South Beach, Miami, Florida. It’s such a beautiful place to live and visit that the local decor inspires interiors all over the world.
First and foremost, South Beach style is about capturing the breezy summer spirit of Miami. With lots of sparkling white, transparent materials and other pale neutrals applied to the major surfaces, these interiors appear airy and open. This sort of palette is great for making any space look as large as possible. South Beach real estate is hot, so every bit of square footage needs to be used to its fullest potential.
Even if you don’t live in such a coveted climate, you can borrow from South Beach style to get a big-and-breezy, sophisticated-yet-fun look in your home by following some or all of these tips.
To keep white-based palettes interesting, before even adding another color, use plenty of diverse textures, such as pale, grainy woods, stone, leather, metallics and woven natural fibers, such as these breezy caned chairs.
You can also introduce visual textures such as painterly stripes and subtly rich wallcoverings. The color of this wall treatment may be a humble beige, but its subtle stripe texture makes it read as anything but ho-hum.
A big reason South Beach palettes often rely on lots of white is because they already have a natural accent color: the blue of the ocean. Sometimes you don’t need much else when you have a view onto a stunning coastline.
Of course, if you don’t have windows overlooking a beach or permanently sunny skies, you can still add fresh aqua shades through upholstery, pillows and artwork. We may sometimes associate blue with sadness, but this hue feels happy and energetic, and it makes bright whites look even brighter.
Pops of Color
Besides its breezy atmosphere, South Beach style is known for its fun hits of vibrant and pastel colors. Applying these hues to transparent or soft-sheen materials like glass and velvet will give the color extra depth, making it appear rich and complex rather than overwhelming.
Try adding saturated purples, magentas and teals, soft dusty pinks, vibrant yellows, leafy greens and bold oranges—and don’t be afraid to mix. Using a diverse palette of accent colors takes the emphasis off any one color, so the overall look is actually less dramatic than sticking to one hue.
Speaking of dramatic, another color approach is to use a saturated color all over, with accents in white to tone things down.
This teal room includes white pieces such as the wall art, table and light fixtures to break up the solid shock of color, making the look bold but tempered. If your space feels just a little too dramatic, try layering in more white to bring the look back down to earth.
South Beach interiors dabble in bright hues, and they aren’t shy about having some fun with the exteriors as well.
A pastel hue on the outside of the home makes for a welcoming look and can help accentuate architectural features. Sky blue is again an excellent choice—it’s too natural a hue to ever go completely out of style.
South Beach is rife with dreamy greenery. Take inspiration from the plentiful palms and bring in plants and leafy patterns to give your home a similar lush appeal, regardless of its location. Even a few oversized fronds laid on a table or arranged in a vase can bring in a sense of the outdoors and add some interesting organic lines to offset rectangular furnishings.
Why settle for a print when you can have the real thing? Indoor trees like the fiddle-leaf fig bring the drama of a southern palm inside—but in a more manageable size. The fiddle-leaf fig has leaves in a dramatic scale, as well as an eye-catching silhouette.
Perhaps inspired by driftwood washed ashore, South Beach homes often feature soft wood tones finished in whitewashing or subtle stains to achieve a relaxed but put-together look. Embrace a perfectly imperfect knotty wood for flooring and you can skip the area rug. The rich character of the material adds enough interest on its own.
Finally, South Beach interiors don’t aim to be cookie-cutter. Miami has a thriving art scene, and South Beach interiors are frequently full of unique pieces and individual expression. Be confident in your own taste and include at least one piece of art that speaks to you, even if it isn’t to everyone’s taste. And the bigger you can go, the better.