Located on the southern tip of Florida at the gateway to the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Cuba and the Caribbean beyond, Miami is a large cosmopolitan city well known for its soaring skyscrapers and condominiums overlooking the aquamarine sea. Experiencing rapid growth and financial boom in the 1920s, the city is filled with stunning Art Deco buildings that were erected over this period. The 1950s witnessed a large Cuban migration to the area — bringing with it the bright colours, salsa dancing, spicy food and sex appeal that have become a trademark of the South Miami style.
1 Art Deco architecture
2 Vibrant gelato pops of colour
3 Seamless indoor–outdoor flow
4 Palms, ferns & tropical flowers
5 Glam metallic & glass accents
Set against a backdrop of ocean and sky around an hour’s flight from the Bahamas, an interior design style was born. The South Miami look is all about elegant Art Deco architecture with a cheeky tropical twist incorporating palm trees, vibrant gelato colours and a generous splash of glam. For many of us, the style brings to mind images of the 1980s’ hit TV show Miami Vice, with hunky cops in tight white suits busting cocaine dealers poolside, surrounded by the beautiful and bikinied. For others, we may think of the spicy salsa scene and late-night bistros with flashing neon lights. Miami has long be regarded as a vibrant party-lover’s paradise, which is also ingrained in its cultural identity.
Incorporating the curvaceous architectural lines iconic to Art Deco design, a key element of the style is the seamless transition of indoor and outdoor spaces. Floor-to-ceiling windows and living spaces that open completely to decks, balconies and swimming pools are trademark. With a large Cuban population, the use of vivid bursts of sky blues, minty greens, sunburst yellows and flamingo pinks have also come to define the South Miami style.
You can easily recreate the look in your own indoor and outdoor living areas with the creative use of colour and some bold anchor pieces.
If you don’t live in an Art Deco home, you can still harness the ambience with a few key pieces of furniture. Consider a timber buffet or coffee table to anchor the space. You could even try your luck with a second-hand shop to find a vintage accent piece. Keep it eclectic and be brave with your colour selections. Much of what we know and love about the South Miami style is that it’s a lively fusion of eras and cultures.
The South Miami style generally embraces a backdrop of white on white, yet with the use of plenty of bright gelato hues to make the spaces pop. Consider, for instance, a pastel feature wall or large coloured rug. Be adventurous with your furniture to pair, say, a curvy sofa suite with some brightly coloured armchairs in velvet. You can also easily add colour and texture with cushions, plush throws and mood-setting artworks.
Top if all off with some glamorous touches, like table lamps made of metal and glass, polished brass details and souvenirs or miscellaneous pieces picked up from markets or overseas travel. With a big emphasis on outdoor living, palms, ferns and tropical flowers have also become trademark of the look. Incorporate plenty of plants both indoors and out to unite the spaces and amplify the holiday vibe.
We’ve got plenty of South Miami style furniture and décor online for you to get the beachy chic meets Art Deco vibe. With some bright pops of colour, potted palms, velvety finishes and indoor–outdoor flow, you’ll capture the Miami mood in no time. And don’t miss our guide to creating the beachy-boho look in your home.