Southgate tube station is built in the Art Deco/Streamline Moderne design style using brick, reinforced concrete and glass and is one of the best known of the many stations Charles Holden designed for London Underground. The station building is circular with a flat projecting concrete roof. Externally, the flat roof of the raised central section appears, impossibly, to be supported by nothing more than a horizontal band of windows that provide daylight to the ticket hall. The roof is actually supported, umbrella-like, from a central column within the ticket hall. The whole building is topped by an illuminated feature resembling a Tesla coil.

Like Arnos Grove, Oakwood and Cockfosters, Southgate is a listed building in this case at Grade II* (regraded from Grade II in 2009) and retains much of its original decoration. The two escalators have the original column lighting, while bronze panelling is in evidence throughout the station. However; the station is not without change: in the late 1990s, one of the three entrances was filled in to be used as a new ticket office, and due to the design of the automatic barriers, one of the two remaining entrances is exit only.

In 2008 the station was extensively renovated, with new tiling at platform level, a partial new floor in the main ticket hall, and improved signage throughout. The station won the London Regional category award at the 2008 National Railway Heritage Awards for the modernisation of a heritage station

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