10 Ways to Bring NOLA Culture to Your Home
There is no American city with more culture than New Orleans. From celebrations to cuisine to the friendly people who greet you as you walk down the street, The Big Easy has a vibe like nowhere else. While you can’t necessarily bring New Orleans home with you, it is possible to infuse your place with a little bit of the Southern city’s charm. Here are 10 ways to do it:
No trip to New Orleans would be complete without a stroll through the French Quarter. The city’s Western European roots provide plenty of design inspiration. For example, a piece of antique French furniture will instantly become the focal point of a living room or bedroom with its ornate woodwork and finishing. You could also create an ooh-la-la look by following French design principles, steering clear of neutral colors and bucking the current trends for something classic.
If you already tickle the ivories or strum a guitar, then this item can quickly be ticked off your to-do list. New Orleans is a city that centers on music — walk down the street and listen for it, and you’ll hear it on all corners of The Big Easy. Your home could have the same jovial atmosphere with its own source of music. If you can’t play, invest in a record player or fine speaker system to keep the place buzzing, just like in NOLA.
Once again, let the French Quarter inspire you — this time, though, have a look at the balconies that hang from the neighborhood’s brightly colored buildings. Intricate ironwork will look incredible in your home, too. The most traditional way to incorporate it would be as a headboard in the bedroom, although an old iron gate or door would make a gorgeous piece of art, too.
The perfect lighting can set the mood in any city, but especially in New Orleans. Low candlelit glow sets the perfect scene for a live jazz concert, while bright spotlights uplight traditional Southern homes — and traditional NOLA parties. You generally want something in between those options, although you should always layer your rooms with multiple lighting options so you can create a soft or illuminated light, depending on the mood. Pair your bulbs with the right lampshade for even more control over the look and feel of your rooms.
We touched on the inclusion of antique French furniture, but you can go old-school with your home’s accessories, too. Gilded accents, oil paintings, artifacts from the beginning of the the Crescent City’s history … all of that speaks to the NOLA flavor you hope to incorporate.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a home in New Orleans without character. Aside from the aforementioned ironwork, many properties have embraced the city’s carefree vibe by way of color. Houses in every shade of pastel line the streets of the Garden District, while the properties within the French Quarter tend to have a more saturated, jewel-toned vibe. Whatever end of the spectrum you choose, don’t be afraid — color makes NOLA what it is, and it’ll do the same for your abode.
New Orleans style slides from luxurious French-inspired decor to a super funky voodoo vibe. Surprisingly, a chandelier with dangling crystals goes with either of those looks — and with most other styles you might already have in your home. So, add a crystal chandelier to your entryway, bathroom, living room or anywhere else you’d like. That fancy touch will fit anywhere, we promise.
Art, Art, Art
A quick walk through Jackson Square Park will connect you with a flood of local artists selling their work. Picking up a painting while in the Big Easy means you’ll bring home a piece of the city with you, and hanging it up will give you a round-the-clock reminder of the place that inspired your decor. If you didn’t think to grab one, then search for a piece from a New Orleans-based artist. You can also seek art that depicts your favorite area of the city — you won’t tire of looking at that.
Bring in the Green
Many New Orleans homes boast lush, green courtyards, relaxing hideaways in the middle of the bustling city. Your house might not have this sort of sanctuary built in, but you can mimic the feel-good vibes by accessorizing your home with live plants. The more you add, the more of a courtyard feel you’ll create, especially if you’re adding greens to your entryway, balcony or other small hangout space.
Nothing screams New Orleans like it’s creole cuisine, if you want to take this tip up a notch, invest in some culinary herbs like oregano, parsley, thyme, or sage. These herbs add a great addition to the home and you can drop them down in your gumbo (a New Orleans staple) for National Gumbo Day (which happens to be today!)
Accentuate Architectural Features
Finally, a New Orleans home wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of ornamentation. Thick crown molding and plaster ceiling medallions draw the eyes up and add even more flair to those crystal chandeliers we mentioned already. If these features aren’t built into your home, you can easily add multiple layers of molding or buy medallions to place around light fixtures. This is a great way to finish off your NOLA-inspired space. If you wan to know more about New Orleans architecture, be sure to read about the unique buildings throughout the city.
New Orleans is one of a kind, but these 10 ideas can help you bring a little bit of its flavor home. Let the good times — and the good design — roll. To find your own one-of-a-kind home in the Big Easy, be sure to check out our listings.