Why Do Southerners Love Scallops In Interior Design?

A century ago, our country began embracing scalloped details for the very first time. Instead of using them on piped bed skirts or wicker frames, however, they were a symbol of the Art Deco movement. They made a comeback in our grandparents’ 1950s homes, where kitchens were outfitted in a scalloped hood or scalloped cabinet trim.

Scallops In Design Today

Fast forward to 2015: Charlotte, North Carolina furniture and home decor brand Society Social introduced a scalloped slipcover for their sofa, but it didn’t catch on. “Truthfully, I don’t think the market was ready for it,” admits founder Roxy Owens. Now you can’t step into a single southerner’s home without at least one scalloped detail.

Mallory Young, founder of her namesake interior design firm and bespoke furniture line Millie & Co. in Houston, Texas, credits the grandmillennial trend coined in 2019. “They’re a fun, classic design with an element of whimsy, and that aligns with the rise of maximalism and grandmillennial style,” she says.

Society Social also gave scallops another change in 2019, when they were designing their Charlotte flagship housed in a historic textile mill. “One of our challenges was these 10 foot windows,” explains Owens. “We had giant scalloped cornices custom made to bring our playful yet traditional style to the space.” From there, scallops made their way back with pieces like the Amelia Scalloped Wicker Coffee Table.

The Scallop Appeal

Part of the appeal is their surprising versatility. “You can sneak it in anywhere and it adds an element of intentionality,” Young says. “That just makes good quality design.” Mary Elizabeth Wiggins of Paperwhites Interiors in Nashville, Tennessee agrees. She and her partner Juli O’Neal insist that “you can scallop anything that will stand still.”

Perhaps we’ve developed this affinity for scallops because just like everything that defines grandmillennial style, they speak to our nostalgic hearts and respect for tradition. Or maybe it’s because they remind us of the Southern woman: punchy and playful, soft yet sophisticated. Whatever the reason, we’re happy they’re back—and hope they never leave us again.

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