Susie Novak Interiors
Interior designer serving Oakland, San Francisco, East Bay and Marin California.

Design Blog

Getting Modern-Day Inspiration from Southern Comfort

Design friends, can we talk about New Orleans for a moment? Have you been? If not, I think you need to add it to your list right. this. second.

Think design inspiration, entertaining music, a lively and bustling culture, and fabulous food. (If you need a recommendation, Compère Lapin was delish!)

In fact, the experience was so awesome that I was in a state of shock nearly the whole time, thinking how have I never been here before?! Don’t let that be you.

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, let’s dive into today’s design topic: Southern Comfort… which, as it turns out, isn’t just for food.

Taking Inspiration from Southern Comfort

As you know, Modern Comfort style is my jam over here: clean lines and design paired with cozy materials and comfortable living. Add that to the South’s reputation for comfortable, traditional design, and is it any surprise my inner designer found inspiration all over the place?

Though I’ll never give up the “modern” side of Modern Comfort, here are 5 of the biggest ways New Orleans design inspired me…

Inspired by: Traditional Patterns

There’s just something about traditional patterns that have that classic, clean, yet comfortable look to them. I love this sunny, French-inspired space designed by Julie Neill. I could see patterns like these being used as accent pieces in a modern space, adding a touch of conversation and closeness to the room.

Inspired by: Chandeliers, Moulding & Gallery Walls

Chandeliers immediately elevate the look of a space, and there are plenty of modern-style chandeliers inspired by older classics. This Gothic Revival chandelier looks positively regal next to a traditional gallery wall, archway, and crown moulding. Beautiful design.

Inspired by: French Wallpaper


I’m no stranger to wallpaper (we just used some in Penny’s Room Redesign), and this french-inspired print combines stripes and curves in an Old World meets New World kind of way. No surprise that it’s called Toiles de Nantes. Loving it. (Chinoiserie is making a comeback these days, too!)

Inspired by: Old World Salons

Inspiration isn’t just about the look — it’s also about the function. This room functions similarly to a southern salon. It’s a library, music room and mini bar (talk about comfort!). I’ll toast to that.

Inspired by: Curves

This design (also by Julie Neill), is a one of my favorite examples of updated, French-inspired design. The curves are undoubtedly traditional, but they’re slim and refined in a modern way. When we design for Modern Comfort, curves are an HUGE part of creating the “comfort!”

And there you have it. Southern inspiration for Modern Comfort spaces. Yes, these spaces are vastly different from the more modern designs we’re used to seeing here in the Bay, but different design genres are constantly influencing each other and creating new and exciting blends.

Besides, when you’re designing for your family, it isn’t about sticking to one design genre or the other — it’s about choosing the pieces, prints, and colors that will inspire you to live your best life. The more inspiration you see, the more you discover which styles speak to you. ;)

I’ll be back next month with more, so be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss it! See you then…