arrangements comfortable and casual. You’ve brought the outside in with colorful and shapely arrangements of cacti and succulents. You’ve added some rust accents and then some splashes of bright color on top of that. What else do you need to make your guests feel like they’ve been transported to Austin upon entering your domain?
Why, a cool modern fence of course. I’m not kidding. Curb appeal takes on a whole new definition here in Austin. Show your neighbors and the world you’re channeling the capital of Texas with a little modern pizzazz out front.
So there you have it. This by no means encompasses the entire scope of Austin modern design (for we’re a diverse and eclectic group of city dwellers,) but incorporate some of these tips in your own space, and I promise you’ll be off to a good start. Of course, the next step will be visiting Austin to see Southwestern modern décor for yourself.
I hope to see you soon.